Recently in the Facebook group "Isle of Palms Neighbors", there has been a much heated debate over the past, present, and future of our community. The main crux of this debate revolves around the current state of the marina, parking issues, and local government response. As a candidate who wishes to represent the members of this community, I feel it appropriate to continue this conversation, and allow the people to know my thoughts, and where I stand on issues that residents care about.
First, and I think most appropriate to this conversation, is to remember the old adage that one can never "go home again". People come, friends go, properties are improved, new development moves in, etc... This island over the past 30 years has seen more than it's fair share of changes. From the campground being sold and becoming the Wild Dunes property, to the connector being built post Hugo, to the Red and White moving out, and Harris Teeter taking its place, and completely revamping the plaza in which it sits. Change is an inevitability, and most across this island who have been here for any length of time, have been relatively adaptive.
This brings me to one comment in all of the threads about this topic that I found the most disheartening and counterproductive to the changes that are occurring. The commenter states: "......until we elect growth adverse island residents to office, we will continue to be negatively impacted by the visibly poor leadership in Mt. Pleasant". This comment ignores the reality we all face. Change is happening, whether we like the changes or not. I am sure that all are more than aware of the fact that 48 people a day are moving to the metro area. We need responsible growth and development, that takes into account the voice of all island residents. We are going to be negatively impacted in more ways than one, if we aren't more proactive in regard to our own self-determination.
Second, in regard to the marina, if there is a contractual obligation that is not being fulfilled by one or both parties, this must be explored. If the taxpayers are owed funds via the lease terms, the terms should be enforced. If the lease no longer functions properly for all involved parties, a new lease should be drawn and negotiated. Bottom line.
Third, with regard to the parking situation for employees of the Morgan Creek Grill, I really see more than one issue with the current state of affairs here. 1) Parking at the baseball field on 27th ave. is highly inappropriate. I am understanding of their situation, and this temporary fix, but a longer term solution is required. This is a residential neighborhood, and this parking area should only be used for daytime activities. 2) If employees are having issues with parking, how about patrons of the restaurant? Truth be told, as we all know, parking there is the most highly contested issue. whether it is boat owners, restaurant patrons, employees, marina store business, etc. Will a dry stack solve the issue? Probably not. Will expanding parking between 41st and Waterway solve the issue? Likely not. There is no silver bullet to the situation, but one thing is certain. Action is needed. Whether temporary, interim, seasonal, or permanent, we need our local governance to take action. 3) Most importantly, no matter what we do, the people are going to visit the marina (and the remainder of the island). We can choose to make gridlock the order of the day, or we can come up with a viable solution that benefits the visitor and the resident simultaneously.
Taking all of the voices and choices into account, I am of the opinion that whether it comes to national, state, county, or local issues; balance should always take precedence to extremes on both ends of the spectrum. Should we choose to place and immediate moratorium on all development and growth, or allow it to progress free and unfettered? Neither of these options benefits the taxpayer or the tourist. Cutting off all growth only enhances the current state of gridlock, and produces no solutions to move forward. Allowing growth to progress unfettered makes us lose our community, and our island. Truth is, the island is not a gated community; and the public, no matter where they are from, has every right to be allowed access to the beaches and waterways without restraint.
Balance must take precedence when finding solutions to our local issues. Balance allows taxpayer funds to be used to full efficacy. Balance is the most beneficial for the largest number of people. Balance maintains our standing of our community, while upholding the values of freedom of movement for all citizens wishing to visit our island paradise.
If I am lucky enough to represent the voters of the 112th district in our statehouse, I pledge to all, that a proactive, systemic, and balanced approach will always be taken when discussing and ultimately deciding on legislation.
If you want balance to rule the day, please help here