Local News

Southern Pines looks to halt large developments

Posted May 12, 2008 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2008 6:50 p.m. EDT

— 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.