by Elizabeth Campsen for Island Eye News
As a lifelong Lowcountry resident married to a native islander, I have been blessed to call the South Carolina coast and Isle of Palms home.
I consider living here a unique privilege. I enjoy being involved in my community and all that the island offers. I am a member of the Board of Zoning and Appeals and believe I can do more for my community, which is why I am seeking election to City Council.
Several years ago I began attending city meetings to engage in discussions related to the marina redevelopment and have been told my attendance and probing questions were helpful to council. My career as a real estate paralegal has taught me how to get to the heart of a problem. I approach each issue in a detail oriented way. My experience with development, including zoning, planning, lease construction and compliance with Federal, State and City ordinances and regulations has aided me in creating a formula for success. In attending city meetings, I realized I could help.
My approach in business and on the zoning board is to first ask, What is happening? I take a comprehensive look at each issue to determine how things are working in an area and what is not working. Second I determine, What is allowed to happen? I then look to our local code, and state and federal ordinances as necessary, to understand what actions are permitted. Lastly I conclude, What should happen? I maintain a “resident first” perspective. Our City codes and ordinances were created to ensure a safe, residential, family-oriented community balanced with healthy businesses and recreational elements that place reasonable limitations on nonresident rentals and parking. I will work to implement and sustain that vision.
Central to every issue is sound decision making with respect to finances. The monetary benefits we receive from accommodations taxes, after mandated transfers to the general fund, are required by the State to then be used to promote tourism. Beyond that, I believe we should use the remainder to mitigate the impact of seasonal visitation and preserve our beach. I am concerned that 49% of Fiscal Year 2018’s bonded debt is to be repaid using accommodations, hospitality and preservation taxes. A disruption in that flow could result in a tax increase for all property owners.
If elected, I intend to:
• Ensure fiscal responsibility through clear and transparent budgeting practices
• Require aggressive enforcement of all existing protections granted by our Code
• Strengthen regulations on seasonal parking paying particular attention to Palm Boulevard
• Re-evaluate and update ordinances governing residential zones
In the weeks to come, I hope to meet as many of you as possible to discuss issues concerning you and our city. In the interim, I welcome any communication at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.886.4050.
Your Neighbor, Elizabeth Campsen