Why Incorporate?Van Wyck has been effectively disenfranchised by the political process in Lancaster County. Van Wyck provides perhaps 80% of the land area but only 20% of the registered voters in Lancaster County Council District One. The District One representative on County Council, Larry McCullough, was originally elected in 2008 by Sun City and Indian Land voters and has made it increasingly clear that he, and through him, County Council, regards Van Wyck simply as a source of land for the expansion of Indian Land. That there is an existing community in Van Wyck that has its own ideas for the future of the area is simply irrelevant in the eyes of these people, who have the power to impose their will on the residents of Van Wyck via their ability to control land use, a power given to the County (or the City/Town if there is one) by the State.
Incorporation offers Van Wyck the ability to take control of its own destiny. State law provides that areas organized as cities (or towns - the difference is only in the name) can control their own governmental functions, including land use. Van Wyck is standing at a fork in the road right now. Housing developers are beginning to move into the area, which lacks any sort of development plan. Left to itself, County Council will approve whatever developers want to do, which is whatever the developers can make money at in the short time they are here. LCEDC would run manufacturing down Rte 521 and developers will put in whatever stores, gas stations, cluster developments and other random things seem to be profitable at the time. Van Wyck will turn into Indian Land South.
Alternatively, Van Wyck can incorporate and take control of its own land use. Van Wyck can elect its own City Council, and plan its own development. Manufacturing can be placed in designated areas, shopping in other designated areas, housing can be large houses on large lots, adequate roads can be designed into the plan and built as they are needed, etc.
Decision time is now. Developers are actively working on a second Treetops cluster development and a very large retirement community in northern Van Wyck right now. County Council will make a decision on the Treetops zoning request before the end of the year. The northernmost two miles of Van Wyck could be gone in a few months.
Freedom is never free, and incorporation will not be free, but it will not be expensive either. The new City will receive some revenue from the state from the Local Option Sales Tax and the Local Government Assistance Fund, but will need some property tax revenue as well. This tax is projected to be 50 mils or less. To calculate your cost in dollars per year you will need the assessed valuation of your property from a recent tax bill. Multiply the assessed valuation by 0.05 to find your annual payment in dollars to the new City. This tax will be billed and collected by Lancaster County and the proceeds remitted to the new City. If you need help send your name, the address of the property and the assessed valuation if you have it to email@example.com and I may be able to provide the tax payment information. A typical houseand an acre of land in the Original Incorporation Area is assessed at $2000; the tax on such a house would be $100 per year, not free, but not expensive either.
More InformationThere is more detailed information in the 10 September and 16 September issues of the Van Wyck News. There is a "Subscribe" button on the bottom of each issue of the Van Wyck News, subscription is free and as questions come up, answers will be provided in the Van Wyck News.
The Community Development Club will consider sponsoring a special meeting to discuss Incorporation at its 7 October meeting.
There will be a community meeting regarding Treetops on 13 October 2014 at 7:00 PM at Trinity Baptist Church, 1519 Steele Hill Road in Van Wyck. Mr. Jon Hardy, President of the local Lennar Homes operation which is proposing to build an age restricted cluster subdivision on the Treetops property, will present his vision for the Treetops property and discuss why he thinks this is the most appropriate use of the land. Mr. Hardy, a resident of the Millstone subdivision in Van Wyck, will answer questions and has been asked to present his views on the impact of cluster developments on the future of Van Wyck.
Mr. Hardy is concerned about the level of opposition to his Treetops project from residents of Van Wyck, and hopes to dampen some of this opposition through information to be presented at this meeting. One of the questions that Mr. Hardy was asked as part of the preparation for this meeting was "Suppose that it becomes clear that the Van Wyck community is deeply and heavily opposed to this cluster development. Will you walk away?" to which his reply was "It's way too early to tell."
Lennar Homes has a proposal in the works to change the zoning of the Treetops property from PDD6 to R30P with Cluster Development. This proposal will be heard by the Planning Commission on 21 October and by County Council for first reading conceivably 27 October but more likely on 10 November. The obvious attempt is to get the rezoning approved before this Council ceases to exist on 31 December.
We have been strongly opposing this development.
Other churches and other groups are welcome to organize meetings to discuss this matter; I will be happy to attend and speak at these meetings subject to scheduling requirements. The objective is to make incorporation as transparent as possible. Get involved and choose the development path that you believe to be the best for the community, city and planned development or random development. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
and will be answered promptly.
I've Decided. What's next?If you oppose incorporation, you do nothing.
If you support incorporation you will need to sign a petition. There is more than one petition; please send your name, address, telephone number and the address of the property to be incorporated into the new City to email@example.com and we will get you the correct petition. The details have already been explained here.