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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (April 8, 2015) - Balancing growth, quality of life, housing affordability and business development is top-of-mind for residents and business leaders alike in Mount Pleasant.
And Town Council members are all ears.
That is the message some 40 stakeholders – including developers and citizen group leaders – received Tuesday at Alhambra Hall during a well-attended special meeting of the Town Economic Development Committee.
“What we want to do is hear from a wide variety of people, take a look at where we’re at and where we’re going, then strike the right balance that will serve the market and maintain our residents’ quality of life,” said Councilman Mark Smith
Council members last month unveiled the framework of a Town Growth Management Plan that calls for density reductions and impact fee increases, among other tactics, as a way to curb what some perceive as unbalanced growth east of the Cooper.
The framework – simply a preliminary road map – laid out the bones for public discussion, and that discourse kicked off on Monday during the Town Planning & Development Committee. It continued Tuesday as architects, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce reps, non-profit leaders and more weighed in with initial thoughts.
“We’re on a journey,” Smith toward the end of the three -hour meeting. “And I’m happy to hold as many special meetings as it takes to get it right.”
Affordable housing, density, the proper role of mixed-use developments and more were all discussed by experts in a wide range of fields. While no single consensus was reached, many who spoke expressed a desire to find the right balance between numerous factors.
“We need your help,” said Councilman Ken Glasson. “We need to bring about collaboration and create partnerships that will keep Mount Pleasant the wonderful place that it is to live.”Much conversation focused on the importance of any changes considered by Council and the ripple effects they would have in Mount Pleasant and beyond.
“Everything each community does impacts the region,” said Phillip Ford, the executive vice president of the Charleston Homebuilders Association.
Mary Graham, chief advancement officer at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, said that affordable housing was a huge issue across the region and in Mount Pleasant.“Let’s find a way to make this work,” Graham said.
Matthew DeAntonio, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors president, meanwhile, encouraged the group and Council to, “hash out sensible solutions … in a smart, sustainable manner that doesn’t create any undue strains on the infrastructure.”
Jimmy Bagwell, chairman of the Save Shem Creek citizens group, also struck a positive note.“I support the spirit behind the Growth Management Plan,” Bagwell said. “It’s a strong step toward creating economic development opportunities around Coleman Boulevard, (and we’re) fine with a reasonable mix of residential to go with that commercial.”
The Town on Tuesday also announced an online Growth Management Plan feedback form that officials hope residents will use to weigh in with their thoughts on the framework and the way forward.
“It’s time to get moving,” Smith said, “with everyone at the table.”