PINEHURST, N.C. — The Village of Pinehurst may seem like a strange setting for a heated debate, but the setting is part of the debate.
A developer wants to build a shopping center off of Midland Road -- the main road leading into the village.
Midland Green is a $20 million project that would be built on a 19-acre stretch of land. It would include shops, restaurants, offices and a grocery store as an anchor tenant.
The project's developer never envisioned the controversy it would create.
"I've never worked so hard for so long and spent so much money to do something so nice that's seemingly appreciated by so few people," developer Tom Cluderay said.
"It's a bad idea and it's in the wrong place and it's going to make Midland Road sick," opposition attorney Michael Brough said.
Opponents worry about the size of the project and the traffic it could generate. They say it could add 6,000 cars a day to an already busy road.
"The DOT will come in, we're afraid, and widen the road, cut the trees down and put in banks of lights and really ruin Pinehurst," homeowner Emily Hewson said. "Pinehurst is a really special place. It really is."
"Frankly, I think at this point, what we're proposing -- if we are fortunate enough to build it -- would arguably be the nicest shopping center in the state of North Carolina," Cluderay said.
The developer has spent more than two years trying to get the project approved, but the opposition has never let up.
It is ultimately up to the Pinehurst Village Council to either approve or deny the project. The council says it is still gathering information.