Unpleasant in Mount Pleasant
As Mount Pleasant grows, its issues are becoming more complicated. That’s to be expected.
What is surprising is the apparent disconnect between Town Council and residents.
Example: Last week, after 16 people spoke against the proposed Oyster Point development — each cheered by dozens more — council approved it with only one opposing vote and with no explanation.
No “Here’s why we think the traffic will not be a problem as you fear.”
No “Let us explain why we’re so confident the development won’t compromise the Six-Mile community.”
No “It’s all about taxes” or “It’s all about infill versus sprawl.”
Just a vote.
What happened to the growing city with the small-town personality? What about those town council members who campaigned to make government more transparent and accessible?
There is a chance that citizens opposing the development of Oyster Point might have heard council’s views and still left unhappy. After all, they lost the argument.
But there is also a chance that those in attendance would have left with a better understanding of council’s action — and some respect for its decision.
Earlier this summer, council heard passionate objections from residents and nevertheless repealed restrictions that were making it difficult for the Gregg Tract to be developed into a big box shopping area. At least there was some discussion, and some dissension. The vote was 5-4.
But it’s understandable if residents are feeling dismissed by the powers that be. They have insights and information that could help council make good decisions on their behalf. They care about the health and livability of their neighborhoods and go the extra mile to research issues and attend meetings. All seemingly to little avail.
If the town fathers had listened to shrimpers — did they even ask? — before building the $8.5 million Shem Creek park, they might not be in the fix they’re in now.
The park includes six dock spaces intended for Shem Creek’s iconic shrimp boats. But the docks, which were available beginning last October, are still empty. The water isn’t deep enough for shrimp boats. And the requirement that shrimp boats be insured prices the dock out of shrimpers’ reach anyway.
The town is looking for other appropriate uses for the dock space. Maybe kayaking or paddle boarding. Maybe a floating restaurant.
Even floating, portable toilets. Really.
But without help from the town, shrimpers won’t be part of the equation.
Meanwhile, despite objections from many residents, it is now possible for a developer to get approval for more than 300,000 square feet of new retail space on the 40-acre Gregg Tract.
And another developer will likely be able to build 593 homes at the end of Six Mile Road on a parcel of land that includes 198 acres of high ground and 426 acres of marsh.
Some people aren’t going to be happy about any one of those situations. But they still deserve a dialogue in which they are really heard.