Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan


The Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Town Meeting, November 14 at St. Paul Lutheran Church. See schedule of upcoming meetings below.


PINE GROVE MILLS SMALL AREA PLAN

Ferguson Township and the Centre Regional Planning Agency (CRPA) staff are working with residents on a “Small Area Plan” to preserve the sense of place and quality of life in Pine Grove Mills. Participating residents are helping to create a comprehensive long-range vision that considers the village's historic, agricultural, commercial, cultural and economic assets.

As part of the development of the Small Area Plan, our public outreach included a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, November 14.  Approximately 26 individuals attended, including Steering Committee members, Township Supervisors and staff and residents. 

Jim May, Director of the Centre Region Planning Agency, moderated the meeting and reviewed the following questions:

1. What is a Town Hall Meeting?

2. What is a Small Area Plan? 

3. Vision Statement


May explained that the Pine Grove Mills Steering Committee may look ahead 10, 15 or 20 years; it all depends on the level of projects that are identified within the Small Area Plan. 

There can be strong partnerships established between Pine Grove Mills residents, Board of Supervisors, PennDOT, and others.
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May also briefly reviewed results from the survey process, specifically, these questions:

1. What changes would benefit Pine Grove Mills?
2. What do you Value Most about Pine Grove Mills?

 
May then took questions and suggestions from the audience as described below:

1. Slab Cabin Run should be mentioned in the Small Area Plan as a community attribute.

2. There should be more consideration for zoning flexibility (rural versus suburban Issues)  and how would zoning be applied with the themes and goals within the Small Area Plan? With Zoning, we often look at what we cannot do as opposed to what we can achieve.

3. Talk to small business regarding barriers to success within the village.

4. Examine village demographics further. Are there opportunities to age in place within Pine Grove Mills?

5. Engage with regional businesses and organizations realizing Pine Grove Mills is a gateway community to the State College area.

6. What is the level of community organization that will take the lead in becoming a liaison with the Board of Supervisors? 

7. Keep the Small Area Plan active. Consider an implementation program that could be updated every two years.

8. Plan Implementation – Who will achieve this? Board of Township Supervisors? Steering Committee? Community in Action?


May discussed the eight (8) themes the committee has established:

1. Connectivity/Gateway: Pine Grove Mills is both a gateway to Rothrock and to the State College area at a crossroads of two state routes. Mobility and safety should be considered, but it should continue to be a gateway.

2. Community Events


3. Streetscapes – making the areas behind the curb safer and more aesthetically pleasing with street furniture and so on. 

4. Traffic Solutions, partnering with PennDOT and working on safety concerns. (Principal Transportation Planner Tom Zilla was present to discuss current traffic issues).

5. Small Business Theme.  How does Pine Grove Mills reinvigorate the village while still protecting the heritage of the village?

6. Diversity and Heritage of the Village. How does Pine Grove Mills bring those two characters of the community together? 

7. History of Pine Grove Mills, both natural and cultural.

8. Recreation and Connectivity to Rothrock and other parks in the area. 

Other Comments: 

  • Expand the parking areas/trail heads to Rothrock; reference was made to the size of Musser Gap and Shingletown parking areas. 
  • Invite the residents of Pine Grove MIlls to the Township HOA meetings.
  • The concerns over truck traffic and the dangers of trucks coming down the mountain, out of control and causing damage was brought up to Zilla.  Zilla suggested that, like the 80/99 intersection in Bellefonte, this intersection needs a champion and a back-up champion. 
  • What types of developments or land use change could take place in Warrior’s Mark, generating more traffic for Pine Grove Mills. 

Next Steps: Start drafting a report while taking into consideration the themes and comments.  By early spring, a draft plan should be prepared, followed by a second public meeting.

The Town Hall meeting validated many of the themes that the Steering Committee had worked on to date. The CRPA will take the comments from the meeting and incorporate them into a draft Small Area Plan early next year. The public will have an additional opportunity to review the draft Plan.

