Pinehurst Council approves fifth moratorium extension for Small Area Plan areas

Village hires new financial services director

PINEHURST — The Village of Pinehurst Council met Tuesday, January 24, with the only action item on the agenda being just a single public hearing.

The council held a public hearing for the proposed moratorium extension for the Small Area Plan areas – Village Place/Rattlesnake Trail Corridor and Pinehurst South/NC Highway 5 Commercial Area.

“The current 120-day moratorium ordinance is set to expire on February 3, 2023,” said Director of Planning and Inspections Darryn Burich. “The original nine-month moratorium was adopted on February 10, 2021, and it has been extended four additional times. A 90-day extension is requested for Village Place, and a 120-day extension is proposed for Pinehurst South.”

However, members of the council expressed concerns over how long the moratorium has already been in place. 

“My concern is what this record says,” said council member Lydia Boesch. “When we passed the first moratorium in 2021, that ordinance said it was an initial period of nine months, which was ‘the estimated time necessary for the Village of Pinehurst to complete and adopt the small area plans and their related zoning and development standards.’ That was said two years ago… Another thing that really concerns me is in the staff memo, which says about the 90-day and 120-day extensions, ‘While that likely will not be sufficient time to complete all actions related to adopting the zoning amendments, it will allow staff to continue working the P&Z Board and builds in a formal check back with the council as the deadlines approach.’ So we’re saying in the memo this might not be sufficient time, and I don’t know what development interests are out there that this might be a problem for them, but I just felt like it was my responsibility to point out what our records say because that could be problematic.”

While the other members were also concerned over the length of time the moratorium has gone, three members – Mayor John Strickland, Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Pizzella, and council member Jane Hogeman – saw it as still necessary to fully flesh out the council’s plans for that area and stated that progress was still being made. 

“I certainly understand the concern that it has taken a little bit longer than we had originally anticipated,” Burich said. “There were a lot of things that happened in that time period that kind of slowed us up. I think now, though, we’ve started to really be able to dedicate some staff time to actually working through some of these.”

However, council member Jeff Morgan adamantly opposed any further extension of the moratorium.

“As we move forward and as the council passes this moratorium, I recognize it has the power to do that, but it also restricts the freedom of individuals of developing their property and their property rights,” Morgan said. “This has already had four extensions, and I think it’s overboard. There are already restrictions on there from zoning, and we have protections. I do not support a continued moratorium.”

The final vote to extend the moratorium passed 3-2, with Morgan and Boesch voting against it.

With the new extension, the Pinehurst South Moratorium will expire on June 4, 2023, and the Village Place Moratorium will expire on May 5, 2023.

Finally, it was announced that Pinehurst had found a replacement for outgoing financial services director Brooke Hunter, hiring new resident Dana Van Nostrand as the new financial services director for the Village. 

“Dana comes to us from the northeast where she had several years of experience in the public sector, both doing accounting and financial services work for the College of New Jersey,” said Village Manager Jeff Sanborn. “Before that, she worked as an auditor for a major auditing and accounting firm and also did work in the public sector in that role.”

The Village of Pinehurst Council will next meet February 14.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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