Local

Commonwealth Court vacates county judge’s Toll Brothers decision

The land where the Toll Brothers development is proposed to go along Whitehall Road in Ferguson Township. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on Wednesday vacated a decision by county Judge Jonathan D. Grine regarding the development.
The land where the Toll Brothers development is proposed to go along Whitehall Road in Ferguson Township. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on Wednesday vacated a decision by county Judge Jonathan D. Grine regarding the development. Centre Daily Times, file

A Centre County Court of Common Pleas judge’s order that Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors “committed an error of law” in regard to approving the Toll Brothers’ proposed development has been vacated by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

The Commonwealth Court’s order, which was filed Wednesday, also reverses an order that denied the motion to quash filed by Springton Pointe LP, an intervenor on behalf of the Toll Brothers.

The Toll Brothers’ Cottages at State College — a 264-unit development covering 32 acres at the intersection of West Whitehall Road and Blue Course Drive — has been a hotly contended issue in Ferguson Township.

The Board of Supervisors approved the final residential development plan for the Cottages in November 2015.

Residents were concerned about the potential for stormwater and construction runoff to threaten nearby Harter-Thomas Wellfields, which supplies State College with the majority of its drinking water.

A group of residents filed an appeal against the board, and a motion to quash the appeal was denied by county Judge Jonathan D. Grine in March 2016.

Grine ruled in July that the supervisors “committed an error of law by approving the final PRD plan,” as previously reported. The supervisors’ approval was vacated and reversed. Toll Brothers appealed the ruling in August.

That appeal was argued March 6, according to court documents.

“The (Municipalities Planning Code) expressly mandates that no appeal from final approval of a PRD plan is permitted where an appeal from tentative plan approval was not taken, except where the final plan deviates from the tentative plan,” the Commonwealth Court’s Wednesday filing states. “Objectors did not allege that the Final PRD Plan deviated from the Tentative Plan in their Notice of Appeal and, as a result, they failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.”

The matter has been remanded to the county court to enter an order quashing the land use appeal filed by the Ferguson Township residents, according to court documents.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

  Comments