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Politics

2019 Election: Huntersville Board Of Commissioners

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Nine people are running to represent Huntersville on the town's Board of Commissioners.

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Jenn Davis

JENN DAVIS

Why are you running?

I have been serving my community as Chairman of the Planning Board and want to continue this experience. As a current advisory board to the town I feel my vote will have more impact on our community as Commissioner.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

There are a few we are facing but I will focus on land development and tree save. As a Planning Board member for the last 3-1/2 years I’ve seen a lot of growth and plans for development. What makes Huntersville attractive is our rural areas and tree canopies. They provide sound absorption as well as aesthetics. I want to change the current ordinance by collaborating with Developers for a mutually achievable result, which will increase our tree save.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

Besides the men and women that work for our police and fire departments, we also have teachers, nurses, and so many others who can no longer afford to live in our town. I will work with my peers and staff to bring more affordable housing options. Areas with higher density should incorporate more multi-family units. We must increase our tax base by not re-zoning our commercial land to residential. Strengthening our economic development; therefore, adding commerce and putting less stress on homeowners.

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Derek Partee

DEREK L. PARTEE

Why are you running?

I am running for office because serving the public has been my life's career and I want to work for the citizens and communities here in Huntersville. I am an expert in the Criminal Justice field with 25 years as a Federal and State Criminal Investigator and with this experience I can be the public safety advocate on the Board of Commissioners. With the increase of home developments and businesses in Huntersville, our Police, Fire and Medical Emergency Departments need to have the resources to be pro active when protecting and serving this Township.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

We are building new residential communities, corporate business hubs, hotels, and shopping plazas. With this growth, comes the underlying world of criminal predators who seek opportunities to victimize our children, homes, families, businesses and schools. As Charlotte continues to expand northward, expect the crime rate to increase bringing drugs, human trafficking, burglaries and all the crimes associated with urban growth. As Commissioner, I will be an advocate for Huntersville and focus on protecting and maintaining our quality of life that Residents have come to enjoy.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

This is a difficult question because the housing prices are determined by the capitalist system of supply and demand. The raising costs are based on the free market demand, community pricing and supply.

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Joe Sailers

JOE SAILERS

Why are you running?

As a resident of Huntersville and graduate of North Mecklenburg High School (1967), I have seen Huntersville grow from a small town to one of the largest cities in N.C. Some good growth while other not so good. I have been a neighbor, member of Long Creek Masonic Lodge, President Long Creek Neighborhood Assoc., member and Lt. Governor of Optimist International, plus a member of Hopewell Presbyterian church and all for over 35 years.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

My feeling is our lack of infrastructure, development has occurred without the additional road improvements, turn lanes and widening that should have been required by our past boards . Development is good but not all development has been good for Huntersville. Schools are crowded but will get even more crowded with the projected growth that is coming. We are projected to be at over 100,000 residents within the next 15 / 20 years . We need to build better relationships with Mecklenburg Country and the School Board not break those relationships even more than we have in the past 2 years. A charter school will not relieve the over crowding only more schools and we don’t get those without building better relationships not becoming more independent.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

Unfortunately I have talked with some individuals that have said it is to expensive to live in Huntersville. We must find ways to stream line our code process to encourage builders to build more affordable homes. The market is profit driven and everything affects the bottom line from land prices to labor cost and all between.

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Melinda Bales

MELINDA BALES (incumbent)

Why are you running?

I am running for re-election because I want a thriving community for my kids. A community that will provide an excellent quality of life now and for many decades to come. I do not believe that a vibrant and strong community that provides its citizens with an excellent quality of life just happens. It takes leaders with vision, the ability to plan and a willingness to hold firm to what their citizens want in a community.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

Growth. Huntersville is growing quickly, and it will be important to address growth with a responsible, holistic approach. As a current Commissioner, I have already supported updating the Huntersville's 2030 Community Plan. This comprehensive update has just kicked off and will take a year to complete. Once the update is complete, it will be up to the Board of Commissioners to follow the plan. The Board will need to be focused on Economic Development, Infrastructure, land use, and downtown development. I will work on each of these to ensure that the Huntersville's excellent quality of life continues.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

Workforce housing is becoming an issue. This was noted by a recent study conducted by the Urban Land Institute on behalf of the Lake Norman EDC. The study looked at all three Lake Norman communities and recognized that workforce housing needed to be addressed. The Town needs to continue to look for ways to help reduce housing costs. The Town currently works in partnership with Habitat for Humanity by donating land owned by the Town. Habitat builds new houses on these sites. Another idea worth exploring would be partnering with the private sector to build workforce housing (townhomes, etc) on land already owned by the town.

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Lance Munger

LANCE MUNGER

Why are you running?

I am running because I have a passion for the Town of Huntersville and I have a vision for the future of our community. I want to help create a downtown that is the envy of other communities. I want to expand our Greenways, Bike Paths and Sidewalks to allow residents more options to get around our town. I also want to bring a fresh voice to the conversations with CMS to help deliver greatly needed new schools and improve our existing schools.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

Overburdened roads and overcrowded schools are causing residents to reevaluate whether or not they should live in Huntersville. The true root cause to this issue is the nonstop expansion of residential sites in our community. I will be an advocate for sensible growth. I will fight against rezoning of commercial land to residential. I will work with our state legislators to allow municipalities to assess impact fees for new residential development, which would allow us to help pay for new roads and schools before those homes are finished being built, instead of playing catch up like we do now.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

We need to work with developers to broaden the array of homes that are built to make communities more inclusive and varied. We need to work with state and federal programs to identify potential grants that would help incentivize developers to build lower income housing to allow a wider socioeconomic community. We need to work with all communities to identify areas for improvement and we need to work with our neighboring communities to collaboratively address this issue and find solutions for the greater good.

