Sure, the creation of the Rock Lititz business campus will mean hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars of new investment.

But those headline-grabbing impacts aren’t the only benefits.

The Warwick Township venture also will boost the township’s farmland preservation and water-quality improvement efforts.

“It’s not every time you can have that many deliverables on a project,” said Dan Zimmerman, township manager.

Zimmerman estimated that the developers of Rock Lititz will pay the township up to $1.2 million for transferable development rights (TDRs) needed to construct the entire campus.

That’s money the township will plow right back into farmland preservation.

Zimmerman figures that sum will be enough to preserve 15 to 20 farms in the township.

And every farm that’s preserved generates more TDRs, which developers need to buy.

The township manager refers to this method of funding farmland preservation as “recycling money.”

The process is highly appealing because it requires zero dollars from the township.

“It’s the perfect recycling,” said Zimmerman. “The beauty of it is, it’s everybody else’s money but the township’s.”

Zimmerman acknowledges that  the development of Rock Lititz means the township is losing a farm, too.

The site is the former Wenger farm, 36 W. Newport Road, just west of the busy Route 501 corridor.

But he says the farm’s location makes it better suited for development than preservation.

“It’s a balanced approach,” he said.

“We’re preserving farms where we want to preserve farms and putting infrastructure and growth where we want to put infrastructure and growth.”

Andrea Shirk, Rock Lititz program manager, put it this way: “Yes, we’ve lost this one farm, but we’re going to maximize what we do with this one farm. The farm beyond that is preserved.

“So this is not step one of 10. We’re not going to buy up every farm behind us. We’re not the industrial park that’s looking to gobble up all the farmland in town. It’s the opposite.”

The effort to maximize the use of that one farm ties into Rock Lititz’s plans to restore the flood plain of the Santo Domingo Creek, which goes through the site.

Removing legacy sediment from the creek and planting vegetation in the flood plain will improve the water quality of Lititz Run downstream.

Ultimately, the $1.8 million undertaking will help the Chesapeake Bay, too.

It also will make the flood plain more suitable for stormwater management, Zimmerman pointed out.

That, in turn, will free more of the remainder of the project site for development and will help recharge the aquifer.

Zimmerman praised Rock Lititz’s developers, Clair Global and Tait Towers, for their willingness to tackle the flood plain’s restoration.

“A lot of industrial parks would have said, ‘We don’t want to even mess with that. We just want to hide it.’

“But these guys have embraced it. They said, ‘We want to work with you,’ ” Zimmerman said. “It’s a very positive reflection on the developers.”

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Tim Mekeel is the Lancaster Newspapers business editor. He can be reached at or (717) 481-6030. You can also follow @tmekeel_lnpnews on Twitter.