Symposium at SCC to Focus on Growth
A panel of experts will discuss smart growth and moratoriums at a symposium Monday at Sandhills Community College.
The symposium, "Future of the Sandhills? How Do Quality of Life and Growth Co-exist," is designed to promote a dialogue about growth and its challenges, said Fred Hobbs, chairman of the board of Partners in Progress, the county's economic development organization. Hobbs helped organize the event, along with former Gov. Jim Holshouser and Sandhills Community College.
The symposium will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in Clement Dining Room in the Dempsey Student Center on the campus of Sandhills Community College. Hobbs said it is possible for the meeting site to move if the crowd is large enough. The Clement Dining Room can seat about 100 people.
"What we want to have is a community outreach," Hobbs said. "We are hoping everyone will come out and listen and ask questions."
Organizers hope the timeliness of the topic will attract a large crowd, including representatives of local municipalities. Two of these, Southern Pines and Whispering Pines, have been disucussing moratoriums.
"It's a subject that is on everybody's minds," Hobbs said. "The more people that can and will participate the better."
The panelists for the event are Ellis Hankins, executive director of North Carolina League of Municipalities; Janice Burke, former secretary of the Local Government Commission and former deputy director of the N.C. Department of Treasury; and David Owens, a faculty members with the University of North Carolina School of Government.
"There has been much discussion in recent months about growth and our quality of life in the Sandhills," said college President John Dempsey. "SandhillsCommunity Collegeis pleased to have three ofNorth Carolina's most experienced leaders coming to our campus ... for a panel discussion about this topic.
"We believe it will provide both factual information and expert observations that will help our communities and local leaders as these matters are examined in more detail in the time ahead."
Hobbs, who owns the engineering firm Hobbs Upchurch & Associates, said the idea of a symposium resulted from all the talk of moratoriums in the area.
"We wanted to do something before the (Southern Pines) Town Council had its meeting on March 11," Hobbs said.
Hobbs said invitations to the symposium will be extended to members of the Southern Pines Town Council and Planning Board.
At that March 11 meeting, the council will hold a public hearing on a proposed moratorium. Whispering Pines held a public meeting to consider a moratorium on all commercial and multi-family development Tuesday night.
"Partners in Progress is concerned about the term 'moratorium' and the practical application of it," Hobbs said.
He said the term has negative connotations to many people, and that it has had a negative impact on prospective businesses coming to Moore County.
Hobbs said that when Moore County was considering a moratorium in Area A, several businesses that were considering Moore County, opted for another location.
"We had prospective clients who said to us, after we explained to them what was going on, 'Well, we're not coming (to Moore County),'" Hobbs said.
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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