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An Introduction to Liberty Valley
from the Developer

Liberty Township, Pa. - Picture an idyllic equestrian resort community with 118 acres of parks, riding trails, forests, stream valleys, ball fields, and walking paths. Picture meeting up with friends for tea at the historic clubhouse, then embarking upon a beautiful horse ride along nearly 5 miles of riding trails with enough scenic vistas to take your breath away. Upon returning to the Equestrian Center, you and your friends take a stroll across the stream valley to the charming Village Center and find an alluring outdoor café to sit down and enjoy light conversation and gourmet delights under a canopy of trees and outdoor umbrellas. After lunch, you catch up with the rest of your family down the road at the community ball fields where local soccer and baseball games are underway. After a full day, you stop by the neighborhood grocery store to get the evening's meal and return to an elegant new home just a few blocks away waving to friends and familiar faces along the way.

Sound like a great place to live? Maybe too good to be true? Soon, this very special dream home community will become a reality right here in Adams County. The new neighborhood will be called Liberty Valley and will be situated just west of Route 15 in Liberty Township.

The Dream Unfolds

The dream for Liberty Valley began in 2000 when Liberty Township residents saw that the market was coming their way and decided that it was time to begin pursuing their future goals by seeking to realize the lifetime investment in their land.

Judy Crum, a resident in the Township, remembers those early discussions with her husband, "Year-by-year, Fred and I have tended the farm and often wondered if one day our land would increase in value enough to generate the income needed to get us through our retirement years. It has been tough to make money from farming due to the soil conditions. The County wouldn't even let us qualify for agricultural preservation funds because of the soils. Really, all along, we knew that the best use for the land would be some sort of residential development. We either needed to subdivide individual lots or work with a developer who could create a project that would be in the better interest of the Township."

Bob and Peggy Peloquin, neighbors of the Crums, were also considering how to provide for their retirement. Bob tells his story looking out across his 347 acres along Tract Road: "Sometime in 2000, I decided to contact a good friend of mine who was a custom home builder in Potomac, Maryland. I told him I had a beautiful residentially-zoned property that really needed to be developed in a creative and high quality manner. I asked him for recommendations of who to contact." Out of this discussion and many like it, The Wormald Companies were recommended as a local, nationally-recognized developer, specializing in innovative, contextually-sensitive, and architecturally-appealing development. Bob Peloquin already was impressed with Wormald's development in Frederick called Worman's Mill and concluded that he'd found the best for the Township.

By 2002, after much thought, the Wormald team decided that the right land plan for the valley was attainable, and began purchasing land in the Township.

The Plan for Liberty Valley

The Township Comprehensive Plan calls for master-planned development and the formation of "identifiable communities" with a variety of housing types. In the 1980s and 90s, the Township was having a problem with "spontaneous growth" and "random development" where random subdivided lots were dotting the countryside. The Planned Residential Development provision of the Zoning Ordinance sought to ameliorate this trend by encouraging more thoughtful master planned residential development with retail services.

By right of the Liberty Township Zoning Ordinance, Wormald could have designed the land with 12 units to the acre to maximize density, but instead has opted for 2.66 units to the acre, trading potential profits for what they believed to be the right plan for Liberty Valley. Bob Wormald, of The Wormald Companies, reflects on this decision his company made, "By coming in with a plan that utilized only 22% of the allowable density, many thought we had lost all good business sense. However, from the beginning, this project has always been about a vision to create a world-class community in the best interest of the public. Our design team had a certain vision for what this new community would look and feel like and, after several iterations, we are very pleased with the resulting plan." Many say the Wormald plan takes the basic Township planning framework and raises the standard to a level of excellence that will establish Liberty Valley among the premier neighborhoods in our region.

The Village Center

Situated on 8 acres in the center of the new Liberty Valley neighborhood, the Liberty Valley Village Center will be an upscale gathering spot and is slated to have outdoor cafes, restaurants, a grocery store, a bakery, a dry cleaner, a deli, a drug store, a bank, and other similar retail amenities. The new neighborhood shopping venue will primarily serve the residents of Liberty Valley, but will also be a welcome relief to thousands of existing residents who currently drive 30 minutes or more for the most basic necessities. The Village Center is a tastefully arranged neighborhood shopping center sized appropriately to meet the needs of the surrounding residents.

