Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Lancaster City and County Argue Over Sunnyside

Lancaster City and County Argue Over Sunnyside

Sunnyside is the largest tract of undeveloped land in the city of Lancaster.  Plans have been discussed since 1999 to develop three hundred townhouses, single family homes and apartments on the peninsula of the Conestoga River.

That proposal was temporarily dropped when the county proposed moving county offices to Sunnyside, where they would have much needed space for expansion.  The county also considered building a Youth Intervention Center on the property in 2005.  Last year they endorsed a plan to have Community Basics develop Sunnyside.

The plan stalled because of complications in deeding the property to Community Basics.  The county considered declaring the tract a blighted property and condemning it so they could then transfer it.  The only problem:  the property isn't blighted.

Now the county has decided to deed Sunnyside directly to Lancaster City, which avoids the necessity of condemning the property.  The city isn't thrilled.  There's an abandoned quarry which could be a big liability.  Filling the quarry with water was considered, to make it into a man-made lake - but it would be too deep.  The quarry could be partially backfilled to make it shallower before filling it with water, but that would be a large and expensive project. 

The county has agreed to keep twenty acres surrounding the former Brenner Quarry.  Still, Mayor Rick Gray is cool to the idea of the city inheriting the property - and the liability - without any funds to help it develop the planned housing project.


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Comment balloon 5 commentsBrian Schulman • July 20 2007 05:46PM


Do you have any updates on this story?  What do you think should happen with this area?
Posted by Anonymous about 12 years ago

Plans still have not been finalized.  There is a great deal of concern over the liability of the old quarry.  I'd personally like to see the quarry backfilled to the point where it could be made into a recreational area that wasn't dangerously deep.  The biggest obstacle to any of these plans, is where does the money come from?

As far as plans for development go, Sunnyside does seem to be a natural area for Lancaster City expansion, as long as it is done in a responsible way.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 12 years ago

It's now one year later since this post.  Do you have any updates on this story?  Is there any timetable for building?




Posted by Chris about 11 years ago

Chris, plans seem to be off the radar at the moment.  As far as I know, eventually it will still probably be developed.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 11 years ago

Well as a resident of Sunnyside, I can tell you right now there is no need to fill the quarry because it is already filled with water and has been for many years. A little bit of history about that quarry other than the unique waterfowl it brings would be that two men drowned there after swimming with a group of deaf classmates and friends. There are warning and no trespassing signs that are ignored. The residents concern isn't just about the birds, but about other species like deer that we have that may not be in other parts of the city. By developing Sunnyside we would lose species that I would be able to see on a daily basis that a lot of other people in the city don't even know exist here. Not to mention that we are happy with how small our community is. Everybody here knows each other. By developing Sunnyside you'd be losing our greatly diminishing unique populations and bringing in problems that I don't think the city is ready to face. There's a reason it hasn't been developed yet and when it comes down to it the city will realize it wasn't worth it.

Posted by Victoria 7 months ago