Work on housing development suspended citing permit issue

Work on at Patton Township housing development, The Station, at the intersection of Toftrees Avenue and Deans Way has stopped due to issues with a stormwater permit.
Work on at Patton Township housing development, The Station, at the intersection of Toftrees Avenue and Deans Way has stopped due to issues with a stormwater permit. psheehan@centredaily.com

A state Environmental Hearing Board order has stopped work on a Patton Township housing development, citing issues with a stormwater permit.

Known as The Station, the development was approved by the Patton Township Board of Supervisors in May. The development is located at the intersection of Toftrees Avenue and Deans Way and its plans include 162 dwelling units, a clubhouse and outdoor amenity area.

The project is under the development of Landmark Properties Inc. with engineering services through Penn Terra Engineering. The current owner of the property, as told to the Patton Township supervisors, is Robert Poole of Atherton Street Associates.

According to a petition for supersedeas — an order not to enforce a judgment pending the decision of an appeal — filed Sept. 27, Shaner Hotel Holdings Limited Partnership requested that the Environmental Hearing Board supersede a state Department of Environmental Protection authorization allowing Landmark to discharge stormwater into commonwealth waters. The discharge would be allowed under the department’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

Shaner Hotel Holdings operates the Toftrees Golf Course adjacent to the development, the petition said.

The ability to discharge stormwater is not possible, the petition said, due to Landmark’s “failure to obtain at least one easement necessary to install a proposed stormwater discharge pipe.” The petition further claims that the stormwater discharge plan is “fundamentally different” than a plan submitted by Landmark to the township.

“If Landmark is permitted to proceed with its development project without a feasible and lawful stormwater discharge plan, Shaner is at significant risk of being irreparably harmed by frequent, unauthorized discharges of stormwater onto a neighboring golf course, which is operated by Shaner,” the petition said.

Patton Township Manager Doug Erickson was not available for comment.

The petition states that prior construction in the vicinity of the golf course has caused excessive stormwater runoff, creating “significant damage” and interfered in operations.

An erosion and sediment control plan by Penn Terra proposed to construct a large stormwater basin — the only pre-development stormwater management feature proposed — adjacent to the course, the petition said, which must be constructed before grading of the site can begin. As designed, the basin requires an outlet pipe to carry away excess stormwater across different properties into an “unnamed tributary to Big Hollow Run.”

To Shaner’s knowledge, the petition said, neither the DEP or the Centre County Conservation District required proof of easements or permissions for the pipe to be constructed across properties.

One such property, Woodledge Condominiums, has not yet provided permission for this discharge pipe, the petition said. Included in the petition is a document signed by Woodledge Homeowners Association board member Mary Yostpille stating that the board has not acted on a request for an easement.

Landmark can’t construct the discharge pipe as shown or the stormwater basin as proposed, the petition said, noting that the developer “lacks the physical and legal ability to comply with its permit.” The petition also states that earth moving and grading activity for The Station have already begun.

In an order dated Oct. 6 and signed by Judge Richard P. Mather, the Environmental Hearing Board granted the petition to supersedeas in part, noting that no other work for The Station under the NPDES permit may be performed except work to stabilize the site. Stabilization work include completion of a sediment basin, hydro-seeding the site to create a uniform vegetative cover and the construction of silt-sock sediment traps in two “low-drag” areas of the site.

A hearing on the petition is scheduled for Wednesday at the Environmental Hearing Board offices in Harrisburg.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews