Rock on! Construction nears for Rock Lititz Campus

By on August 1, 2013

By:

GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent

, Staff Writer

Construction on the proposed industrial park known as Rock Lititz should begin in October.

Last week, the project’s preliminary plan got the OK from the Warwick Township Planning Commission. Rock Lititz is a joint venture of Clair Global, Tait and Atomic Design. This campus, which will be the first of its kind and will create a significant number of new jobs, will build facilities on a 96-acre farm at 36 W. Newport Road to service various aspects of the entertainment industry, specifically constructing rock concert stages. It will bring together lighting, stage, sound and other aspects of the industry in one space, where things can be put together for a dry-run prior to the equipment being shipped to performers for use on tour.

Throughout the process, representatives from Rock Lititz have stressed that actual concerts will not be held at the site.

David Madary is a senior project manager with Derck & Edson, the Lititz engineering firm for the project. He explained several times that the project would be done in six or seven phases.

On July 8, the first phase of that plan cleared the county planning commission with a 7-0 vote. Township planning officials were in agreement with the recommendations at the county level, namely that developers consider putting in a riparian buffer consisting of trees and other plants along the Santo Domingo Creek and show sidewalks and bicycle parking along a planned street on the campus.

Work on the plan has been ongoing, beginning in August 2012 when township officials approved rezoning the tract from agriculture to campus industrial.

"The first priority would be constructing the set-up building," explained Madary, who said that construction at the Clair building would be next, followed by a new facility for Atomic Design.

At the July 24 planning meeting, the township was asked to review the water and sewer module for the project. Madary emphasized that while the exact final plans and layout for the overall project will come in time, his firm was putting plans in place to accommodate the maximum needs of the complex once complete.

"This is basically a 95-acre industrial park," explained township manager Dan Zimmerman of the project. "It is in compliance with our ordinances for proper use of the land. We are not sure how it will be developed, but know the first phase. Everything else is still suspect in the multiple phases of the project."

Last week’s discussion focused on storm water.

"A permanent large riparian basin along the Santo Domingo is planned," Zimmerman said. "This is a very expensive option the developers are looking at, which will be built over phases and would have a huge reduction of sediment deposited by the Santo Domingo. This would utilize the flood plane, but for the township this would also help with sediment deposits and flooding. It would take a number of years to be grown in. In the meantime, rain gardens are allowed by ordinance. Later they will be eliminated in favor of the riparian buffer."

Zimmerman indicated that with regard to transportation, traffic studies would be completed throughout the development process to assure that traffic flow around the development would not be adversely impacted. He mentioned the possibility of a new traffic light at the intersection of Toll Gate and Newport roads. He also said they would strive for a center turn lane along Route 501.

"Adding this lane is not necessarily a requirement, but hopefully (Rock Lititz) will participate with this as this progresses," added Zimmerman.

"I’m not sure of the approval process of something so fluid," noted planning commission Dan Garrett. "I’m just not familiar with a project like this."

"View it as an industrial park with the only three things for sure being these first three buildings – the set-up building, Clair and then Atomic," clarified Zimmerman. "What happens from there depends on what gets generated."

Zimmerman also pointed out that this will involve a number of Transferable Development Rights (or TDR).

Under Warwick Township’s Zoning Ordinance, the TDR program assigns every farm within the agricultural zone one transferable development right for each two gross acres of farmland. TDRs are purchased from farmers who wish to preserve their farmland. The purchase price is based on the fair market value of the farmland at the time the TDRs are sold.

TDRs are sold for the purpose of increasing lot coverage in the campus industrial zone. In order to ensure sound land use practices, the maximum lot coverage within the campus industrial zone is 10 percent. However, for each transferable development right acquired, an additional 4,000 square feet of lot coverage is permitted, up to a maximum of 70 percent coverage.

Funds generated through TDRs for this project would go a long way helping to preserve some of the Amish farms bordering the project.

Because of the fluid nature of the project, no final price tag has been set. Developers have said that perhaps up to 500 new jobs could be created by the time all is complete.

Work could begin as soon as this October.

More ROCK LITITZ, page A6

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