A Commitment to Stewardship of Natural Resources
March 2021 — This short video (click HERE) gives an overview of a number of ways Landis Homes is committed to living out its Guiding Value of stewardship as it relates to the natural habitat on campus. Learn more about the restoration of Kurtz Run and Leaman Woods.
Little Free Library in Leaman Woods
April 2019: The Little Free Library in Leaman Woods opened in April 2019 near the gazebo. The library took shape thanks to the craftsmanship and oversight of a group of residents who found a way to give new life to a tree that needed to be cut down. The library has a charter number and is registered on the world map at littlefreelibrary.org. It contains a variety of books for both children and adults. Anyone is free to donate or borrow a book.
Learn about our Woods and Wetlands here.
Earth Day 2017 Focus — Sun Energy
Earth Day, which promotes the importance of environmental issues around the world, will be celebrated at Landis Homes on April 25. Two bus loads of residents will tour neighboring Mennonite Disaster Services headquarters on Airport Road, Lititz, to learn about solar energy in a practical way. Solar power can be used to generate electricity or to heat water. Widespread use of solar panels reduces dependence on fossil fuels. At the Mennonite Disaster Service office and warehouse, 80-85% of the electricity is provided by rooftop solar panels.
Additional earth day activities include a Used Book Sale from 8:00-4:00 p.m. in the Westview Community Room, and Vegetarian Dinner in the Azalea Room from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Both events are open to the public.
What Happens to Landis Homes’ Trash
Landis Homes’ hauler, Republic Services, takes trash to a transfer station located on Harrisburg Pike, just outside the Lancaster City limits. The transfer station serves as a central drop-off location for waste haulers who collect refuse within Lancaster County. The material is delivered by independent private haulers, loaded into transfer trailers and transported to the Waste-to-Energy Facility. The transfer station reduces truck traffic on the county’s highways by serving as a waste delivery consolidation point. For every five garbage trucks that enter the facility, only one transfer trailer is needed to haul compacted waste on the final leg of its disposal journey.
Lancaster County’s solid waste is taken to the Waste-to-Energy Facility where it is burned. Burning reduces solid waste volume by 90%. So for every ten truckloads of waste taken to the facility, only one truckload of ash comes out, which is then used as daily cover at the Frey Farm Landfill. The Waste-to-Energy Facility also generates electricity from the combustion of the non-hazardous solid waste. Steam generated during the burning process spins a turbine which creates enough electricity to power approximately 30,000 Lancaster County homes. In addition, ferrous and non-ferrous metals are extracted for recycling, removing them from the waste stream.
EnergyWISE Consulting Features Landis Homes
Landis Homes’ energy and water conservation efforts were recently featured in EnergyWISE Consulting’s newsletter Energy Wisdom. To read, click here. VP of Planning, Linford Good, says, “Conservation of resources is one of the ways Landis Homes lives out its guiding value of stewardship. It has been rewarding to receive recognition from several local, state and national groups for projects that position Landis as an ecofriendly community”
Mennonite Creation Care Network
Mennonite Creation Care Network is a group of Mennonites caring for and restoring God’s Creation. They work to develop congregations that grasp God’s love for all the earth, households where decision-makers routinely consider environmental impacts, s chools where students of all ages learn to connect with the natural world, church agencies that choose advocates to keep creation care prominent and the broader community, shaped by creative approaches to transportation, housing, food, waste disposal. You can learn more about the Network at their web site.
Student Research Paper Features Campus
Millersville University student Amanda Lyda writes:
“Landis Homes, located in Lititz, is a non-profit retirement community, which is home to almost 800 residents. With much to offer older residents, Landis Homes takes on eco-friendly initiatives throughout their community. From recycling programs to hybrid homes, Landis Homes encourages staff and residents to live green.”
See her full research paper here.
Green Infrastructure Improvements
Our green infrastructure improvements were featured in the February 23, 2014 Lancaster Sunday News supplement, “Our Lancaster County 2014”. Click here to view article.
Walk the Line — Retirement Community Expands Its Footprint While Staying Compliant
by Nicole Seuffert, SWS Storm Water Solutions, January 2014
Landis Homes—a continuing care retirement community nestled within the pastoral landscapes and preserved farmlands of Lancaster County—recently embarked on an expansion of its South Campus, which focused on the undeveloped 39-acre portion of its 114-acre property. As stewards of its surroundings, the community believes that environmentally sensitive areas must be maintained, protected and conserved. These values have proven to be influential in the design and development of the remaining campus area. RGS Associates and LandStudies guided Landis Homes in restoring Kurtz Run—a stream that runs through the eastern portion of the property, which was degraded by centuries of human activity such as timber harvesting, milling and farming. These activities carried eroded soils into lowlands and disconnected the stream from its natural floodplain substrate.
