Collins appointed to Mount Pleasant planning board

Nick Collins

MOUNT PLEASANT -- Former Town Councilman Nick Collins, who recently lost a bid for re-election, has been appointed to the Planning Commission.

Collins replaces David Haller, who served on the commission for one four-year term.

Haller said he reapplied for the position but was not appointed.

"We all serve at the will of council. Nick asked me if he could apply. I consider Nick a friend," he said.

Haller said he was happy for Collins.

Council appointed Collins during its meeting Tuesday night. Nine people sought the Planning Commission seat.

"I applied for it because I wanted to stay in public service," Collins said.

In November, Collins was favored to win re-election to a second council term, and he raised the most money of any of the candidates. Mayor Billy Swails endorsed him.

When he lost, Collins said he was hurt and embarrassed.

"It took me a long time to get over that. I went through all the emotions. I was totally blown away," he said.

Now, Collins is happy to be a new commission member.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the commission is scheduled to consider a controversial application to develop 40 acres across from Towne Centre known as "The Gregg Tract."

Henrich Properties envisions a commercial shopping center there. It has submitted an application at Town Hall that mentions the possibility of new "big-box" stores, such as Home Depot and Sam's Club, at the location.

The tract is surrounded by subdivisions such as Montclair, Snee Farm, Wando Lakes and Wando East. Residents of some of those neighborhoods have voiced concern about issues such as increased traffic and noise from the development.

"I jumped right into the frying pan, didn't I?" Collins said of his upcoming first meeting as a commission member.

Collins indicated he supports the Gregg Tract project, which he said will generate $360,000 annually in business license fees and taxes.

"It's going to happen one way or another. We can't just turn down 600 new jobs," he said.

The land is currently zoned for residential construction. The developer is seeking business zoning.

The Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the project to Town Council, which will have the final say on the issue.

The Planning Commission meets at the Municipal Complex at 100 Ann Edwards Lane.