Waxhaw candidates discuss future development

WAXHAW – Waxhaw’s Board of Commissioners could see three new faces come Election Day on Nov. 5, with only one incumbent, Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick, running for re-election.

Commissioners Brett Diller and Joyce Blythe have decided not to seek re-election this year, while not every position is up this term – including Mayor Daune Gardner’s seat.

Each candidate was asked the same four questions and responded through email.  Questions for Waxhaw focused on future development in town, as well as what candidates feel should be the focus of town leaders in terms of planning for how to use the recently developed small-area plans.

See each candidates complete answers, as submitted to Union County Weekly, below:

Waxhaw Board of Commissioners

 

Jamie Duncan

704-891-1743

jaduncan1974@gmail.com

 

Relevant experience: Eight years business management experience, Parking Solutions, Inc., in Knoxville, Tenn., San Francisco, Calif. and Charlotte, N.C.; Hospice companionship volunteer, five years.

Education: B.A. in English Literature, M.A. in Religious Studies, Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Currently in graduate school.

Family: Married to Katie Baron-Duncan

Years lived in Waxhaw: We moved to Waxhaw at the end of April, from Rivergate. My in-laws Glenn and Joan Baron have lived here for more than 10 years. We moved here because we visit often, have lots of friends and family here, and love the place!

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

My wife and I moved to Waxhaw for our family and I am running for office because I want to be involved in our community. My father had a chicken farm in Taylorsville, N.C., and retired from the sheriff’s department. I grew up immersed in small town politics and have worked for family-owned businesses in Matthews, Charlotte, Atlanta and San Francisco. I understand both the small town concerns and urban potential of Waxhaw at this crossroads in growth.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

The renovated police station and new town hall will create a definitive town center for Waxhaw; another recent proposal involved a community athletic center. I would like to see area businesses and churches participate with the town government to develop an interdenominational and intergenerational space for family activities and community meetings. The capital investment of the community as a whole would result in a sense of ownership and encourage participation, which is vitally important during a period of growth. Also, the library should be moved to a larger space on Main Street, in order to benefit the entire community.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

Commercial growth provides jobs and services within the town, which helps keep general expenditures and tax revenues local. This can help reduce commuter traffic and increase local capital. However, the greatest challenge for local leaders during a time of growth will be to hold onto the small town character of Waxhaw, which is defined by community involvement. It is important that leaders promote the development of locally owned businesses in order to preserve the family-oriented character of Waxhaw.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

Leaders should continue infrastructure investment in preparation for future development, based on a measured assessment of what that growth will entail. For instance, the construction of connective throughways could relieve increasing congestion on the Providence (Road) corridor, but new neighborhoods along that same road could retard such efforts. Investment in the expansion of high-speed Internet cables and cellular towers will lure businesses, support home offices and create jobs. With many youths leaving and older families arriving, senior services are increasingly important. Community partnerships, grants and tax revenue from new business growth can help fund these projects without tax increases.

 

Paul Fitzgerald

fitzgeraldforwaxhaw@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/fitzgeraldforwaxhaw – @PaulFitz4Waxhaw

 

Relevant experience: I worked for Lowe’s Home Improvement warehouse for over 20 years and was in every management position at the store level. I am now self-employed with my own home improvement business. I have been the chairman of the Waxhaw Beautification Committee for the past two years and vice-chairman for the two years prior.

Education: I am a high school graduate and hold an associate’s degree in hardware and home center management.

Family: Wife, Patty, of 33 years; four beautiful daughters – Sara, University of North Carolina at Charlotte graduate; Bridget, Western Carolina University graduate; Elizabeth, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate; Jackie, UNC-Chapel Hill and Eastern Carolina University graduate.

Years lived in Waxhaw: We moved to Waxhaw in 1999, so we have been here over 13 years.