 

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Stacy Phillips

STACY PHILLIPS

Why are you running?

I love Huntersville. This is the town I grew up in and the town I would like to grow old in. I have been involved with town politics for 14 years and I think the town has done a good job, but I think we can be better in how we plan for the future to ensure the town stays on the right path. I think I can be a positive change to the board, because I am a fresh voice who is open to innovative ideas that would help the town thrive, while also staying focused on preserving the charm and uniqueness that is Huntersville. I have been an effective leader for our homeless community and would bring the same drive, passion, and empathy to the town board. I'm focused on making Huntersville a town that the next generation wants to call home and farmers don't feel like they're being forced out of. I would be a commissioner for all citizens, because it is so dire to me that everyone feels like they are being heard and respected and most importantly we keep Huntersville a town for everyone.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

The most commonly encountered issue I hear from citizens is roads. As the town continues to grow, road changes are being presented and most of the larger projects have many citizens rightfully upset and angry, because they feel like they’re not being heard about their concerns. One of the most controversial road issues currently taking place is the Hugh Torance Road expansion planned in the Northwest Huntersville Transportation study. This expansion would have quaint neighborhood streets being treated as main thoroughfares, including massive traffic beside playgrounds, clubhouses, and bus stops. The citizens who are being impacted by road planning should have a serious say in what happens and shouldn’t be brushed off, especially in situations where their property value could be impacted negatively or the potential scenarios where property could be taken by imminent domain. We have to be mindful of our road planning to ensure homes and businesses that have been here forever are not adversely affected, because they are what make this town a special place. I have been engaging with citizens that are concerned and will fight with them to keep their homes, property, and neighborhoods safe from the execution of poor planning.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

My biggest fear is that Huntersville becomes a place that people get priced out of. My work with our homeless community has taught me you must be proactive, not reactive, to affordable housing or you will end up in crisis like Charlotte. In Huntersville, we already have entire families renting rooms in homes and living day-to-day in hotels because they have been priced out of what they could afford. Affordable housing is a complex issue and the board needs to look heavily into if our current zoning restrictions are having a negative impact on encouraging affordable housing. Zoning restricts things like tiny homes, multi-family homes, and mixed income housing in our community. The quickest approach we can take as elected officials would be to keep the tax rate low in Huntersville. When taxes go up they always hurt the most vulnerable citizens, including homeowners in historical neighborhoods and those that rent homes throughout the community. We should also listen and be involved with our citizens that are concerned about gentrification and focus on long term planning, not short term ideas, which could be done so through the 2040 plan.

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Nick Walsh

NICK WALSH (incumbent)

Why are you running?

For the past 26 years, my wife and I have proudly called Huntersville our home. We were residents of the “Wynfield” neighborhood for about 20 years where I was active in serving on the HOA for three years, the last two as President. Once our children went off to college and careers, we decided to make a move to the “Vermillion” community and now enjoy being on the east side of Huntersville within walking distance to the downtown area.

I was elected in 2017 to my first term as a Huntersville Town Commissioner. As the only “Independent” on the current board, I have worked hard to represent and be a voice for our citizens.

I am seeking a second term. I will continue to focus on the diversification of our tax base, downtown redevelopment, improved communications, and supporting our Police Department and Fire Department that help make Huntersville a safe place to live, work, and play.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

Growth. Managed growth is in everyone’s interest. Huntersville continues to be an attractive place for people, families, and businesses to call home.

As a Commissioner, I supported investment in infrastructure that expands our business base providing valuable jobs for our citizens. These jobs provide collateral opportunities for other businesses in our town. Businesses help diversify our tax base keeping residential rates lower.

I voted for rezonings and text amendments that balance the needs of our town based on the goals outlined in the Huntersville 2030 Community Plan. This plan is a blueprint for future growth. It provides for more density along our transportation corridors while keeping rural areas to the west and east of our town.

I have and will continue to vote against rezonings that convert valuable commercial acreage to residential. This negatively impacts our tax base and reduces opportunities for business to move into Huntersville.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

Affordability is in the eye of the beholder. Affordable housing does not just mean places to live for the economically disadvantaged. Our first responders, teachers, and others need places to live and raise their families that is affordable.

Huntersville currently has a diverse housing market. Unfortunately, as the cost of land goes up so do housing prices. The town should continue to work with developers to help them work projects through the system that focus on more affordable housing.

I also think this town needs to start thinking outside the box when it comes to affordable housing. The town does not really have a focus on it. We should look to our neighbors like Davidson and Charlotte to better understand some programs we might be able to implement here in Huntersville.

BRIAN HINES (incumbent)

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Credit Courtesy Brian Hines

Why are you running?

I am running for reelection to continue our work to get more ‘shovel ready’ road and greenway projects, economic development opportunities and the work that has begun in reviewing Options for future educational opportunities for the town.

What is the biggest quality-of-life issue facing residents of your town and how will you address it?

Largest quality of life issue would have to be traffic. As we begin to see many upcoming NCDOT road projects beginning in the next year, building on our relationship with NCDOT is critical as we try to minimize the impact to our residents and businesses during construction.

How should your town deal with rising housing costs?

One factor to rising housing cost, and in some instances add 25% to the cost of a home, are governmental regulations. We have an Ordinances Advisory Board, which was formed about 4 years ago, in which we review these types of issues.

DAN BOONE (incumbent)

Awaiting response.

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