Fort Mill building inspector to challenge incumbent Chappell for York County Council

adouglas@heraldonline.comJanuary 3, 2014 

A licensed home builder and town of Fort Mill building inspector plans to challenge longtime York County Councilman Curwood Chappell this year for his District 5 council seat.

Marty Taylor, 45, of Doby’s Bridge Road in Fort Mill, announced on Friday that he’ll run against Chappell in the June 10 Republican primary. District 5 includes parts of Fort Mill and the towns of McConnells and Lesslie. Chappell has held the seat for more than 20 years.

Chappell, reached by phone Friday afternoon, declined to comment on Taylor running against him or on whether he plans to seek re-election.

Taylor has served as the town of Fort Mill’s building inspector for less than one year. Before being hired by the town government, he worked in Charlotte as one of the city’s code enforcers.

This year’s election would mark the second time that Taylor has challenged Chappell. In 2010, he lost in the primary by nearly 250 votes.

Though he lost, Taylor said Friday that he’s proud of the 2010 campaign. He thought about running again in 2012, he said, but decided against it when another challenger, Patrick White, entered the race. White, chairman of the Fort Mill school board, lost to Chappell by nearly 500 votes.

Taylor says York County is a “fantastic” place to live, but “I’m just a believer that things can always be improved.”

Much of his campaign platform is centered around attracting more businesses to the area and lobbying state lawmakers to rethink what he calls “an anti-business tax code.”

He’ll bring “laser-focused energy” if elected, Taylor said, adding that he’s moved past a dispute he had with York County nearly six years ago when plans went awry for his company to build a new construction and debris landfill on Quarry Road.

As a co-owner of Greeneagle, Taylor and a business partner had plans to build the new landfill but they were blocked after county officials adopted a moratorium on landfills in 2007. Soon after, Greeneagle signed away the right to build a York County landfill to Griffin Brothers, a company that owns six landfills across North and South Carolina.

Taylor is still a co-owner of Greeneagle. He and his business partner lost about $300,000 that they had invested before their landfill project was nixed.

In signing over the rights to Griffin Brothers, Taylor said, he saw no money but was given a job in the company for two years before being laid off in 2009.

Griffin Brothers has assumed all “liability and exposure,” he said, in the ongoing lawsuit against York County over the spoiled landfill plans. If Griffin Brothers is granted permission by the county to build a landfill, Taylor said, he may get his initial investment back.

But, he sees that as highly unlikely, he said Friday. Adding a landfill to York County is an “emotional issue” and he has no interest in seeing it happen.

In his upcoming run for the County Council, Taylor said he considers the past landfill dispute to be a “non-issue.”

Instead, Taylor said, he wants to focus on cutting taxes in York County by reducing government spending. He wants the county to take a hard look at a land use plan to preserve some areas for planned commercial growth.

Taylor also wants to initiate “state of the county” quarterly meetings that would give residents an opportunity to express opinions and air concerns outside of bi-weekly County Council sessions in York.

His competition, Chappell, is a well-respected councilman, Taylor said, and he understands why there are many District 5 voters who strongly support the incumbent.

“This is not an anti-Curwood Chappell campaign,” he said, adding that he’s “confident that it’s time for a new approach” in York County affairs.

All York County Council seats are up for re-election this year. Filing opens March 16 at noon and closes March 30 at noon. Primary elections will be held June 10. General election day is Nov. 4.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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