State College

State College Borough Council postpones vote on housing overlay

Action on the proposed Collegiate Housing Overlay ordinance was again postponed Monday by Borough Council until the next voting meeting.

The decision to postpone came after two previous motions for action on the controversial amendment were not passed by the council.

Prior to the motions, council was given a presentation regarding assessed value and taxes paid by student apartments, a request by council members in previous discussions wishing to know the potential earning power of a housing project at 538 E. College Ave., the location of Kildare’s pub and restaurant.

According to Planning Director Ed LeClear, projected taxes and fees were based on a development that bears the most similarity to a project that could be seen at the Kildare’s site — the Legacy Apartments at 456 E. Beaver Ave.

The 75 units at Legacy bring in about $329,000 in taxes and fees, LeClear said, bringing about $75,000 in real estate taxes into the borough. As the parcel is currently zoned, a 30-unit apartment building could be constructed on the site, bringing about $32,000 in real estate taxes. Under the overlay with incentives, that could increase to 47 units, with about $66,000 in real estate taxes.

A full buildout using everything the overlay has to offer, he said, would see 61 units with about $80,000 in real estate taxes coming into the borough.

The Legacy Apartments saw 62 police calls in a one year period, he said. Assuming the overlay building would double that amount of calls, the police would see a 0.45 percent increase in crime, totallying about 67 hours of additional staff time.

Council President Jim Rosenberger’s motion to adopt the overlay ordinance as is died at the table.

Councilwoman Theresa Lafer said earlier that there was no way she could vote yes on an 11-story building, saying she would prefer to return the ordinance to the Planning Commission with recommendations to the commission.

Councilman Tom Daubert suggested that the section proposing an 11-story building be removed from the ordinance. A motion made to remove the conditional uses from the ordinance was voted down.

Property owner Jeff Haas spoke to council, saying he didn’t agree with removing the conditional uses from the ordinance, adding even if his building couldn’t get it done, it was immaterial.

“Give another developer the opportunity to use it,” he said, “and develop a nice building for downtown.”

The board unanimously agreed to postpone deliberation until the next voting meeting, slated for May 18.

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