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County Council candidate speaks to Waccamaw Neck property owners about Pawleys median, other issues

  • Monday, March 10, 2014

Clayton Stairs/Times John Thomas, candidate for County Council, right, answers questions from Waccamaw Neck Council of Property Owners Associations. From left are Linwood Altman, chair of the Pawleys Island Civic Association, and Mark Gilles, vice president of River Club POA.

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John Thomas, a candidate for Georgetown County Council, said Monday that the median project on U.S. Highway 17 in Pawleys Island seems like a good plan.

Thomas has been endorsed by the current councilman in that seat, Jerry Oakley, who serves the Murrells Inlet and Litchfield areas.

Speaking to the Waccamaw Neck Council of Property Owners Associations (WNCPOA) at Pawleys Island Realty, Thomas said as County Council member, he would be glad to look at any detailed alternative plan for the median, but he has not seen one.

He said he has talked with Steve Goggins, one of the main organizers of the “Don’t Strip the Neck” campaign, but their plan did not impress him.

“His plan doesn’t articulate the connectivity of the traffic signals which would platoon cars and allow people to make u-turns and left turns,” Thomas said.

“We need to eliminate head-on conflicts and balance that with how the median affects businesses on the side of the road.”

He went on to say that highway planning is for the future, not for today.

“We need to think about the future volume, not the present volume,” Thomas said.

He also said that the median project would be under construction when the election takes place in November.

Tom Stickler, chair of the WNCPOA and president of Hagley Estates POA, reminded Thomas that the second phase of the project, from the North Causeway south to St. Mary’s AME Church, will also be opposed.

Other issues

Thomas said he is a fiscally conservative Republican who does his homework and is not swayed by dogma.

He said one of the main issues is business growth on the Waccamaw Neck.

“We need to develop jobs in the western part of the county. The people there need jobs and we need to diversify our dependence on the tourism industry.” Thomas said.

“We need a revenue stream from other sources.”

He said smart land use is one of the most important issues he would face on County Council.

He added that environmental stewardship is important to improve the quality of life for people.

Thomas said another big issue on the Waccamaw Neck is the current situation with Midway Fire and Rescue.

He said that Midway has become a training facility for other fire departments.

WNCPOA members suggested looking into a millage increase like the Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire District is doing.

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