LAKE WYLIE--Three real estate pros are using a list of hot growth and development issues and a few heated remarks to win a bidding war for the Republican Party's nomination for the District 2 York County Council seat.
In the June 10 Republican primary, incumbent Tom Smith, co-owner of Lake Wylie's May Green Properties, faces challengers David McCorkle, a Charlotte construction and development consultant, and Bill Stiles, owner of Stiles Realty. No Democrats have filed for the seat, which represents the Clover and Lake Wylie areas of northern York County.
Smith claims he wants to finish goals he set when first elected. McCorkle makes no secret that he hopes to unseat the incumbent he claims has special interests at heart. While he isn't slinging any mud, Stiles says he brings more understanding and different ideas to the position than Smith.
McCorkle hopes to create a group of residents, business owners and other community stakeholders to advise him on council issues once elected.
He supports mixed-use development, such as the Allison Creek plan, but said he is against excessive re-zoning to accomodate big business. McCorkle said he wants to require developers to pay for their own infrastructure needs.
As councilman, he said he'll stick to the 2025 land use plan.
"Why did we pay for the plan if we're gonna go against it 50 percent of the time?" he asked.
Smith said his goals on council were to negotiate a land use agreement for property near Allison Creek and help the county purchase Carolina Water Service to lower rates for customers. Both projects are moving forward and are close to fruition, he said.
"What I bring to the table is not what I think is a good idea," Smith said. "I've lived it."
If elected to a second term, Smith said he'll work for a special tax district to pay for better fire service, especially in the Lake Wylie area, where he says paid, daytime staff is needed in addition to volunteers.
Stiles, the Lake Wylie real estate broker, said he relates better to the public because of his lifelong ties to the area.
"I've seen where we've been and where we are now," said Stiles, who was raised in nearby Gastonia, N.C., but whose family roots run generations deep in the Bethel communty. "I'd like to be more available to the public."
Stiles said he'd like to, if elected, organize workshops for local contractors. He said small, local firms are qualified to do county work, but they often can't win county contracts because they aren't educated on the bidding process.
"I think our local contractors should have an advantage," he said.
Background: A Lake Wylie area native, Stiles works as broker in charge and owner of Stiles Realty, where he has been the past eight years, near the old Five Points intersection. Stiles served as a marine for eight years, with four years active duty, including time overseas during Desert Storm. Stiles is married with two children.
Top three issues:
"The big thing is the growth. I want to be involved with directing the growth in the community and communicating what's going on with the community. That's not there right now. Growth is number one on just about everybody's list. It has to be."
"We need to work on educating local contractors. I think the other candidates talk about hiring local workers. If you're going to have out-of-state contractors bidding for county projects and local contractors, who should get the bid? I want them to have better opportunities and understand the process so we can have more local contractors on the bid list."
"Direct communication between everyone from the township, school board and county council. We don't have that, and we need it. It's different than checking in with them once a year. We need that here."
Notes: Stiles hosts a meet and greet tonight from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Bethel Fire Station No. 3, 3333 Dr. Nichols Road, York. Another meet and greet takes place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the River Hills Country Club, 1 Country Club Drive, Lake Wylie.
Background: A Lake Wylie resident along Crowders Creek for eight years, McCorkle currently works as a business and construction consultant for firms working in Mecklenburg County. McCorkle worked the past 30 years in engineering, construction and real estate, include 10 years managing a Charlotte-based construction company. He remains active with Steele Creek Presbyterian Church and mentors underprivileged children. McCorkle and his wife live in Lake Wylie, and have one daughter.
Top three issues:
"The first thing is better communication. The citizens need a person who will represent their vision and concerns and act on their behalf. That's not occurring. We need a spokesman who will interact with the community on a consistent and regular basis about the issues and one that will involve the community through workshops and committees."
"The next issue is land use planning. The key to effective land use planning is to have a sound and executable plan that reflects the desires of the citizens. Developers need to pay their share of the infrastructure costs they place on the county. Growth must be self-funded."
"We need to make sure that there is a real, workable plan in place to ensure that the additional roads, schools, and other vital county services, such as fire and police protection, are in place so that we protect the quality of life for existing and future residents."
Notes: McCorkle plans meet and greets just prior to the election, but has not set dates. For more, visit mccorkle4council.com.
Background: Smith lives and works in Lake Wylie, where he has been developing property for two decades. The past eight years, Smith has been co-owner of May Green Properties near the old Five Points intersection. Prior to his first term on council, Smith served on citizen committees including land use planning and Pennies for Progress. A long-time youth sports coach, Smith is a member of All Saints Catholic Church, and is married with four children.
Top three issues:
"Whether it's one, two or three, everything centers around growth. It can be emergency services or land use or schools or even litter. Everything is focused around growth."
"Whether the issue is the Lake Wylie buffer, overlays, the urban service boundary--we have to focus on what was our intent. We need to consider where we want to be and what's the best way to get there. We don't want to infringe on people's property rights, and we want to make sure the rules are applicable."
"We'll probably always use consultants, but we can't rely on them. We need to allow our county staff to make decisions that impact the county. We want to find the best consultants we have, but (county staff) are the ones who have to make it work, to make it fit our area."
Notes: Smith plans to take part in pre-election debates, as well as puublic hearings for a 1,400-acre land project at the June 2 and June 16 county council meetings.