Re-elect for Isle of Palms City Council 2023
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July 19th, 2023
City Councilman Scott Pierce announces campaign for re-election
It is an honor to serve on the Isle of Palms City Council, and I have been humbled and energized by the support that residents have given to me in my service to the city. I am pleased to announce that I will run for re-election to City Council on November 7th. I believe that my job is to represent you so that your voice is clearly heard and reflected through sound public policy. As your representative, my commitment and goals remain straightforward: 1) protect our quality of life 2) provide proactive, respectful, objective, and accountable leadership for effective governance 3) be transparent & responsive 4) keep our community and environment safe. Our community continues to face challenges and opportunities from accelerating regional growth and pressures that require a strong and balanced approach to public policy to retain the residential nature of the Isle of Palms, while offering visitors a world class experience. We can achieve this through collaboration with resident initiatives, local businesses, other municipalities, and representatives/agencies at the County, State and Federal levels to manage the growth impacts and obtain funding. I have represented IOP residents at State committee hearings, developed relationships from the local, State and Federal level and will continue to represent the residents to the best of my ability to further build these relationships.
Sep 29, 2023
Moultrie News Interviews IOP City Council Candidate, Scott Pierce
Councilmember Scott Pierce is one of eight candidates running in this year’s Isle of Palms City Council election. Pierce, one of four incumbents in the Nov. 7 race, will be competing against the following lineup for public votes: Tim Ahmuty, Elizabeth Campsen, Ashley Carroll, Brian J. Duffy, Rusty Streetman, Kevin M. Popson and Jimmy Ward. The following is a recent interview the Moultrie News had with Pierce 1. Can you tell us about your background and why it makes you qualified to serve or continuing serving on the IOP City Council? I’ve been actively involved with the IOP community for over a decade and I’m currently a member of Council. My responsibility is to reflect the voice of residents in my votes and proactively address opportunities, concerns and pressures facing us today, while preparing for future generations. I served on the IOP Planning Commission addressing island issues including drainage projects, water & sewer infrastructure, IOP’s Comprehensive Plan, parking solutions and Livability impacts of short-term rentals. Other community participation includes Exchange Club, founding sponsor of IOP’s Law Enforcement Neighborhood Support (LENS) program, VFW auxiliary member, sponsor/participant of IOP charity runs, and Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew. Qualifications include 28 years as an executive with Verizon and as a career Fiduciary. I’m a CPA, CFP® and retired Registered Investment Advisor. Since retiring in 2011, I’ve owned a management consulting firm, delivering Fortune 25 enterprise systems. 2. How would you rank the following concerns relative to your community: crime, STRs, parking/traffic, beach erosion? How do you plan on handling what you believe are the major issues? STRs – IOP experienced a 28 percent growth in STRs in one year, reaching nearly 40 percent of all dwelling units. There’s been a targeted “balance” of one-third residents, one-third second homes and one-third rentals, but that balance tipped and is widening. IOP is now the only open STR investment market in the area. STR licenses already exceed last year’s count. A resident ballot petition garnered 31 percent of the voters (double what’s needed for referendum) who seek to limit only non-resident STRs where they are today, with no impact to city revenue, taxes or existing license holders. It excludes resident STRs and allows passing STRs on to eligible heirs. It’s a guardrail that will help preserve our full and part time residential population from further declines. I support limiting non-resident STRs where they are now. Public Beach Erosion - Protecting the dunes and beach for public use is clearly a council responsibility and I intend to support public beach renourishment as the need arises. Events requiring protection of the public beach from erosion are expected to become a more frequent/severe occurrence in the coming years. IOP has a growing $8 million