The Liberty Valley Equestrian Center

The equestrian center is slated to be a thriving centerpiece for community life. Ken Wormald, of The Wormald Companies, describes this future facility, "In consultation with equine experts, the vision is that many will board horses in the Liberty Valley stables. Most will not own, but will ride horses for an hourly fee, including special group rides organized by clubs within the community. Classes in horsemanship, including riding lessons, and instruction in grooming and saddling are also envisioned. Special events may include twilight horseback rides, hayrides, parades, pony rides for kids' birthday parties, horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas sleigh rides, and other fun equestrian-oriented programming."

The New Residents of Liberty Valley

Many are saying that Liberty Valley will be among Adams County's finest upscale neighborhoods. Ken Wormald describes the new community, "With an equestrian resort feel, Liberty Valley will cater to horse enthusiasts as well as those who just love to be around horses." The new neighborhood will be an intergenerational village with empty-nesters predominantly from Pennsylvania and Maryland, who no longer work but who are active in volunteerism and local organizations. The empty-nester/retiree in particular will be drawn to Liberty Valley for the Gettysburg area lifestyle and the low taxes afforded by living in Pennsylvania. The community will also appeal to families and singles, who generally commute no further than 40 miles north to Harrisburg or 40 miles south into Maryland. The families and singles will be drawn by the amenities of Liberty Valley as well as by the rich sense of community the neighborhood will have.

Development Details

Only 69 New Homes Per Year

The community is slated to be built over a 17-year period, with an average of 69 new homes being added to the community each year based on Wormald's experience in the nearby Links at Gettysburg community. This represents somewhere between 5 and 10% of the 1,500 to 2,500 people added to Adams County each year over that same time period - a low overall percentage.

Township Financial Gain

Experts analyzing the new Liberty Valley plan say the development will bring significant additional excess revenues into the Township and school district. Using the Penn State University Economic Impact Model for Residential Development, the new homes at Liberty Valley, upon completion, are projected to bring in a net fiscal gain of $3,500,000 annually.

Adequate School Capacity

In 1999, the Fairfield Area School District completed significant expansions and renovations and added more land holdings to their educational campus in Fairfield. Additions included 36 additional classrooms. Taking the total current enrollment of 1,300 students divided by the number of current classroom teachers, at 81, yields a current average overall classroom size of 16 students per classroom. The Liberty Valley community, together with neighboring Liberty Estates subdivision, based on U.S. Census data, is projected to add approximately 416 new students over a 17-year period to the school district. That means that classroom teachers can expect to see one new child about every three years from the new community. If all 416 students were added to the school system today, classroom sizes would increase to 21 students per classroom on average, well below the "full-time equivalent capacity" of 25 students per classroom as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. With the elementary level seeing declining enrollments for the past five years, the new students from Liberty Valley will be a welcome addition to the school classroom.

Fire and EMS Gift

The current level of fire and EMS service is adequate to meet current and future needs. However, to improve existing response time and to help support the financial needs of the Fairfield Fire Company, land will be set aside in Liberty Valley for a fire substation. In addition, the developer has offered to provide $250 for each new home built and sold, raising an additional $321,750 over the life of the project to support fire company activities.

Police Protection

Following growth projections, over the next 17 years, Liberty Township would need to add another two police officers to their staff.

Water & Sewer Provided

Currently, there are on-lot septic mound systems failing in Liberty Township. Wormald is bringing a new sewerage treatment facility to service the project thereby bypassing existing problems with mound systems. In addition, Wormald has begun to develop its water supply for the new community by performing hydrogeologic studies and drilling two wells. Based upon the initial well yields, the two existing wells are projected to provide about three times the necessary water supply for Liberty Valley and Liberty Estates.

Adequate Electric

According to Adams Electric, no additional substations will be needed for Liberty Valley. All utility lines within the new neighborhood will be underground.

Adequate Road Systems

A detailed traffic assessment report has been prepared by Gannett Fleming of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Due to the low traffic volumes that currently exist within the Township, the addition of Liberty Valley trips will have minimal impact on intersection delay and Levels of Service. Only one intersection was found to need signal improvements toward the completion of the 17-year project. The road network that currently exists is adequate to accommodate the traffic generated.

Summary of Community Benefits

Liberty Valley provides just the right development plan in just the right location. The new Village Center and surrounding "hamlets" provide a cornerstone for Township life, provide needed community services, and provide a wealth of recreational and social benefits. Indeed, this project is in the best public interest and is eagerly anticipated.

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