Hilton Head council candidates discuss COVID-19, economic development

Just three days after the town of Hilton Head passed its own ordinance banning short term...
Just three days after the town of Hilton Head passed its own ordinance banning short term rentals, the council repealed it Friday afternoon.(WTOC)
Updated: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:16 AM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Three wards on Hilton Head Island Town Council are on the ballot this November.

Those candidates met Tuesday in a Town Hall sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

November is about more than just those big national elections; we also have important local elections.

Several topics drove the town hall meeting.

“Economic development, using the opportunity zone, and enhancing growing and recruiting and retaining small business,” said Hannah Horne, with the Hilton Head Chamber.

One big issue was COVID-19. Ward 1 candidates Alex Brown and Peter Christian agreed masks should be enforced until the data says otherwise.

“If the numbers come down, I would be in favor of, you know, removing the mask ordinance,” Kristian said.

“None of us should be making decisions without true data in front of us,” Brown said.

Ward 3 candidates David Ames and Tommy Reitz discussed the best use of land in their ward. Both agree for the island to grow, they need to expand workforce housing. But they disagree on how they should do so.

“I voted against the up zoning of properties that I felt were being done without an understanding of the impact. That’s called growth management,” Ames said.

“But we’ve got to look at what’s available already. There’s places down Dillon Road that were purchased for workforce housing that were never in use,” Reitz said.

Ward 6 candidates Glenn Stanford and Kent Berry discussed how the town should move forward in negotiations with the county for payment for the sheriff’s office.

“To reestablish the dialogue with Beaufort County to get us back to a point where we might be able to coexist just a little bit better,” Berry said.

“I don’t think we have a sheriff problem. I think we have a county problem. We get excellent service from the county sheriff’s office,” Stanford said.

Each ward got 20 to 30 minutes to discuss their opinions. They also spoke on economic growth, tourism, and more.

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