State College

State College borough seeks input on overlay

State College Borough Council is seeking resident input on a collegiate overlay plan proposed for the east end of East College Avenue.

A public hearing regarding the proposal has been scheduled for April 13.

The proposal would primarily affect 538 E. College Ave., the location of Kildare’s pub and restaurant. Under the current proposed ordinance, the overlay would allow for a multistory building with commercial space on the bottom and residential units above.

Under the proposed overlay, buildings must provide a commercial space on the first floor in order to be eligible for maximum height and floor space, according to the ordinance. These maximums include a height of seven stories and a floor area ratio of four.

A floor area ratio, or FAR, controls the total development area of a property. On a 10,000-square-foot area, an FAR of four would allow for 4,000 square feet to be developed.

Several incentives are included with the ordinance, allowing a developer to go beyond the maximums in exchange for certain amenities. For example, an additional floor of commercial space would allow for an additional floor and one FAR, and a green building — one that follows certain energy and environmental designs — would gain an additional story, one FAR and a 20 percent parking reduction.

The Planning Commission has taken input from the property owners, public and staff since July, according to the borough website. The commission has since recommended the overlay for consideration by council.

The purpose of the ordinance, according to the council, is to “incentivize the development of buildings which achieve a greater community good.” This is accomplished in part by encouraging diverse residential construction, high-quality building design and in-building parking.

Prior to the hearing, the borough is giving the public additional opportunity to comment on the proposal prior to the public hearing.

Through the borough’s website, residents have been asked, “Will the proposed collegiate housing overlay amendment, which has been recommended by the Planning Commission, achieve its intended purpose?” A group of borough residents participated in a Community Issue Review to develop claims that support, oppose and are neutral to this question, and are available for residents to review.

According to the website, all feedback shared will be presented as testimony during the hearing.