Edwards to run again for Hilton Head Council seat

tbarton@islandpacket.comJuly 20, 2012 

Nearly a year and half after avoiding a runoff in a five-way special election, Lee Edwards, Hilton Head Island Town Council's most recently elected councilman, plans to be back on the ballot.

Edwards, 44, president and CEO of The Greenery, said Friday he intends to seek re-election representing Spanish Wells, Wexford, Long Cove Club, Shipyard and Point Comfort.

No one else has publicly declared an intention to run for the Ward 3 seat. Edwards' term expires in December, along with Bill Ferguson's Ward 1 seat and Ken Heitzke's in Ward 6 seat.

Ferguson has said he will run again in the nonpartisan election. Heitzke has remained mum on the topic.

Filing begins July 31 for candidates seeking Town Council seats in the Nov. 6 general election. "You can't get things done overnight, and I think the town is making some positive steps, but I made a commitment and there's more work ahead," Edwards said. "We have a good mindset of people on council, and I think I can continue to complement that."

Edwards won more than 55 percent of the vote in a February 2011 special election to fill the seat vacated when then-Councilman Drew Laughlin was elected mayor.

Edwards, who grew up on the island, ran on a platform of "innovation and preservation" -- calling for fresh ideas to attract business to the island, while continuing to protect the environment. Among his top priorities were changes to town practices and regulations that make redevelopment of aging island properties more likely.

"We've made positive steps with the redevelopment of The Mall at Shelter Cove, town staff has streamlined the commercial-permitting process and we've hired a growth-management consultant to rewrite our land management ordinance to remove obstacles to reinvestment for businesses as well as residents," Edwards said.

The area still lacks a diverse economy, Edwards said, as its beleaguered housing and construction industries try to recover from the recession.

He said that is why he supports the four-member committee asked by council to plan the formation of an economic-development group.

The panel said last week it plans to bring a recommendation to council this fall to create a new nonprofit organization governed by a nine-member board of volunteers and led by a full-time director.

The group would be supported by town staff and accountable to Town Council.

"The town needs to lead the way, make some decisions and be proactive in redevelopment and economic development, and not taking what comes to us," Edwards said.

Related content

  1. Town of Hilton Head Island ward/voting precinct map
  2. Hilton Head council elections: Ferguson to run again; Heitzke faces challengers: June 30, 2012
  3. Lee Edwards wins Hilton Head's Ward 3 special election: Feb. 15, 2011

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