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Residents plan to appeal to Pa. Supreme Court in Toll Brothers case

The land where the Toll Brothers development is proposed to go along Whitehall Road in Ferguson Township.
The land where the Toll Brothers development is proposed to go along Whitehall Road in Ferguson Township. Centre Daily Times, file

The Nittany Valley Water Coalition, a group of Ferguson Township area residents, plans to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court the most recent ruling in the Toll Brothers case.

On May 17, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania vacated county Judge Jonathan D. Grine’s July 2016 ruling that the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors had “committed an error of law” in approving the Toll Brothers’ proposed Cottages at State College development.

The Commonwealth Court ruled that “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 Nittany Valley Water Coalition said in a statement released Monday that they voted unanimously to appeal the Commonwealth Court’s decision.

The court “ruled against our attempt to block this development on a technicality, not on the merits of the case,” the release said.

The proposed development — 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 for several years.

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.

The Nittany Valley Water Coalition filed an appeal against the board in December 2015, and a motion to quash the appeal was denied by 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 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.

The Nittany Valley Water Coalition has 30 days from the May 17 ruling to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

“The citizens of this region will not give up our fight to stop this development,” the release said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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