Original 2015 Petition to Ferguson Township Supervisors (Closed in 2016)
This petition had 2,480 supporters
June 2017 NOTE:
This petition was active and open for new signatures between April and November 2015, but closed shortly after the original targets - the Ferguson Township supervisors - approved the Toll Brothers development plan over strong community objections in November 2015.
As of May 2017, there is a new petition to Penn State leaders to withdraw from the sales contract, and this Change.org petition is used only to send electronic updates to original petition signers.
Back in early 2015, the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors was in the process of permitting Penn State and Toll Brothers land developers to break ground on a new luxury student housing development that would – if built – sit atop undeveloped land that filters and recharges up to two-thirds of the State College area’s daily drinking water.
In March 2015, the Ferguson Township Supervisors approved (3-1) the Tentative Planned Residential Development application.
On November 16, 2015, despite huge public outcry and more than 2,200 signatures on the original Change.org petition, the Ferguson Township Supervisors approved the final PRD (4-0).
A group of Plaintiffs filed a Land Use Appeal in December 2015.
On July 18, 2016, Centre County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jonathan Grine vacated the Ferguson Township plan approval, finding that the approval violated township zoning ordinances.
Toll Brothers appealed to Commonwealth Court in August 2016.
On May 17, 2017, the Commonwealth Court panel reversed Grine's ruling on a procedural technicality, without addressing the substantive merits of the case: township violation of zoning law.
On May 26, 2017, the Plaintiffs decided to appeal the Commonwealth Court decision to the PA Supreme Court, and to launch an occupation of the site on June 3, 2017.
The proposed development is located upgradient and in the Zone 2 wellhead protection area for the Harter and Thomas wells - key source water for the State College Borough Water Authority system.
Since at least 2004, regional planners and professional hydrogeologists have warned that the entire recharge area needs strong wellhead protections to preserve the quality and supply of local drinking water.
There are two main risks: that the development and changes in water flow will cause sinkholes and other structural changes to the subsurface karst geology, potentially collapsing recharge channels, and that stormwater runoff will contaminate local drinking water.
Despite those warnings, in September 2004, the Ferguson Township Supervisors granted (3-2) a Penn State request for a zoning change that stripped a 40-acre parcel of protections afforded by Rural Agricultural zoning, converting it to Multi-family Residential and paving the way for the current development proposal.
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