State College

Ferguson Township supervisors hope for meeting with State College water authority over development

Residents can look forward to more discussions involving the potential concerns regarding the touchy issue of the Cottages at State College development.

After a lengthy discussion about the development by the State College Borough Water Authority on May 21, the authority said it would like to have a work session discussion with the township’s Board of Supervisors, township Manager Mark Kunkle said.

“I’ve had initial discussions with the executive director, John Lichman,” Kunkle said, “and indications are that the authority board is willing to have a publicly advertised work session. The date, time, place and agenda are being worked on.”

Lichman has asked that the supervisors develop questions for the authority beforehand, he said, so the authority would have the time to research and answer thoroughly. He also confirmed that if residents had questions for the authority, they could submit those questions to the supervisors for consideration.

Township resident Viki Guarrieri, who said she’s lived in the township for about a year, said she’s very concerned about what she’s heard regarding the development. Based on her experiences in Bucks County, which she claimed housed several Toll Bros. developments, the township was headed in a bad direction.

Voicing her concern of the threat of trash building up along Blue Course Drive, Supervisor Steve Miller said a similar development just up the road — Briarwood Apartments — has no problems of that sort.

“I think what you’ll find is that problems described as problems of students tend to be the problems near bars,” he said. “There are no bars out there.”

In related business, Miller responded to a recent call from the State College Borough Council for a town hall meeting on the water quality issues associated with the Toll Bros. plan.

In a prepared statement, he said he confirmed with Mayor Elizabeth Goreham that this was not an invitation for the two municipalities to meet and discuss. Rather, it’s a suggestion for a course of action the township could follow.

“Apparently, the borough authorities believe that since they have much more experience than Ferguson Township in creating and dealing with contentious zoning issues,” he said, “they are qualified to offer us a bit of avuncular advice about the best way to approach this issue.”

On the whole, he said, it would be better if the borough attended to its own business.

While he said the request was not the best approach, a discussion of the real issue — competition between urban density and suburban sprawl — would make a good conversation. He said he plans on responding to the council’s call by asking them to join the Ferguson supervisors in a new town hall meeting and discuss ending density restriction near Penn State.

Laura Dininni, a candidate for Ferguson supervisor in November’s general election, said a discussion would be a good idea, but to bring Penn State to the table, since its growing enrollment is causing the need for additional housing throughout the region. Or better, bring it before all of the Council of Governments, since sprawl seems to be affecting most of the municipalities involved in it.

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