‘Developing’ news in township

By on January 2, 2013

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

A popular local development is preparing to start moving dirt while an up and coming commercial development is already well on its way preparing for construction.

The Autumn Hills development along North State Street moved another step closer to starting phase two of the project as Ephrata Township Supervisors gave their green light to improvement construction plans. Developer Gerry Horst was on hand for the Dec. 4 meeting of the supervisors to urge passage of the plan.

"Like phase one, there is some urgency to get started with the onset of winter," explained Horst.

The plan would allow Horst’s crews to begin major site work and earth-moving ahead of the construction of any actual homes in the subdivision.

"It will be at least two months before we can get all the earth moved so that we can start laying pipe," added Horst, referring to the laying of sanitary sewer lines.

Supervisors pointed out that prior to the construction or sale of any homes, a final subdivision plan would need to run its course through the proper planning commission and township channels for approval. As approved, the plan only provides for utilities, curbs and roadways to be constructed but no actual buildings. No actual work on the sanitary sewer system can begin without approval of the subdivision plan either.

Supervisors unanimously approved of Horst’s improvement construction plan.

Supervisors also approved a waiver with regard to the stormwater management program being planned at the Ephrata Marketplace project, Route 322 and Pleasant Valley Road, east of Ephrata. Township Engineer Ben Webber explained the need for the waiver in relation to current PennDOT standards, regarding the size and thickness of drainage areas. The waiver would allow the project to move forward based on older PennDOT standards.

Webber explained that there was recent precedence for such approvals since supervisors had granted such waivers to the Ephrata Commons and LCBC Church project along similar grounds. He further explained that PennDOT had recently changed their standards for inlets in the public roads and did not foresee any problems with what developers of the new project, including the new Giant Store, were proposing.

Representatives of the developer were on hand to update supervisors on the progress. John Schick explained that a high occupancy permit was in place as were permits for new traffic signals. In a race to complete earth work before the hard onset of winter, Schick said action was soon to begin on utilities. He added that work was being done on test pits for the sanitary sewer system.

"We plan to have the pad sights ready in early spring and businesses opening in summer," said Schick. "We also plan to begin building the (Giant) store in spring."

Schick said the project was now classified as a shopping center with nine tenants planned, most of which are national in scale. He described them all as very quality tenants which would bring much to the area. While no formal announcement of who those tenants might be, Schick told supervisors that perhaps within a month some of the leases would be signed so that something could be announced.

Lancaster Newspapers recently reported that a Starbucks, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Verizon store are among those who will be tenants at the new shopping center.

According to the article, the three businesses have signed leases with Ephrata GF, the developer behind Ephrata Marketplace. The new stores were named publicly for the first time earlier this month when the Ephrata Township Planning Commission recommended final approval of land-development plans for a building on the site.

"The community will be very pleased with who we are working with," added Schick. "This will be a first-rate shopping center and an easy shopping center to manage."

Ames Construction will be in charge of constructing the new store once the pad site is prepared and ready for them to begin work. They are also building the new Giant store.

In other township reports, there was good news in the form of a grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) toward work on phase two of the rail-to-trail. This grant paves the way for work to begin from Main Street in Akron to Millway Road. Half of the project lies within Ephrata Township with the other half in Akron Borough. The project has received a grant of $139,200 for construction of this phase. What is being called phase one will connect the Ephrata Borough end of the trail at Pointview Avenue and extend it to Main Street in Akron.

It is expected the effort to connect these two planned phases to existing trail in Warwick Township and Lititz Borough may take another two or three phases until complete.

"There is still an expensive portion crossing the Cocalico Creek, along with extensive improvements to be made to the railroad bridge that will need to be completed," added township manager Steve Sawyer. "Hopefully over the next five to 10 years, we will continue to connect the trail from Ephrata to Lititz."

In other news, Ephrata Police Chief William Harvey alerted the public and supervisors alike on what seems to be an increase in reports of fraud.

"While there have been none to report here in the township, the reports do seem to be increasing," said Harvey. "Should anyone come to your door with something that sounds too good to be true or pressuring you to make a decision ‘right now’ that’s a red flag. Call the police. We will check them out."

Harvey warned residents to be on the lookout for door-to-door type scam artists who tend to especially prey on the elderly.

"People work too hard to give their money to the criminals," added Harvey. "Be a professional witness. Do not let them into your home. Get on 911 and give a good description. Pay attention to the details; be descriptive and give us any paperwork they may have left with you."

Harvey urged residents to be attentive and to call the police.

"We do not know they are working a neighborhood unless you call."

For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit ephratatownship.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments and questions at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More TOWNSHIP, page A4

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