Those interested in running for a newly opened seat on the Hilton Head Island Town Council can start throwing their hat into the ring Feb. 26.
The filing period for the May 3 nonpartisan, special election to replace Councilman Lee Edwards begins at noon at Town Hall and ends at 4:30 p.m. March 7. Ward 3 follows the east side of Pope Avenue, extends up Palmetto Bay Road and hops over Broad Creek to pick up Spanish Wells. It also includes Wexford, Long Cove, Yacht Cove, Ashton Cove and Point Comfort neighborhoods.
The election comes at a pivotal time for the ward, with controversy continuing to brew over plans for a new University of South Carolina Beaufort hospitality campus on Office Park Road and the traffic it could bring between the Sea Pines and Coligny circles. The ward also includes the Coligny area, which is slated for redevelopment in an effort to keep the town competitive as a tourist destination. Ward residents are also expected to play a key role in determining whether the town should create an arts campus.
Whoever wins the seat will need to be prepared to run again in the Nov. 8 general election.
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The ward in recent years has had lively elections. Edwards won the seat in a five-way special election in 2011 after council member Drew Laughlin resigned to become mayor. Edwards later won a four-way race in 2012 for his current term.
Edwards said he’s approached some potential candidates, but so far, they have said they don’t have the time.
“It does take time, but it’s not like it’s a game-changer,” said Edwards, who also runs The Greenery landscaping company. “I’ve found it to be very rewarding.”
Edwards resigned the council position because he and his family have moved to Sea Pines, which is outside Ward 3.
Former mayor and Ward 3 council member Drew Laughlin said he has no interest in running. He said he hopes the next candidate will support plans for the Coligny area and the new USCB campus and will support efforts to relieve traffic congestion between the two traffic circles.
Whoever wins the seat will need to be prepared to run again in the Nov. 8 general election. The May 3 special election is only for Edwards’ unexpired four-year term, which ends in December. Edwards said he will stay on council until a successor is elected.
Want to file?
- When: Filing opens at noon Feb. 26 and will close at 4:30 p.m. March 7.
- How: File a statement of candidacy at Town Hall, One Town Center Court, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. To obtain a candidacy form, go to Town Hall or to www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov.
- Filing cost: $35
- Details: Candidacy questions, 843-341-4604. Election questions, 843-255-6900.
- Hilton Head Town Councilman Edwards to step down, Feb. 9, 2016