WAXHAW – The Waxhaw Board of Commissioners will decide who will join the board in place of previous commissioner Sean Poccia at a special called meeting on Tuesday, July 1.
The position has been vacant since March, when Poccia decided to step down from his seat to serve the town in other ways. He currently is a consultant working to help the town with forecasting and financial planning and is heading up the search for a new full-time town manager.
Board members interviewed three of the 15 candidates who applied for the position at a meeting Wednesday, June 25, at the Waxhaw Police Department. Previous commissioner Martin Lane, planning board member Steve Maher and Dora Truesdale all answered questions about town issues such as their top three priorities, planning for future growth in Waxhaw, their vision for the future full-time town manager and how to better the working relationship between the town and Union County Public Schools.
Martin Lane, who served as a commissioner from 2001 to 2011 on and off, is once again stepping up to serve the town after losing his re-election bid in 2011. He has served the community as the president of the Waxhaw Elementary PTO since he left the board.
Commissioner James Warner addressed concerns that Lane had not been involved in town business since his previous term, but the candidate assured Warner and other commissioners that just because he was not present at the meetings did not mean he was not keeping up with town business.
“My absence from this room does not mean my absence from the community,” he said.
And when it comes to his vision for the future of Waxhaw, Lane wants to work toward managed growth, a safer community for the youth of Waxhaw and a better relationship between the board, UCPS and other residents in town.
“I’m not looking to get in here and shake things up,” he said. “… I want to get back in here and serve. I took two years off because I had to.”
Steve Maher has served Waxhaw in a number of capacities, from the planning board to the parks and recreation committee to participation in drafting the town’s Unified Development Ordinance.
But above all, Maher is an advocate for more communication between the board of commissioners, town staff, town committees and Waxhaw residents.
“I think it’s critical to the strategic direction (of the town) that the commissioners are going to communicate going forward,” Maher said. “… (The vision for the town) needs to be integrated so the committees know what they can do to support it.”
Waxhaw leaders have worked over the last couple of years to develop planning documents focused on different areas in town and the hopes for how and where growth in Waxhaw will take place. The small area plans, which are nearly complete, were created with the joint effort of the board, town staff, the Lawrence Group consulting firm and input from the community. Maher said it’s time to take all of that work and create one comprehensive plan for the town, in addition to completely reworking the UDO to fall in line instead of more “Band-Aid” fixes that have recently been used.
“If we get the comprehensive plan working then we need to go back and get the UDO working,” he said. “But I think (that can’t occur) until the comprehensive plan comes together.”
Community is the focus for candidate Dora Truesdale.
Truesdale, who has participated in many of the small area plans drafted for the town and attended meetings regularly, wants to bring a sense of community to the town similar to the one she experiences along Howie Mine Road with her neighbors.
“To me it’s more about community,” she said, “to bring them all together would make a city, and I think that’s what’s important.
The lifetime Waxhaw resident hopes, if appointed to the board, that she can foster relationships between the board, community members and UCPS Board of Education members and work to create a plan for the future of Waxhaw that keeps in mind the vision from the residents already living in the town.
“The people that are (moving to Waxhaw) like it for the same reasons (that we do), so we have to reassure them that the atmosphere is going to remain,” Truesdale said. “We have to put our community first.”
The meeting for Waxhaw commissioners to choose the newest board member will take place Tuesday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Waxhaw Police Department community room, 3620 Providence Road. The person appointed will serve until the term expires in 2015.