No to Nestle Campaign

Item 1 – Audio Recording of March 14 Public Forum

An audio recording of the March 14, 2018 “No-to-Nestle” community meeting is now available:

Approximately 300 people attended and campaign organizing is ongoing.

Item 2 – GoFundMe campaign for No Nestle litigation costs.

For readers interested in financially supporting likely litigation to stop the Nestle project, the campaign has set up a GoFundMe site.

Item 3 – Tabling at Banff Mountain Film Festival

On April 13 and 14, Sierra Club-Moshannon Group and Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition will be tabling at the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the State Theatre, starting at 6 p.m. each day. Stop by for information about the No-to-Nestle campaign.

Slab Cabin Run Water & Farmland Protection Campaign

In December, Penn State finalized sale, for $13.5 million, of about 45 acres along Whitehall Road, to Toll Brothers, for development of luxury student apartments. Through subdivision plan notes, the Toll Brothers project is related to plans for development of up to 100 acres of land jointly owned by the Centre Region Council of Governments and Ferguson Township, slated for development by the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority as the Whitehall Road Regional Park (WRRP).

Construction of the student housing development is expected to begin this spring, and discussions of WRRP planning are underway.

Item 1: March 19 Ferguson Township discussion of Whitehall Road Regional Park plans.

On March 19, the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors will be discussing “planned infrastructure” for the Whitehall Road Regional Park, as it relates to several regional topics.

Meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Ferguson Township Municipal Building, 3147 Research Drive. “Whitehall Road Regional Park Planned Infrastructure” is Item 8 on the supervisors’ agenda.

Please attend this meeting to advocate for conservation of a portion of the 100 acre parcel for the proposed regional park and amenities including reforestation, bird, butterfly and pollinator habitat and nature trails.

For brief reorientation, the regional park has been a controversial local issue for several reasons including its location in a sensitive groundwater recharge area; its financial connection to the adjacent private student housing development; its public funding from the five COG municipalities that participate in the regional parks program; and its joint governance through the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority (“Parks Authority”), an independent municipal authority comprised of appointed members, and the Centre Region Council of Governments Parks Capital Committee, a committee comprised of elected officials from each participating municipality, who review projects on behalf of the full COG General Forum.

More detail is available in the Bailiwick News March 18 edition, forthcoming.

Item 2: March 24 Art Workshop in Lemont & April 6 Exhibit Opening at State Theatre

The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania in partnership with the Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition is offering a free hands-on Community Art Workshop to memorialize the farmland and watershed off Whitehall Road.

The event will be held on Saturday, March 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Art Alliance, 818 Pike Street in Lemont.

Join artist and educator Nicole Packard to create art commemorating the beautiful landscape along Slab Cabin Run with Tussey Ridge in the background, before it’s destroyed by development. All supplies will be provided, no art experience is necessary and the event is free and open to adults and children.

Attendees will be encouraged to offer their art for inclusion alongside the works of local area artists at the State Theatre exhibit running from April 2-30 with a special event there April 6 from 5-7 p.m.

Register online.

Then, on Friday, April 6, The Art Alliance and Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition will host an art exhibit opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the State Theatre. Works of art capturing the Slab Cabin Run landscape will be on display, with opportunities to meet the artists and participate in a discussion about regional land use issues. The exhibit will be on display from April 2 through April 30.

Facebook event page.

Item 3 – April 2 – Public Hearing on Financial Liability for Public Water Well Pollution

A few months ago, Ferguson Township citizen Pam Steckler drafted and circulated a petition to Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors, under a Home Rule Charter provision that requires the supervisors to hold a public hearing within 90 days of submission, on any matter for which the proper number of signatures is obtained.

The petition reads:

“We, the undersigned, believe the Harter and Thomas Wellfields have been put unnecessarily at risk to pollution by the selling of Penn State University land, at Whitehall Road, to the Toll Brothers Developers, in order to build student housing, to be known as “The Cottages at State College.” Since the acreage being developed is directly upland of these wells, and the geology is known as karst topography, the likelihood of runoff, regardless of detention and infiltration basins, seems probable as we enter into an era of extreme weather events due to Climate Change.

Therefore, we respectfully request Ferguson Township require written confirmation, prior to construction, that PSU and Toll Brothers are to be held financially responsible, in perpetuity, for any pollution to these wells directly attributable to the Cottages Development. And that the residents/taxpayers/rate-payers of Ferguson Township would not bear the financial burden should our water be rendered polluted by this development, which was pushed forward unguided by the Precautionary Principle and despite citizens concerns and actions of dissent.”

Steckler obtained the required number of signatures on the petition, and the required public hearing is now scheduled for Monday, April 2, 7 p.m. at the Ferguson Township Municipal Building, 3147 Research Drive.

ITEM 4 – Easement requested for sewer main across deed-restricted water conservation land

At the Jan. 18, 2018 State College Borough Water Authority (“SCBWA”) board meeting, the board discussed an easement request for a 4,000-foot forced sewer main across a 60-acre deed-restricted well-field conservation parcel, to convey raw sewage from more than 1,000 Penn State students in the Toll Brothers development, along with sewage from users of the Whitehall Road Regional Park, from a pump station at the bottom of the hill upgradient to Whitehall Road.

The board voted to table the request.

More detail is available in the Bailiwick News March 18, 2018 edition, forthcoming.