I’m proud to be mayor of Mount Pleasant. My family lives here, we raised our families here, we invested in businesses here, we played here and, yes, we sat in traffic here. I support the efforts of the previous council as well as the current council to help manage growth, but there are serious legal considerations concerning a residential building moratorium and the re-establishment of a permit allocation program.
Without careful study of data related to growth or urgency we expose the town to a serious risk of litigation. In 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court held that moratoriums on property development may be unconstitutional takings. Plus, any vote to re-instate a permit allocation program does not affect the 6,000-plus units already in the pipeline or previously allowed in planned developments.
The town’s prior permit allocation program was adopted in 2001. The goal was to limit growth to 3 percent per year. Throughout the next 10 years, the program never reached that goal. The rate actually climbed to 7.03 percent at the highest year and dropped down to 3.11 percent in the lowest year.
As a result of the recession, the town’s growth rate dropped to 2.62 percent, and at that point, council voted to table the failing program. In 2015, our growth rate was 2.91 percent and this is currently declining on its own.
I share the same concerns as my colleagues regarding growth, including over-crowded schools; however, I am also optimistic about the projects under way that will enhance our way of life at so many levels for this great community. We have two new high schools as well as an elementary school under construction, along with a regional stadium that promises to provide exceptional educational and recreational opportunities for our community.
I, too, am concerned about the traffic conditions on Highway 41; however, I am also mindful that increasing capacity on this right-of-way will also likely increase development in that corridor.
A reactionary response to a perceived problem only subjects our town and its residents to unnecessary risk. Our town deserves an elected body that carefully considers and utilizes all of the tools our dedicated and talented staff provides to us.
The results of our new long-range transportation study will provide to us that clear vision and road map of the town’s needs and ways to properly address them.
Let us continue to work within the parameters of our Growth Management Plan and Comprehensive Plan to guide our future decisions, and most importantly, rely on the forthcoming information and data from our planning staff to guide this town in the right direction.
Mayor, Town of Mount Pleasant
Ann Edwards Lane