PINEHURST, N.C. — Pinehurst is a quaint, little village in the Sandhills, but there is nothing quaint about the uproar over a proposed development.
Protesters showed up Tuesday at a meeting to oppose a plan to build Midland Green, a $20 million shopping center in Pinehurst. It would be placed on Midland Road, the oldest double-lane road in the state and the scenic entrance into Pinehurst.
"It's a beautiful road, and it will be destroyed," protestor Pam Kirk-Conrad said.
"It is a very special place, and we're on the verge of ruining it," said Emily Hewson, who opposes the project.
However, developer Tom Cluderay said the project would not hurt Pinehurst.
"People just don't understand what we're trying to do. [They] don't understand how nonintrusive this is," he said.
Midland Road has scenery and a history of controversy dating back more than three decades. In February 1970, the state cut down more than 100 trees in two hours, declaring them a traffic hazard. Angry protesters petitioned the governor. Some even chained themselves to the trees.
When asked whether the project, given the extent of the opposition, should move forward, Cluderay replied, "Absolutely. I think the question of ethics ought to be considered on the other side."
Monday's hearing was on whether to issue a special-use permit to the developer. The Pinehurst Village Council has yet to decide.