News & Updates
Lancaster New Era
Oct 13, 2009 06:06 EST
Mike O'Brien had just spent more than an hour Wednesday giving details on his proposed development on the west edge of Rohrerstown, the small village in East Hempfield Township.
Then he thought of one more thing — "I also would like to thank Major League Baseball for scheduling the Phillies' playoff game this afternoon" so it didn't conflict with the meeting, he joked.
The Lancaster developer of Manheim Township's new Richmond Square center, among other projects, spelled out the Rohrerstown-area plan at Wednesday's East Hempfield supervisors' meeting.
He gave the township's decision-making board its first look at a mixed retail, commercial and light-industrial plan for a 115-acre farm west of Lancaster.
The supervisors, who are considering several rezonings for the historic Lime Spring Farm site, made no decision on it Wednesday.
The rezonings would pave the way for development taking place in stages over the next 20 years and likely to cost many millions of dollars, O'Brien explained.
O'Brien, an East Hempfield resident, is president of the Oak Tree Development Group, which bought the property in 2005.
The site is on the south side of Marietta Avenue (Route 23), east of Running Pump Road and just west of Rohrerstown.
The main question with any such large-scale project in suburban East Hempfield is traffic, and O'Brien and other representatives spelled out two steps the developers would take in hopes of reducing the traffic impact.
One would be to pay to complete connecting Noll and Old Tree drives, which would establish an east-west route on Noll and then Old Tree all the way from Good Drive past Rohrerstown Road and on to Running Pump Road.
This would relieve traffic pressure on often-crowded roads such as Marietta Avenue, Rohrerstown Road and other main routes.
The other would be paying the entire cost of a regional traffic-impact study looking at a huge township area around the development.
The Lime Spring plan aims to have zoning uses consistent with those on adjoining land, O'Brien explained.
The plans include a Greenfield Corporate Center-type development toward the northwest side of the property.
O'Brien said it would feature 200,000 square feet of "light-industrial" zoning and another 200,000 square feet of "flex office/office park" space.
There also would be 305 homes of varying types to be built on three residentially-zoned tracts on the property, plus 14 acres of open space and 5 acres of parkland.
The farm's buildings include two houses from the 1700s, which are among the oldest buildings in East Hempfield, and Oak Tree has made a "covenant with the sellers to not affect the buildings in any way," O'Brien added.
O'Brien, who estimated it will be a year to 18 months before work starts if the rezoning is granted, told how he has met often with residents of adjoining properties to discuss the plans.
Along with Richmond Square, Oak Tree has developed Ephrata's Hampton Inn at Mountain Springs, and O'Brien also was the developer of the Lanco Fieldhouse on Miller Road, East Petersburg.
One East Hempfield resident at Wednesday's meeting said the Lime Spring proposal "sounds like a well-thought-out plan."
Another, Jim Hughes, said he likes how "connecting Old Tree and Noll drives will immediately relieve traffic congestion."
It's not known if the supervisors will make a decision on the plan when they next meet, on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Also presented to the supervisors Wednesday was a request for a rezoning near Landisville by Charter Homes & Neighborhoods, which would lead to a 275-home community near Route 283.
No decision was reached Wednesday on that request.
In another matter, the East Hempfield supervisors voted Wednesday to reverse themselves and approve the final land-development plan for a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church that a group of neighbors has been opposing.
On top of that approval, the church got more good news when a Lancaster County Court judge dismissed a request by neighbors that the judge reconsider a recent order against them.
The new order from Judge Howard Knisely upholds the preliminary plan approval that the township had granted for the church earlier this year, and the church has also gotten final-plan approval.
Still pending in county court is one more appeal from the neighbors regarding the preliminary plan, which the LDS church and its attorney, Marc Jonas, have asked be halted as "unfounded and frivolous," as Jonas said.
The church would be built at 1136 Sunwood Lane, just off Harrisburg Pike.
The neighbors have long opposed the proposed church due to traffic and related concerns.
Brothers and restaurant owners Tony and Angelo Ciro describe Ciro's as "upscale casual Italian," with a menu re-creating traditional dishes from their native Sicily.
Giant Food Stores announced Wednesday that it will open the company's first free-standing convenience store in Manheim Township.
Construction of the city's first Sheetz convenience store is under way at Manheim Pike and Dillerville Road
Charlotte Shoppe, a women's boutique selling shoes, handbags and apparel, opened at the end of January in Richmond Square.