Long arm of the law Regional police expansion within reach

By on July 24, 2013

By:

GARY KLINGER Record Express Correspondent

, Staff Writer

The three municipalities covered by the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department could grow to seven within the next year and a half.

NLCRPD Chief David Steffen, who believes regional policing is the future, hopes to know the feasibility of such an expansion by September.

He discussed the prospect with Warwick Township Supervisors during their July 17 meeting.

"We are currently conducting a study to solidify some proposals to a total of four municipalities," he said. "We are working on plans that three of them might be joining at end of fiscal year 2013, and a fourth at end of fiscal year 2014. I cannot stress enough that planning is essential. We need to review the fiscal feasibility and logistics associated with our charter. We have a committee in place to execute the study. Hopefully we will have answers in place by September."

The four in the mix are Adamstown and Denver boroughs, and West Cocalico and Ephrata townships. In each case, these municipalities have expressed concerns with proposed new contracts and pension issues with their current police service providers. Adamstown, Denver and West Cocalico are covered by the East Cocalico Township Police Department. Ephrata Township is covered by the Ephrata Borough P.D.

NLCRPD was created a mere year and a half ago, a collaborative effort of Warwick, Penn and Clay townships to consolidate services and make police work more cost effective.

In a July 11 article published by the Intelligencer Journal Lancaster New Era, Steffen reported to Ephrata Township officials that going regional could save their taxpayers $400,000.

Currently, Steffen’s department of 24 officers covers an area inhabited by 33,352 people. The expansion would add 23,000.

Earlier this month, Elizabeth Township Supervisors polled those attending their monthly meeting about thoughts of police regionalization. Most expressed satisfaction with the township’s existing state police coverage, and it appears there is no serious consideration for change in that municipality.

New development

near hospital

In other Warwick Township business, a proposed development that would put 244 new homes on 132 acres is closer to reality.

Traditions of America is planning a new community for people 55 years of age and older, to be located on the Buckwalter tract of land that borders Hess Lane, Millport Road, West Woods Drive and the Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center.

Supervisors voted to approve the preliminary subdivision plan, which included four minor waivers and several modifications suggested by both the Lancaster County and Warwick Township planning commissions. The plan was also endorsed by both zoning boards.

Of the proposed homes, 172 would be single homes, and the remaining 72 duplexes.

While current zoning requirements allow 4.5 units per acre, this project would be less dense at 4.1 units per acre. Up to 60 percent impervious lot coverage is allowed; this project would come in well below that limit at 47 percent. And while common open space for such a development would need to be at least 30 percent, the Traditions development plans to have 39 percent.

Nathan Jameson, representing Traditions of America, was present with current land owners, the Buckwalter family, and Chris Venarchick of RGS Engineering.

The development would be built in four phases – 79 units, 53 units, 61 units, and then 51 units respectively.

One ongoing point of contention is the potential for a portion of Hess Lane to be vacated. Venarchick noted that an agreement is underway with Heart of Lancaster for a connection into the new development. Township leaders are reluctant to vacate this portion of Hess Lane unless the development is definite. And developers are reluctant to finalize work on the project until Hess Lane is vacated. In the end, it will all come down to agreements worked out ahead of time, and for all agreements to be executed simultaneously.

Millport Road would also be widened to allow for the addition of a left turn lane.

Final agreements for the final plan, certificates to be signed for the preliminary plan, and final approval of the sewer and water plans are all under review.

"We are currently working to submit applications for approval of final approval of our subdivision plan by August," stated Jameson. "We’d like to see groundbreaking before winter."

In a telephone interview, Jameson said plans are in place to begin pre-marketing the homes as early as this September, with several informational meetings to be planned which would introduce interested homeowners to the proposed community and to Traditions of America. The company intends to begin pre-selling homes this fall.

"The first homes, including the welcome center displaying the various models could hopefully be competed by next summer," added Jameson. "Ninety-eight of the homes we build are custom built for the actual homeowner. Our customers know what they want and can afford to make their last home their best home."

More information is available online at lititzliving.com.

Pricing for the proposed units have not been finalized. This will depend on lot prices, selected models and the level and degree of customization.

More REGIONAL POLICE, page A15

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