fund to support renourishment, which sounds like a lot of money, however given the increasing costs of major projects, it’s not. We’ll need more assistance from the State and other funds (i.e., FEMA) to adequately plan and fund long-term projects to mitigate the impacts of a shifting beachfront from more frequent/severe storms. Traffic – IOP has about 10 million annual crossings on the Connector and Breach Inlet and volume is only going to increase. We can leverage more traffic cams to alert on/off island traffic, light timing with Mt. Pleasant and evaluate parking lot pricing to incentivize beachgoers to come at different times. Also, introducing two lanes exiting the Connector, with a bike and pedestrian lane and meeting first responder requirements, offers several benefits including: Bourbon Fest Unlike Any the Lowcountry has seen! SPONSORED CONTENT Bourbon Fest Unlike Any the Lowcountry has seen! By Post.Holy City Brewing • Doubles capacity to exit. • Improved Public Safety for the 700 annual health related responses. • Reduced Congestion/Improved Neighborhood Safety. • Reduced Sullivan’s Island/Breach Inlet Cross Island Traffic. • Improved parking for visitors. • Possible long-term solutions involve reconfiguration of Palm Blvd, the IOP Connector entrance and exit way, and/or evaluating another access/egress point. We should consider all options and work closely with Mt. Pleasant and SCDOT for assistance and funding. Parking - Since 2017, IOP increased public spots by 11 percent and offers 1,737 public parking spaces. Random hunting for a parking spot increases neighborhood flows, presents more traffic risk and is an unpleasant challenge for our neighbors to come to the public beach. I’m a proponent of technology and with a little investment, current solutions can identify vacant spots, notify visitors before/while they come, consider traffic volume and direct them to specific spaces/areas. Crime – We’re fortunate to have a strong law enforcement and response team on IOP that has implemented cooperative agreements with surrounding communities and State agencies. With the continued increase in visitors and a shrinking “shoulder season,” it’s Council’s job to listen to our Public Safety leadership and ensure they have all the current tools, staffing, equipment and other resources to respond to events and the growing numbers of occurrences. 3. Why are you in public office? What led you — and continues driving you — to be a public servant? The residents. This is our home. We’re facing tremendous pressures that are not uncommon for a world class destination. If I can help preserve what we have, I’m more than willing to serve and do whatever I can to reflect residents’ voices from our Council to Columbia. We need leadership, a strong resident friendly voice and action. I’ll deliver on behalf of our residents. 4. What makes IOP a special place and why should people be confident in its future? Our Community. We’ve lived all over the U.S. and there’s no place that offers such a sense of community and commitment to an exceptional quality of life and the protection of the environment that we cherish. Isle of Palms is fortunate to have such engaged and capable residents. Our future is very bright. Our responsibility and challenge are to preserve it for future generations. I ask for your vote on Nov. 7 and please visit pierceforiop.com to contact me or for more on these and other topics. I believe that my job is to represent you so that your voice is clearly heard and reflected through sound public policy. As your representative, my commitment and goals remain straightforward: 1) protect our quality of life 2) provide proactive, respectful, objective, and accountable leadership for effective governance 3) be transparent & responsive 4) keep our community and environment safe. Our community continues to face challenges and opportunities from accelerating regional growth and pressures that require a strong and balanced approach to public policy to retain the residential nature of the Isle of Palms, while offering visitors a world class experience. We can achieve this through collaboration with resident initiatives, local businesses, other municipalities, and representatives/agencies at the County, State and Federal levels to manage the growth impacts and obtain funding. I have represented IOP residents at State committee hearings, developed relationships from the local, State and Federal level and will continue to represent the residents to the best of my ability to further build these relationships.
