Background: Sale of PSU land to Toll Brothers
In 1999, Penn State purchased 26 acres of Rural Agricultural land on West Whitehall Road at Blue Course Drive; the price was $99,307.
At Penn State’s request, the land was rezoned in 2004 – by the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors – from Rural Agricultural to high-density residential. The Centre Region Planning Commission and Centre Region Planning Agency staff recommended against the rezoning, due to the site’s location over a 16.3 square mile water recharge area that provides two-thirds of the daily high quality drinking water piped to the people of six municipalities (State College, Ferguson, Patton, College, Harris and Benner).
Penn State now plans to sell the property to Toll Brothers to create, in combination with additional acreage, a 45-acre student housing development of 268 cottages, 1,093 beds, and 1,200 parking spaces, directly over the Zone 2 wellhead protection area of the Harter and Thomas water wells and within a half-mile radius of the wellheads.
The geology of the Harter and Thomas system is karst limestone, prone to sinkhole formation; sinkholes are already present on the property.
If the $13.5 million sale is completed, Penn State will make a $13.4 million profit from the sale. Anticipated student lease revenues for Toll Brothers exceed $9 million per year. There are powerful profit motives in play.