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Letters mailed to residents of mussel overlay district

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By Jenny Hartley

INDIAN LAND - If you live in the Six Mile Creek basin, you'll probably get a letter from Lancaster County concerning the Carolina heelsplitter this week.

The Lancaster County Planning Department is sending out about 3,000 letters to residents and property owners in the Six Mile Creek basin, which is east of U.S. 521 in the Panhandle. County Council is working on measures to protect the heelsplitter, an endangered mussel, which lives in Six Mile Creek in Indian Land.

The letters will notify property owners in this area about the Carolina heelsplitter overlay district, which will require rezoning by County Council. Council and a newly appointed commission are working on measures for property development that will protect the mussel, which is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

At its Feb. 25 meeting, council approved the 11-member commission that will work on the protection measures over the next several months.

Members of the new commission are: Lindsay Pettus, local conservationist and Indian Land resident; Lora Zimmerman, U.S Fish and Wildlife mussel biologist; Randy Wilgis, conservation bank official; Will Tindal and David Blackwell, attorneys representing property owners in the creek basin; Gary Reader of Lauth Property Group, which owns property in the basin; Mick Mulvaney, developer and state House representative; county planning director Chris Karres; county attorney Mike Ey; Mark Knight, manager of Lancaster County Water and Sewer District; and Stanley Smith, an Indian Land resident and former councilman.

Contact Jenny Hartley at 283-1151 or jhartley@thelancasternews.com