Warwick Township is the first municipality in Pennsylvania to earn Platinum Certification (highest performance level) through the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program. The municipality completed the program’s rigorous assessment which tracks 131 policies and practices that define a sustainable community. To review our press release click here. To review our program information, keep reading below.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability has become the new focus of development trends. The term sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. And while sustainabilty can be applied to development, it is also part of everyday planning to preserve options for the future, while addressing vital services including public safety, health and welfare aspects such as education and training, emergency services, drinking water and sanitary sewers, food safety, energy conservation, libraries, parks, and playgrounds. This also encompasses a strong sense of community among citizens shown by their willingness to support public events through attendance and volunteerism. This includes the concept of a healthy community and quality of life issues.
For more than 20 years, Warwick Township has developed and implemented plans to provide for a sustainable community with a focus on quality of life issues. These plans were forged before sustainability became a widely known term, and were simply part of a common sense approach towards growth in the Warwick region. These plans have been part of a regional strategic plan for over 15 years. Our goal is to provide a community where individuals can live, work and enjoy the surroundings. We support the work of the Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership to provide affordable housing for our residents.
Warwick Township has a partnership with, and provides logistic support for, the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance. Since 1992 over 24,000 linear feet of streambanks have been improved, 23.2 acres of grasses have been planted, and over 20 acres of wetlands have been created. In addition, Warwick Watershed Day has been educating local area 5th graders of the importance of clean water for over 15 years. Watershed Day also encourages the participants to make educated decisions daily regarding the way they treat the soil, water, air, plants, and animals around us, since those decisions affect our watershed as well as larger watersheds downstream. To date, over 6,000 students have been instructed as part of Warwick Watershed Day. An annual stream clean-up day is held in March of each year. In 2009, a portion of the Lititz Run stream was upgraded from a warm water fishery to a cold water fishery. This coordinates with our efforts to manage our public properties and ensure they tie into the Township’s various sustainability efforts. In planning any public areas, we include plans to address stormwater runoff and potential flooding by using best management practices that include native plants and bio-retention areas to filter stormwater before it reaches groundwater sources. We also closely monitor pesticide application areas and have an employee certified as an applicator on our parks maintenance crew. This ensures we maintain our parks in good condition without causing ecological damage. We also encourage our residents to use the recommended amounts of pesticides and herbicides throughout the Township to ensure our groundwater is protected. We also provide public outreach on our website and provide "The Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater" so residents can develop and implement a stormwater plan for their respective properties to protect the Township’s watersheds.
As part of its commitment to watershed improvements. Warwick Township works with land developers at the time of requested development approvals to protect, and restore, natural resources such as floodplains, wetlands, steep slopes, woodlands, forested riparian buffers, rare plant communities, and high groundwater table areas. We also consider amendments to the township's regulatory ordinances that help protect these sensitive natural resources from the impacts of development and other changes in land use. We work with the Lancaster County Conservation District and other area conservation organizations to improve the region's water quality through participation in reforestation activities on municipally-owned lands. We also provide incentives for landowners and developers to propose low impact and green development projects.
Warwick Township contracted with The Brandywine Conservancy to provide a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which was prepared in January, 2012. This was the first attempt anywhere in Lancaster County to comprehensively inventory greenhouse gas emissions resulting from municipal operations. This document, and a Community Sustainability Rapid Assessment for Warwick Township (finalized in 2009), provide recommendations to implement changes in local regulations to include, in part, requirements for native plant species in BMPS and street trees, providing pedestrian walk/trailways, septic system maintenance, and meeting (if not exceeding) the standards of the federal Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The findings of the Community Sustainability Rapid Assessment were included in the region’s joint strategic plan, known is IMPACT 2017, which includes rapid assessments for Elizabeth Township and Lititz Borough as well.
Warwick Township has maintained its millage rate since 1990. There have been no increases in real estate taxes for 25 years. Township staff reviews the budget each year and adjust costs accordingly to ensure a balanced budget. The annual fiscal budget provides earmarked funds toward maintenance and repair of roads and bridges (the Township maintains 87 miles of roadway). The Township created a Capital Storm Water Replacement Program in 2014 and will continue to fund this program to ensure the Township’s storm sewer system will continue to function as designed. The Township currently has no debt service. The Township's focus is on cost containment and revenue generation through efficiency. In addition, the Township capitalizes on assets existing in the community realizing that not every problem is solved by money.
