Amish say proposed development could harm community
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(Harrisburg) — Amish farmers in Lancaster County say a proposed housing and retail development could harm their community.
The Manheim Township farmers took their concerns to Donald Kraybill, a senior fellow emeritus at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College.
He said if the development encroaches too harshly on the community, it could raise a question of First Amendment rights.
“It could be seen as a detriment to their ability to practice their religious faith because their churches stipulate that they use horse-drawn vehicles,” Kraybill said.
Members of the Plain community say the size and proximity of the proposed development along Oregon Pike could make traveling by horse and buggy more dangerous as traffic increases.
Kraybill said it’s possible the development could push out the Amish over time.
“The proposed development is coming down in the middle of where one of their communities are and I think that’s what gives them special concern here,” he said.
The proposed 75-acre Oregon Village would include more than 500 housing units, restaurants, a supermarket, and retail.
Township commissioners are still considering whether to give the project final approval.