Ferguson Township supervisors have misjudged.
Their recent decision that allows Penn State to sell land to Toll Bros. for more luxury student housing threatens the purity of State College’s drinking water.
Last year, we celebrated the Musser Gap Greenway that connects Ferguson Township to the Rothrock State Forest. It preserves rural land that is critical in filtering our water. But Ferguson Township has bypassed these sustainable measures.
Studies by geologists, the Department of Environmental Protection and prior warnings from Centre Region Planning should have convinced the supervisors to reject this project.
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They cite increased sinkhole risks and damage to Slab Cabin Run. There is also the threat that chemical and biological agents could contaminate a delicate recharge area that supplies drinking water to 75,000 people in the Centre Region.
The project exceeds the agreed-upon regional growth boundary for the six municipalities in the 2000 Centre Region comprehensive plan.
The plan protects water, land, nature and the community. Planners should not bend the rules to suit Penn State’s interests. We know that the university filters its water with a wastewater treatment plant and an effective living filter. They care for their land and water and should not be allowed to jeopardize the community’s water supply with this ill-conceived student housing project.
Voters in State College and Ferguson Township passed Community and Environmental Bills of Rights back to back. Among them is the right to pure water. We should respect that right, and all parties involved should reject this project.
The writer is chairman of the Sierra Club Moshannon Group.