State College

State College Borough Council to hear public feedback on proposed Collegiate Overlay

State College borough residents wishing to voice their concerns or support for the proposed collegiate housing overlay zoning ordinance amendment are encouraged to attend a public hearing regarding the overlay Monday.

In discussion between the Borough Council and the Planning Commission for the past several months, the overlay proposes adding housing incentives to the east end of East College Avenue, particularly the lot on which Kildare’s Irish Pub sits.

The overlay would have the potential to alter building heights and parking spaces, allowing for taller than normally allowed buildings under the current commercial zoning. Building heights could also be increased based on incentives for development, such as adding professional housing and underground parking.

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, a 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.

Borough Council is slated to meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the third floor of the municipal building at 243 S. Allen St.