Warwick Township had an Energy Audit conducted in 2009. As a result, the Township had implemented recommended changes that included replacing fixtures, installing occupancy sensors and installing a new "cool" roof. The Township continues its energy savings practices in its day to day operations.
As some people are aware, long-term pension obligations have been a problem in some public sectors. We wish to assure our residents that Warwick Township’s long-term pension obligations are currently funded at 100%.
Warwick Township annually reviews information outlets, such as its website, Facebook, public meeting notifications, etc. to ensure that opportunities are provided for public participation and civic engagement. The regional joint strategic plan, which includes Lititz Borough and Elizabeth Township, is updated every five years, and the process will continue to include opportunities for public input. The meeting minutes for the steering committee and three subcommittees associated with regional joint strategic plan are regularly updated and made available to the public to keep them informed of the progress toward the goals of the plan. Anyone from the public may attend these subcommittee meetings, as well as any of our other public meetings, and provide input in the direction of Warwick Township. We invite public participation at all of our meetings. Also, if you wish to serve on any of our various boards, commissions or subcommittee, you may submit our online volunteer form. We review membership as openings become available to ensure that all facets of our community are adequately represented in Warwick Township.
The Township commits to providing sustainability awareness for any municipal sponsored events, and expresses support for a sustainability approach. In fact, our co-sponsored events directly relate to sustainability by promoting stream clean-up, watershed awareness, and home composting. These events include educational materials for the event, as well as additional information on sustainability practices. The 5th grade students are given trees at Watershed Day to take home and plant for future generations to enjoy. We also provide recycling provisions at our events and our facilities have bike racks to promote alternative means of transportation.
Warwick Township has implemented an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Policy. The Township has identified environmental stewardship as a main priority in their day-to-day municipal operations. The purpose of environmental stewardship and the EPP Policy is to minimize waste, prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, reduce costs, and model environmental protection practices within the local government sector through the purchase of products and services found to be less damaging to the environment and human health.
We are fortunate to live in a region where residents continue to support their local businesses and to volunteer their time and talents to serve the community and assist in local planning efforts. The idea of "Social Capital", or the willingness of a community to care for their own without the expectation of pay or reward, is alive an well in the Warwick Region! We encourage adults of all ages and diversities to volunteer to serve on the Township’s various committees as the Township remains an equal opportunity employer.
Warwick Township cooperates with Lititz Borough, the municipality which they neighbor and surround geographically, through many different initiatives. The Township has supported and contributed to the Lititz Farmers Market and the Venture Lititz organization (Main Street Program in Lititz Borough), in effort to enhance sustainable food systems in the region by linking local foods, farms, and people. Venture Lititz's mission is to enhance and sustain the social and commercial vibrancy of the Lititz community, while also continuing to preserve the community's rich architectural and cultural heritage. The Lititz Farmers Market provides educational opportunities to the public, during its weekly market days between May and October every year. Some of the educational sessions include: information on rain barrels, gardening, composting, etc. The market continues to grow every year, with enough demand last year to add monthly market days during the winter months.
Additionally, the Township created a reference map with locations and details of the local roadside farm stands, for residents and tourists.
Warwick Township has installed warning flashers along more heavily traveled roadways to advise motorists of school zones. In addition, crossing guards are utilized throughout the Warwick School District. Both the crossing guards and school flashers ensure that children can walk to school safely.
Warwick Township has completed a conversion to LED use on all traffic signals. Currently, the Township is committed to converting all Township-owned streetlights to LED. Although Warwick Township does not own all the street lights in its jurisdiction, the conversion process for the LED streetlights it does own, is anticipated to be completed in two years.
In order to ensure that we provide the best services possible, municipal staff regularly attend professional training, including safety, management, software, sustainability, and training specific to job duties. In addition, newly elected officials participate in local government training.
On July 15, 2015, Warwick Township passed a resolution to affirm participation in the Sustainable Community Essentials Certification Program.
We at Warwick Township will continue to strive to serve our residents and business community to the best of our ability. Warwick Township has created a Community Sustainability Policy, which was developed to ensure that the elected officials and staff commit to providing the township with a balance in the relationship between ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity. Here are some other areas where we strive for sustainability:
- Agricultural Preservation
- Regional Recreation (The Warwick Regional Recreation Commission is established through an Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement between Warwick, Penn & Elizabeth Townships and Lititz Borough.)
- Emergency Services (The Warwick Emergency Services Commission is established through an Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement between Warwick & Elizabeth Townships and Lititz Borough.)
- Stormwater Management
- Preservation of Natural Resources