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Pine Hall Development Plan Looks to Move Forward in Ferguson Township

by and on September 09, 2018 5:00 AM

Plans for the large Pine Hall Traditional Town development on the corner of Blue Course Drive and Old Gatesburg Road have been in the works for a couple of years. Following submission of the development's latest plans, Ferguson Township is in the process of reviewing them and expects to have a public hearing and a vote for approval soon.

The plan first was submitted in February, but due to the need for traffic impact studies, a new final plan was re-submitted in early August. On Aug. 27, this revised plan was reviewed by the Ferguson Township Planning Commission. The township will have 90 days from the day of submission to approve it, which means there will be a Tuesday, Oct. 30, deadline if no changes are brought forward by the developer.

Plans for the development include multiple housing options, with the goal of preserving as much open space as possible and offering the community a town center.

Commercial space will include 20 commercial or mixed-used buildings, with the hopes of attracting a tenants to a 31,000-square-foot movie theater and a 35,000-square-foot grocery store. There also will be a hotel, a parking lot, food service locations and other retail spaces.

“This is the opportunity for the developer to provide a downtown area space in Ferguson Township,” said Raymond Stolinas, the township's director of zoning and planning.

The plan also includes 470 multi-family dwelling units for 887 beds, 205 for-sale townhouse units with 645 rooms, 18 for-sale single-family detached homes with 54 rooms, 54 for-rent single-family detached homes with 205 rooms, 16 for-sale semi-detached homes with 48 rooms, 164 for-rent semi-detached homes with 567 rooms and 92 single-family attached homes with 368 rooms.

Stolinas said there were concerns about the transportation plan for bicycle and pedestrian connection to the development, public transit access, open spaces components to the plan, housing distribution —specifically, workforce housing that is required by the township, the commercial component along Blue Course Drive that would include a potential public plaza, a commercial building with a residential unit above it and a parking structure.

Michael Pratt, of Keller Engineers, was at the Aug. 27 planning commission meeting to answer questions from the commission about the development.

“The prime objective in the rework was to obtain sufficient solar orientation which we have largely done. What we see now is a large circle. Inside the circle are proposed townhome units, single-family attached units. External to the circle area is a mix of single-family detached and duplex units all to be offered for sale,” said Pratt. “In the center core, we have imparted a greenway, basically to give connectivity to the neighborhood ... and I think it leads to the development of a community gardens possibly or a common greenway or commons area.”

A concern about walkability from the residential neighborhood will be improved with a public sidewalk that banks every proposed public street and a pathway through the common area and greenway.

The planning commission also expressed some concern about a movie theater option and asked if a multipurpose venue would be a better option for the proposal.

“Two things we are hurting for right now in Centre County are indoor practice fields, swimming pools and indoor pools. I know kids are practicing at 11 o’clock at night in Centre County. We could use some kind of multipurpose facility somewhere in here. That would be awesome,” said commission member Erik Scott.

“I am not thinking that it needs to be a Bryce Jordan Center," said commission member Bill Keough. "But, on the other hand, I am thinking that with the diversity of arts and the educational opportunities and the sporting scene regionally, that has a lot possibilities. I hate to see it be a one-purpose structure."

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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