Willow Valley Communities

Willow Valley Communities is seen from above.

- When: West Lampeter Township supervisors meeting, Feb. 10.

- What happened: The board denied rezoning a 22-acre portion of Willow Valley Communities from low density residential to medium-high density residential after the first motion to pass the amendment in favor of rezoning failed. Supervisor Geoffrey Beers was in favor of the rezoning, while supervisor Randy Moyer abstained from voting. The rest of the board voted against the rezoning.

- Background: Jim Thomas, Willow Valley Communities’ legal representative, and Craig Smith of RGS Associates proposed the rezoning to allow current construction to build three five-story apartment buildings, expanding a the previous plan of five three-story buildings. The proposed zoning would allow a maximum height of 60 feet. The intention, Smith explained, is to increase the amount of green space, or undeveloped land, and decrease impervious coverage which leads to less stormwater runoff.

- Why it matters: Members of the community shared their concerns about fire safety and potential noise pollution from large HVAC systems. One member said she sees the beginning stages of sinkholes in the surrounding environment and invited people to see it for themselves. Supervisor Barry Hershey shared how residents near Wynwood Drive are concerned with additional taller buildings because they can already see Willow Valley buildings from their neighborhood.

- Supervisor input: Beers questioned if the plan should have been more thought out in the original development plan. Supervisor Rick Breneman pointed out other buildings encompassed in the proposed rezoning along with the three apartment buildings that could be developed as well.

- Quotable: “I liked the (previous) plan you had, I think the neighborhood (was) content with what you had because of the height,” said supervisor Hershey.

- Next steps: Thomas said Willow Valley will need to consider its options, but will continue on with current construction plans.