Bear Island Road extension moves forward in Summerville; Council approves mayoral power shift

SUMMERVILE, SC – Tonight in Summerville, two controversial votes were made by town council.

The Bear Island Road project will move forward as planned; and council voted to take away some of the mayor’s power.

People were upset with these votes.

“We need to start, in Summerville, doing the right thing with our city council,” said Lisa whetsell, who was one of dozens to plead to Summerville Town Council Wednesday night. “Let him do what he supposed to do and then you can vote him out, just like you voted out Collins.”

Whetsell wasn’t happy when council decided to approve two amendments to town ordinances, which now change some of Mayor Wiley Johnson’s authority. Click here for more on the amendments.

Mayor Johnson told News 2, “I think they’re concerned about their town. I think they want to have a voice in the government. I think they are worried that some of the councilmen want to prematurely take away powers from the mayor.”

With the new changes, Summerville town officials say the town administrator, who will be hired next month, will report to town council instead of directly to the mayor.

Also, instead of the mayor making the meeting agenda and having it finalized at the finance committee meeting, if two council members want to make a formal motion, they can add it to the agenda.

Whetsell said, “City council had no right to do any of that!”

Another huge vote was about the Bear Island Road extension project.

The Bear Island Road extension will cut right through the Weatherstone neighborhood. The people who live in that neighborhood were not happy with the town’s decision.

“There’s absolutely no need for it,” said Homer Gonzalez, who lives in Weatherstone and has been very outspoken on his opposition to the extension.

The mile long Bear Island Road extension cuts through the 750-home Weatherstone neighborhood and will connect highway 17A to the planned Nexton Parkway.

Many Weatherstone residents have strongly opposed to proposed road from its inception saying it will create dangers to the community, natural threats to the wetlands, and a nightmare for area residents.

An alternate Sheep Island Road was proposed but that project was rejected tonight.

Council also voted to move council meetings up to 6:30pm, beginning in March.

 

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