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Young letter: What incorporation won’t do for VW

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J.R. Wilt’s guest column of Oct. 17 (How incorporation will help Van Wyck) is highly illuminating, but not in a way he intends. It shows exactly what incorporating Van Wyck would not do. Primarily, it wouldn’t save the residents from any of the ills he outlines.
Please understand that I am not a fan of unrestrained development. Development should always be fashioned in an intelligent, planned way. I also have concerns that Lancaster County isn’t always willing to do this, especially along U.S. 521.
However, Mr. Wilt’s letter makes clear that incorporation of Van Wyck would do nothing to solve these concerns.
Were he talking about incorporating the whole area between Indian Land proper and S.C. 5, the proposal would have validity. But the area under consideration is, essentially, the area already developed in Van Wyck. This area is not particularly under any threat from unrestrained development.
Mr. Wilt offers the anticipation that “many property owners will sign petitions to annex their property.” This is a vain hope, frankly. Those who would be willing, would be willing to sign the original incorporation petition and get in on the ground floor, so to speak.
But most rural owners with significant tracts of land are not going to let themselves be annexed because it does them no good to do so, and would cause their properties to reduce in future value considerably. In the absence of cold, hard pledges in writing to accept incorporation from the vast majority of “local” landowners, the town of Van Wyck would be a small island amidst the eventual development Mr. Wilt foresees.
You will note that Mr. Wilt does not address the other issue I raised: Van Wyck’s incorporation would likely require significant increase in local taxes. Understandably, he’d like to avoid that sensitive issue.
Certainly, were the benefits to be received worth the increased cost, that would be fine. But all that will happen is that the residents will get less service, at a higher price, and end up surrounded (if Mr. Wilt’s vision is correct) by runaway development, over which they have no control.
Best of luck with that.
Douglas Young
Indian Land