Patton Township residents unsure about possible permitted use changes in Planned Airport District

The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing at its meeting Wednesday night to allow comments on proposed ordinance changes to permitted uses in the Planned Airport District.

The Patton Township Planning Commission recommended that the board approve adding self-storage facilities and nursing homes in the nonresidential and mixed-use areas of the PAD.

The board ultimately decided to send questions back to the planning commission to be addressed.

Ted Brown, a Penn State trustee and Patton Township resident, expressed concern over the additional traffic coming through the Fox Hill and Bernel roads intersection, which he said is already unsafe.

Self-storage units don’t generate much daily traffic, said Mark Torretti, of Penn Terra Engineering Inc.

The township knows there will be a point where there will be enough development along Bernel Road that the intersection will need to be fixed, said township Manager Doug Erickson.

In addition, Torretti said, no hazardous materials or chemicals are allowed to be stored in the units, with outdoor and open-air storage also prohibited.

The storage units would be set up similar to a gas station with spill containment in place, Torretti said.

Brown said just because there are rules in place for what can and can’t be stored, it doesn’t mean they’ll be followed. He asked the board how those rules would be enforced and what the consequences would be for breaking them.

Supervisor Elliot Abrams said he’d like an expert to evaluate the safety of having a storage unit near an airport.

Possible groundwater contamination was also a concern.

Patton Township resident Greg Turner said if water quality is an issue, the township needs to look at the discharge coming from nursing homes, which he argued is a bigger issue than what would come from storage units.