MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Town of Mount Pleasant is planning for the future. Tuesday, council members talked about making changes to it's 5-year plan.
Mt. Pleasant is one of the fastest growing communities in the country and council members are trying to decide how to manage that growth properly.
As of now, their vision plan has a focus on higher density residential and commercial development in the southern part of town. This area is already home to The Boulevard housing development and several shopping centers on Coleman Boulevard.
Council member Gary Santos urged his fellow council members to take a look at how The Boulevard is impacting that area now, primarily with traffic congestion, before they plan for more developments like it.
"The urban developers will tell you they want to build buildings where people can work and live and shop and things, but on the Boulevard that's not happening," said Gary Santos. "Folks that work there, can't afford to rent there."
Santos said while he is in favor of further housing and commercial development, he doesn't think it needs to be in areas off Coleman Boulevard. He also supports leaving historical areas, like Shem Creek, as they are.
Santos said he wants to see a more equal spread of the density to areas in the northern part of town.
Mayor Linda Page didn't fully agree and said it is natural for a town to grow faster in one area of town.
Beyond density concerns, council members also discussed ways to accommodate their growing population of baby boomers.
For the next 15 years, more than 8,000 boomers a day will turn 65, that's according to AARP.
Mt. Pleasant council members seemed to agree that it is crucial for their town to put a plan in place now. That way, as boomers get older, Mt. Pleasant will be able to cater to their needs. They said those primary needs are housing and transportation.
The town is considering adding incentives for developers who build housing with special features for seniors, like one story homes and wider door frames.
Council members also talked about helping seniors get around town. They discussed working with CARTA to bring more bus stop benches and shaded shelters to areas of town where many baby boomers live.
"At a certain point, there are many seniors who may not be able to drive, but they still need to get out," said Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, Mt. Pleasant Town Council Member. "They need to be able to go shopping, to go to doctor's appointments, the opportunity to socialize."
There's also the possibility a second senior center will be built on the north side of Mt. Pleasant. Council members say the most seniors live there, and there's a big demand for it.
Stokes-Marshall said the current senior center, off Mathis Ferry Road, has nearly 3,000 members.
Council members will vote on additions and changes to the full Comprehensive Plan at their next meeting in October.