Steve Alfred runs for Hilton Head SC City Council Ward 5
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
The candidate with the most experience in the Hilton Head municipal elections is Steve Alfred, 88, who is seeking to extend his years of municipal service in Ohio as a representative of the Hilton Head City Council from Ward 5.
Before moving to Hilton Head Island, the retired attorney spent 16 years serving in Shaker Heights, Ohio — eight years as the city’s mayor and eight years on the city council.
Currently, Alfred is a member of the Hilton Head Planning Commission. Beyond local government, Alfred previously worked as a campaign finance and ethics advocate at the Georgia State House.
Alfred is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
The Island Packet sent questionnaires to contestants in contested races and limited them to 150 words per response.
Here are Alfred’s answers:
What campaign issue is most pressing for you? Why do you think this issue should be the top priority?
As a resident of Sea Pines, the long-standing traffic issue at Sea Pines Circle is a top priority. This impacts not only those entering and exiting Sea Pines, but also shopkeepers on Pope Avenue and Coligny Circle as well as bathers.
After that, I’m mostly concerned with the development of affordable and workforce housing, considering ways to moderate the growth of development and traffic, ensuring that short-term housing regulations are efficient, outpacing climate change by improving our stormwater drainage system to reduce coastal areas. floods and support arts and cultural affairs at all levels.
What is your position on the recently approved US 278 plan?
I am delighted with the MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] was approved so that the project could finally move forward. Two bridge spans would have cost an additional $25-30 million, taken several additional years to complete, and raised additional environmental issues – it just wasn’t practical. The agreement provides for an end-to-end traffic study, as requested by a group of citizens, which will take a number of additional months.
Synchronization of traffic lights along the length of 278 is highly desirable and progressing. Although the county is legally responsible for the project, the city must still provide its “municipal consent”, which it will be required to do after the traffic study for the project to proceed.
The decision rests with the current city council. Not only has the county (and some council members) pushed for a quick decision, but the current council is one that has been working closely with issues and negotiations for several years.
What steps would you take to address the labor housing shortage? Is the solution a public or private sector problem? Should Hilton Head focus on encouraging off-island housing through the regional housing trust fund or build locally?
The city, as it does, should make city-owned land available for this purpose, retain a private sector entity to guide it through this process, and make the land available at a discount to give developers an incentive. economical to build such housing. After gaining some knowledge of the postal sector on the north side, the city should move forward with other such developments, both large and small. The city should also consider improving transportation facilities for off-island workers.
While it would be nice if the private sector could build such accommodations, as the Sea Pines Resort has done, smaller entities do not have the capital or the means to participate. Indeed, the city changed its zoning ordinances to allow for greater density of workforce housing as an incentive, but no response was received. So while there will be some private sector involvement, much of the development will have to be city led.
Again, while local construction should be the primary focus, the city should also participate in the Regional Housing Trust Fund to encourage off-island development as well, as some HHI workers may prefer to live off-island. of the island.
The Chamber of Commerce receives significant public funding each year, but is not subject to the same transparency laws as the city council. What steps, if any, would you take to ensure greater chamber transparency on the use of public funds?
The city and the public need to know how the chamber spends its public ATAX funds received from the state through the [Accommodations Tax], and it is largely done. (The chamber also receives private funding from the hospitality industry.) The council, as the policy maker, should provide general direction to the chamber regarding the city’s goals. For example, the city needs to know the demographics of the target audience for magazine ads, as well as whether the advertised amenities (golf, beach, hotels, restaurants) are the only ones to focus on and why.
The friction between developing and maintaining the character of Hilton Head has recently come to light. How do you think the city should balance the two? Is it more important today to develop for the future or to preserve the past?
The city needs to do both affordable housing and the 278 project. Funding for the 278 corridor project has essentially been secured. Funding for the workforce housing projects from government agencies as well as private sources has yet to be secured, on which the outside consultant will likely be helpful. One of the city’s main financial contributions will be the rebate it offers on the sale or lease of city-owned land to a development agency.
While historic preservation, like the one underway in Mitchelville, is important, we need to focus strongly on issues that affect our future, like our drainage system to mitigate flooding and rising tides.