Historic District Meeting
About 50 Pinehurst residents attended the first of three public hearings Tuesday on proposed boundaries for a local Historic District, with some disappointed that their properties are considered "noncontributing."
The Village Council is required by law to hold two more public hearings on the boundary map during its regular meetings on the fourth Tuesday in August and September.
The council's appointed Historic District Preservation Commission has recommended the boundary map designating 1,200 acres with 601 contributing structures. The inventory of structures in the historic district includes the owners' names and addresses.
The preservation commission and the village's advisory Planning and Zoning Board have also recommended approval of standards and guidelines for new construction and renovations or other work on the exteriors of existing structures in the district. The regulations also cover landscaping, such as planting a tree
Property owners must notify the village of any planned changes to the exterior of structures and property, including its land, in the district.
Major work requires a certificate of appropriateness from the preservation commission. The village planning and inspections staff can approve minor renovations and routine maintenance.
Mayor Steve Smith reassured questioners that the new standards will require "everything to be in keeping with the historic character of the district. This will provide much better protection against anomalies. Even what happens in the NewCore service district is going to have to comply with the Historic District standards and guidelines."
Mayor Pro tem George Hillier said residents have indicated that they wanted more stringent historic preservation standards as long as decisions were made by a local commission.
The Village Council must vote to establish the boundaries of the district and approve the standards and guidelines.
Structures built between 1895 and 1970 -- the period during which the founding Tufts family owned and operated the resort village -- are considered historic, or contributing properties, as long as the exteriors have not been extensively altered. Structures built since 1970 are automatically excluded, even if they have the varying architectural styles of the 75-year. Those structures, along with older ones that have been extensively altered, are considered noncontributing properties.
The district operates on architecture and appearance, not on geography, said Planning Director Andrea Correll. It covers the former Old Town Overlay District and Old Town area.
April Montgomery of Circa Inc., and Correll, spent most of the hour-long council hearing Tuesday responding to questions from property owners.
The recurring question was how the new district would affect their properties. Most wanted to make sure it would protect the character of the area. Other speakers expressed disappointment that their properties were not included in the "contributing" category.
Jane Deaton, a member of the Planning and Zoning Board, lives on McCaskill Road is in the Old Town historic area but was built after 1970. She spoke Tuesday to explain her vote against adopting the boundaries.
The area contains a "very strange little cutout," she said. Some homes that were excluded, such as hers, are on lots originally laid out in the 1920s, she argued.
Several residents of McCaskill in her neighborhood had objected to their homes being left out the contributing category, though some others nearby were included.
The boundaries were drawn to include clustered contributing structures, Montgomery explained, encompassing some houses that didn't fit the requirements, which was done to avoid having too many small excluded areas.
Deaton questioned the recommendation that some other structures not abutting designated historic structures be included in the district.
"If it's about architecture, why does the historic district take up again and pickup (the block on McCaskill) where Quality Built Homes, the rescue squad building, an empty lot where the old laundry used to be?" she asked. "I have a hard time understanding."
Bob Hawkins of Village Lane and one of his neighbors wondered about the new district regulations.
Hawkins argued that the cul-de-sac he lives on that is part of the Old Town should have been included as a contributing area.
"What control do certain bodies (such as the resort owners or the commission) have over Historic District work?" Gordon White asked.
White questioned whether someone has "veto power" over any future changes in the historic golf courses under changing ownership.
Councilwoman Lorraine Tweed offered to have the village find out the answer for White.
"We have Pinehurst Resort represented on the Historic Preservation District Commission," she said.
"We are not establishing a new overlay for Old Town," Smith said to Hawkins. "You are in Old Town."
The new historic district includes part of Old Town. The state historic preservation office overseeing the way the village establishes and protects the local historic district has control through state law over the scope and powers, he said.
"We are not changing the boundaries of Old town," Smith said. "There will be an area of Old Town that is not in the Historic District."
A couple of newcomers whose homes are in the proposed local district asked for information on the differences between the local district and National Historic Landmark designations.
Montgomery said the National Historic Landmark designation is an "honorary" listing but "has nothing to do with local zoning and land use regulations." The local district commission governs new construction and changes to the exteriors of existing structures in the district.
Sara Lindau can be reached at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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