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Cluster development and your taxes

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If you live in Lancaster County, you are paying high property taxes and putting up with lousy services today because for 10 years, your County Council has approved virtually every residential development request to come before it.
This has been done without any thought given to where the roads, schools, police, fire, EMS, libraries, etc. are coming from to support these people.
More than 11,000 homes have been approved in Indian Land over the last 10 years, although fewer than 7,000 have been built and been occupied.
Traffic is terrible; the schools are overcrowded and underfunded; U.S. 521 looks terrible; your property taxes have been going up the maximum amount every year for schools and county both; the county is proposing to make the 1 percent sales tax permanent and will be looking for new taxes to impose in 2015.
This is a heavy load caused entirely by poor and absent planning.
County Council will consider a proposal for “cluster development” on Nov. 25 that is the Next Big Thing in residential development. Introduction of cluster development is intended to start a new boom in residential development as developers move to implement the Next Big Thing.
There is no plan. There is no plan as to where to put these things, no plan to provide for the services required to support the people that will move here and no plan to pay for these services other than to raise existing taxes and think up and implement new ones.
Enough is enough. We are getting ready to rewrite the county’s comprehensive plan and Unified Development Ordinance over the next couple of years. It is silly to duplicate the existing problems, while we are working on a better approach.
We need to grow, but we need to grow intelligently, plan that growth and figure out how to pay for it. We should be planning growth, not letting growth do our planning for us.
That’s what led to the present difficulties with high taxes, poor services and problems that will be very difficult to solve.
When you are digging a hole and the sides are collapsing, the first thing to do is stop digging. County Council is proposing to bring in a backhoe to dig the hole bigger and faster.
That’s not what we need right now.

J.R. Wilt
Van Wyck