Drivers on Whitehall Road in the State College area may encounter lane closures once work begins on the Toll Brothers project. The company is slated to build a student housing development on land it bought from Penn State.
According to a Toll Brothers spokesman, the company is on schedule with the project and plans to begin site work "in the coming weeks."
Part of the Toll Brothers project is installing a sewer line.
The university sold another 59 acres of neighboring land to the State College Borough Water Authority for conservation. The State College Borough Water Authority was asked for an easement to allow the line to cross through the authority’s field to connect to the University Area Joint Authority.
Board Chairman Jeff Kern said the water authority voted against the request.
“The water authority members felt that it was appropriate to follow the letter of the deed for the land and keeping it passive,” Kern said.
Instead, the company will install the sewer line under the bike lane along Whitehall Road, according to PennDOT. There will be lane closures and roadway flagging while the work is taking place.
The $13.5 million sale of Penn State property sparked controversy and protests from those concerned about the development’s potential impact on water quality.
Despite those protests, Penn State sold the 46 acres to Toll Brothers. Another 100 acres of former Penn State land will be used for a regional park.
Kelli Hoover, who opposed the Toll Brothers project, said the sewer pumping station the company is installing is above the capacity needed for the project and the neighboring regional park.
“This is going to open that whole area up to development," Hoover said. "That’s our fear. The domino.”
The adjacent land is currently outside the region’s sewer service area and regional growth boundary. According to the University Area Joint Authority, to change that a developer would have to get five of the UAJA member municipalities to agree to amend the plan. If that were to happen, UAJA can’t say no to a developer within that new boundary.