Mainland Planning Commission member Bo Clark wants to bring a business-friendly attitude to the commission overseeing planning, zoning and development issues in Glynn County.
Clark feels very strongly on this point.
A ruling from the MPC, like its sister body the Islands Planning Commission, can make or break a business or development project. While both are more apt to approve than deny, the MPC should be more proactive about helping anyone who wants to bring commerce to Glynn County, he said.
“I think we’ve got to get back into business,” Clark said.
Each of the seven members of the MPC is appointed by a county commissioner. Clark was appointed in January by freshman Glynn County Commissioner Walter Rafolski.
His appointment may have been a surprise to some. Clark was one of Rafolski’s opponents in the Republican primary in June.
Rafolski and Clark came in first and second place respectively in the three-man primary with incumbent Commissioner Bob Coleman. In the runoff, Rafolski clinched the Republican nomination, after which he defeated Democrat challenger Taylor Ritz in the general election for the at-large commission seat.
“It was election night when I called him to congratulate him, and he said he wanted me to stay engaged,” Clark said. “I still just want to be active in the community and want to give back.”
Clark picked up his interest in public service from his father, former county Commissioner Tommy Clark — now the county’s appointee to the Glynn County Board of Elections.
Between 2008 and 2020, Bo Clark sat on the Blythe Island Regional park Advisory Board. He left before starting his campaign for county commission.
Clark said he’s very pro-business, which was one of the reasons he jumped at the chance to get on the MPC.
“Instead of trying to make them jump through hoops, we want to work with them,” Clark said. “I think in the past that maybe wasn’t happening.”
He lives with his family near the Southport area of Southern Glynn and works at the Port of Brunswick as a terminal manager for a trucking company. On a daily basis, Clarks said he sees the growth in that area, but more importantly, he sees the untapped growth potential.
He wants to see more grocery stores, more shopping centers and more activities for youth to enjoy.
“In the last 15 to 20 years, out in my area in District 1, the port growth has been a big change as to how it’s affecting business out there,” Clark said. “Exit 38 (of I-95) is growing, but I’d like to see Exit 29 grow as well.”
A business-friendly attitude has to be tempered by a will to protect the residential communities scattered around the Golden Isles, he said.
“It’s a balancing act,” Clark said. “Like (the MPC meeting on) Tuesday, we had that concrete company coming in right across the (Ga. 99 from the Autumn’s Wood neighborhoods). It’s zoned industrial, but that whole stretch on the other side of the road is zoned residential.”
The MPC action balanced the safety and health of the neighborhood with the rights of the developer. The land on which the concrete plan was proposed has been zoned for industrial use for decades, MPC member Missy Neu pointed out Tuesday, but the residential side wasn’t zoned as such until 2004.
Keeping the two in balance is made harder by out-of-date ordinances that place requirements on businesses and residential developments that don’t make much sense in the modern landscape, he said.
A consultant is in the process of helping commissioners update the ordinances, something Clark said he anticipates being a benefit for the county in general.