Fort Mill Mayor Guynn Savage has competition for her seat this year.
Her challenger is Bret McNabb, a corporate attorney and Fort Mill parent who is fighting the town over a gas station being built next to Doby’s Bridge Elementary School.
McNabb filed paperwork on Tuesday with York County elections officials. A campaign website includes this slogan: “Advancing Fort Mill, Together.”
Mayor Savage, who works as a real estate agent with Allen Tate Realtors, filed for re-election three weeks ago on opening day of filings. Council members Lisa Cook, Chris Moody and Ronnie Helms have all filed for re-election and do not currently have challengers.
Challengers have until Friday, Sept. 6, to file with the Board of Voter Registration and Elections Office in York. Council positions are non-partisan. Fort Mill residents will vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
McNabb made headlines over the summer as he argued against a 7-Eleven gas station being built next to the elementary school. He had argued that town zoning officials erred in allowing the gas station to move forward since laws prohibit “industrial or heavy manufacturing uses.” McNabb lost a close 4-3 decision in July by the Fort Mill Board of Zoning Appeals to keep the town from allowing the gas station. He has appealed that decision to Circuit Court.
His campaign website says he is running to be Fort Mill’s next mayor because he “believes in responsible development, community engagement and transparency.”
McNabb wants to focus on “shepherding development to better match Fort Mill’s comprehensive plan, by improving zoning ordinances to ensure the manner in which growth takes shape aligns with community goals and bringing businesses to Fort Mill which will provide value incremental to the current economic environment.” He also aims to engage all members of the growing community to ensure their thoughts, beliefs and ideas are represented and expressed through the actions of Fort Mill’s local government. He wants to do this through better transparency.
McNabb has resided for three years in Fort Mill, where he and his wife, Tanya, have three young children Collin, Maeva and Declan.
In 2015, Mayor Savage was elected as Fort Mill’s first female mayor, defeating fellow Town Council incumbent Tom Adams. After being elected, she told reporters that her first order of business was to strengthen relationships with community groups.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Mayor Savage said she’s had very few opportunities to be in the same room with McNabb. But she doesn’t see this as a race “against each other,” but just two individuals who are offering to serve the community.
“I wish him the very best of luck,” the mayor said.
As for accomplishments, Mayor Savage listed a new fire station, expansion of water treatment facility, the repurposed town hall and new computer systems for better customer interface. She spoke of the new projects to improve Walter Y. Elisha Park and the donations of land for a new ball park. Under her leadership, the town has welcomed a new town manager, assistant manager, procurement manager and planner.
“I feel like we are making strides and moving toward goals that are important to us all,” she said. “I certainly would like to continue the work for another four years.”
Mayor Savage was first elected to serve on the town council in 2005. She left the position in 2007 after moving out of her ward. But she was elected as an at-large candidate in 2009.
“I think we have an excellent future,” the mayor said. “I think we are in the best of times. I feel very fortunate to have served Fort Mill for some time now.”