One project, two views Lititz, Warwick Twp. work on street extension
By: GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Plans have been underway for quite some time for an extension of Highlands Drive, beginning at the Holiday Inn Express and running toward the Weis Markets.
While the majority of the project is located within Warwick Township, a small portion is in Lititz. And, as the final plan takes shape, two slight differences in planning standards between the borough and the township have raised a few eyebrows on Lititz Borough Council.
Warwick Township has taken the lead on the project, but both municipalities have been working together in application for grant funds. Current plans call for a six foot wide bituminous path along the proposed roadway. It also calls for the roadway to be 32 feet wide. Both aspects of the project follow Warwick Township standards.
Lititz Borough standards, however, call for five foot wide concrete sidewalks and 34 foot wide roadways. The bituminous pathways would continue what has been the standard along already completed portions of Highlands Drive within the township.
"I have a real hard time that (the township) is skating on these standards," said council president Karen Weibel. "They are planning a 55+ development and they want to skate on standards?"
Weibel was referring to a proposed two building apartment complex being planned by the Lititz Land Trust and Dan Cicala. Cicala’s plan calls for at least one and perhaps both buildings to be specifically planned and marketed for people 55 years old and above. Planned for development in two phases, this project continues to work its way through the necessary planning hurdles within Warwick Township.
"We wouldn’t let a resident do it this way," added council member Kevin Zartman.
Weibel and Zartman were not alone in their concerns regarding the plans for walkways along the new roadway. Council member Scott Hain expressed concerns about whether or not the bituminous paths would perhaps be less safe than concrete sidewalks and curbs.
Borough engineer Darrell Becker explained that even with bituminous paths, the area would be raised and would offer similar protection to pedestrian in the event a car ran out of control.
"It just seems to be a bit inconsistent with all the priorities of our joint plan," added Weibel, referencing the joint strategic plan both the borough and township have been following for the past several years.
At this point, it is not too late to make changes to the proposed walkway and road wide. As of yet, the project has not been submitted for bids, but that could happen in the next three to four weeks. The project must still clear environmental approvals. In addition, several right-of-way agreements with adjoining land owners must be finalized.
Weibel instructed borough manager Sue Barry to draft a letter to Warwick Township officials detailing Lititz Borough Council concerns with the plans as they come into focus. In addition, Weibel suggested that perhaps a meeting between borough and township officials might be in order to hammer out any differences face-to-face.
Council member Todd Fulginiti questioned whether the borough couldn’t just require borough standards to be followed, at least within the borough limits. To this, Weibel conceded that since very little of the project is actually located within the borough, Lititz had deferred to the township for most issues.
Council member Doug Bomberger was taking more of a wait-and-see approach.
"We would be in a better position to state an opinion on this once we see what their reasoning was on this," he said. "Perhaps they had good reasoning, but they at least need to respond to our inquiries."
Council members seemed to agree that they could compromise on the matter of street width, but when it came to the make of and design of sidewalks, council remained firm on seeing concrete sidewalks and curbs used as the standard.
Barry will be contacting township officials on council concerns. Likewise, Weibel said she would address concerns in person when she met with several of the Warwick Township supervisors in coming days. More BOROUGH COUNCIL, page A20