Who has priority? That’s one of the looming questions for the long-awaited highway construction plans in Centre County, with talks of eminent domain being used to move the project forward.
Close to 60 farms, covering more than 8,700 acres, are already included in Ag land preservation in Centre County.
Another 31 farm properties are signed up for future consideration but are also moving forward with plans for the State College Connector Project, with the projected possible routes crossing prime farmland in eastern Centre County.
“I gave a presentation to a group of farmers who basically network together. One of their questions was can I get my farm preserved before that road goes in. So, it is a concern.”
Diana Griffith is an agricultural preservation coordinator and planner for the county.
She was asked this week about the issue of eminent domain, acquiring private property for public use, in this case for the connector road project.
“I’m not too concerned about eminent domain in this instance. From what I’ve been told by a PennDOT consultant, and the Bureau of Farmland Preservation was that PennDOT would have to go through considerable hoops to prove they had no other viable options to take a farm.”
PennDOT’s latest draft study on the State College Connector Project was released last month, showing possible alignments for a new highway, along with highlighting traffic studies and related issues.
The public comment period on the study closes in a few days, on March 19th.