36 days later: The silence is deafening

Press release from Nittany Valley Water Coalition:

36 days later: The silence is deafening

On October 31, developer Toll Brothers submitted a Letter of Intent to Penn State expressing their desire to respect the State College community and build their student housing development on a less environmentally sensitive parcel of land on West College Avenue instead of Whitehall Road.

The response from Penn State – silence.

For almost three years the community has been asking Penn State not to sell this farmland along Whitehall Road near Blue Course Drive for development. The Nittany Valley Water Coalition (NVWC) and many others in the community object to a large student development in this location because of the risks to the local water supply and to the high quality of Slab Cabin Run, which is downslope from the development site.

Within the last two weeks, NVWC and other interested parties, through a professional mediator, requested that Penn State, Toll Brothers and Ferguson Township come to the table to negotiate a solution that would work for all parties.

Penn State alone declined because they “do not discuss real estate deals.”

NVWC and the other parties were willing to help expedite a land swap and discuss a more sustainable use for the Whitehall Road parcel. Penn State declared in writing to NVWC in early October that Penn State had no plans for the West College Avenue property, and Penn State led Toll Brothers to believe they would seriously consider an offer on this property.

But in reality Penn State was just buying time until the sale of the Whitehall Road parcel closes on Dec. 27.

For 127 days, before being evicted by Penn State, community members maintained a 24-hour occupation of the Whitehall Road site to object to a construction project that has a very real chance of affecting our water supply, as well as nearby century farms that are already experiencing extreme runoff and flooding during heavy rainfall.

Why has Penn State refused to negotiate?

Why won’t they make a complete and fact-based statement?

With the sale on Whitehall Road scheduled to close before the end of the year, it is clear that PSU intends to force Toll Brothers to complete a contract they entered into 5 years ago and no longer want due to very different available student housing circumstances and public opposition, while at the same time a better option is available.

The sound of silence is deafening from Old Main.