State College

Borough Council discusses conditions for proposed high-rise

At its meeting Monday, State College Borough Council discussed the conditional use permit application for a proposed high-rise downtown.
At its meeting Monday, State College Borough Council discussed the conditional use permit application for a proposed high-rise downtown. Centre Daily Times, file

At its meeting Monday, Borough Council discussed the conditional use permit application for a proposed high-rise.

On Feb. 13, a public hearing was held on the application for the development of The Residences at College and Atherton.

The proposed high-rise would sit between South Burrowes and South Atherton streets (along West College Avenue), with two floors designated for nonresidential use and 10 floors for residential.

Terry Williams, the borough’s solicitor, outlined some of the conditional use requirements being considered: project must have fixed windows; developer will provide assistance with pedestrian control; a traffic study; no balconies; and more.

At the public hearing, council was presented with testimony from John Carter, vice president at CPP — a company that provides wind engineering services and air quality consulting — on the results of a report he and colleagues completed on behalf of St. Louis developer Collegiate Development Group.

Tasked with considering the effects of the nearby Penn State West Campus Steam Plant boilers’ emissions on air quality at the project site, Carter told council that air pollution would not exceed legal limits at ground level.

Mark Huncik, a resident of the borough and independent environmental consultant, provided testimony at February’s public hearing disputing the findings of CPP’s report.

On Monday, Williams brought up the possibility of hiring an independent consultant to evaluate the two “irreconcilable” reports.

The prevailing winds may push the emissions from the plant toward the proposed building, but the emissions could also be blown into the rest of downtown, Councilman Evan Myers said.

Penn State should have to move the plant rather than the borough having to change its zoning to accommodate it, Myers said.

The university doesn’t seem to care or be involved in the discussion, Myers said, adding that he thinks that’s wrong.

It’s incumbent on the university to think about where it fits into the community, Councilwoman Theresa Lafer said.

She made a motion to direct the borough to retain an independent consultant to provide council with the best possible information on air pollution in the neighborhood.

The motion passed.

Williams said the borough will request that the developer pay for it.

Council originally had 45 days after the public hearing to either approve or deny the conditional use application, but the developer granted a 60-day extension.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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