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

I have a real desire to help the town. I like to listen to all points of view first before I make a good management decision.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

The small area plan was created to help developers know what the town, with citizens’ input and actions, is looking for in buildings and designs.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

At this time, Waxhaw is poised to have substantial growth in commercial development. A lot of these developers have already purchased land and had it zoned for commercial use in the north side of town because they saw missed opportunities from other communities in the area to have more commercial development. These developers are waiting for the economy and Waxhaw to grow just a little bit larger in population and from the widening of Highway 16. The road widening will literally drive the development of Waxhaw.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

We need to look into easing the east-to-west traffic flow on Highway 16. This is a (North Carolina Department of Transportation) issue, which many citizens of Waxhaw would like to give their input on. The intersections I am most concerned with are Kensington, Gray Byrum and Bonds Grove Church roads. This is the time for Waxhaw to make a historic jump. I believe we are moving in the right direction with a new and well-needed building for the police department and a new town hall building, which will be in a commercial property and not a converted house. We have some large purchases in the works such as the equestrian center, the proposed greenway on the Horton Property and the spotlights on the soccer fields at Nesbit Park. All of these projects take money in order to make them a reality, and we need to watch our town’s purse so that we do not overspend and end up mortgaging our future. We also have a great amount of growth at this time. There have been 500-600 building permits granted in the town this year alone. This is great progress, but next year it will even be greater with our local economy getting better.

In closing, I am asking for your vote to keep Waxhaw on the right track of good family values. This is just the beginning for the western Union County powerhouse we call Waxhaw.

William Hardman

704-770-5587

William.lynn@me.com

 

Relevant experience: Currently vice-chairman of the Waxhaw Board of Adjustment and have been associated with the board for almost three and a half years.

Education: University of Texas at El Paso

Family: Two Children

Years lived in Waxhaw: Five-year resident of Waxhaw

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

I adore and admire the Town of Waxhaw as well as its people since first arriving!  I see so much potential for our town and am extremely excited with what the past and current administrations have accomplished.  I would like to continue the progress that I have witnessed over the years and become a pivotal member of the commission to take Waxhaw to the next level.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

I would like to incorporate a family friendly park with its focal being a pavilion that would enhance the small town “Norman Rockwell” feel that many have grown to love about Waxhaw.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

It would be advantageous to bring in commercial development however our infrastructure would need to be addressed.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

City hall and any other applicable government offices as well as the Waxhaw Police Department should fit comfortably in the 28,000-square-foot facility located at 3620 Providence Road until our next growth spurt.

 

John Hunt

980-722-0253

jtmedic@earthlink.net

 

Relevant experience:  I have served on the Waxhaw ABC Board for the past three years, the last two of which I have been the chair. I am also employed full time by Mecklenburg EMS Agency in the Communications department. I hold a National Registry of Paramedic certificate and have been a North Carolina Paramedic for the last 14 years.

Education: I studied Business Management at the University of Kentucky and Para-medicine at Union Technical.

Family: I am not married and have no children.

Years lived in Waxhaw: I have been a resident of Waxhaw for the past seven years.

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

The number one reason I am running for Waxhaw Commissioner is that I believe that I will bring a skill set that is required of the position. I will push for a thorough review of town operations and organization and promote efficiencies in all that we do.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

Recently Waxhaw leaders have pushed for small area plans for local communities. I believe it is now time to tie all of the small area plans together. A high level look at how the overall area plan will promote the responsible and rational growth of Waxhaw. There needs to be an adequate mixture of residential and commercial development to develop a sustainable tax base for the future.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

Waxhaw leaders should be very development friendly, again with a reasonable and rational approach to growth. The right mix of residential development, through small area plans and commercial development, through big picture overall planning is the key to success. How many corporations have been turned off to Waxhaw due to poor large picture development? And likewise, how many residents are asking for the restaurants and jobs that commercial development brings? That is one of the true job descriptions of a Waxhaw Commissioner.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

In the coming years, the Waxhaw Commission should focus on cleaning the plate of all of the on-going projects at town hall. Complete what has been in the works for years and work towards developing a five and ten-year-long range plan. There seems to be a few projects that just need a little push and follow through to get them completed. A new town hall facility has been in the plans for the past seven years. Time to get it done. Waxhaw experienced rapid growth in the last 10 years, with try to keep up policies. It is time to layout an overall plan to move forward and make Waxhaw the best place to live in the world. As a Waxhaw Commissioner, I would work tirelessly to serve the citizens of Waxhaw and provide a voice of reasonable and rational growth focused on our future.

