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In the last few issues, we reported stories where local residents’ vocal opposition to plans resulted in the scrapping of those plans – first with the proposed moving of the Indian Land recycling/convenience center from Jim Wilson Road to Shelley Mullis Road and then with a requested rezoning of two acres at Collins and Henry Harris roads.
The public outcry over moving the recycling/convenience center got an added boost from the fact that Lancaster County planned to move the site next to the Deputy Roy Hardin Park, where the county owns additional land.
The plan seems to have been hastily cobbled together after Lennar Homes informed the county that it would have to move the center at 401 Jim WIlson Road by the end of March.
The current site is on property Lancaster County Public Works was allowed to use by the former owner free of charge for several years. But Lennar, which now owns the land, needs it for its growing Carolina Reserve neighborhood.
The plan was just as hastily scrapped after outraged residents began contacting county officials, their County Council representatives and local media after neighbors received notices about the public hearing and noticed signs posted near the park.
Although the county maintains that the move to the site adjacent to the park was temporary, many residents did not buy that, believing it would wind up being a permanent addition to the park – a smelly, trashy addition that would bring down property values in the surrounding area, according to residents who contacted the paper.
With so much opposition, the county decided to trash the plan before ever holding the public hearing, slated for March 12.
“I’m just glad the county listened to what the community was saying, looked at it and said, ‘Hey, this is a bad decision,’ and took it away,” Shelley Woods resident Steve Bailey said.
“Wow, I’m ecstatic. That took less than a week,” IL resident Aaron Moore said of the decision to scrap the move. “Common sense has prevailed. It’s the smart thing to do...I’m glad they (the county) listened for once.”
About the same time as the convenience center saga was unfolding, residents of Collins Road were signing petitions and speaking out against a proposed rezoning that would allow a commercial business to move into their residential neighborhood.
The residents opposed the proposed rezoning of a two-acre parcel at the intersection of Collins and Henry Harris roads from R-45 rural residential/agricultural district to B-3 general commercial district. They didn’t want to see their quiet neighborhood become a business district, especially a B3 district, which would allow at least 89 different retail, office and service uses.
After numerous calls to the planning department opposing the rezoning and hearing from several Indian Land residents at its Feb. 25 meeting, County Council followed the lead of both the planning commission and planning department and voted to deny the rezoning.
What both of these incidents have in common is that local residents stood up to the powers-that-be and voiced their opposition to the plans, which resulted in the plans being scrapped.
The recycling/convenience site will not be moving next to the park. The corner of Collins and Henry Harris roads will remain a rural residential/agricultural area.
The lesson here is that you can make a difference in your community, especially if you band together with like-minded individuals. It is possible to change the course of events if you don’t like them, but you have to be willing to speak up.
We commend every resident who made a phone call, sent an e-mail, signed a petition or addressed County Council to effect these changes.
We hope to see more examples like these of the power of the people in action.