A developer is seeking county and city approval for a two-acre land swap on the Sunnyside peninsula to solve obstacles to the long-delayed development of 300 housing units.
If the land exchange is approved, the project, first proposed in 2001, might break ground next year, said Ken Smith, executive director of nonprofit developer Community Basics.
The plan is to build 150 apartments and 150 homes for sale, including townhouses, cottages and single-family homes, on about 75 acres near the county's Youth Intervention Center.
The Lancaster County commissioners Wednesday said they support the land swap but won't take action until the city grants subdivision approvals.
Randy Patterson, the city's director of economic development and neighborhood revitalization, told the commissioners the city supports the land swap, seeing it as a way to complete the project sooner.
Community Basics wants to give Lancaster County a triangular, 2.63-acre tract to the east of the intervention center for a 1.16-acre, county-owned tract near the southwest side of the center. No money would change hands.
The developer says acquiring the one-acre tract allows for a desired four-way intersection east of the bridge over the Conestoga River. The swap also reduces stormwater management costs. The parcel would be used for parking and public space, such as a small park.
The 2.63-acre tract the county would acquire could be used for intervention center parking or new county offices. About two acres of the tract is suitable for development.
"The parcel to the east is better fitted to our plans." Commissioner Scott Martin said. "From my perspective, I can definitely support this."
Commissioner Craig Lehman said he also favors the swap.
Smith said the development is a big, difficult project, but breaking ground is a possibility next year.
In another matter Wednesday, the commissioners hired a forensic telecommunications consulting firm to perform a forensic audit of phone company remittances of 911 taxes that support operation of the county's 911 system.
As LNP reported Tuesday, the firm, Phone Recovery Service, contends the 911 system may have been shorted $3.9 million a year by phone companies failing to collect 911 taxes from corporate clients.