With its elegant clubhouse, landscaping, customized home plans, walking trails, and sense of community, Traditions of America in Lititz is an idyllic setting for most of its age 55+ residents.
But all is not perfect in paradise.
At the April 21 meeting of the Warwick Township supervisors meeting, several residents of Traditions of America attended to express their concerns about the final phases of Traditions of America in Lititz.
With the last homes of the final and fifth phase of Traditions of America nearing completion, the development will have a total of 329 homes in Phase 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The development, which is restricted to those aged 55+, was started in 2013 and at the time was the second Traditions of America development in Lancaster County. Work is now underway for a Traditions of America in East Petersburg.
That is one of the concerns of some Lititz TOA board members, who feel that with TOA now working on the newest development in East Petersburg, they have “abandoned us” in Lititz, failing to complete the final touches needed to wrap up the project.
Their worries include a number of details that have frustrated them in recent months. There are several lamp posts without light fixtures. The handicapped ramps at some curbs are as much as 5-6 inches high, which would be impossible for someone in a wheelchair or walker to navigate. There are several stormwater pipes in the road that have not been capped, putting small animals at risk of falling in and posing tripping hazards for people walking across the street. At least one walking path is so steep that an older person would not be able to climb it and someone in a wheelchair or walker would be at great risk.
In most of Phase 5, the roads are not yet finally paved, which leaves manhole covers raised in the road. Driveways are also raised several inches higher that needed to avoid bottoming out in a lower car. Roadways are private and will not be taken over by the township.
As TOA in Lititz nears completion, Warwick Township still holds a letter of credit of more than $500,000 to finish these details. Township Manager Daniel Zimmerman has assured residents that the final touches must be competed before the project is considered finalized.
“It has taken longer than expected to finish up, but we have every confidence that it will be done properly,” said Zimmerman, adding that township engineers and inspectors are keeping tabs on the project.
David Biddison, Partner of TOA, which was started in 1997 and now has 20 communities across the region, with seven still in their active phases, also assures residents that the project in Lititz will be completed to specifications.
“As is customary with every development, the completion of the improvements in guaranteed by a bond posted by the developer with the township,” said Biddison. “As we complete the improvements, the township’s engineer reviews and confirms completion of the work. Once the work is completed, the township releases the security. We are still in the process of completing the improvements and the township is holding some security pending the completion of the improvements.”
Biddison reports that Traditions of America is committed to building a first-class community and ensuring an excellent customer experience.
“Our team takes a proactive approach to the home construction and warranty process. Our representatives schedule meetings during and after construction to ensure a quality home for every customer. If there are open issues, our onsite team is available to meet and review any concern,” said Biddison.
For some Traditions of America residents in Lititz, reaching out to TOA representatives hasn’t been that easy. HOA board member for Lititz TOA William Gretton III of Allegiance Drive lives in Phase 5. He has complaints about unfinished streets and retention basins, as well as deficient work on walking paths and sidewalks, and safety issues in some homes. He wants to see the final phase of TOA finished to the level of quality promised when they signed our letters of agreement.
He and other HOA board members have had trouble reaching TOA to voice their complaints. The board hired Becht Engineering to do a Reserve Study and a Deficiency Study, which turned up some issues the board wants to have remedied., such as fire walls not built to code in some homes.
“These are dangerous issues that can affect the safety of residents, especially those who are older,” said Laura Dobbin, another HOA board member who has lived on Allegiance Drive at Traditions of America since 2018.
As Dobbins and HOA board member Rick Rittler report, a Deficiency Report done by an independent engineering firm revealed several issues. The most serious and potentially life-threatening concerns are separation walls with gaps or holes that pose a fire safety issue. Rittler added that there are several ADA curb ramp landings that were not installed properly, and he is frustrated by the lack of progress with the completion of the threeyear- old punch list.
Rittler is another resident of Allegiance Drive, and has lived at TOA since 2018. As he noted, “It is frustrating to live in an unfinished community where the final paving of streets in Phase 5 has not been done due to damaged curbs and broken sidewalks needing repair or replacement. We remain hopeful that TOA will engage in discussions and work with us to resolve all these outstanding issues in a timely matter.”
“There are several areas that the HOA will be responsible for after TOA departs. Some of these areas include the stormwater swales, basins, and riparian buffer which must meet the requirements of the NPDES permit. Additionally, ADA handicap ramps are governed under Federal law. Common elements that may not have been built or maintained properly will need to be corrected,
all at the cost of the residents, if TOA does not correct these issues before they leave,” said Rittler.
Still, none of the dissatisfied residents regret their decision to move to Traditions of America in the first place. Gretton, Dobbin, and Rittler all reported that they enjoy life in the 55+ community.
“The location is excellent, convenient to the hospital and supermarkets,” said Dobbin. “Additionally, the people are wonderful.”
They are also grateful to Warwick Township officials for backing them up in their concerns. At the April 21 meeting, Supervisor Herb Flosdorf shared their frustration, and suggested that a letter be sent to TOA, outlining their obligations and requirements to close out the project, while Supervisor Chairman Kenneth Eshleman assured the residents that, “We hear you.”
“Our entire company is extremely proud of the community, the homes, and the amenities. We strive to build homes that are both affordable and highly customizable. We believe the opportunity for adults 55 and older to move into a new-home community with resort-style amenities and low-maintenance living has improved the lives of activeadults in the Lititz area and in areas across the state,” said Biddison of TOA. “We are committed to building quality homes, and we strive to take a hands-on approach to ensure every community and every home is built to our satisfaction.”
Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.