The vote on the Downtown Master Plan on Monday highlighted some important points regarding the dynamics of State College Borough Council, downtown property owners and the residents.
The plan calls for high-rises of up to 14 floors in downtown State College, as far south as Nittany Avenue. Residents questioned the Borough Council a week prior to Monday’s vote about whether the council had read the master plan.
None of the Borough Council members replied in the affirmative, thereby confirming our belief that they had not read it.
Residents attempted to get a two-week to a month delay in the voting by running an online petition, which, in four days, garnered 120 signatures and was growing.
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Despite this strong petition, council disregarded it during Monday’s meeting, and went ahead and voted on the Master Plan, passing it.
The passing of the downtown master plan in the face of a 120-signature petition sends a strong message to the residents. We have been shown our place in the decision-making process. We have been told not to forget how insignificant our voice is and how undesired our participation really is in the workings of the borough.
A voice of 120 amounted to a squeak in front of the giants that are the downtown property owners. We have firmly been told to go back home.
Smita Bharti, State College