SURVEY RESULTS

Recently, the Township and CRPA distributed a four-question survey to learn what people who have a stake or interest in its future value about this quiet community. A total of 205 people -- including residents, people who work in the village, and a significant number of “others” were motivated to take the survey.

At an alignment meeting on September 5, 2018, planners shared the survey results with the public, including the Pine Grove Mills residents who are already a part of the Small Area Plan process.  More than 80 percent ranked “small town feeling” as Pine Grove Mills’ best asset. Sixty (60) percent praised its "sense of community" and "friendly people." Forty (40) percent ranked the village high on "green scenery" and "proximity to downtown State College."

Those attending the alignment meeting developed a draft vision statement for the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan. The draft vision statement was refined by the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Steering Committee at the October 5th meeting and was presented to the public at the November 14th Town Hall Meeting.

Participants were advised that a *vision statement should capture the values expressed in the results of the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Survey and should:
• Express the distinctiveness of Pine Grove Mills now
• Be written in way that is aspirational, convincing, and easy to grasp
• Create a mental image of the ideal condition that the community wants in the future
• Be free of jargon and buzz words
• Be short enough so that anyone can readily paraphrase or repeat it

Goals for the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan —  broad in the sense that they are general intentions and are not specific enough to be measured — were defined as:

• A purpose toward which an endeavor is directed.
• The result or achievement toward which effort is directed or aimed.  
An example goal from the Boalsburg Small Area Plan is: “Ensure that new development is consistent with the form, scale, and character of the existing village.” The purpose of this goal is to assure that new development is consistent with the existing scale of the village.

BACKGROUND


What is a Small Area Plan?

Small area plans are prepared for smaller geographic areas within a community and include more detail than found in community wide and regional plans. Every community features unique areas and its own set of attributes, issues, opportunities, and challenges that contribute to the community as a whole. Small area plans provide a way for residents and businesses to actively engage in the process to affirm what is important to their area, how it fits into the larger community, and how to address issues or concerns of particular importance to their place. To be successful, the small area plan process should also recognize the context of the broader goals of community-wide and regional planning efforts, and contain a series of realistic actions to implement the plan.

A good example of a small area plan was created by residents of the village of Boalsburg, which addresses the community's existing conditions, issues, vision, goals, and actions.

Examples of Small Area plan vision statements:

Boalsburg Small Area Plan Vision Statement
Boalsburg is a vibrant community which embraces its rich heritage with a strong sense of place and self. By supporting a harmonious mix of business, residential and cultural offerings, Boalsburg is a desired destination for residents and visitors alike. We will continue to encourage and foster a sustainable and unique community through a diverse, sensitive and deliberate improvement plan which respects the built environment including its historic, cultural and recreational resources.

Halfmoon Township Small Area Plan Vision Statement
Future development in the Planning Area should reflect the longstanding rural character of Halfmoon Township, while providing for a mix of residential dwellings, small-scale commercial businesses, places for community gatherings, parks and natural areas, and compatible agricultural uses.

GET INVOLVED

Learn more about getting involved in the Small Area Plan Process:
If you are willing to volunteer to help with the Small Area Plan process, please contact Lindsay Schoch, Ferguson Township Community Planner, at (814) 238-4651 or lschoch@twp.ferguson.pa.us; or Jim May, Centre Regional Planning Agency Director, at (814) 231-3050 or jmay@crcog.net 

If you are interested in following updates to the "Small Area Plan," as well as attending any relevant meetings, please check this page for updates. 

RESOURCES AND MATERIALS

PGM Small Area Plan Town Hall Meeting Flyer

Town Hall Meeting Agenda

What is a Town Hall Meeting?

What are the themes for this Town Hall Meeting?

Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Study Area (Aerial Map)

Upcoming Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Meetings:

Each takes place at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 277 W Pine Grove Rd.
Agendas will post about one week prior to each meeting.

6 pm Thursday, January 10
6 pm Wednesday, February 6
6 pm Wednesday, March 13