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Letter: Stop Access to Park Forest Avenue from Planned Patton Crossing

on October 09, 2017 4:30 AM

Few residents of the Centre Region are aware of the “Patton Crossing” development being proposed for a portion of the previous Penn State Mobile Home Park. The plan as it is presented will remove 2.1 acres of natural forest (which Patton township mandated that the developer of the Northbrook Green Apartment complex preserve as open space) to create an access road from Park Forest Avenue into this new commercial and residential development and to add additional buildings to this very crowded 30-acre parcel.

Park Forest was designed as a planned residential community that preserved as many trees as it could when it was built. The developer has asked the township to allow this 2.1 acres of forestland to be used for this development in exchange for a payment by the developer.  Eliminating this parcel will leave “Patton Crossing” without a natural buffer between the residential neighborhood and this commercial enterprise.

Eliminating this parcel would enable the developer to create an entrance-exit to “Patton Crossing” from Park Forest Avenue. Creating this access into a residential neighborhood is contrary to the original plan for Park Forest to remain a residential community with limited traffic.  Patton Township already restricts left turns onto North Atherton Street. Eliminating this buffer to create access from Park Forest Avenue is an unsatisfactory measure that is unwanted by the residents of Park Forest Avenue and Park Lane and will create unnecessary traffic into Park Forest.

In 2001, I served as a catalyst to put an open-space referendum on the ballot to preserve open space. This referendum empowered the residents of Patton Township to have a direct say in their community’s future. The majority of our citizens approved the referendum to voluntarily raise their taxes and provide $2.5 million to preserve open space in Patton Township. This enabled the township to purchase (at below market value) the Haugh Tract/Circleville Park. We have demonstrated our residents’ commitment to preserving open-space. If there could be a referendum regarding Patton Township’s willingness to eliminate this open space by selling it to the developer of “Patton Crossing” it is doubtful that our citizens would approve this preposterous swap.

Since we can’t have a referendum to show our opinion, we must express our disapproval of the current plan by writing to the Patton Township Board of Supervisors and by attending township meetings.

The Patton Township Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. to discuss the plans for “Patton  Crossing”   To see the agenda go to http://twp.patton.pa.us/board/2017-agendas.

Although the request by the developer to use the 2.1-acre buffer is part of the current plan, it is not a done-deal. Building 19 buildings (with heights from one story to eight stories) on this 30-acre plot looks preposterous. It appears that residents of Patton Township must remind the board of our desire to maintain this previously preserved buffer.

As the conservationist and environmentalist Aldo Leopold wrote, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community in which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Brenda Walsh
Patton Township

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