“With stewardship as a guiding value of the Landis Homes community, the primary goal of this restoration project was to vastly improve stream function and the site’s ecological biodiversity while making efficient use of the remaining land,” said Linford Good, vice president of marketing and planning for Landis Homes. The project would address traditional infrastructure challenges associated with new storm water management regulations and the expansion of the retirement community.
The Project Begins In August 2012, earthmoving equipment removed more than 27,000 cu yd of legacy sediment (equivalent to approximately 40,000 tons of soil, or 1,800 large dump truck loads) from the Kurtz Run stream corridor to be deposited in other stabilized, upland areas of the Landis Homes community. The project included the elimination of a manmade pond that was constructed to provide fire protection before public water had been extended to the site. The pond was in jeopardy of breaching its embankment due to excessive streambank erosion. “Early conversations between RGS Associates and LandStudies over how to address this condition eventually led to the far-reaching strategy of undertaking an entire floodplain restoration and legacy sediment removal project,” said Mark Hackenburg, principal at RGS Associates.
The Permit Process To implement the campus expansion and floodplain restoration projects, several approvals and permits were necessary from local, state and federal government agencies. In order for construction to commence, initial zoning and land development approvals were required by the local municipality. Due to extensive restoration work within the floodplain, approvals also were required from the Lancaster County Conservation District (LCCD), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permit addressed both Title 25 PA Code Chapter 105 and Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act for impact to waters of the U.S. and waters of the Commonwealth. The PA DEP was responsible for the state authorization and the USACE handled the federal authorization through a single application. During the initial stages of the restoration design, RGS and LandStudies worked with the local municipality, the LCCD and the PA DEP to identify the significant environmental benefits that accompany the restoration effort. In order to obtain some of the plan approvals, RGS sought modifications to 10 of the township’s storm water management ordinance requirements and one modification to the township’s floodplain ordinance in order to incorporate innovative storm water management systems and techniques.
Storm Water Plans To accommodate project schedules and address the requirements of this project, storm water management plans were prepared utilizing conventional detention basins, along with BMPs such as rain gardens, bioswales and porous pavement. These systems were designed to provide 57,000 cu ft (approximately 425,000 gal) of groundwater recharge for each two-year storm event. In addition, the floodplain restoration is expected to treat approximately 4.2 sq miles of upland drainage area while providing approximately 154,000 cu ft (approximately 1.1 million gal) of groundwater recharge for each two-year storm event. The storm water management plans were submitted reflecting conventional detention facilities. The approval process always considered their removal once the floodplain restoration project was completed, stabilized and fully functional. Multiple agencies were involved in the review and approval process, as the project was connected to a number of permitting requirements. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was the most complex approval obtained. The PA DEP handles administration of the NPDES permit program with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Within this regional jurisdiction, however, the PA DEP has delegated the administration of NPDES permits to participating conservation districts. The local organization that reviewed the Erosion and Sedimentation Control (E&S) Plan required for NPDES permit approval was the LCCD. The E&S plans, like the storm water management plans, include a conventional approach to the site’s storm water management solutions. Once the restored areas of the floodplain are functioning and following the quantification of its storm water benefits, the municipality will determine if the floodplain can function as a means of storm water management.
The ultimate desire of Landis Homes is to build additional residential units where the conventional storm water basins are currently located. Landis Homes is in the process of amending its land development plans to reflect the intended use of the restored floodplain for storm water management purposes. Prior to the addition of any residential units, “a major modification of the NPDES permit will need to be submitted for review in an approach similar to, and concurrent with, the revised land development plan that will be submitted to the township,” said Benjamin J. Ehrhart, P.E., director of design for LandStudies. The floodplain restoration initiative is projected to provide environmental benefits such as enhanced terrestrial and aquatic habitat, increased floodwater storage potential, improved infiltration, reduced streambank erosion and increased water quality benefits both on site and downstream. Nutrient and sediment load reductions within Kurtz Run will contribute to the broader Chesapeake Bay improvement initiatives; however, these have yet to be fully quantified.
The final result of the project will be a more efficient utilization of land within a county and township designated growth area, as well as vastly improved water quality over that of traditional storm water management techniques. Future campus growth also will be poised to efficiently utilize this infrastructure improvement, which hopefully will result in a long-term economic net gain associated with the restoration project.