These are what I see as the five most important issues facing Mount Pleasant over the next eight years.
I wrestled as to whether I should put financial sustainability over growth. I put it above growth because with enough money, we can solve some of the growth issues. I believe in property rights. I also believe that the over growth of our community has hurt us. We will need to have serious discussions about buying property that we do not want to be developed. There are countless tools in the toolbox to accomplish this, and with the proper amount of funding and a keen understanding of government bonding, I believe that we can solve many of our over-development issues.
Some people think that increased traffic is the issue; others think that permitting too many multi-family projects is the issue; others think that the Town does not have enough athletic fields. While all of those issues may be true, the real issue is growth. Growth that simply must be managed. The Town Council and Mayor will need to lead the citizens of the Town of Mount Pleasant through a process to create a shared vision relating to determining our rate of growth, by segments (single family, multi-family, and area-wide business). The plan should be developed, and every decision that is made should take into consideration the goals of the “Town of Mount Pleasant Growth Plan” (…or anti-growth plan).
Quality of Life Issues
How could this not be on my list? I have spent my entire professional career providing quality of life though parks, programs and recreation services to people of Mount Pleasant and Charleston County. Mount Pleasant has every resource needed to become a world-class town. We enjoy a favorable climate, water access, employment opportunities, exceptional public safety, and many other resources. I feel strongly that we need to do a better job in the area of bicycle and pedestrian connectivity to our parks, schools, natural areas and attractions. I also believe that parks and open spaces are the foundation to great communities.
We have been quick to articulate what we do not want in Mount Pleasant. But what is it that we want? We should create a collective vision, by ALL of the residents of Mount Pleasant, to determine what it is that we want. Once that is determined though a collective Comprehensive Plan, we should make all decisions to support the plan. The Town currently has plans in place, but in my opinion they need to be revisited more frequently. More frequent visitation of current plans, WITH PUBLIC INPUT, assists the elected people with policy making. We also need to insure that our plans involve regional planning. Our region will never solve growth issues by having individual communities address them on their own.
Town Morale and Community Pride
I want there to be ONE Mount Pleasant, governed by a group of professionals, that gets along with each other and respect each other. There will be disagreement within the community and with our elected officials. That is not only okay, it is a good thing. I’ve seen disagreement bring about great discussion and usually a better outcome. Even with the issues we have today, Mount Pleasant is a GREAT community.