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Southern Pines looks to halt large developments

Posted May 12, 2008

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— The Town Council is considering placing a moratorium on large-scale developments to give officials time to review and possibly revise land-use rules.

The moratorium, which is scheduled for a vote at Tuesday's Town Council meeting, could last as long as a year and prevent developments like subdivisions larger than 20 acres.

"We don't want to look like every other town going down the interstate," Councilman David Woodruff said. "If we look like every other place, people are not going to want to come here."

The vote comes three months after the Town Council rejected plans for Pine Needles Village, a mixed-use project along Midland Road that would have included 832 homes and 400,000 square feet of retail and office space.

"People are concerned about too many big-box stores," Woodruff said.

Mayor Mike Haney said a building freeze would harm the business community in Southern Pines and could impact the town's tax rate, which hasn't changed in more than 15 years.

"I think it sends a really negative signal to the development community," Haney said. "We've had a very fragile growth rate over the years, and I think a moratorium will threaten that."

The town already has stringent building regulations in place and could review ordinances without barring new developments, he said.

“We’re fortunate enough that we were able to ask (developers) to come into our community on our terms,” he said.

A moratorium would likely not affect a swath of undeveloped property along Morganton Road and Brucewood Drive because it is already landlocked by commercial real estate. Builders have eyed the spot for years for a residential and retail development.

Woodruff said a moratorium isn't anti-growth.

"It's mainly slowing things down so we can get it right," he said.

7 Comments

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  • myidea May 13, 2008

    Yeah I have. Many times. My Parents live in Pinehurst which is basically next to Southern Pines. All they can talk about is how there is nothing around them and they have to travel to go shopping. It already has some very big neighborhoods and could use some more to help the area out. Nothing seems open after 6pm on a weekday and barely on a weekend after 6. So, yeah I have been there.

  • Beachnut May 13, 2008

    A good example of a community deciding for itself what kind of future it wants, rather than just thowing it all to the developers to mine their gold and move on.

  • jkca May 13, 2008

    Myidea, I have a question for you. Have you ever been to Southern Pines ?

  • Adelinthe May 13, 2008

    Good for them!

    All communities should do this to protect their local flavor. New developments should be no less than 10 miles away. JMO

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • clintoflannagan May 13, 2008

    I agree with the Council in Southern Pines and think that all other councils should do the same thing. If someone hasn't moved into a particular area by now then TOO LATE. I say close the gate now that we have it like we want it and keep other people and their fancy developments OUT!

  • Scubagirl May 13, 2008

    good for them. I'm all for their plan, tho' admittedly I don't live there.

  • myidea May 13, 2008

    Stopping one community from starting seems like the wrong way to handle this. It would be different if there were 20 or 30 starting, but that isn't the case there. They should be happy people are still building now. If the housing market gets going again maybe they could complain. Sounds to me like they are worried they might get ousted.