The Van Wyck News

Volume 5 Number 13
A Voice for Freedom           14 October 2013
Cluster Development and Treetops
Operation Cram Down
          The Cluster Development Proposal will be heard at the Planning Commission meeting on 15 October at 6:30 PM in the County Office Building. This proposal represents the latest effort by the Planning Department/Planning Commission (PD/PC) to extend the disastrous land use policies pursued by the County in Indian Land into other areas of the county despite overwhelming local opposition. Those wishing to object to the Planning Commission should see the article to the right.
          For ten years the County has pursued a policy of becoming a bedroom community relying on the transportation infrastructure supplied by Rte. 521. "Development" meant building houses and "Business" meant businesses associated with housing - supermarkets, gas stations, fast food restaurants and the like.
Everything is on a "more is better, put it where they want" basis. No attention has been paid by the County to planning or infrastructure, particularly transportation infrastructure. Neither has any attention been paid to the ability of either the County or the School District to finance the required infrastructure.
         After ten years of abuse and a large increase in population the demands on Rte. 521 have begun to exceed its ability to deliver. Traffic jams on the northern portion of Re. 521 are daily occurrences. Traffic is backed up for an hour in both directions on Rte. 521 every weekday morning as 1000 students are dropped off at ILES. Opening the new elementary school on Harrisburg Road will ease this situation somewhat, but the new school will be overcrowded on the day it opens and ILES will still be overcrowded after the students transferring to the new school are gone. ILMS and ILHS have no place to put these students as they grow up and will need supplementation as well. With current homebuilding activity just in the area between Van Wyck and Doby's Bridge Roads, the population of the Indian Land school system will double over the next six or seven years in addition to the overcrowding already present. The school system will need to build $150MM in new schools over this period of time just to accommodate growth already approved. The school system simply cannot expand this fast even if taxpayers were able to afford the cost.
          Roads other than Rte. 521 are another concern. No road repairs have been done for a number of years and the new and improved roads required to support all the planned expansion have not even been thought about. The traffic studies required by the Cluster Development Proposal are meaningless because they do not require consideration of all approved building in the traffic projections into the future, only the impact of each development on the present situation. Each development may show up as acceptable, but the total impact of all the development is devastating.
          The County is proposing new and increased taxes as one way to finance some of this infrastructure. The 1% sales tax used to finance the courthouse is to become permanent, and a business tax looms in the background, with property tax rates scheduled to rise the maximum amount permitted by state law every year far into the future. Fees on developers other than grossly inflated building permit fees do not seem to be under consideration.
          The Van Wyck portion of the panhandle bordered by Van Wyck Road at Rte. 521 on the north, Shiloh-Unity Road on the south, the state line on the east and the river on the west has remained relatively free of development, mainly due to the lack of sewer services. Developers have been drooling over this pristine area for years, and the PD/PC now seeks to extend the Indian Land type of development into Van Wyck, beginning with the Treetops development of 933 homes and the Cluster Development Proposal as a red flag encouraging housing developers to move quickly. 
          Van Wyck residents are overwhelmingly opposed to this approach, not because we seek to stop progress but because development must be planned and controlled if it is to lead to a successful community. Indian Land is in many ways a disaster because there was no plan for its development. Indian Land has appealed to the PD/PC and County Council for years for relief to no avail. The B3 problem in Indian Land, for instance, has hung around for at least five years with Council unwilling to allow any progress. The current B3 effort, renamed the Rte. 521 - Rte.160 Corridor Overlay, has been sitting already financed for six months with no action while the PD/PC concentrates on cramming down Cluster Development and Treetops onto unwilling residents. Indeed, the PD/PC has insisted on hiring a consultant with a large financial interest in the success of the Cluster Development/Treetops cramdown operation to serve as the author/consultant for the Rte. 521 - Rte. 160 Corridor Overlay. The PD/PC and some members of County Council assert that this is not a conflict of interest. Is it any wonder that the Cluster Development Proposal moves forward while the B3 effort lags behind?  Ridiculous.
          Van Wyck residents have worked for some time to prevent Indian Land style, catch as catch can development from coming to Van Wyck. We believe that implementation of the Cluster Development Concept would be a disaster for Van Wyck and for Lancaster County. The County is not prepared to accommodate or finance the infrastructure development that will accompany such implementation. The County is preparing to rework its Comprehensive Plan and UDO in preparation for the next ten years; it would be entirely approipriate to incorporate the good ideas in the Cluster Development Porposal into this rework.


Our Privacy Policy

Appearing Before the Planning Commission
     Objecting to the implementation of the Cluster Development Proposal at the Planning Commission meeting is strongly encouraged. Those wishing to speak before the Commission will need to show up at the meeting a little early to sign up. Rosa Sansbury will be there to help. You may speak for three minutes durting the Citizens Comments at the beginning of the meeting or for five minutes during the Public Hearing on the Cluster Development Proposal. You can also send email to Penelope Karagounis, Planning Director at pkaragounis@lancastercountysc.net. You can certainly say whatever you wish, but all that it takes to register an objection is your name, address and the words "I object to the Cluster Development Proposal."
CDC Schedule
Saturday, October 26, 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.(volunteers time) Halloween (times may vary) 4:30 p.m. games, 5:30 p.m. hotdogs, 6:30 p.m. candy walk
Saturday, November 30, 9:00 a.m. Put up Christmas Lighting Poles and chili
Tuesday December 3, 7:00 PM CrimeWatch and Community meeting, put up Christmas decorations
Saturday, December 7, noon, Van Wyck Christmas Parade and Candy Toss. 2:00 PM put out candles and globes for Lighting the Way.
Sunday, December 8, 4:30p.m. Lighting Of The Way

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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