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Four vie for 3 seats in Locust

All of the incumbents on the Locust Town Council are seeking re-election along with another candidate hoping to crack the at-large board.

Incumbent Mayor Steve Huber has no opposition in Tuesday’s election. However, Locust councilors Roger Hypes, Mandy Watson and J.C. Burris and political newcomer J.R. Mount are vying for three seats. The top three vote getters will secure those seats.

Either the council will remain the same or there will be at least one new face after Tuesday. Growth appears to be the common denominator among all the candidates.

Mount compares Locust’s situation regarding growth as similar to Cornelius and where he lived previously.

“You are going to see massive growth,” Mount said.

Mount, who works for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police as a management analyst, said Locust must get in front of impending growth with proper planning.

“We don’t want growth to affect the quality of life here,” he added.

As a former police officer, Mount also wants to make sure the town retains its police officers and parks and recreation personnel.

Burris prefers tapping the brakes on growth in Locust. He hopes the town can remain at status quo.

“Everything is going real good and I want it to stay that way,” he said.

Burris has served three elected terms and one partial after filling an unexpired term.

He suggested requiring larger lots as one way to slow residential growth.

“I’d like to hold it down to a minimum. I don’t want to see it grow too fast,” Burris added.

A councilman for the past five years, Hypes favors “smart growth.” He does, however, want to build on the town’s pursuit of hosting more athletic tournaments.

“I would love to see a hotel due to the traffic and number of ball tournaments,” Hypes said.

Hypes is calling for more citizen involvement in town affairs.

“I would love to see more of the citizens attend the meeting on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.,” he said. “We take seriously the accountability and responsibility that we have been entrusted with.”

An Air Force veteran, Hypes has lived in Locust for more than 13 years. He has also served on the town’s planning and zoning board.

A retired realtor after 46 years, Hypes presently works part-time at Stanly Funeral Home and Cremation Care. For the past seven years, he pens an article in the weekly Locust Patch.

Watson also acknowledges the issue of growth in Locust.

“Locust is growing, and I’m excited about our future,” Watson said. “It is important to me that the infrastructure is keeping up with the 9 percent growth that we are experiencing.”

She expressed a specific interest in ensuring security measures at Locust Elementary School.

“Some things that I would like to continue to work on are safer schools,” Watson said.  “In May, Town Council approved a school resource officer for Locust Elementary.”

Watson, a pharmacist and owner of Medical Pharmacy in Locust, was appointed to the council in 2018. She has lived in Locust for 13 years.