The Van Wyck News

Volume 8 Number 7
A Voice for Freedom     11 June 2016
MS4 and Van Wyck
    SCDHEC has included Van Wyck down to Rte 5 along with Indian Land in a massive (58 square mile) MS4 stormwater management area. The Van Wyck area between Sun City and Rte 5 contributes nearly 50% of this area, but only 10% of the population. Considered separately from Indian Land, Van Wyck would not be subject to MS4 regulation and the cost of compliance. In fact, if Van Wyck were incorporated and following the land use policies being considered for the Town of Van Wyck, it would be a long time before Van Wyck accumulated enough paved area to be subject to MS4.   
Jerry Holt Removed From the Planning Commission 
     In a move that seems likely to be short lived< Jerry Holt, Member of the Planning Commission from District 7 (northern Indian Land) was removed from th Planning Commission on Friday 3 June 2016 by Steve Willis, County Administrator for missing five Planning Commission meetings during the current Fiscal Year. Mr. Holt is widely admired for his willingness to actually walk the properties before the Planning Commission, to read, think about and comment on the documents coming before the Planning Commission and to voice well  thought out opinions of the matters in front of the Commission.
     The record indicates that Mr. Holt did miss five meetings. One regularly scheduled meeting was missed to attend the funeral of his father. The others were special meetings scheduled outside the regular schedule that conflicted with other  already scheduled activities in which  Mr. Holt engages, including driving the Veterans Van from Lancaster to Columbia once a week so that veterans from Lancaster can get to the VA Hospital in Columbia and providing free assistance with income tax returns for people in need of help.
     It is to be hoped that saner heads will prevail at the County Council meeting on Monday 13 June and Mr. Holt will be restored to his position on the Planning Commission. It might also make sense to ask what the County Administrator is doing making changes to a Commission which is appointed by County Council specifically to advise County Council on planning matters.   

Van Wyck Incorporation
      The Committee to Incorporate Van Wyck will be hosting an Annexation Meeting in 20 June 2016 at 7:00 PM in the Community Building to discuss possible zoning alternatives for those interested in annexing their property in to the Town of Van Wyck after incorporation. Advantages of annexation include freedom from the risk of involuntary incorporation by Indian Land and the ability to have land use controlled by Van Wyck rather than Lancaster County.
     It should be clear to Van Wyck residents that failing to incorporate and staying in the unincorporated area of Lancaster County will lead to rapid development in the manner of Indian Land. County Council is quite comfortable with its Development Agreements and does not recognize the risks associated with the complete lack of transportation planning or the risks . Mr. McCullough has his development agreement team in place with himself, Mr. Carnes, Mr. Harper, Mr. Honeycutt and Ms. McGriff. The zoning moratorium ends in early September, leaving plenty of time for Mr. McCullough to ram through his developments before the current County Council is history.

     Avondale is the name of a 179 acre proposed development  near the intersection of Calvin Hall and Harrisburg Roads in the far northern reaches of the Panhandle. Avondale, also known as PDD-27, incorporates property of fourteen different landowners, most of whom are selling the last bits of family property remaining in the Panhandle and moving elsewhere. In a proposal notable for its almost complete disregard for the current UDO, it was slapped together to beat the moratorium last spring, taken through several iterations each notable for lack of compliance with the UDO. The proposal was finally rejected by County Council at its 11 January 2016 meeting.
     The Agreement proposed at the 11 January 2016 Council meeting roughly tripled the density of dwelling units to be built in an already overcrowded area from 1.5 per acre to 4.1 per acre. The actual number of dwelling units went from 268 to 730. The proposed payment in support of the school system was, at $500 per dwelling unit, a small fraction of the $30,000 cost to provide an additional seat in a school. In an area with extensive traffic problems, there was no provision to provide additional road improvements in support of the 730 dwelling units to be built. More to the point, the County was accepting $1.1MM to be paid when the houses are actually being built several years from now for the right to build the development as proposed without governmental interference, a right that can be sold right now and cannot be revoked. The County is also accepting tens of millions of dollars in long term taxpayer obligations for roads and schools in support of the development. This is not an agreement with an upside for taxpayers and was quite properly rejected by County Council.
        After the Executive Session following the 23 May 2016 County Council meeting,  Councilwoman McGriff announced that there would be a Motion to Rescind the rejection of the Avondale Development presented at the 13 June 2016 County Council meeting.
     Councilman Carnes announced in the Facebook pages for Concerned Citizens of Indian Land and Go Indian Land that Sinicori Builders, the developer of Avondale, has come forward with a new proposal asserting that they plan to buy and develop the property whether Avondale is approved or not. If Avondale is approved,  Sinicori can afford to give the County a donation toward the capital cost of the public safety system required to protect the area, give the School District a donation to support the cost of the schools that will be required to support the development and give the County 10 acres of land. If Avondale is not approved, the land will be developed as three smaller villages and the donations to the County and School District will not be forthcoming.
     Broadly, the latest Sinicori deal is to give the County 10 acres of land and develop most of the remaining land at 2.9 du/acre rather than 1.5. With the deal Sinicori can afford to make limited road improvements in the area and give the County some money. Sinicori can also sell the development rights, which are binding on the County forever. The taxpayers pick up 98% of the cost for schools and 100% of the cost of roads outside the immediate area of the development. The taxpayers are picking up tens of millions of dollars in costs that the County is choosing to simply ignore.
     The taxpayers would be better off simply purchasing the land that they need for Indian Land recreation.     
Privacy Policy

UDO Woes
     The UDO Revision moves slowly forward largely behind closed doors. Copies are generally not available to the public and those that are available to the public have been revised and the revised versions are not available to the public. The zoning moratorium for Indian Land is scheduled to end on 8 September.
     In a major change affecting Van Wyck, Ms. Drane and Karagouns decided on their own to redo Van Wyck's zoning, creating a new zoning district called Rural Neighborhood (RN) in the process. The area of Bon Rea Drive and Serenity Lane has been reclassified as a  Mobile Home Park  (MHP) and the area formerly classified as Rural Residential is now classified as Rural Neighborhood.
     There is every indication that this change has been made to permit the designation of the area between Sun City and Rte. 5 as a transitional area with a higher housing density, 1.5 or even 2 houses per acre. Subdivisions will be built in this area as in Indian Land.
     This is not in accord with the clearly expressed wishes of the people who live in the area, who have for several years fought for and achieved a density no higher than 1 house per acre. 
     There is a growing concern that the new UDO will not be released with enough time for members of the public to read and understand it and change it before adoption. The zoning moratorium is scheduled to end on 8 September. This date has been chosen because it allows this County Council to implement a number of new subdivisions before 1 January when a new County Council takes control. If the new UDO is to become law before the moratorium ends, first reading will need to be at the second Council meeting in July. The Planning Commission will need to act at its 19 July meeting. The new UDO is about 1200 pages long, much of it densely packed tables of highly technical information. If the entire text were released today there would not be enough time to read, comprehend and comment on it, much less propose changes and get them discussed and acted upon. It seems that we are dealing with the Lancaster County version of Obamacare. You have to pass it so you can find out what is in it. We cannot afford this. Time to work on extending the moratorium.

Vote Tuesday 14 June
     The County Council District One seat will be decided by this election.  No one has filed to oppose the victor of this election in November. I am running for this seat in the belief that I will be able to do a better job for taxpayers because I have been working the problems from the sidelines for several years. You can read what I have been doing in other areas of this page. I need the ability to force Council to confront these issues by making motions and voting.


J.R. Wilt Editor