Mount Pleasant council explores changing Shem Creek development

VIDEO: Mount Pleasant council explores changing Shem Creek development

Mount Pleasant Town Council met Tuesday evening to look at several hot button issues, including potential changes to the parking garage and office building in the works on Shem Creek. 
Council looked at acquiring some of the land on the corner of Coleman Blvd. and Mill Street. Ultimately, no action was taken.

Before that decision was reached, council addressed and voted on several agenda items.

Council voted to allow one member of Town Council to place an item on a Town Council meeting agenda. Previously, it took two council members to place an item on the agenda.

Council also threw out the item to require the start time of all Town Council Subcommittee meetings to occur no sooner than 6 p.m.

Finally, council voted to find an alternative to the traffic circle -in the works- at the intersection of Coleman, Ben Sawyer and Chuck Dawley Boulevards. 
This item will go back to staff and an alternative will be presented to Town Council in January.

Shortly before 11 p.m.,  almost five hours after the start of the meeting, council went into executive session to discuss plans for development on Shem Creek.

Last month, the town broke ground on the property to build a 4,500 square foot building with a garage big enough for more than 200 cars.

Many Mount Pleasant residents hope Shem Creek will be left alone.

"I looked at it, I saw the dolphins and I told my husband, 'you know i bet this is the entry way to heaven,'" said Donna Norvell. "It is just so beautiful."

Norvell meets with her friend at restaurants overlooking Shem Creek often.
They're not happy with the plans for development at their favorite dinner venue.

"It just hurts my heart because I love the area and it's just changing so fast," said Patty Tykal.

Norvell and Tykal hope town leaders can find some middle ground.

"We have to look at our traffic and protecting our pedestrians," said Norvell. "So, it's a fine balance."

Their hopes have been heard loud and clear by council member Jim Owens.

"We want to get this right," said Owens. "We only have chance to do it. So it's real important for us to ensure that the right thing occurs. It's been a terribly controversial issue for too long and it's time to put it to rest."

Council member Owens, sworn in Tuesday evening, was just elected on the "Save Shem Creek" platform.

"It's the icon of Mount Pleasant," said Owens. "It's the heart and soul."

Other town council members, like Paul Gawrych, who was on council in 2003 when phase one of the Shem Creek was first decided, said change is necessary.

"We've spent over 10 and half million dollars for it so far," said Gawrych. "We're in the middle of our second phase, we're just starting it. In our third phase is obviously some parking. When you want people to come to one of your top spots, you've got to have a place for them to park."

Whatever changes come to the area, many just hope the beauty of Shem Creek will not be jeopardized.

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