Plans for the Independence project were unveiled in November by Charter Homes, a home builder, and B&F Partners, a commercial and apartment developer, following a week of public planning sessions.
But groundbreaking appears some time away, pending a number of municipal actions and approvals.
Independence would be essentially a new town, anchored by a traditional "Main Street." The town would have 3,200 housing units of various sorts and 450,000 square feet of commercial space, according to previous news stories.
While the farmland eyed for Independence is zoned industrial and agriculture holding, said Mark Hiester, East Hempfield's acting director of planning and development, that could change soon.
The township this fall is expected to vote on adopting a regional comprehensive plan that advocates this kind of "livable community" and probably will recommend rezoning that Independence parcel.
If the township adopts the comprehensive plan, it then would weigh whether to rezone the parcel, Hiester said.
"That would be a big decision for our board (of supervisors)," he said, citing the size of the tract and the development.
Assuming the land gets rezoned, Independence's partners next would submit land-development plans. Approval of the plans would let construction proceed.
Another issue in the township's thinking is the already strained State Road and Route 283 interchange. A $20 million upgrade is tentatively set for 2009 or 2010, Hiester said.
That road project would appear to be essential to accommodate extra traffic from Independence, the planner said.
The township could seek funds from Independence's partners to expedite the road project, Hiester said.
A Charter Homes official could not be reached for comment by press time.
CORRIDORONE RAIL SERVICE
Stops: Lancaster City, East Hempfield, Mount Joy, Elizabethtown, Middletown, Harrisburg International Airport, downtown Harrisburg
Projected start: late 2008
Projected cost: $25 million
Projected fare: $4 (one way, Lancaster-Harrisburg)
Frequency: every 30 minutes (during rush hour)