Rock Lititz plan moves forward

By on August 22, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

The long-term expansion plan that will further entrench the rock n’ roll industry in the Lititz area has gotten the municipal support needed to prepare for construction.

An Aug. 15 hearing was held by the Warwick Township supervisors on changing the zoning classification of an 95.5 acre tract located on south side of West Newport Road (36 W. Newport Road) from its present classification of Agricultural to Campus Industrial, and to modify under certain circumstances and conditions for maximum permitted height for construction.

This was all in relation to a 25-year expansion plan for local businesses Clair Global, Tait Towers and Atomic Design as they anticipate the building of their Rock Lititz campus. This would be a state-of-the-art facility for the creation of complete sets used for international music and entertainment tours designed by Atomic, built by Tait and sound engineered by Clair.

The plan will also bring new jobs to the area while boosting the local economy, from retail to lodging and beyond.

Work on this project is expected to begin next year and will take place over a period of many years.

In other news

The Lititz Land Trust has been working with the township for a number of years on various ideas for developing an oddly-shaped 1.743 acre tract of land located west of Lititz Pike, adjacent to the Weis Market store.

At the Aug. 15 meeting, Dan Cicala, who heads the development firm, cleared one last critical hurdle when supervisors changed the zoning classification of the property from the present R-3 Residential to Local Commercial Zone.

In addition to the proposed two-building apartment / condo complex designed for older residents, the developer plans two commercial office buildings along Rt. 501 next to the La Piazza restaurant. The restaurant also wants to expand. And in conjunction with the project, Highlands Drive will finally be completed and extended out to Millport Road, behind Weis.

During the hearing, testimony was presented that while the Warwick Township Planning Commission had looked at six or seven development scenarios over the past several years, it felt the current proposal was in keeping with the comprehensive plan for both Warwick Township and Lititz Borough. As such, they recommended approval of the zoning change. The public hearing was closed without any public comment offered into evidence. By a unanimous vote, supervisors voted to approve the ordinance which would change the zoning.

A similar hearing was held to consider proposed amendments to the 2006 update to the Lititz/Warwick Joint Strategic Comprehensive Plan regarding the properties located at 36 W. Newport Road and to the rear of 133 Rothsville Station Road.

"This joint comprehensive plan with Warwick Township and Lititz Borough is updated proactively every five years to reflect current conditions," explained Township Manager Dan Zimmerman. "That includes a map for proposed development within the five year plan and sets up areas of potential growth, but not always areas of actual growth."

Zimmerman added that in the process of keeping the joint strategic plan up to date, officials consider such questions as issues with access to water, sewer, traffic and storm water management plans.

Both the Lancaster County and Warwick Township planning commissions have taken a look at proposed changes to the managed growth program in the county, meaning infrastructure, to try and manage growth in planned areas. To change the proposed planned growth area, the municipality must go through a review process. The tract of land along Route 501 and Newport Road is serviced by public water and sewer and offers adequate transportation for development. Within walking distance to busses, the county planning looked at infrastructure to support existing and new business growth. And with an expansion to the north section of the tract to be zoned campus industrial, it still allows the selective process planners were hoping to maintain. Another plus is that developers would also need to purchase TDRs, which then help the township to preserve farms for agricultural use.

The county review they acknowledged the proposed amendment is compatible with the township and borough planning commissions’ objectives. William C. Crosswell, Esq., solicitor, said the measure would still need to be run past both Lititz Borough and Warwick School District.

"While some may think there is no manner to planning, in fact there is," noted Crosswell. "And the school district would also be given opportunity to gage their input."

Zimmerman added that all concerned entities, including the school district and adjoining municipalities were all sent notifications of the proposed changes. No comments regarding the matter had been received by Warwick Township officials. More WARWICK TWP., page A18

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