Planners Say 'No' to Ban
The Southern Pines Town Council on Wednesday considered a recommendation from the Planning Board to vote down a proposed development moratorium.
The council discussed the matter during an agenda meeting. That is when the council reviews items that will be on the agenda for its regular monthly meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Several big items are on the agenda.
Not only is the public hearing on the moratorium still open, but so is one on a proposed Home Depot shopping center that would take the place of the old Kmart building.
The council also has five architectural reviews to go over including ones for Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, a duplex development and a new gymnasium and theater at The O'Neal School.
The proposed development moratorium would be on Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) and major subdivisions.
The Planning Board voted unanimously March 26 to oppose "a development moratorium ordinance of any kind and for any term," according to the minutes of the meeting.
The Planning Board also made some suggestions on how to change the wording of the proposed moratorium ordinance should the council choose to approve it.
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Smithson said that he also might want to propose some changes to the moratorium ordinance before the council votes on it. He said his changes would make the moratorium less restrictive.
The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) defines major subdivision as anything more than three acres. He said that would put a lot of projects under the moratorium that are smaller in scope than what the council is concerned with.
"There are some elements in here that perhaps need to be clarified," he said, "so that we're not holding up something that is not part of what the concern was in the first place."
Councilman David Woodruff asked if there was a better way to define exactly what the council hopes to prevent with the moratorium.
"Is it possible to use some other measure like acreage?" he said.
Smithson said he probably would try to propose a change to the ordinance that would link the moratorium to acreage rather than the UDO's broad definition of major subdivisions.
The council could vote on the proposed moratorium Tuesday. But Smithson also said that one of the reasons to change the ordinance would be to let some projects go ahead if the council takes another month or two to decide on the moratorium.
In other business:
The developer of the proposed Home Depot brought in a couple of different building designs for the council to review, one of which the council seemed to prefer.
Mike Kaney, a representative of Weingarten Realty Invest-mentors, said the plan preferred by the council represents a "significant reduction in the typical orange of Home Depot."
Council member Abigail Dowd said that the Home Depot in Chicago has a green roof. Kaney said he spoke to Home Depot about that, and the company told him that the green roof came as a result of a grant from the city.
Dowd said that the Home Depot in Manhattan doesn't have any orange on it at all.
"We're trying to save them money," Smithson said, "by not having to buy all that orange paint."
Woodruff said that plan with less orange is a "vast improvement" over the originally submitted plan.
After a lengthy presentation, the council decided to make an effort to ensure that the new police station is an environmentally friendly building.
The effort will add some cost to the building, probably between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the architect.
The town decided to go for constructing a building that meets some of the standards to be Leadership Energy Environ-mental Design (LEED) certified.
"It would be nice," Smithson said. "But it's not worth it."
It would probably cost an additional $150,000 to meet all of the requirements to achieve LEED certification.
"We're trying to strike a balance between being environmentally sensitive and using tax-payer dollars," Mayor Mike Haney said. "I'm glad we had this event. I feel better abut the building."
Pete Bogle, the architect of the proposed building that would replace the old chapel at Brownson Church, showed the council a presentation on the new building. It included a swooping 3-D computer image of the building.
"It helps to see it in 3-D," Dowd said.
Woodruff, who has been a critic of the building's design, said he plans to wait until the council's meeting Tuesday night to make some remarks about the matter.
"There will be law enforcement there in case I'm attacked," he quipped.
The council looked at architectural plans for a project called Cypress Creek Town Homes. It would be a collection of 43 duplexes on Saunders Boulevard.
The council didn't seem to like the design or the fact that each building would look exactly the same.
"The first thing that came to mind was Elks Ridge," Woodruff said. "I get nothing but complaints about how ugly they are."
The developer said he could make some architectural improvements, but was wary that it would increase the costs. Haney said work force housing is something Southern Pines needs.
The developer said he would have some changes for the council to look at Tuesday.
The O'Neal School brought in a proposal for a new gymnasium and theater building for the Upper School. The old gym would be used by the Lower School.
"If they make it look like all the others, I don't see why they would have a problem," Woodruff said.
"It doesn't look like Southern Pines," Dowd said, "but it looks like O'Neal."
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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