Fort Mill Times

Opinion: Why I’m voting no on Indian Land incorporation

My reasons to vote ‘no’ on incorporation

In order to establish an area for incorporation, South Carolina law states that there must be a density of 300 people per square mile before incorporation can even be proposed. When you have subdivisions such as Sun City, Walnut Creek and Treetops, you can expand the area you are trying to incorporate much further south because of the density in those neighborhoods. This was what TOIL did in order to enlarge the proposed incorporated area all the way down to Highway five and North Corner. Using the formula the state allows, they were able to expand the area they are trying to incorporate.

So instead of proposing to incorporate the more densely urbanized area from Walnut Creek north TOIL also designated 40 square miles of rural farmland including two historic communities (Van Wyck and North Corner) in their proposal for what they hoped to be a huge Town of Indian Land.

Two years ago when TOIL went to Van Wyck to pitch their proposal they were told in no uncertain terms that the farmland and the Van Wyck community were completely against this proposal and wanted to be removed. TOIL refused to change their proposed boundaries and in a defensive move to protect their community, the people of Van Wyck found a 1.4 square mile area with enough density of 300 to move forward to incorporate. They got the petition signed, went to the state, voted on it, and have since elected a mayor and five council people. At this time the community, now the Town of Van Wyck, is annexing farmland adjacent to that 1.4 square mile. They are growing by leaps and bounds in area, as farmer after farmer chooses to voluntarily be annexed into Van Wyck rather than risk being absorbed by the new Town of Indian Land, and be faced with new municipal taxes and loss of agricultural protections granted by the state under Chapter 46 that do not apply in Incorporated towns. Van Wyck has also begun the process of passing an ordinance to establish the same agricultural protections afforded by the state.

Each farmer must wait until his land is contiguous with the new town of Van Wyck before he can request annexation. Van Wyck also is making sure that their population remains under 1000 citizens. Incorporated entities under 1000 population in the state of South Carolina have different rules, and certain protections as it relates to law enforcement coverage and how the county continues certain services apply. Van Wyck can voluntarily annex an area as large as Sun City and possibly only take in under 10 new citizens. For clarification, Sun City, which is approximately 2 square miles has 5500 citizens.

TOIL carefully planned and crafted a proposal to take in the entire southern half of the panhandle, all rural farmland and two historic communities, by using the density of some of the large subdivisions at the southern part of Indian Land. Their intention is to accelerate the development of that farmland.

TOIL says they want to give you a voice. Yet they repeatedly ignored the voice of all of the citizens who live in the southern part of the panhandle who made it clear that they do not wish to be part of this plan. That is a sample of how your voice will be heard if they get the new Town of Indian Land. Do not allow this travesty to destroy our community.

With incorporation of 58 square miles we risk the acceleration of development of 40 square miles of rural farmland. Historic communities could lose their identity completely. There is also a question as to whether the area proposed, which now contains an incorporated Town of Van Wyck would face a legal challenge immediately if the vote were to pass. On March 27th VOTE NO.

Robin See

Indian land

Director of Communications

Citizens Against Indian Land Incorporation