Updates on the Water, Farmland and Accountable Local Democracy Fight

Posted over at the Nittany Valley Water Coalition website:

July 10 – Updates

July 19 – Luxury Student Housing Should Be an Oxymoron – Link to a StateCollege.com editorial by Russell Frank

July 19 – Updates 

July 20 – Eviction Notice

July 20 – Penn State is escalating.

July 20 – Context for the Eviction

July 20 – Further context – a timeline of Penn State executives’ and trustees’ actions

  • August 25, 1999 – Corporate Penn State buys land from RK Mellon Foundation and Mark and Marcia Bookman (50-50 joint owners), each selling their stake, for $1 and $99,307 respectively – 8.25.99 Deed 18.25.99 Deed 2
  • November 7, 2003, Penn State Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz submits application to Ferguson Township seeking Township upzoning of the land from RA to R4, and incorporation into Regional Growth Boundary. 11.7.03 PSU-Sweetland Application to Ferguson Township for Upzoning RA to R4 with Deeds Attached
  • November 2003 to October 2004 – Numerous area municipalities and planning agencies recommend Ferguson Township deny Penn State’s upzoning application, to protect the water, farmland and regional growth boundary. Representative sample: 3.29.04 Centre Region Planning Agency to Ferguson Township Re Whitehall Road Zoning Change
  • June 14, 2004– Penn State Assistant Vice President for Finance and Business Dan Simienski submits $1,000 application check to Ferguson Township for rezoning review process. 6.14.04 PSU Rezoning Check Cover Letter D. Sieminski to M. Kunkle
  • September 7, 2004 – Ferguson Township supervisors approve the upzoning by 3-2. Steve Miller votes “No.” 9.7.04 Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors Minutes
  • February 25, 2008 – Penn State files “declaration of access easements” with Centre County Recorder of Deeds, citing subdivision plan. 2.25.08 PSU Easements Six Lot FT Subdivision
  • February 27, 2008 – Penn State’s Gary Schultz, as owner, files subdivision plat plan, approved by Ferguson Township Planning Commission on or about February 7, 2008 and by Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors on or about February 14, 2008 (signed by Board Chair Richard Mascolo, husband of Centre Region Parks Authority Board Chair Sue Mascolo) at Penn State’s request, clearly showing road access from Blue Course Drive to Shingletown Road across the watershed, and linking development of adjacent public park to development of student housing complex. 2007 PSU-Sweetland Engineering Six Lot Subdivision
  • December 29, 2011 – Penn State commissions production of glossy, full page marketing booklet to solicit bids at a meeting in Hershey, from developers, to construct student housing on land rezoned – at Penn State’s request – in 2004 and subdivided – at Penn State’s request – in 2008. 2011 Whitehall Road Investment Prospectus
  • April 24, 2012 – Penn State Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray signs sales contract with Richard Keyser, Toll Brothers Vice President for Commercial Acquisitions and Development. 4.24.12 PSU-Toll Purchase and Sales Agreement
  • May 4, 2012 – Penn State Board of Trustees, led by Karen Peetz, President of Bank of New York Mellon, approves sales contract for $13.5 million. 5.4.12 PSU BOT Minutes (See page 10).
  • September 20, 2013 – Penn State Board of Trustees adds 5.5 acres to the planned sale, located outside the regional growth boundary and still zoned Rural Agricultural, to Toll Brothers, for the purpose of stormwater management basin construction. The minutes note that Karen Peetz is not present for vote, but in any case, the Board finds she has no conflict of interest under University bylaws, despite BNY Mellon’s Boston Company Asset Management being the seventh-largest investor in Toll Brothers. 9.20.13 PSU BOT Minutes (See page 11-12); 8.14.12 Toll Bros Peetz Reuters
  • July 7, 2017 – Penn State Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray, in a CDT editorial, states: “the University is not involved in the proposed housing development.”

July 21 – Penn State’s pre-meeting letter (sent ahead of a scheduled meeting between PSU reps and NVWC reps, to be held July 25, and filled with breathtaking hypocrisy that apparently the author, Kurt Kissinger, either cannot see or does not believe will further reduce citizen’s increasingly low opinion of Penn State’s leadership.)

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