Township discusses affordable housing

By on April 10, 2019

Just south of Lititz, restaurants, convenience stores, banks and other businesses line a section of Lititz Pike zoned as the Local Commercial district.

At its April 3 meeting, Warwick Township Board of Supervisors discussed the idea of allowing for mixed use in that area — specifically affordable housing apartments and townhouses. Affordable housing is often mentioned by residents and officials as being in high demand in the Lititz and Warwick Township area.

As Warwick Township manager Dan Zimmerman noted, Lititz is considered a desirable neighborhood and is drawing more and more people to the area.

There are plenty of upscale housing opportunities, but not as much housing that is considered “affordable.”

In Lancaster County Places 2040 comprehensive plan, affordable housing was a designated focus for the plan that is intended to guide Lancaster County toward 2040.
In studies of housing affordability, based on median gross rent costs, suburban townships, like Warwick Township and Manheim Township, tend to be more expensive than areas such as Columbia and Ephrata.

By allowing mixed use, including residential use, Warwick Township could guide the region toward offering more affordable housing opportunities. The corridor that runs from Weis Market to House of His Creation along Lititz Pike already has a wide range of commercial businesses, scattered with a few homes along the busy roadway. One area that has been considered for apartments includes a plot of land behind the new Orrstown Bank. Apartments behind La Piazza were part of a commercial development project by Dan Cicala.

Warwick Township is considering adding mixed uses to the Local Commercial district in order to foster projects that will enhance the area south of Lititz Borough. Zimmerman explained that there are a number of properties that may be redeveloped in the future. Township planners hope to guide that redevelopment toward appropriate commercial businesses, along with affordable housing.

“We already have lots of banks,” noted Zimmerman.

Two of the banks were built after rental houses were torn down. One had possible historic value and created some controversy when it was demolished to make way for the bank. There is a historic home behind the Giant gas station that the township would to see preserved, along with another building on Lititz Pike may have historical significance.

“These were all part of the original village of Kissel Hill,” said Zimmerman, so care should be taken to repurpose any buildings that can be preserved. There are also several challenging tracts that will make it more difficult to develop them. Allowing access onto Lititz Pike needs to be done through existing roadways for tracts that sit behind other businesses. That might involve some creative planning.

Affordable housing is often mentioned by residents and officials as being in high demand in the Lititz and Warwick Township area. Supervisors last week focused on this section of Lititz Pike (pictured above and below) — now zoned “local commercial” — to possibly allow for mixed use purposes.

This area serves as the entrance to Lititz, and efforts must be made to keep the area appealing and compatible with the Lititz and Warwick Township, explained Zimmerman. To do that, the township is in the process of developing guidelines for future growth.

In other business, supervisors approved the execution of the PennDOT Multi-Modal Transportation Fund Grant for the Sixth Street extension project. The project, which will link Sixth Street from Woodcrest Avenue to Rothsville Road, will be bid in 2019 with construction starting in 2020. Warwick Township will serve as project manager. A public hearing is being planned for May 15 to revise Warwick Township’s Wireless Ordinance to cover new technologies such as the upcoming G5 technology, which will create a fifth generation of high speed wireless communications.

While many people are excited about the new technology, there are others who are concerned about possible health risks. To achieve the higher bandwidth for the G5 technology, there will need to be more wireless antennas on lamp posts, utility poles and other structures.

• The invasive Spotted Lanternfly has been spotted in Warwick Township and surrounding areas. The township will continue its educational efforts to help eradicate the pests, which originated in Asia and damage agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries.
To prevent the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, the PA Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine for counties where the presence of this pest has been confirmed. Businesses and organizations conducting business in the quarantine zone must have permits from PDA to move vehicles, equipment and goods within and out of the zone.

• Warwick Township supervisors approved a number of special events in the township, including a Girl Scout event at the Riparian Park on May 11, the Johnson and Johnson Annual Freshburst race on June 29, the Conner Holland Foundation 5K on July 27, and the Venture Lititz 5K Apoca-Lititz race on Oct. 26.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at

One Comment

  1. Alice

    April 12, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I am happy to see the town I live in consider affordable housing, it is sorely lacking. I also enjoy preserving history, such a part of Lancaster County. thank You Planning board for the beautiful active town we live in.

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