In upcoming election, candidates taking a closer look at Mt. Pleasant growth

On the November 3rd election, a dozen candidates are running for the Mt. Pleasant Town Council. Voters will be able to choose their top four. Two local groups say the biggest issue facing the town is growth, but they have different perspectives about how to handle it.

There’s no doubt Mt. Pleasant is growing and in recent years it has consistently found a spot on the US Census list for the fastest growing cities of its size. Groups such as Together Mt. Pleasant and Save Shem Creek both agree the growth needs to be addressed in Tuesday’s election, but have different plans for how to do that. Together Mt. Pleasant, operated by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, says the key is increasing housing density.

Mary Graham, with Together Mt. Pleasant, says, “It can still be single family, but maybe the houses are just built a little closer together where they’re clustered where we have infrastructure already in place and where we can handle the density in those areas.”

Save Shem Creek says increased density will disrupt the current standard of living in Mt. Pleasant.

Jimmy Bagwell, Chairman of Save Shem Creek, says,”I think the general population of Mt. Pleasant has said we don’t want heavy density and we want to promote open spaces, we want to save Shem Creek, we want to keep that as one of the iconic spots in the state of South Carolina and I don’t think building a 60 foot parking garage and office building on Shem Creek is going to do that.”

One think Together Mt. Pleasant and Save Shem Creek agree on is the traffic situation in Mt. Pleasant needs to be fixed. They say one way to do that is by bringing more jobs to the Mt. Pleasant side of the bridge.

Bagwell says, “If we’re going to have people moving here, and we want to keep them over here, and we want to cut down on traffic, then I think we need jobs over here that people can stay this side of the river and have.”

Graham says, “So many people that live in Mt. Pleasant commute out of the community every day to jobs. Over 26,000 people leave Mt. Pleasant every morning and come home every afternoon. 17,000 people are coming into the community to work because they can’t afford to live here. So there’s a big mismatch between who can afford to live in Mt. Pleasant and who wants to live in Mt. Pleasant.”

Save Shem Creek says that divide is what’s helping keep the town from bursting at the seams.

Bagwell says, “The per capita income in Mt. Pleasant is one of the highest in the state of South Carolina, I think we all know that and I think it just indicates that people have come here, they think that we have a wonderful quality of life here now and I think that they came here and that want to preserve that.”

Together Mt. Pleasant is endorsing Town Council candidates Ben Bryson, Nick Collins, Rodley Millet, and Chris O’Neal.

Save Shem Creek is not publicly endorsing any particular candidates, but Chairman Jimmy Bagwell says he believes Bob Brimmer, Joe Bustos, Will Haynie, and Jim Owens best support his ideas for handling Mt. Pleasant growth.

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