Sep 30, 2023
IOP Residents Hear from Five of Eight Council Candidates
More than 200 Isle of Palms residents gathered at the Citadel Beach Club Sept. 28 to find out more about the eight people seeking seats on the IOP Council in the upcoming Nov. 7 election. Members of the overflow audience heard from five of their eight fellow islanders who would like to represent them. The candidates agreed on subjects including the city’s decision to limit development in Wild Dunes, the necessity for beach renourishment and that the IOP Police Department is doing an excellent job of keeping residents and visitors safe. In other areas, the opinions of Elizabeth Campsen, Scott Pierce, Ashley Carroll, Tim Ahmuty and Brian Duffy differed, though usually not significantly. Unfortunately, the audience learned nothing about the other three candidates. Incumbents Kevin Popson, Rusty Streetman and Jimmy Ward were invited to participate but chose not to. The forum was sponsored by The Island Eye News, the Barrier Island Preservation Alliance and News 2 and moderated by Riley Benson, who hosts a political show aired by the local television station. Four of the five candidates voiced their support for a referendum that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot and would limit to 1,600 the number of investor-owned short-term rental licenses on the island. IOP voters were given the opportunity to decide that issue after the Council voted by a 5-4 margin on July 11 to ignore an ordinance proposed in a petition signed by 1,173 local residents. Popson, Streetman and Ward all voted against the ordinance, along with Blair Hahn and Mayor Phillip Pounds. Pierce, the only incumbent who attended the forum, was joined in the minority by Jan Anderson, Katie Miars and John Bogosian. At the forum, Ahmuty said the referendum has struck a balance between homeowners’ rights and maintaining the island’s quality of life, adding that “I would love to see generation after generation grow up here.” “Property rights are defined in the zoning ordinance,” Duffy pointed out. “The referendum is an excellent approach.” Both Pierce and Campsen said they support the referendum, with the latter noting that “every other community has established limits.” Carroll seemed to disagree, saying that the short-term rental issue “can be resolved with common sense solutions.” There also were differences of opinion on the question of whether communication is a hallmark of the current Council. After stating that “they’re working within the framework we have, and it’s a challenge, Campsen noted that “there’s not a lot of collegial behavior.” Pierce, meanwhile, said “there’s no communication.” “There’s a lot of dysfunction. We need leadership and camaraderie. It’s a well-intended group of people, but we need to work on issues instead of working on agendas,” he said. Carroll said “there’s not a lot of time for them to dialogue effectively. We need to find common ground and compromise,” while the other two office seekers were a bit harsher in their assessment of the current Council. “They don’t do a good job communicating. That’s a reason to get a new Council in place,” Ahmuty said. “Those who did not show tonight showed how they really care about the island and their willingness to communicate. There’s a very negative tone from portions of the Council, and, to me, that’s unacceptable,” said Duffy, who served previously on the Council. There also was a difference of opinion on the question of whether the Isle of Palms has trouble recruiting and retaining firefighters. In fact, several candidates denied that the issue exists. “I don’t think we have a problem,” Pierce said, pointing out that firefighters have received a 24% increase in pay in the past 15 to 16 months and that their average pay and benefits package is now in the neighborhood of $103,000 a year. “That question is probably a bad question,” Pierce said. Campsen and Duffy agreed, though the former pointed out that “there’s not much more important than a firefighter when you have a fire.” The five candidates had differing opinions on the plan to re-stripe the IOP Connector bridge. The Council passed a resolution in April supporting Concept 5, one of five proposals presented by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. That plan would have one lane of traffic entering IOP, two lanes leaving, a bike and pedestrian path on one side and no emergency lane in the center. Pierce, Carroll and Campsen favored Concept 5, but both Ahmuty and Duffy said they looked forward to the return of the emergency lane. All five candidates agreed that Chief Kevin Cornett and the Police Department are doing a great job and that beach renourishment is an important function of the city. Ahmuty suggested that IOP have a contractor on retainer who can react “when we need sand and we need it today.” And they agreed for the most part concerning the ordinances the city passed in November 2022 in an effort to limit development in Wild Dunes, some more vehemently than others. “The city was well within its rights. The city should always have the option to control commercial development,” Pierce said. Ahmuty noted that “I wouldn’t negotiate one iota. I’d fight them tooth and nail. All we did was close a loophole.” To watch the entire forum, click here.
Sep 29, 2023
Watch: Isle of Palms City Council Candidate Forum
Five of the eight candidates running for a seat on Isle of Palms City Council met in a forum Thursday night. To watch a playback of the event, click here. Island residents who are registered voters were invited to attend the candidate forum, which was held at the Citadel Beach Club. News 2’s Riley Benson served as an independent moderator for the event. The following candidates have filed for the 2023 municipal election: Scott Pierce Brian J. Duffy Elizabeth Campsen Tim Ahmuty Jimmy Ward Rusty Streetman Ashley Carroll Kevin Popson
A MESSAGE FROM SCOTT
Hello and thank you for taking time to visit my website. Since my election last year, I've been working to provide residents with a clear and consistent voice at the table from the Isle of Palms to Columbia. I've engaged with as many residents as possible, listening to your opinions, beliefs, information, and perspectives of all of our constituents, so I can earn your trust and reflect your voice in my votes. We're facing increasing pressures from external growth that is not unusual for such an attractive destination and our effort to retaining the residential nature of our community is not only far from over, it's just beginning. Jennie and I feel privileged to be a part of the Isle of Palms community and its welcoming residents. My committments to you, if re-elected include: