Plans for an intelligently designed housing development for an underused site in Lancaster would, at any time, be seen as good news.

That this project is proposed for the Sunnyside peninsula makes it special.

The plans, outlined to city planners this week, call for a mix of housing types totaling 300 units scattered throughout the peninsula, located to the city's southeast.

Using modern urban concepts, the units - including single-family homes, bungalows and apartments - will include small town-like features such as porches and rear-access parking.

Divided into five different areas, each with its own "green" in which residents can gather, the project appears designed in an attempt to foster a sense of community.

There's even a high-tech angle. Developers are considering using the cool water of a lake (actually a flooded quarry) on the site as a possible heat sink for use in heating and air conditioning in residences.

The project, with a price tag of $50 to $70 million, will likely take most of the next decade to complete.

Sunnyside, which is surrounded on three sides by the Conestoga River, is a spectacular piece of property with a shameful history of public neglect.

Originally the site of summer cabins, the full-time residents of Sunnyside lived without paved roads, sanitary sewers and public water until the 1980s.

Although for years development and redevelopment projects were announced, and forgotten, true modernity did not come to Sunnyside until Lancaster County opened its Youth Intervention Center there in 2002.

This new housing plan has been gestating since then. That's a long time - maybe not for anyone who's studied the history of this complicated place - but we hope that the time for Sunnyside has finally arrived.