Patton Township residents concerned about development of land

Anita Thies lives in the Park Forest Village neighborhood in Patton Township. She moved here 41 years ago and fell in love with the area.


"When we moved here from the Chicago area, we were looking for an area that had the beautiful mature trees, the resident neighborhoods where kids would ride their bikes down the sidewalk," Thies said.


But nearby is the Penn State Mobile Home Park. It's been vacant for nearly five years.
Now, developers have big plans that would tear down trees and replace them with an environment Thies doesn't want to see in her backyard.


"The proposed eight story hotel, multiple commercial buildings, 1,600 parking spaces will impact the traffic flow through a residential area, it will really impact the character of Park Forest Village," Thies said.


Patton Township officials said the area is currently split in how it is zoned.

"if somebody wanted to come in and do commercial in the front and apartments in the back, they have what’s called a use by right and as long as they meet our zoning regulations. Then we would permit that to go forward," Patton Twp. Manager Doug Erickson said.


So far more than 270 residents have signed a petition against the proposed development.
Each one -- just like Thies -- hoping to keep the charm and character of their neighborhood alive.


"The feeling in Park Forest -- it's called a forest for a reason. And the developer initially developed it to maintain that feeling of living in a forest."

Wednesday the board gave their approval form a committee. It will be made up of several groups, including residents. The committee will give a recommendation on what should be done with the land. 

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