 

Erin Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick4Waxhaw@gmail.com

www.Kirkpatrick4Waxhaw.com

 

Relevant experience: Design Internship with Harry Joe Brown, JR and Brown Companies in NYC, NY working on residential projects in Sagaponac New York and Cape Cod Massachusetts Summer 1993. Design and Managed Project Implementation of several restaurant/lounges NYC, NY 1995-1998. Designed, Managed Project Implementation, and acted as General Contractor for start up of Orthopaedic Surgical Practice in 2002. Worked in Business and Healthcare Management for past 12 years of Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group with over a 15,000 patient volume and $5,000,000.00 annual budget. Responsibilities have included Budgeting, Human Resources, Contract Negotiations, IT Administration, Billing, Collections, Accounting, Vendor Negotiations, and Real Estate Contracting. College Major: Interior Design with courses in Construction Documents, Project Management, Building Codes, Architectural History/Styles/Standards, and Civic Building Design to name a few. Co-Founded The Library Association of Waxhaw (501c3) and The Waxhaw Reading Room to build a newer and bigger Waxhaw Library.

Served on Waxhaw Board of Commissioners since December 2009. Appointed Mayor Pro-Tempore by WBOC in 2011. Delegate for The Carolina Thread Trail, Centrolina Council of Governments, and League of Municipalities. Initiated Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) comprised of elected representatives from all 5 Western Union County Townships meeting on a monthly basis. NIMS Certified

Education: Attended Walnut Hill School and The New York School of Interior Design. Regularly attended Waxhaw Board of Commissioners Meetings for two years prior to being elected in December 2009. Attended a wide variety of Government related conferences and courses since being elected in 2009.

Family: Oldest of eight children. Parents and three youngest siblings live in Charlotte. Son resides in Waxhaw with me.

Years lived in Waxhaw: Moved To Charlotte 1986 and resided in Waxhaw since 2003

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

I am running for re-election to continue to preserve Waxhaw’s character, improve Waxhaw’s quality of life, increase transparency and accountability to the people of Waxhaw through strategic town and financial planning whilst growing sustainable alternative revenue sources to prevent tax increases.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

Form cased codes should be adopted in succession to small area plans to replace our antiquated ordinances, which is riddled with band aids and ineffective rule sets. Ineffective cumbersome ordinances have inhibited good growth while allowing for poor growth. We must plan for our future growth or face poor transportation, poor services and increased taxes.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

Waxhaw is the fastest growing town in Union County and perhaps the state of North Carolina. It is imperative Waxhaw look for ways to diversify its tax base with tourism, local services and quality jobs to keep money here in our town. Over $20 million leaks to adjacent communities as people turn left out of Waxhaw to commute. The ability to keep that tax revenue here in our town enables us to maintain the same tax rate as we have over the past four years and continue to offer our superior levels of service. Waxhaw is an extremely safe and clean community with top quality schools and future parks. Those three things are economic development driving engines.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

We have worked very hard to bring transparency, accountability, business skills and servant leadership into our local government to serve our community. Part of that initiative was to create a mission and vision statement with a goal set to propel us forward for the next 20 years and to further hold us accountable to the people. The next step is to finalize the five-year financial plan for roadways, sidewalks and service needs. We have acquired nearly 100 acres of land throughout the Waxhaw town limits coinciding with our master parks and recreation plan to ensure our quality of life remains. Currently we are averaging nearly 2,000 residents a year projecting our population to top 20,000 people within three years. Through continued proper financial planning with the help of extensive grant and private funding, we will be able to meet the needs of our children, our 35-year-old median-age residents, our seniors and every age in between with amenities such athletic fields, batting cages and courts, aquatics, community gathering places, passive recreation places and vast network of safe green-ways for a wide variety of uses.

