Community planning Make your ideas a reality

By on June 27, 2012

Ever wonder what is the driving force behind initiatives such as the Lititz Farmers Market, Warwick Emergency Service Alliance (WESA), tourism, conservation or road improvements?

How does a community find equilibrium between a bustling, pedestrian friendly downtown, to providing jobs and affordable housing, to providing efficient connections to places, to the preservation of farms, water and resources? As you can imagine, community planning is a delicate balancing act and is reliant on its residents to get involved, whether by volunteering or sharing of ideas.

Economic development, housing, safety, sustainability are the types of issues that are a main priority in this community. In order to plan for the future and stay informed of trends and changes, community members gather every five years to discuss major topics that affect this community. Through this effort, goals and objectives are created, and compiled into a comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan is the community’s guide to the next five to ten years which provide an action plan for projects, based on a vision shaped by the community needs and wants for the future. These decisions are not just influenced by elected officials. Over 50 members make up the committee with partners that range from Warwick School district to primary employers in the area, including all fields of interest: retailers, hospitals, agricultural, design, industry, housing, retirement, as well as citizen representatives.

The first Strategic Plan was adopted in 1999 by a joint effort of Lititz Borough and Warwick Township. It has since gone through one update in 2005 and now going through a second update. The plan will be called IMPACT 2017. What is unique about this update relates in Elizabeth Township’s decision to join Lititz and Warwick. Although Elizabeth Township has worked with Warwick and Lititz in the past on regional projects, this is the first comprehensive plan for which they are officially involved. Elizabeth Township brings a new level to the plan, not only making this a Warwick School District-wide effort, but many key issues to the table such as conservation, trails, and a new perspective.

The Lititz region strives to stay ahead by incorporating progressive conservation plans such as the TDR farmland preservation initiative or by developing best management practices, or BMPs, to combat storm water collection issues. With careful planning and forecasting for Lititz’s future, the Comprehensive Plan makes a difference in how well this region grows and accommodates change for the future, while still maintaining its charm and identity.

In fact, this region’s planning has done so well, that it has been recognized statewide as one of the best in the state, generating over 70 percent completion rate of all goals and objectives.

While all issues are important, this update will focus on economic development and sustainability. Brandywine Conservancy will be working on energy audits and assessments for our community that will not only help conserve resources, but safe money, improve our community’s health and protect its character. A win-win for us all!

Just last week, the committee, with the help of Lancaster County Planning Commission, reviewed the most updated data available on census and demographics. They asked large employers to give an overview of their employee demographics and analyzed what attracts residents to this area. In doing so, the committee is hoping to shed light on even more improvements that can be made in this region.

Catch up on this year’s meetings and issues by heading over to your municipal website and click on "Report to Community 2006-2011." This report highlights all of the improvements and developments Lititz and Warwick have done within the past five years, a tribute to the second update of the comprehensive plan. As the update progresses, more updates will be added to the site.

Likewise, if you have an account with Facebook, you can follow any updates, minutes and topics that are being discussed and reviewed by "liking" our IMPACT 2017 page. Important documents, such as the Report to the Community will be available through Facebook. Even if you cannot make the meetings, we would love to hear back from you through comments on our page. If you are a resident of Warwick Township, don’t forget to connect with them on Facebook as well to receive any news or updates that may affect you! Links to these sites can easily be found through the Warwick Township website homepage.

Another way to get involved in this update is by taking electronic surveys through an online tool called Survey Monkey. Access to a computer and a few minutes is all you need to have a voice in these updates. Monthly, the committee will create short, 10-question surveys that will help provide insight into current trends and the future needs of our community.

The public is encouraged to attend any of the meetings that are of interest. They take place the third Thursday of each month from 7 to 9 a.m.:

? July 19 at Luther Acres — Residential growth and retirement

? Aug. 16 at Lititz Borough office — Sustainability issues

? Sept. 20 at Heart of Lancaster –Economic development

? Oct. 18 at Warwick School District office –Infrastructure and transportation

? Nov. 15 at Lititz recCenter — Drafting of five year objectives

The final IMPACT 2017 document will be drafted at the end of 2012, with the adoption procedure taking place in early 2013. Over the next several months, the Lititz Record will provide updates and information as the plan progresses. To keep up to date, don’t forget to check the municipal website and make sure to "like" IMPACT 2017 and Warwick Township on Facebook. More PLANNING, page A15