Written Questions Submitted at the Van Wyck Public Meeting on 13 October 2014

1. What is the difference in becoming a town?
Answer: As an incorporated area, whether it is called a city or a town, Van Wyck would take responsibility for providing the functions of government to its citizens rather than accepting the level of governmental service provided by the County or other organization designated by the State of South Carolina. As an incorporated area, Van Wyck would have an elected Mayor and Town Council composed of citizens of Van Wyck that would be responsible for providing the functions of government. Citizens of Van Wyck would have complete control over who served on the Town Council and as Mayor, and thus over the working of the functions of government. At present the functions of government are provided by Lancaster County, which is run by Lancaster County Council. Because of the way Lancaster County Council is set up, rural areas such as Van Wyck have no control at all over who serves on Lancaster County Council or on what County Council does.          

2. Does Lennar not think that there is a need for our community to have a place to invest in our youth?
Answer:  This question has been referred to Mr. Jon Hardy, President of the local Lennar Homes organization, for reply. When his reply is received it will be posted here.

3. Does all the Van Wyck Community understand that this incorporation is at this time a suggestion for the future of a protected Van Wyck?
Answer:  We have started calling on people who live in Van Wyck and asking this question. We are finding that most people understand that Van Wyck faces a large risk from County land mamagement practices and that incorporation will protect against that risk.

4. Will this project make taxes go up in this area?
Answer: Yes, property taxes will increase some. The new city or town will have to have money in order to operate. Some money is available from the state Local Government Fund and from the Local Option Sales Tax, but we anticipate that some property tax revenue will be necessary also. We believe that the property tax will be 50 mils or less, and are finding that most area residents feel that this is a reasonable price to pay for protection from the County's arbitrary and often senseless land use decisions. For the owner of a $100,000 house this represents a tax increase of about $100 per year.

5. How is this project going to benefit the community that has no public venues or entry locations in the area?
Answer: Not sure who these people are, but we believe that all the residents of Van Wyck will benefit from rational land use planning. It makes no sense to build houses without assuring that there are roads available that will allow the future residents to get to and from work and the Interstate Highway system, that the roads will be maintained as needed, that good schools are available for their children within a reasonable distance, that parks and recreational opportunities are readily available, that public and commercial facilities are well built and look attractive, etc. We believe that land values will increase as it becomes clear that Van Wyck will be an extraordinary place to be.
     By contrast, Indian Land is just beginning to become aware of the extent of the problems that ten years of uncontrolled growth has brought. These problems, particularly those with roads and schools, will be both difficult and expensive to fix. If Van Wyck does not act now to protect itself if will get caught up in the Indian Land situation and be destroyed by it.

6. How does this community benefit those of us already living here?
Answer: See the answer to Question #5 above. Everyone will benefit from rational land use planning.

7. What will this project do to our current taxes?
Answer: Initially property taxes will increase by 50 mils or less. As time goes on residents may choose to raise taxes to receive some governmental service that they do not now receive. If they do this it will be because the residents of Van Wyck have voted to do it, not because the County has imposed a decision in which the residents of Van Wyck have no voice.

8. In what ways are you willing to admit that this development could hurt current residents financially?
Answer: Assuming that "this development" means the Lennar Treetops development, to the extent that Lennar needs to build family housing rather than age-restricted housing, it will accelerate the day when all Van Wyck school children will be bussed to Lancaster for school. More than that, the Treetops cluster development will be the first of many, built wherever the developers can find a willing seller with enough land available to build one. As the sewers come marching down Van Wyck Road and Rte 521, random development Indian Land style will follow. Compare this with a community that has taken the trouble to preserve its farmland and its value, preserve its trees, encourage housing appropriate to the roads and schools available to support it, encourage appropriate industry to locate in the areas with the specialized infrastructure available to support industry and make sure that all development looks attractive.There is no doubt at all that the latter community will be more attractive to potential residents whether individuals, businesses orcommeail concerns. More attractive places yield higher land values, particularly over the long term. Once random development has ruined an area, it is impossible to recover without massive investment to tear down what was done wrong. It is necessary to do it right from the beginning.