Governor Tom Wolf proclaimed October as Community Planning Month in Pennsylvania. The Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors also proclaimed October as Community Planning Month in Ferguson Township.
In conjunction with Community Planning Month, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-PA) hosted its annual statewide conference at The Penn Stater Sunday through Tuesday. The conference brought planners from all of the state together for workshops and presentations.
Ferguson Township Planning & Zoning Department staff served on the planning committee for the
conference. At a poster event on Monday evening, Director of Planning & Zoning Ray Stolinas and
Community Planner Lindsay Schoch showcased the Township's newly adopted Official Map and a draft
of the Township's Sourcewater Protection Ordinance. At right, Ray Stolinas displays the Official Map.
The conference featured sessions on municipalities and water resources, connecting a community through
collaborative economic development, enhancing on-road cycling in small towns and suburban communities,
and land use law, among many others.
Todd Giddings of Todd Giddings and Associates, Inc., presented How to Create an Overlay Zoning
Ordinance to Provide Strong Sourcewater Protection for Groundwater Quality. Step by step, he walked participants through a case history of Ferguson Township's draft sourcewater protection ordinance. At right: Lindsay Schoch displays the ordinance.
Township Planning & Zoning Staff attended a number of sessions, including:
Connecting with the Community: Maximizing Public Participation in Planning Initiatives, on better engaging the community and drawing under-represented groups into the planning process.
Connecting with a Community through Collaborative Economic Development, which explored proactive and multi-faceted approaches to planning for tomorrow's economy.
Repurposing Stranded Real Estate Assets as a New Form of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), which focused on opportunities to invest in TOD at former shopping centers.
Two Sides of the Same Coin: Plan Implementation through Zoning and P3s, presented by Borough of State College Director of Planning Ed LeClear. The focus was on plan implementation through zoning techniques used to incentivize redevelopment, public programs to increase home ownership in targeted neighborhoods, and public-private partnerships to redevelop underutilized properties, and
Workshops with Results, which focused on how planners can engage residents and stakeholders as partners in the community planning process-- from a broad comprehensive plan to a targeted plan such as a bicycle master plan.
Community Planning Month Proclamation
Planning & Zoning Department Updates
The Planning & Zoning Department is managing and developing a multitude of projects that will make the Township an even better place to walk, bike, play, and live. The Township has an updated Signs and Billboards Ordinance (see our FAQ) and will soon have an updated Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.
Ferguson Township Official Map
Residents who see the purpose of planning want to be involved and heard. The Township's newly adopted Official Map (right) is a good example of their involvement. Originally created in 1990, the Official Map identifies priority areas for future growth — land where the Township may want to develop parks, streets, roads and natural area conservation. The Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors officially adopted the new map at its Regular Meeting on October 2.
The adoption followed public comment period workshops held in April and a final public hearing on October 2. The map incorporates the most recent data from the Centre Regional Bike Plan (2015), an area where a new fire station might be located, and a 1,600-foot extension of a shared use path from the unconstructed portion of Foxpointe Drive to Pine Grove Road.
Sourcewater Protection Ordinance
The Planning Commission reviewed a draft of the Sourcewater Protection Ordinance and Map in August. The Ferguson Township Planning Commission has recommended that the Board of Supervisors adopt the ordinance, with the caveat that a compensation plan be developed for private property owners within the proposed Zone I areas.
The Board of Supervisors' discussion continued at the Regular Meeting on October 2, with clarification on the following items related to the legal status of unpermitted uses within the Zone I and II:
- regulating land uses inconsistent with environmental value,
- restrictions on blasting from certain geologic features,
- and Underground Storage Tank compliance with DEP standards.
Water Production Facility
On May 25, 2017, the State College Borough Water Authority (SCBWA) submitted an application proposing changes to both Chapter 26 (Stormwater Management) and Chapter 27 (Zoning) of the Ferguson Township Code of Ordinances. The proposed text amendment would permit a "Water Production Facility" as a Conditional Use by the Board of Supervisors.
At its July 24, 2017 meeting, the Ferguson Township Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed amendment to the Board of Supervisors. The amendment, provided by the State College Borough Water Authority through its engineering consultant, Gwin, Dobson & Foreman, includes the minimum necessary modification of the existing ordinance language to construct a “Water Production Facility” with the Rural Agricultural District as a Conditional Use. The amendment modifies the Ferguson Township Zoning Ordinance under §27-204 Use Regulations, §27-809 Off-Street Parking and Loading Regulations and §27-1202 Definitions. The Board of Supervisors approved the proposed amendment at a public hearing held on September 18, 2017.
The Planning Commission received a copy of the working draft on October 9.
Pet Daycare Facilities
The Township's Planning & Zoning Department also received an application submitted by Robert and Judy Burgess, which requests that "Pet Daycare Facilities" be a permitted use within the Light Industry, Research and Development (IRD) District.
The current Zoning Ordinance defines two terms — "Pet Care Facility” within the RA, RR and IRD districts and the “Pet Day Care Facility” within the General Commercial district, which provides parking standards and performance standards under §27-204 EE. and FF.
At its Regular Meeting on May 2, 2017, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to develop a draft text amendment that permits Pet Daycare Facilities within the Light Industry, Research and Development (IRD) District as a Conditional Use. Further, the Board of Supervisors reviewed the draft amendment on June 5, 2017 and referred the amendment to the Planning Commission for recommendation with a consideration that minimum lot size change from 0.5 acres to 0.75 acres.
The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed request at its June 12, 2017 meeting and asked staff to work with its consultant, EPD, to draft new language as part of the zoning update. Staff did develop and review the proposed language with Carolyn Yeagle and met with Greg and Lynda Mussi on their Dog Daycare Plans. The attached amendment includes a consolidation of terms, a new definition, parking standards and provisions for “Pet Care Service Facilities." The Planning Commission reviewed the draft amendment again at its August 14 and 28 meetings, recommending the amendment unanimously.