Proposed Patton Township Zoning Code Encourages Affordable Housing And Allows More Density

May 30, 2018

The Patton Township Board of Supervisors made changes to a proposed zoning code that could apply to the Patton Crossing project on North Atherton Street in the State College area. The new version of the code encourages developers to build more affordable housing units while allowing more density.


In the first draft of the Mixed-Use Overlay District, or MXD2, the proposed code required 5 percent of residential units to be affordable. The board voted against it in the last public hearing after the public voiced concerns over affordability and density.


In a new version unanimously approved by the board last week, developers can build one additional market-rate residence for every additional affordable housing unit beyond the 5 percent requirement and under a 10 percent cap.


Under the incentives, the additional affordable and market-price units will not be counted toward the residential density limit, and the impervious coverage limit will rise as well.


If adopted, the zoning changes would mean the Patton Crossing project could include up to 390 units.


Township manager Doug Erickson suggested the incentives. He thinks they will help developers of Patton Crossing and Park Forest residents meet halfway.


“Hopefully the incentives are there that would make it worthwhile for them to do it, and then we get the public benefit out of it of having those additional affordable housing units in Patton Township,” Erickson said.


Several residents on the Citizen Advisory Committee oppose allowing an increase in density in exchange for more affordable units. Karen Dabney, one of the Park Forest residents, said she’d rather see the land develop under the current zoning code.


“The previous proposal for mixed-use zoning already permitted too much density,” Dabney said. “I believe there is a middle ground, a version of zoning that will provide equal benefit to the developers and the residents, but this version isn't it.”


Under the current code, developers are free to build one story commercial buildings and some luxury student housing.


The township will host a public hearing about this amended version of the zoning code on July 11.