A moratorium needs to be put in place on any more residential and multi-family development from S.C. 5 north to the state line. This should be in place for one year. The county is working on a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for Lancaster County, and will not finish it until 2024.
Growth is and has been out of control for years in the Panhandle. Even County Council members admit it. In December 2022, outgoing Councilman Larry Honeycutt said Indian Land growth was out of control.
This year, Councilman Brian Carnes stated the same. Councilman Jose Luis said he has not voted to approve residential development this year. They know the problem. I have not heard this from the other four members of County Council.
The county enjoys the tax revenue from the Panhandle’s growth, not Indian Land itself. There are already 7,000 plots approved for development in Lancaster County.
Guess where most of them are? We already need three more schools. Guess who pays for them (taxpayers, Indian Land)?
We should wait for the UDO in 2024 before approving any more housing. The UDO will help give us directions for growth, and how to manage this growth. Hopefully, it will include 1-acre lots for residential housing in the future.
The rooftop or impact fees (cost to developer for each house or apartment) to cover the cost of fire and police protection, plus the cost of schools and infrastructure construction, should be doubled. The houses are not paying their own way.
The County Council, present and past, has lost control of managing growth in Indian Land. Indian Land has a population of 40,000 vs. 100,000 in Lancaster County. We (Panhandle residents) are probably paying 60% of taxes in Lancaster County, but not reaping the benefits. Plus, we have all the growth and growing pains.
We have three representatives in the Indian Land area vs. four for the rest of Lancaster County below S.C. 5 on U.S. 521. I think most of the county is interested in our tax money, not our welfare, or we would not have had this out-of-control growth for so many years. We will not have an opportunity to have a fourth council member until 2030. That is too late!
We had an opportunity in March 2018 to incorporate and become a town, but that was overwhelming defeated in the election.
Those who voted against incorporation didn’t want new taxes. We are receiving tax increases from the county, but we have no control of our growth or destiny. Do you like the traffic on U.S. 521? Do you like our out-of-control growth?
The former county administrator, Steve Willis, said in 2018: “Indian Land missed an opportunity by not incorporating.” We did that; now we can’t control our own zoning. We are now paying a price for that missed opportunity. That was then, this is now.
I am asking Indian Land residents to contact your County Council representatives by phone or email concerning the out-of-control growth, and ask them to vote positive (yes) on a one-year moratorium for residential and multi-family housing above S.C. 5 to the North Carolina line.
You can go online to obtain phone numbers and email addresses for council members. County Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, where you can voice your concerns.
Actions have consequences!
Indian Land resident Melvin Threatt is a former chairman of the Lancaster County Planning Commission and former mayor pro-tem of Weddington (N.C) Town Council.