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Lancaster residents get chance to comment on future

Lancaster Township residents will have a chance next month to voice their opinions on the municipality’s future.

The township will host a public town hall July 18 following its supervisors board meeting about updating its comprehensive plan, a document guiding Lancaster officials on the course for the township’s next 10 years.

Manager C. Michael Foote said this meeting will be somewhat of a reverse of typical board meetings: Residents will guide the township’s direction.

“That, really, is just a town hall meeting. It’ll just be a public meeting,” he said. “There’ll be a presentation by our land-use third-party provider Ben Levenger, and (township engineer) Tom Thompson will give some information, some updates, and just giving folks a chance to comment.”

Lancaster began the process of updating its extant plan, which was created in roughly 2010, in 2019, but the process was halted after a December meeting. Since then, the township has gone through a patch of having four different individuals serve as township manager.

Foote said he wanted to schedule the first 2022 comprehensive plan public meeting earlier than July, but the schedule now is for one meeting in July to be followed by another in September.

“My goal was to be having everything completed by the end of the year, but that’s just my working timeline,” Foote said. “We want to be thoughtful in our approach, and that’s why we want to do (the town hall meeting).”

When, in 2019, the township previously went through the process of updating its plan, the focus was on maintaining Lancaster’s pastoral character while still allowing the inevitable growth to occur.

A document on the township’s website describing the December meeting indicates many residents were concerned about preventing the loss of the township’s rural characteristics. As a result, the document states, the township may want to consider funneling development toward the Route 19 corridor to protect the outer reaches of the township from development.