The Van Wyck News

Volume 6 Number 7
A Voice for Freedom         28 March 2014

      An interesting situation opened up just prior to the last Council meeting in that the people who run Eagle Rock Camp expressed an interest in the Treetops site. Eagle Rock Camp is dedicated to helping the families of veterans with service related problems heal from their experiences, a program highly complimentary to the Treetops program of helping disadvantaged abused and neglected children heal from their experiences. The Executive Director of the Eagle Rock Camp and the former Executive Director of Treetops spent some time talking together at the beginning of March, and both spoke at the 10 March County Council meeting. It seems clear that the site is big enough that the two programs could co-exist and the combined fund raising abilities of the two organizations and their common interest in helping hurting children would soon tie them together into an organization that could make Treetops outshine even its previous self.
     This information was presented to County Council at the 10 March meeting along with the fact that the Treetops site is actually in the area of responsibility of the Van Wyck Fire Department, not the Indian Land Fire Department, as pointed out by Ms. Jan Tacy, Chair of the Indian Land Fire Commission. It has also been pointed out that the School District is presently coming to terms with the overcrowding expected in Indian Land schools due to reckless expansion of housing in Indian Land over the last ten years. The fact is that students living in the proposed Matamy Homes Treetops Development will be going south to Lancaster to go to school, not north to Indian Land.
     Despite these developments, County Council gave the Matamy Homes Treetops Development proposal first reading with the comment that a development agreement was needed. County Council has since tabled the matter to give Matamy Homes time to prepare a development agreement. It was not on the agenda for the 24 March County Council meeting and it is not clear when it will reappear on the County Council agenda. Development Agreements are subject to Ordinance 663, which requires approval by the Planning Commission, public hearings conducted by both the Planning Commission and County Council and an ordinance. The approval process will take at least two and probably three months.
     Development agreements are usually mechanisms by which the developer provides community assets over and above the houses themselves and the County may provide County resources requested by the developer. During the discussion at the 10 March Council meeting, Matamy Homes proposed widening the streets to alleviate the emergency vehicle access concerns with the 20 foot streets in the Cluster Development Ordinance and donating 125 acres of floodplain to the County for use as a public park. It now turns out that they are also proposing to pay half of the cost of repaving the entire six mile length of Van Wyck Road at a total cost of about $2MM to be shared equally between  SCDOT and Matamy.
     Matamy is expected to ask County Council to transfer the Treetops site from the area of responsibility of the Van Wyck Fire Department to the Indian Land Fire Department and for some sort of preference in allowing its students to attend Indian Land schools. County Council is not in a position to provide either of these amenities; fire district boundaries are the responsibility of the Fire Commission and school attendance zones are the responsibility of the School Board.    
     The fact of the matter is that at this point County Council understands all the issues including the two really large ones, which are are first, “Do the residents of an area get a role in the zoning decisions in that area?” and second, “Is it right for County Council to take from a charitable use and give to a commercial organization?” The ball is in Matamy's court to propose a development agreement and in the School Board's court to propose a mechanism to deal with the coming crunch on the capacity of Indian Land schools.    
     An Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance has been proposed to take care of the infrastructure problems associated with headlong development. Under an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, engineering studies are done to determine the adequacy of public facilities such as schools and roads. Development is allowed only to the extent that the engineering studies determine that the public facilities are adequate. This is an expensive, time consuming and difficult process that has not worked well for others and is little used. It involves use of a rationing system to determine who gets what development is available.
     The one thing that is clear is that the County would be better off if Treetops were retained as a camp dedicated to helping hurting children and not converted to a large housing development.

Privacy Policy

Easter Egg Hunt
     An Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday 12 April at 10:00 AM for children 10 years old and younger at the Community Building. Bring an Easter basket; eggs will be provided. the rain date will be 19 April.
Community Meeting
     CrimeWatch will meet at 7:00 PM and the Community Development Club will meet at 7:30 PM on Tuesday 1 April in the Community Building. 

Comprehensive Plan
     The Catawba Region Council of Governments has made presentations at Andrew Jackson, Indian Land, Buford and Lancaster High Schools concerning some aspects of the Comprehensive Plan for Lancaster County.
     These presentations follow on to a community presentation held on 3 October 2013 at USCL. Some of the results of the 2013 presentation are included here, as is the entire presentation given at Indian Land High School on 19 March 2014. A couple of caveats are in order. The first is that the population and employment numbers are made over very long time frame (out to 2050) and should not be taken as cast in stone. The second is that the preferences expressed were made by the people at the meetings, which were entirely from Rte 5 and north in the Panhandle, with a majority from Sun City at both the 2013 and 2014 meetings.
     The PowerPoint presentation from the March 2014 meetings can be viewed here. Population and job growth trends as projected by the RFATS study can be seen here. Note that this graph is confusing; job growth is shown in red and is much lower than population growth. The job growth scale is on the right hand side of the graph while the population growth scale is on the left hand side of the graph. wants expressed by people at the December 2013 meeting are shown here, those from the March 2014 meeting at ILHS are shown here and here and here.    

Rte 521-160 Corridor Study
     The Rte 521-160 Corridor Study Ordinance is intended to be a model for the way main roads leading into Lancaster look and work. It was approved by the Planning Commission at its regular meeting on 18 March and is expected to be on the agenda of the 15 April County Council meeting for first reading.
     This ordinance will set standards for the appearance of Rte 521 and Rte 160 from the Waxhaw Road (Rte 75 east) intersection with Rte 521 to the state line to the north and to the York County line on the west. The standards call for sidewalks and light landscaping along the road with stores "fronting" on the highway. Large parking areas are hidden from the road behind the stores. Curb cuts into the parking areas will be as often as every 300 feet. The stores will thus have two "fronts", one facing the highway which no one uses and one facing the parking lot which everyone uses.
     What this will do is turn our four lane divided highway into a two lane road with entrance/exit lanes on each side where people are entering and leaving from the 300 foot apart curb cuts. Traffic will slow accordingly. Commuters using Rte 521 to get to and from Charlotte will see bigger and better traffic problems.
     Another difficulty that the proposal faces is cost. Expensive mast arms are required for traffic signal supports rather than wires. SCDOT will not pay for mast arms; the County will have to provide them, and if they are damaged somehow the County will have to pay to repair or replace them. A cost analysis of this proposal is really required before it is adopted. Unfortunately, time is of the essence. Rte 521 looks like a mess, a year and $20k has been spent and this is what we got. Rte 521 is not going to get any better with further delay.   

J.R. Wilt, Editor