The Van Wyck News

Volume 6 Number 13
A Voice for Freedom         20 July 2014
Treetops
     The Matamy Homes Development Agreement for the Treetops development was on the agenda for the 15 July Planning Commission meeting, but was removed by Matamy Homes at 4 PM on Monday 14 July for unstated reasons. This matter is far from over, but the next time it can come back is at the 19 August Planning Commission meeting. Anyone wanting to be added to the Treetops mailing list can click here and enter your email address. You will be sent and "Are you sure?" email, when you click on the link provided in that email indicating that you are sure the listserv will add you to the mailing list.

Council Goes Debt Crazy
Over Roads
     At its 14 July meeting County Council expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the fact that the project list generated by the Capital Project Sales Tax Commission included $12.8MM for libraries. Council was sufficiently unhappy that it sent the project list back to the Commission with a request to bring the project list back at the 28 July Council meeting with 75 - 80% roads. Council backed up its options with First Reading by Title Only of a Transportation Sales Tax for a 1% sales tax for eight years that would be 100% for roads. In this way, if the Capital Project Sales Tax Committee does not come back with a project list that includes enough roads, Council can deep six that proposal entirely and approve the Transportation Sales Tax proposal that would be 100% roads.
     When asked how projects like the library would be funded if the sales tax revenues were directed entirely to roads, the reply was that such projects could be funded by conventional bond issues paid for with property tax increases.
     The Capital Project Sales Tax Commission met Friday morning 18 July and decided to expand the dollars available for roads by not bonding the funds for road projects and by funding only part of the cost for the other projects. Proponents of those projects would thus be challenged to find a portion of the money from other sources, such as grants and donations. This would mean that the road improvements would not start until mid to late 2016 because the money from the sales tax, which will not start until the Courthouse is paid off in late 2015, will have to accumulate before the projects can be started. This is not likely to sit well with the politicians, who will need to see results before the 2016 elections and will need to spend about 15% of the sales tax proceeds to assure this via a bond, which would allow the money to be spent within a few months.
     The Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission will meet to finalize its proposal on Tuesday morning 22 July at 9:00 AM in the County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St., Lancaster.      

Retirement Community?
     Rumor has a large retirement community other than Sun City seeking property on the west side of Rte 521 north of Waxhaw Road and south of Sun City. Steve Willis, County Manager, indicated that the County has heard rumors also and some reports of purchase options being signed, but nothing beyond informal inquiries about the law, which the County does not track, has taken place.  Steve went on to say that the County would not participate with a developer in forming such a development beyond enforcing the law.
     Residents of the area should be aware that there are several interests competing for projects in the area. There is a large flood plain around Six Mile Creek that is a major consideration in any development plans. I understand that the CSX Railroad freight yard option is off the table and that the flood plain is a major negative factor in any industrial development plans. The preferred route for the Dave Lyle Extension and
its associated commercial corridor is through the area  with the flood plain again a major consideration in exactly where this much needed route to I77 will be located. The pristine frontage along Rte 521 is a major attraction for commercial developers now that the disastrous Rte 521 Corridor Study has been adopted and applied to this area.
     Most of this 2.14 mile long stretch along Rte 521 is zoned residential, R30P or R30S with a small section of business zoning (B3) near the intersection with Van Wyck Road. Although possible, development of this area in any practical sense will require rezoning to commercial or to include the Cluster Development option for residential development.
     Property owners should certainly feel free to sell or sell options on their property at any time, preferably with the advice of a certified real estate attorney. Property owners should also feel free to hang on to their property secure in the knowledge that there are many options available in the area and that the law provides many protections to their interests. Threats of any kind are completely inappropriate and should always be reported, to me if no one else will listen. I am not an attorney and cannot promise results, but I can promise a sympathetic hearing.
jrwilt@vanwyckpress.com               

