The Van Wyck News
8 Number 6
||A Voice for Freedom||3 May 2016|
To the People of the New
Town of Van Wyck
The Incorporation Proposal discussed and approved at the 15 February 2016 Town Meeting has been prepared and submitted to the Secretary of the State of South Carolina for approval as required by law on 24 March 2016. I received portions of the Incorporation Proposal back from Melissa Dunlap, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Legal Counsel on 12 April with a request for minor changes. These changes have been made and the Amended Van Wyck Incorporation Proposal and three Amended Exhibits were sent to Ms. Dunlap by electronic means on 21 April. Ms. Dunlap replied that she was happy with the electronic submission and would respond shortly.
On 28 April Ms. Dunlap did reply that the electronically submitted material had been forwarded to the Joint Municipal Incorporation Committee of the Legislature along with the rest of the original Proposal. She asked that the originals of the Amended material be forwarded to her for inclusion with the rest of the originals in this matter. The next step will be the scheduling of a meeting by the Joint Municipal Incorporation Committee, which I expect to be open to the public. It would be appropriate for a group from Van Wyck, particularly from the Incorporation Area, to plan to attend that meeting.
A Town Hall Meeting for residents of the Incorporation Area was held on Sunday 1 May to brief the residents of the Incorporation Area on the current status of the Incorporation Proposal and on the actions that will be required after the Incorporation Proposal has been approved by the Secretary of State to actually form the government for the Town of Van Wyck.
On approval of the Incorporation Proposal, the Secretary of State will issue Commissions to conduct an election to three Registered Voters from the Town of Van Wyck Proposed Incorporation Area. Known as Electors, the commissions will entitle these individuals to cause an election to be conducted in the Incorporation Area at least 20 days but not more than 90 days after granting of the Commission. The election will allow the Registered Voters living in the Incorporation Area to determine whether or not to approve formation of the new Town, the Town's name, its form of government, the number and manner of election of its Town Council, whether the Town Council is partisan or nonpartison and the terms of the Mayor and Town Council.
If the first election approves formation of the new Town, the Secretary of State will issue a Certificate of Incorporation which will become effective on election of four Town Council Members and a Mayor, all running at large. This group of five will operate the new Town for the first two years, after which a new election will elect a Mayor and Council according to the decisions made in the first election. All subsequent elections will follow this latter format.
TOILThis link CN2TV2016415 should bring up a CN2 News story from 15 April that indicates that the Town of Indian Land Incorporation people (TOIL) are supportive of the Van Wyck Incorporation Effort. Be that as it may, TOIL continues to solicit signatures on the same petitions as before, which include Van Wyck down to Rte. 5 Thus if the Van Wyck Incorporation Proposal should fail for some reason, Indian Land will be right there to take over Van Wyck. The choice for Van Wyck is thus to incorporate itself and form and run its own government or be incorporated by Indian Land and be run as part of Indian Land's government. If both incorporation efforts fail, the County stands ready to carpet the entire area between Rte. 5 and Sun City with cluster developments on a "like it or not" basis.
The zoning moratorium ends on 8 June unless it is extended. Developers now have a large sewer line extending down Van Wyck Road as far as Treetops which can easily be extended over to Rte. 521 and also be run further down Van Wyck Road. The new UDO, which will be put in place over the next couple of months, includes the Cluster Development Overlay and the Rte 521/Rte 160 Overlay District from the state line on the north to Rte 75 East (Waxhaw Road) on the south. There is a movement at the County to extend the Rte 521/Rte 160Overlay District south, perhaps all the way to Shiloh-Unity Road. There is no protection in place for the area around AJ State Park.
The UDO is in the final stages of its approval process now. This is the time when those with political influence seek to make the subtle wording changes that will allow them to mold the new ordinance to their liking after approval. These sessions are taking place behind closed doors. It is essential that the public demand that the final text of the new UDO be released several weeks before its first consideration by County Council to give citizens a chance to study the new document while there is still a chance to bring these changes to light. Once the document has begun the process through County Council it will be very difficult to change.
As soon as the moratorium is over and the new UDO is in place, it is to be expected that the developers will descend.
The Town of Van Wyck has been envisioned from the beginning as a Town where rural and metropolitan land uses would co-exist. We value our farms, but we also value our developing network of large homes on large lots and the potential for retail shopping space that may come in the future. We also value agricultural uses that depend on nearby large metropolitan areas to provide markets for activities such as raising fresh berries and corn mazes.
These diverse land uses require a certain degree of mutual tolerance between agricultural users and municipal minded landowners. Roosters crow, spreading manure stinks, farm equipment makes noise and sometimes runs early in the morning and late at night. The Town of Van Wyck is going to have to make known that such practices are not nuisances in the Town, but accepted business practices by farmers, a valued part of this community. The State Agricultural Nuisance law 46-45-10 et. seq., which is the law that currently governs the nuisance aspect of agriculture operations in Lancaster County, may be of some help.
Adoption of a Town-Wide Agricultural Nuisance Law is expected to substantially increase the comfort level with annexation of many agricultural landowners. Additional ordinances approving specific uses for specific areas and specific parcel sizes will also be required.
Stormwater - MS4The entire County area north of Rte 5 has been included in the SMS4 Stormwater Management District by SCDHEC. SMS4 is a pollution control measure intended to protect drinking water from pollution caused by contact with the large areas of asphalt covered surfaces found in metropolitan areas. Van Wyck is well south of the area of Indian Land that is required by its population density to be included in SMS4; SCDHEC is no doubt being proactive and anticipating that the area will develop rapidly now that the breach has been made by Treetops and the sewer lines are marching south. The work involved in SMS4 is the establishment of a network of monitoring stations, periodic testing of samples for various pollutants and reporting the results. If pollution is found, measures must be implemented to control it. The program is the responsibility of the County right now, but will become the responsibility of the Town of Van Wyck for the area of the Town if the present incorporation effort is successful.
The County is entitled to charge a separate fee to taxpayers to cover the cost of providing the SMS4 service. The fee will be based on the amount of "hardened land area" owned by the landowner; it is not a property tax, although the charge will appear as a separate line item on property tax bills beginning in October of 2016. It is not yet clear whether County Council will choose to apply the "Stormwater Tax" to the entire County or only to the portion of the County affected by the current DHEC order. The cost of the program is expected to quickly escalate to potentially $1MM/year or more. Given a new reason to send taxpayers a bill, County management is expected to piggyback a number of pet projects that have not been funded in the past onto this project and thus pad the bill considerably. Taxpayers will need to be vigilent.
Business RegistrationIn a fit of zeal unanticipated three years ago, County Council has decided that it simply must have a business registration ordinance and require each business to pay $15.00 every year and tell the County what it does. Although the preaching is along the lines of how beneficial this would be to everyone and how it would be possible to know about hazardous materials stored on every site and the like, the actual motive seems to be pure nosiness. My understanding is that the Volunteer Fire Departments already have the hazardous material information on each fire truck.