 

Stuart Rimmer

704-491-9709

msrimmer40@gmail.com

www.facebook.com

 

Relevant experience:  I am an active business leader in the Waxhaw community and have served as president of a Providence Glen subdivision in Mecklenburg County for seven years prior to our move to Waxhaw 10 years ago. The last 22 years I have been an agent with to great insurance companies and have extensive experience in understanding clients’ needs and setting forth the proper action to take care of them. I am a problem solver.

Education:  Louisburg College and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Family: Married to Carolyn for 21 years, daughter Jacqueline 19, son Michael 17.

Years lived in Waxhaw:  10 years but have been coming here since childhood.

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

My goal is to keep the integrity of Waxhaw and it small town charm intact. There are many possibilities that could take place for our community in regards to how our retail could grow, but it’s got to be on our terms. Many people like Waxhaw as it is and why not, it’s a really nice place to live while others say they don’t want to have to drive so far for to purchase everyday needed household items. So that is the challenge that I feel I can bring a balance to the table for the citizens of Waxhaw.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

The current town leaders have used a lot of resources thus far in the development of what their vision is for downtown Waxhaw. Form based coding is very important to bringing more commercial/retail to the area and as a business owner in Waxhaw I support that vision and wouldn’t want to change it. If we were to simply zone downtown Waxhaw for commercial zoning only it could as it has in the past bring in a corporation that was going to railroad their way into our community with no regard as to why we all enjoy it today. I don’t want to see this happen in way shape or form. Again, it has to be on our terms.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

Again, many resources have already been used in luring more business to downtown Waxhaw, the biggest thing right now is a strong economy and the opportunity for a sustainable retail business to take advantage of the necessary population density needed for them to be profitable and job creators.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

With all the things that Waxhaw has to offer in night life, restaurants, live music and such, I would like to have a civic center one day where one might enjoy theatre, concerts and even ballet, a place for receptions and local gatherings where people enjoy culture and the arts.

 

Jim Warner

704-843-0641

jameswarnerforwaxhaw@gmail.com

 

Relevant experience: Waxhaw Planning Board 2011 to Present, Previously 1991 to 2001

Education: Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, Penn State, 1974

Family: Married, two grown daughters, four grandchildren

Years lived in Waxhaw:  29

 

What is the No. 1 reason you are running for election?

I believe that I can provide a voice of reason and responsibility on the board.  I see that the current board is spending a tremendous amount of money on the new town hall, new police station, parks and more.  This spending, while necessary, needs to be slow and calculated to avoid placing additional financial burdens on our citizens.

I believe that the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners is out of touch with its citizens and cite the proposed downtown historic district plans that were scraped a couple years ago.

 

Waxhaw leaders have pushed for the creation of small-area plans for the many communities throughout Waxhaw.  What do you think is the next step for the council in reference to development in the town?

I currently serve on the Hillcrest Small Area Plan Advisory Committee and live on Givens Street adjoining the land that the town purchased for a proposed park.  While I am in agreement that the town should be looking forward to where we are going to grow, it is my opinion that most these studies are quite far sighted and of limited immediate value.  They have good ideas but the question is what the town does with the ideas.

 

Should Waxhaw leaders be doing more to lure in commercial development to the town? Please explain.

Waxhaw needs to provide a conducive environment for business to locate here.  Currently Waxhaw is a bedroom business and retail will continue to grow as we add more rooftops.  To lure in industrial and office development we need to provide a good infrastructure.  In particular, completion of the Waxhaw Parkway West from Highway 16 to Highway 75 is should be at the top of Waxhaw’s “To Do” list.  This will relieve some congestion and spur industrial/commercial development along Helm Road.

 

What are some other issues you feel town leaders should focus on in the coming years?

Pay off the debt that the town is incurring for construction of the town hall, police station and properties.

I see a need to finish small infrastructure projects (i.e. sidewalks, curb and gutter, downtown parking, etc.).  I have lived in Waxhaw for 29 years and have seen it change from rural to a suburban community.  With the increases in population that we are seeing, people expect more amenities.

 

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