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Rev. Dr. and Mrs William M. Johnson and family
50th Anniversary
     Bill and Sandy Johnson celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary last week with a full family, multi-day party on Hilton Head. Part of the family returned with Bill and Sandy to Van Wyck for a surprise second party at Van Wyck Presbyterian Church on Sunday 13 July. Bill is the Interim Pastor at Van Wyck Presbyterian Church. Bill's son Michael preached. Michael is pastor of a church in New Jersey, .     
Comprehensive Plan
      The County Comprehensive Plan is currently being rewritten by the Catawba River Council of Governments under an $80k contract with Lancaster County. The Population, Natural Resources and Cultural Resources elements are largely complete and are available in draft form here. The Population Element contains substantial errors in the way the data is presented in the charts on pages 4, 6 and 9. These errors have been reported to the author and are expected to be corrected in the next version. Citizens are welcome to review and comment on this material. Please either send comments to me at jrwilt@vanwyckpress.com or copy me on comments submitted elsewhere so that I can track them. Anything that comes to me will be sent to the author and the Lancaster County Planning  Department.
     The next three elements should be available in draft form around 8 August and the final three around the first of September. The plan is to have the complete document to the Planning Commission in October and to County Council by the first meeting in November for approval by 1 January 2015.
     The Future Land Use Map comes toward the end of this process and we will be seeking substantial revisions to the Van Wyck portion of this document.
Several years ago the Van Wyck area was zoned R30P, Residential, 1.5 houses per acre despite the fact that much of the area is actually used for farmland and small lots in Van Wyck are usually at least one acre and often larger.
     The Future Land Use Map is used to guide development in the County over the next 10 years or more, and it is important to get it the way we want it. I don't know anyone who wants to see Van Wyck developing like Indian Land. Please send me comments at jrwilt@vanwyckpress.com.    

UDO Rewrite
     Following immediately on the Comprehensive Plan rewrite (above) is a rewrite of the County's antique Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), scheduled to begin in January 2015. Kara Drane, the planning consultant at the Catawba Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) has, however, received a small amount of money to begin scoping out the project to see what needs to be done. Her inital report is here and here. The objective of the UDO rewrite will be to have the revised code approved by Coubty Council by the end of December 2015.     
                
Privacy Policy

Post Office Meeting
     On 9 July Brian White, Post Office Office Manager responsible for post offices in this region, met with about 50 Van Wyck residents to discuss changes in the hours during which the Van Wyck Post Office will be open and other mail delivery related issues.
     The US Postal Service plans to reduce the hours during which the Van Wyck Post Office is open to 4 hours per day, Monday through Friday, probably beginning in January 2015. Our indispensable Van Wyck Postmistress Betty George has expressed an interest in retiring and continuing to work at the Van Wyck Post Office on a part time basis, and will probably be able to do this. During which four hour stretch the Post Office will be open is to be decided, with suggestions ranging from 8 - 12 AM to 12:30 - 4:30 PM. The lobby and Post Office Boxes will continue to be available 24/7.
     The Lancaster post office provides delivery service throughout the Van Wyck area; residents desiring home delivery of their mail need to talk to the Lancaster Postmaster. Whatever policies might have been in the past, there are no addresses in the Van Wyck area to which the Lancaster Post Office will not deliver mail.    

LCEDC Strategic Plan
     The Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation is in the process of adopting a new strategic plan, and for the first time Van Wyck will have its own session on that plan. Joshua Langen, Project Manager with the Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation, is tentatively scheduled to speak at the 5 August meeting of the Community Development Club pending approval of CDC officers.
     If time cannot be found during the CDC meeting to hear the LCEDC presentation, a separate meeting will be scheduled a little later in August to hear it.    

No I-1 Zoning on Rte 521 
     The Planning Commission met on 15 July and considered a request by the County to rezone the property containing the old Comporium Operations Center on the east side of Rte 521 about 2 miles south of the Rte 5 intersection. The County owns the property and LCEDC has proposed leasing it to a European manufacturer of plastic pipe, which would require rezoning the property from B-3 Business to I-1 Light Industrial. This would open the property up to a number of uses that would be objectionable to nearby residents. In addition, the County just spent substantial money to get the building Food Service Certified; leasing to a plastic pipe manufacturer would destroy the Food Service rating. Planning Staff opposed the change; I spoke as a resident of the Van Wyck Community also opposing the change on the basis that Industrial development along this stretch of Re. 521 is not in the best interests of the community. The Planning Commission agreed 5 - 0 opposing the change. The matter will go to County Council during August.     


JRWilt
J.R. Wilt, Editor
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