State College Borough Council voted Monday 4-3 in favor of rezoning 323 W. Fairmount Ave. from a residential area to a residential/office area.
Among the yes votes were Cathy Dauler, Peter Morris, Ron Filippelli and Tom Daubert. Among the no votes were Borough Council President Don Hahn, Jim Rosenberger and Sarah Klinetob.
The council originally held a public hearing on the request at their April 2 meeting, where they chose to refer the request to the State College Planning Commission for further consideration.
At their June 18 meeting, Council planned to vote on the ordinance change but Filippelli was not in attendance. Morris said at that meeting, all seven council members should be present for the vote, so the council authorized a notice of intent to enact the ordinance change at the July 2 meeting.
The property owners, Dan Lestz and Susan Venegoni-Lestz, requested to rezone the property to a residential/office area to match the rest of the block. Venegoni said previously that they wanted to rezone so their property won’t become a student home.
The council also voted Monday in a 6-1 vote, with Dauler being the only no, to defer to the State College Downtown Improvement District for further review on the idea of a trial run of the temporary closing of the 100 block of South Allen Street on weekends from vehicular traffic for a proposed “pedestrian mall” in the area. The trial run was supposed to begin at the end of this year’s Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and would last until the beginning of fall semester, but the council said Monday the plan would most likely be pushed until next summer.
A short history of the proposal was presented before Monday’s meeting showing various reasons in favor of creating a pedestrian mall around the 100 block of South Allen Street. Some of the reasons include eliminating pedestrian-vehicle conflict at the intersection of South Allen Street and College Avenue and introducing an open space into the commercial area.
Morris, the council member who came up with the idea of a pedestrian mall, said that the point of the trial run is to see if the mall works for residents and business owners, and that the plan for a mall is not concrete.
The staff recommendation given to Council was to next determine the level of interest in forming partnerships with local property owners and business owners to generate the programming needed to improve the likelihood of the project’s success.