The Van Wyck News
8 Number 4
||A Voice for Freedom||7 March 2016|
Van Wyck Organizes
Van Wyck has organized the "Citizens for the Preservation of Van Wyck" (CPVW) to oppose the efforts of the Voters for A Town of Indian Land (TOIL) to incorporate Van Wyck into Indian Land. In its highly successful first operation, the CPVW opposed the TOIL effort to collect petition signatures at precincts during the Republican Presidential Primary on 20 February 2016. CPVW stationed teams of people at precincts in both Van Wyck and Indian Land to distribute literature to voters exiting the polls and offer voters the opportunity to sign petitions opposing the incorporation of Van Wyck into Indian Land.
Turnout at the Republican Primary Election on 20 February was very heavy, while turnout at the 27 February Democratic Primary Election was remarkably light. It would seem that a large number of Democratic voters chose to vote in the Republican Primary election, the first time that Democrats have had the opportunity to make such a choice. If the Democratic voters crossed party lines to vote for Donald Trump, this is a significant trend for the General Election.
In a separate effort headed by J.R. Wilt and Keith Starnes, Van Wyck is seeking to incorporate itself as the Town of Van Wyck. This is the resurrection of an effort tabled last year due to lack of support from property owners wishing to annex their land into the Town of Van Wyck after incorporation. The existence of the threat of incorporation by Indian Land seems to have made many people see the benefit to association with the Town of Van Wyck, and the resurrected effort is moving right along. Incorporation into the Town of Van Wyck is, of course, the ultimate protection against incorporation by anyone else. If costs can be kept down, and we believe they can, the result will be a very attractive community of large lots with large houses and very low impact on infrastructure.
The Treetops Tax
On Van Wyck
On 8 December 2014 County Council imposed the Treetops development of 800 homes on the protesting and unwilling community of Van Wyck. Van Wyck had been fighting this development for three years; the previous developer had gone almost the whole way through the process and withdrawn in July 2014. Within sixty days a determined County Council had located a new builder and in another sixty days had reworked the required comprehensive plan change, development agreement, and zoning change ordinances. Over the space of about twenty minutes at the 8 December 2014 County Council meeting a single minded County Council did the deed, forever destroying a beautiful and much valued piece of Van Wyck, originally donated by Fred Wycoff as a camp for handicapped children. The vote on the Amendment to the Future Land Use Map was 4 -3 with Larry MCullough, Jack Estridge and Bob Bundy opposing. On the Development Agreement and zoning ordinances the vote was 5-2 with Jack Estridge and Bob Bundy opposing.
Fifteen months have passed. The bulldozers have come and gone, the trees have been killed and their carcassas taken away, the rape of the land is complete. The first houses will be built this spring.
It is time to think about fire protection for this community, which will expand to 800 homes over the next few years, most of them only 15 feet apart. The County provided a $75 per house per year fee for fire protection, which will yield at most a few hundred dollars this year, increasing to about $65k in eight or ten years as the project builds out.
The rub is that adequate fire protection for this development is going to require full time firefighters beginning in three or four years. Full time firefighters come in pairs, and cost about $100k per year per pair. The revenue from the Treetops fire fee is unlikely to exceed $30k in year 4, leaving a deficit of about $70k for the Vsn Wyck fire department to cover. The Town of Van Wyck is unlikely to be affected, since the Treetops development need not be annexed into the Town of Van Wyck. The County has indicated that it has no plans to provide any support to the Van Wyck Fire Department in this situation.
The question is to what extent does the County have the right to impose a development on an unwilling community and expect the community to pick up a substantial tax burden in order to provide fire protection to the unwanted development? I would have to argue that the obligation to provide fire protection belongs to the County, and if the County chooses to place a large development in an area served by a small fire department, the County is obligated to provide the small department with whatever support is required to do the job.
Van Wyck Submits
Van Wyck's Incorporation Proposal was submitted to the Secretary of State by the Incorporation Committee on Monday, 7 March 2016 following a marathon work session and unanimous approval at a quickly called but well attended community meeting on Saturday, 5 March.
The community became heavily concerned when rumors began circulating on Wednesday, 2 March, that the TOIL people were preparing to file an incorporation proposal that would forcibly incorporate Van Wyck into Indian Land. Resistance to this proposal by TOIL was very high in Van Wyck, and the Incorporation Committee responded by finding new and better ways to get some things done and working hard Thursday and Friday to compile the required information and get the Incorporation Proposal finished. At the same time the Committee for the Preservation of Van Wyck was working hard to organize a community meeting for Saturday afternoon, at which the completed Van Wyck Incorporation Proposal was presented to the community with adequate opportunity for questions. After extensive discussion the community accepted the recommendation of the Incorporation Committee and the Committee for the Preservation of Van Wyck that the Incorporation Proposal be submitted to the Secretary of State and a new chapter in the century long history of Van Wyck begin.
The courier was surprised to find when he arrived at the Secretary of State's Office that a 15 day notice requirement that thought to be waivable was to be enforced. The courier was asked to return on 22 March with the Incorporation Proposal, which would then be accepted for filing. We were further informed that TOIL had not yet submitted a Notice of Intent to File.
This is disappointing news for Van Wyck, but encouraging in that the immediate threat from TOIL is gone. The most that TOIL can do is file a Notice of Intent to File and wait two weeks in line behind Van Wyck. They cannot get their Incorporation Proposal approved before the Van Wyck Proposal is heard. We can get on with the Annexation Project, which is the key to success for the new Town of Van Wyck.