The Van Wyck News
|Volume 6 Number 4
||A Voice for Freedom||7 February 2014|
|Route 521/Route 160 Corridor Study
Rooted in a request by Councilman Brian Carnes for a discussion of the B3 issue at the April 2013 County Council meeting, this project has morphed into a major revamping of Route 521 between Waxhaw Road (Rte 75 east) and the state line and of Rte 160 between Rte 521 and the York County line. Billed as a project developed jointly with the public, public involvement has actually been minimal and the result will be a complete surprise to the public when the complete picture begins to come through.
Treetops DevelopmentThe Planning Commission meeting will be on Tuesday 18 February and the County Council meeting may begin as early as 24 February. All meetings will be held in the County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St., Lancaster beginning at 6:30 PM. County Council must pass the rezoning request at three different meetings for it to take effect. Defeat at any of these three County Council meetings will eliminate it. The Planning Commission meeting will include the only Public Hearing, a chance for any member of the public to speak for five minutes on the specific issue. All the meetings will include a Citizens Comments section, an opportunity for any citizen to address the meeting for three minutes on any topic.
What Can We Do?
What is needed is large numbers of citizens contacting County Council members early and often and large numbers of citizens attending the meetings and speaking against the Treetops development. Citizens can also sign petitions against the Treetops Development; a sample petition is attached.
One of the major arguments for not building the Treetops development is expressed in the Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan adopted in February 2013 at pages 7-46 and 7-47 (176 and 177) (copy here). Segment 2 in the Comprehensive Plan extract refers to the section of Rte. 521 between Jenkins Road, slightly north of Sun City, and the Taylors Grove community near Shiloh - Unity Road and encompasses the Treetops site. What the Comprehensive Plan says several different ways is that building the Treetops site as planned by Matamy Homes would be out of character for the area and thus considered urban sprawl. We agree and believe that the County should stand by its Comprehensive Plan and ask Matamy Homes to put its development elsewhere.
The school situation discussed to the right represents another reason for County Council to deny this rezoning request.
There are several other reasons that County Council should not look favorably on the Matamy rezoning request and information is coming in rapidly. There will be more to report in a couple of days. In the meantime, the Planning Commission meeting is on 18 February. It is time to get petitions signed for presentation at that meeting and people lined up to attend and speak at that meeting. All landowners bordering the Treetops site should be represented and as many others as possible.
Treetops rezoning was discussed at the Planning Commission Workshop meeting on 6 February. Matamy Homes presented a preliminary picture of how they intend to develop the property if County Council approves the rezoning to R30P with the Cluster Development Overlay. Matamy Homes has not purchased the property from the present owner, Thompson Child and Family Focus, Matthews, NC but has an option on the property, which was given to The Family Center, Inc., a 501(c)3 corporation, in 1997 by Mr. Fred Wikoff. Thompson Child and Family Focus is a successor to The Family Center, Inc.
Matamy Homes reported at the meeting that they had spent "several hundred thousand dollars" on the development even though the property has not been rezoned. Apparently a traffic study has been done, although results were not available at the meeting.
The presentation of the development was impressive, although it was a sales presentation and supposed to be impressive. A number of serious flaws are present such as that sections of the development are supposed to be open to the public with no one assigned to care for them. There is no provision for infrastructure requirements, particularly the impact on the School District. Local opposition to the intensive development in this area has been extensive and vocal.
The proposed development is an example of a potentially very nice development located on an small site that is well suited to the development, but the site is in an entirely inappropriate location, a location designated as "an area where intense development should be questioned" in the Comprehensive Plan adopted in February 2013 and as "Low Density Residential" on the Future Land Use Map (Map 11) in that same document.
The Planning Department reported at the meeting that there are currently 1958 residences under construction in Indian Land. Matamy Homes indicated that they are now contemplating 800 residences in Treetops, which will increase this total to 2758 homes coming over the next few years. This is enough to require a complete set of schools, elementary, middle and high school at a potential capital cost to the school system of close to $70MM. The school district does not have access to this kind of money over such a short period of time. There is a very real possibility that these students and Van Wyck students generally will end up getting bussed into Lancaster for school rather than to Indian Land if this project is built.
Easy and sure access to good schools is very important to the success of a residential development and we are concerned that the uncertainty in the school situation combined with the fact that Treetops would be the first development to be built under the newly passed Cluster Overlay could cause the project to fail completely. If this happened the developer would pull out leaving the County to clean up the mess at additional cost to current taxpayers as has happened several times over the last few years. There is no need for taxpayers to accept this risk; the Matamy development should be located elsewhere.
CDC NewsRoxie Tisch is the new Community Development Club Secretary. Thanks to Roxie for accepting this important responsibility.
The tentative schedule of events for 2014 is as follows:
Next meeting: Tuesday 4 March, 7 PM CrimeWatch; 7:30 PM CDC, Community Building.
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner - to be scheduled
AJ Birthday Celebration - 15 March at the park.
Easter Egg Hunt - to be scheduled
Fireworks Party - 4 July (Tentative)
Fall Festival - 6 September
Halloween Party - 25 October
Put up poles for Lighting of the Way - 29 November
Christmas Parade - 13 December
Lighting of the Way - 14 December
Comprehensive Plan KickoffInclement weather on the original date has caused the Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan Rewrite kickoff to be rescheduled to 13 February 2014 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.