W.P. Will Consider Moratorium Tuesday
A looming building moratorium in Whispering Pines could become reality Tuesday.
The Village Council will hold a public hearing to consider two proposed ordinances. They would establish a moratorium on all new subdivisions and new shopping centers for one year or until a new unified land development ordinance is adopted.
The public hearing will be part of the village's regular meeting at 6 p.m. at the Village Hall.
"In all likelihood we will vote," Mayor Bob Zschoche said when asked whether the council would take action after the hearing.
The village defines shopping centers as "a building or group of buildings, either connected or free-standing, under unified or multiple ownership of land parcels, that is designed and has been approved by the village as a shopping center with common parking, pedestrian movement, ingress and egress, and its uses are limited to banks, medical offices, public utility facilities, restaurants, personal service establishments, florist shops, retails stores, variety stores and financial institutions"
By state law, the ordinance has to include four things: the reasons the council feels a moratorium is necessary, what steps the council has already taken to avoid a moratorium, how long the moratorium would last, and what steps the village intends to take to address the problems during the moratorium.
This is the second public hearing on a possible moratorium. The first was held Feb. 26.
During the February hearing, most speakers opposed the moratorium. Many of them were local developers, builders and real estate agents. Moratorium opponents have said the village ordinances and land-use plan can be revamped without stopping development.
The village has hired a consulting firm to help update ordinances and create a land-use plan.
Zschoche has called the ordinances "inadequate." He said the consulting firm is "hard at work" and will host two meetings April 1 to gather input from builders and developers, as well as members of the village boards and committees. Both meetings will be at the Village Hall. Times for the meetings have yet to be set.
The proposed moratorium ordinances cites concerns about "outdated" ordinances and subdivision regulations, as well as future water needs of the village, as reasons for the need for the moratorium.
According to the ordinance, the moratorium would not affect the approval of final subdivision plats.
Zschoche said the village has received a letter from an attorney for one developer that expresses concerns over the possible moratorium.
Southern Pines and Aberdeen are also considering similar moratoriums.
Two other public hearings will also be held Tuesday evening. One will consider giving the planning and zoning director the power to issue a stop-work order. The other will be to consider amending village ordinances to increase penalty fees for ordinance violators from $50 to a maximum of $500. This will be the second hearing on both. The first was held Feb. 26.
The council will also consider calling two special meetings. One will be to continue discussions on the village's new land-use plan. The other will be to continue discussions on the village charter modernization.
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at tembrey@ thepilot.com.
More like this story