The Van Wyck News

Volume 3 Number 2 The Web – Based Newspaper of the Van Wyck Community             15 February 2011
County Council In Panic Mode
    For some time County Council has been working on the potential conversion of a  debris landfill on Route 903 to a municipal waste landfill. The project proceeded completely under wraps using the code name Project December, with Ordinance 1080 being given three readings at three special meetings of County Council held in December 2010. Rumors and horror stories began circulating in January and local residents asked the Indian Land Action Council for assistance in mounting an effective protest. As a result more than 250 citizens consisting of residents of the local area and ILAC activists showed up for the County Council meeting on 1 February.
    County Council took one look at the crowd and went into executive session, probably without a legitimate reason to do so, to decide what to do. They decided to pacify the crowd by requiring a  1 mile setback requirement for such landfills. The setback requirement had been set to 1000 feet by Ordinance 1073 on 29 December 2010. A one mile setback is simply a way of saying that Lancaster County will not permit sanitary landfills within its borders. The company behind the project was forced to withdraw.
    This is lunacy on several levels. Even given that the contract negotiations needed to be kept confidential, nothing prevented County Council from going public right after the first of the year, explaining the considerable benefits of the project and the measures that were being taken via the Planning and Zoning Commission to address the reasonable concerns of residents. At the 1 February meeting, County Council could have explained to the residents attending that all that had been done was to negotiate the financial details of the project and to require approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals.   Concerns such as setbacks, roads, traffic and the like would properly be addressed by the Board of Zoning Appeals, not County Council.  
A copy of the proposed contract is available here
    Council thus threw away a proposal that would have had considerable benefit to the county (something like $400,000 per year in trash disposal cost savings) based on five minutes of paniced consideration. Also thrown away was the work done by County staff and the company's people at substantial cost. Whether the project is a good idea or not, the process is wrong and wasteful of the taxpayers and applicant's money.
    Councilman McCullough has issued  a document addressing this situation. This document is a long list of "We were mislead..." and "We didn't know..." excuses. The plain fact is that County Council did not do its homework on this proposal, as it has not done its homework on several other proposals in the last year or more. County Council did not make any effort to allay the legitimate concerns of residents of the area, instead allowing these concerns to develop into mass hysteria.
    Nearly 80,000 people make Lancaster County their home. Not many have the time to follow County Council proceedings in detail or to spend the four hours or more required to actually attend County Council meetings and speak before County Council. County Council has an obligation to govern on behalf of all these people, not just those who lobby at County Council meetings. Governing is not the same as passing ordinances.
    To all appearances County Council is getting ready to make the same mistake again. They are working on a Strategic Plan for the county. This work has been done in secret. They plan to have it completed by 31 March 2011, at which point they will spring it on the citizens. My guess is that there will be much in it with which substantial portions of the citizenry will not agree. What process will be used to get the citizens to buy into this strategic plan? Will there be public hearings? Will it be possible to submit written comments? Will County Council listen to what people say or just go through the motions, as has been the case in the recent past? Will anyone besides ILAC and the newly formed LCAC be able to get anything done?

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SC Senate District 16 Seat
    The election of Mick Mulvaney to Congress has left a vacancy in The SC Senate which will be filled in a special election. There are seven candidates for this seat, five Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian.
Republican primary elections will be held 22 February, primary runoff elections on 8 March, and the special election on 12 April.  Candidates and their web sites are as follows:
Brian Carnes (R) - Indian Land
Greg Gregory - Lancaster
Rob McCoy (R) - Lancaster
Wendy Petzel (R) - Fort Mill

Mike Short (R) - Fort Mill
Stan Smith (L) - Fort Mill
Keith Brann (D) - Fort Mill
   Congressman Mick Mulvaney, the previous holder of this seat, has endorsed Greg Gregory for the position. Mr. Gregory, who held the seat for 16 years before retiring in 2008, has committed to run for another term if elected in this special election.

Rev. Dennis McCleave
New Pastor for White Oak AME Zion Church

    Rev. Dennis McCleave is the new Pastor of White Oak AME Zion Church.  We welcome him to the community and wish the previous Pastor, Rev. Alan L. Stewart, well in his new endeavors.
Political Party Reorganization
    Political parties are governed by Title 7 Chapter 9 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Under the law they must hold County Conventions by 31 March and State Conventions by 15 May of this year. The organization chosen now will be in control of the parties until after the General Election in 2012. Precinct level organizational meetings preceed the County Convention and elect delegates to the County Convention. Thus anyone desiring to have any position in political party ledership must first be elected to a leadership position in the precinct where he/she votes. Dates for these precinct level elections will be announced in the very near future, so if you have any desire to influence the candidate selection process beyond voting in the primary and general elections, you must keep a sharp eye out for the precinct organization meeting date and place. This video explains the process further.

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
   The Community Development Club will hold a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Saturday February 19 at 7:00 PM. The Club will provide the meat, drinks and paper products; everyone please bring a dish to pass. Awards for volunteers will be presented. See the brochure here.
    On Saturday 28 May the Club will hold a "Big Yard Sale" rather than the "Spring Fling" held previously.
    On 4 July the Van Wyck Fire Department will present fireworks at the Community Center. The Club will sell hot dogs, chips and drinks.
    Trustee changes include Barb Broussard replacing Sandy Loresh, who moved out of the community and Claudia Thompson replacing Dennis Wiese who was elected Vice President. These terms end in January 2012. Herb Blainey and Richard Vaughan were elected to new five year terms. Clarence Witherspoon continues his service as a Trustee.
    The next meeting will be on 2 March with CrimeWatch at 7:00 PM and the Community Development Club at 7:30 PM.

Sheriff Barry Faile
Sheriff's Biennial Report
    Sheriff Barry Faile has released a report to the community detailing his accomplishments over the last two years and his plans for the future.  Read the complete report here.

Feeding the Hungry
    Donations to Lancaster County food programs have fallen off recently. The recession increases the number of people facing hunger and the need for food.  The Van Wyck Press is happy to transport food to the agencies serving the needy in Lancaster.  If you have food that you would like to donate and would like us to transport it for you, let me know.

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