WAXHAW, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Only 83 people can safely fit in the commissioners’ meeting room at the Waxhaw Police Department, but neighbors didn’t mind hitting the fire marshal’s capacity limit Tuesday night.
They hope that the three commissioners who were voted out in the Nov. 7 general election hear them loud and clear before they leave their seats in the coming weeks.
“We need to stop pretending that these decisions are made in a vacuum and claiming that the board has no other choice,” said one man during Tuesday night’s commissioner’s meeting.
Waxhaw neighbors sat frustrated with their local elected leaders. They say, they’ve repeatedly voiced concerns about several hot-button issues on the agenda.
They packed the Nov. 13 meeting and tied up the public comment section to speak directly to their leaders.
“I hope the board is listening to them,” said Joe Lapos, an outspoken member of the community. “That’s what we really want to make happen, is that they’re that people are heard and their concerns are dealt with.”
Officials have been discussing several high-profile issues: implementing a social district, an investment proposal that would bring at least 500 homes to a congested area, and the town’s long-term comprehensive plan. Voters say they’ve made it clear — that they reject the proposals.
They feel the leaders who lost last month should not push an agenda as they leave office. Mayor Ron Pappas was defeated by Robert Murray III, and commissioners Pedro Morey and Anne Simpson were not re-elected in favor of Susanna Wedra and Richard Daunt.
“The people voted for change,” said one resident. “They voted for a different path forward, one that is adjusted more towards the needs of our residents.”
Another hopes the social district vote happens after the new leaders are sworn into office in December.
“I see no reason why,” said another man. “I don’t even know where the social district should have a final vote until after the newly elected reps are sworn in. To do otherwise is a slap in the face to the residents who overwhelmingly rejected the status quo development strategy,”
The town’s voters ousted two commissioners and the mayor during the Nov 7 general election. Many people believed they weren’t being heard, so they supported two new commissioners and a new mayor by wide margins. Papas lost with only 35 percent of the vote.
Mayor Pro Tem Brenda McMillion said the election brought a wave of negativity to the fast-growing Union County town.
“We now must govern for over 22,000 people,” McMillion said. “The work of the town still goes on. Yes, there are things that have been slated for us to proceed with and that’s what the current board will be doing until the new board is sworn in.”
Neighbors say this is the first time all year the meeting has been this crowded. Authorities had to create an overflow room to make sure people had seats.
The commissioners will discuss the Adelina development during Nov. 28 meeting. That’s also when a second reading on the social district is scheduled to occur with a potential decision.