The Van Wyck News

Volume 6 Number 6
A Voice for Freedom          26 February 2014

      I expect the Matamy Homes proposal to develop Treetops to be on the County Council agenda for 10 March at 6:30 PM in the County Administration Building, 101 N Main Street, Lancaster.
     The proposal must pass County Council three times at separate meetings to become law. If it is defeated at any of these three required votes it is gone. There will be no further Public Hearings on the Proposal, but the material from the Pubic Hearing held at the Planning Commission meeting on 18 February will be available to County Council in the briefing materials for the 10 March meeting.
      Oral comments at the County Council meeting will have to be made during the Citizens Comments portion of the meeting; citizens will have 3 minutes to speak. Council allocates 30 minutes at the beginning of the meeting for Citizen's Comments and the time is shared with other items on the agenda. Council may decide to spend more than 30 minutes on Citizens Comments and will if it appears that a few additional minutes will allow everyone to be heard, but if the time required to hear everyone appears excessive, some Citizen Comments will be heard at the end of the business meeting. This, of course, does little good, since the decisions that the Comments were intended to affect will already have been made. Citizens Comments need to be brief and to the point, numbers are far more impressive than  long arguments at this point.
      Supporting material will be in both the Carolina Gateway and the Lancaster News next week.
      What we have to do is show Council on 24 March is that there is overwhelming opposition, particularly in the local area, to the Matamy Homes Development Proposal for Treetops. Tools to do this are petitions, direct communication with Council members, attendance and speaking at the Council meeting, submission of a smail letter directly to a Council member or to Debbie Hardin, Clerk to Council at the County Administration Building, use of the Citizens Comments link on the County website or all of the above.
      A petition form is attached.  Many people need to sign the new petition. It will be better if people sign and date above the text in the middle of the block on the petition and print their name and address information below the text in the middle of the box per the example in the upper left of each petition. People standing outside the Wal Mart entrances in Lancaster and Indian Land could easily obtain 1000 signatures in a few hours. Going door to door around the Treetops site can produce signatures of every property owner sharing a border with the Treetops site.
      Contact information for Council members is here.
      Large numbers of people showing up at the Council meeting in opposition to the Matamy proposal will be very effective.
      The next most impressive thing that we can show Council is petitions objecting to the development signed by large numbers of residents living along Van Wyck Road and the roads branching off of it.
     Arguments opposing the Matamy Homes Proposal are entirely appropriate in these communications. Some arguments follow:
1. The School District has begun developing policies under which students will be assigned to available schools. Transportation of students from Indian Land to other schools with more room is becoming a reality. Indian Land school overcrowding will be made much worse by the Matamy Homes proposal.
2. A few of us have begun to look at the possibility of resurrecting the Treetops Camp idea originally formulated by Mr. Wikoff and are believing that, given access to the land, this may be possible. A lot of things would have to happen, but foundations that supported Treetops in the past have been approached and have written directly to County Council expressing support for this possibility if it should become available.
3. The Traffic Study submitted in support of the Matamy proposal does not include the 6 - 7 AM time frame in which the giant traffic jam on Rte 521 occurs each school day. The picture presented is very misleading.
4. The poor condition of Van Wyck Road is mentioned in the traffic study and is referred to SCDOT for repair. SCDOT has no money to fix the problem, which has been with SCDOT for some time.
5. There is no development plan for Van Wyck, Indian Land or Lancaster County.    

Privacy Policy

Risks to Van Wyck
      The primary reason that Van Wyck has not developed along the same model as Indian Land is the lack of sewer in the Van Wyck area. Modern sewage treatment depends on the delivery of sewage to the treatment plant without much delay after its generation; this means a fairly substantial community at the far end of the pipe to keep the material flowing. The Matamy Treetops community, if built, will provide such an anchor. It will also provide a connection point for the next large community to be built further south on Van Wyck Road. Thus the large communities will march south along Van Wyck Road, bringing the sewage lines with them.
     A second risk to Van Wyck is that much of the area is zoned R30P, which can be developed at 1.5 houses per acre without asking permission from County Council or the Planning Commission. R30P is intended to be low density residential, but is actually much higher density than is present in most of Van Wyck. Most residents of Van Wyck seem to believe that when the area develops it will be at 5 acres per house. With the present zoning that is not going to happen.
     Changing the zoning is not difficult and need not be expensive. A category that would fit Van Wyck does not exist; the first step would be to decide what to do and create the required category. This process is called making a text amendment to the zoning law and requires an ordinance from County Council. Anyone can propose a text amemdment, the fee is $250.
     Once the required category has been created, it is necessary to apply it to specific parcels of land. This requires an ordinance from County Council. Again the fee is $250, which can probably be split among several properties being rezoned at the same time.
     A third risk to Van Wyck is the complete lack of any sort of plan. If built, the Treetops development will be home to about 2500 people at the most recent projection by Matamy Homes of 800 homes. There is plenty of room along Van Wyck Road for three more of these developments, and 10,000 people will live along Van Wyck Road. That's half the present population of Indian Land. How will these people get to work? Without the Dave Lyle Extension, how will they get to I-77? Where will they shop? Where will their kids go to school? How will we do all these things dodging through the 20,000 new cars clogging our roads?
     Wake up, Van Wyck!

CDC Meeting
     The Community Development Club will meet on Tuesday 4 March in the Community Building with CrimeWatch at 7:00 PM and the Club meeting at 7:30 PM. Michael Maffucci is proposing to buy the property on the northeast corner of Old Hickory Road and Steel Hill Road, get it re-zoned and develop it. He would like to talk to the community about his plans.