The State College Borough Council will likely vote to announce its intent to adopt a proposed zoning amendment to the Westerly Parkway and Hamilton Avenue shopping centers that has been a subject of discussion for more than a year, Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said.
The amendment would require a commercial aspect to any redevelopment, meaning purely residential developments would not be allowed.
“It seems the majority of council is supportive of adopting the ordinance, but some items may cause additional discussion,” Fountaine said.
Council member James Rosenberger said one concern among council members is the incentives that would allow a new development to build an additional fourth story, allowing buildings to potentially reach 45 feet.
“The change in height between a residential street [and the shopping centers] was thought to be a bit abrupt,” Rosenberger said.
Council member Tom Daubert said parking is another concern about the proposed change. Under the current zoning, a parking space is required for every bedroom in a residential development, Daubert said.
The zoning amendment — which would allow multi-family residential development as long as 40 percent of the building was commercial use — only requires up to two parking spaces, Daubert said.
If council votes to announce intent to enact, the zoning change will require another formal vote before the change takes effect in March, Fountaine said.
Borough Council will also begin to review its 2013 legislative priorities, a list of concerns to keep in mind and bring to the attention of state and federal legislatures, Rosenberger said.
“It’s kind of a mild form of lobbying,” Rosenberger said.
Rosenberger said that one of these concerns is the ability to levy a tax on the sale of alcohol in State College, something the borough currently lacks the legal authority to do.
“Our justification [for requesting this tax] is that many of the police services in the borough are directly related to alcohol, so it seems like a fair tax,” Rosenberger said.