Six candidates for Leland Town Council face off in forum

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Six candidates competing for two seats on Leland Town Council faced off in a forum Wednesday night moderated by WWAY’s Randy Aldridge.

The two open seats are being vacated by incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Pat Batleman and Councilman Bob Corriston, who are both not seeking reelection.

The candidates are Allison Dunlap, Jason Gaver, Louis Harmati, Richard Holloman, Bill McHugh, and Nicholas Newell.

At the forum, hosted by the League of Women voters, each contender got to answer questions about a variety of issues faced by Leland residents, including traffic, affordable housing, and development.

To start off the forum, candidates were asked to comment on the Leland 2045 Plan, a framework for land use over the next quarter-century.

“What I like about the plan is that it gives us an idea of the areas where we need to grow for housing, where we need to grow for commercial space, where we need to not grow,” Gaver said.

“I probably won’t be here for that part of it, it’s pretty far out, but basically it just shows me what people are really looking for in the future is being well-planned,” Holloman said.

“I do not like the high density, a lot of high density places, I do not like everything just being mixed development. I believe in single family homes,” Dunlap said.

“I do like the focus on greenspace in our community, I would like to see a move away from mass clearcutting of developments,” Newell said.

“Part of the plan that I really really like and appreciate is that we’re taking into account the potentials for floods, for storm water management, and all of these things that are going to become critical,” McHugh said.

“I’m concerned about all the mixed-use communities, all the high-rise apartments, and I think single family housing- we need to consider that,” Harmati said.

Candidates were also asked what services they would like to see come to the Town of Leland as it continues to grow.

“I think more upscale places to eat,” Holloman said. “The women would like to see a Home Goods and a Marshalls.”

“I would like to see, and fortunately it’s happening, more park space and things to do for people of all ages,” Newell said.

“I think one of the big things our community is lacking is things to attract us for recreational shopping in addition to traditional recreation,” McHugh said.

“I like the idea of having a Marshalls, I love shopping at Marshalls, but small businesses are really the backbone of this country, so that would be awesome to see,” Dunlap said.

“It’s not about what I want, it’s about what you as the taxpayers want. So it’s about listening to your needs and desires,” Gaver said.

“Recyclables. We need maybe return those, I know recyclables have gone up tremendously in cost, I know that’s why Leland dropped it, and it’s going up more and more,” Harmati said.

You can watch the entire candidate forum here.

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