The Van Wyck News
|Volume 6 Number 2
||A Voice for Freedom||17 January 2014|
Unrestrained DevelopmentMonday afternoon I was made aware of a meeting that took place Monday Morning between Dr. Moore, Bobby Parker and Don McCorckle from the school system and Steve Willis, Larry McCullough and Brian Carnes from the County. The topic of the meeting, which was requested by the school district people, was the damage being done to the school system by the unrestrained residential development that has been going on in Indian Land over the last ten years and the surge in such development that the Cluster Development Ordinance is expected to cause.
Hard on Schools
The long and the short of the situation is that the school system cannot build new schools fast enough to keep pace with the population growth in Indian Land. The financial resources are simply not there, and the school system believes that the growth must slow or stop until adequate resources to fund schools become available. The County people insisted that growth would continue and that the Cluster Development Proposal, which had not passed third reading at that point, was essential.
The discussion got quite heated and ended in a standoff. The school system is going to have to redraw school attendance boundaries and begin busing students from Indian Land to schools where it has capacity at great expense to the District and great inconvenience to the students and families involved.
It should be pointed out that the Planning Commission is set to approve the 259 home Queesnbridge subdivision of the 800+ home PDD26 Pulte Homes development at its next meeting on 21 January. At the Planning Commission meeting on 17 January 2014 it was mentioned that the Planning Commission has approved some 2000 residential units in Indian Land over the last six to eight months. Virtually all of these get approved by County Council, which means that over the last six months County Council has committed the School District to spend $50MM for new schools.
That this is happening should not have been a surprise to the School District. It has been going on for ten years. The difference is that now the situation will be brought home to residents and voters and it may be possible to get something done about it.
Cluster DevelopmentCluster Development passed third reading at the County Council meeting on 13 January 2014 by a vote of 4 – 3 with Councilmen Bundy, Estridge and Honeycutt opposing and McCullough, Carnes, McGriff and Harper in favor.
Cluster Development is expected to add substantially to the difficulties that the School District is experiencing (see left) by accelerating demand for residential development in Indian Land. The first project under Cluster Development is expected to be the development of the Treetops site by Matamy Homes with 933 homes. This project alone will add 1000 students to the Indian Land school population, requiring one new school for about $20 - 25MM.
County Council will aver that they cannot stop development, which is the exercise of a fundamental right by a property owner. This statement is correct, but does not recognize the fact that County Council, vigorously led by Council Chair Larry McCullough, was under no obligation to pour gasoline on the development fire by insisting upon and approving a new development technique, particularly after eight months of determined community opposition. During this time the negative impact on schools was pointed out many times along with the fire risk, emergency vehicle access problem caused by narrow streets, lack of parking, etc., etc., etc.
An effort is underway to develop a new community development standard that will address the serious technical difficulties associated with the Cluster Development Ordinance adopted by County Council last Monday night.
None of the three current alternatives for financing schools and other infrastructure needs is very attractive. Rooftop fees, development agreements and adequate facilities ordinances all have serious difficulties. The top down government approach has not worked very well so far; perhaps it is time to try a community approach with a group of citizens and contractors given access to legal advice and asked to come up with a proposal. Certainly some different people need to be involved or the cure may end up being worse than the disease.
Betty Broome is 80In icon of the Van Wyck community passed a milestone as Betty Broome passed her eightieth birthday last week. Chair of this, secretary of that, clerk of the other thing for many, many years Betty has been a pillar of strength for the community. We are certainly glad to see her happy, healthy and productive at this point in her life and wish her many more years to come.
Comprehensive Plan KickoffThe Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan is being completely rewritten this year by the Catawba Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) subject to the approval of County Council. CRCOG plans to have a kick-off to acquaint the public with this program on 30 January at the Native American Studies Center, 119 South Main Street, Lancaster between 5:30 and 6:30 PM. The Comprehensive Plan affects every aspect of the life of every citizen in Lancaster County; come and get an idea what they plan to do to you. Brochure.
Feeding the HungryDonations 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.