Council Holds Hearing on Zoning Change
The Pinehurst Village Council held a public hearing Tuesday afternoon on a proposed zoning amendment to limit offices and banks in the downtown areas.
The changes are designed to encourage more retail shops. The issue has divided property owners and merchants in the village.
Building owner Tom Stewart criticized the proposals.
"There indicates in this language a grave concern that the residents of Pinehurst are upset or would like to see a change in the ambience of the village of Pinehurst," he said. "If you go back to some of the hearings when NewCore was being discussed, the poll of the Village Council itself indicated that 88 percent of the residents that were polled didn't want to see the village changed at all."
Stewart said everyone wants to see more retail, but there are a finite number of spaces in the village as is. He said things done with good intentions, such as this, can lead to unintended consequences.
Tim Gold, a Pinehurst business owner, responded by reminding the council of its responsibility to accommodate both positions.
"Your charge is to be the custodians of Pinehurst," he said. "There has to be a blend of commercial and retail shops, and right now it is bordering on becoming somewhat of an office park. To enhance and protect the ambiance of Pinehurst, it is your job to find the rules that accommodate Tom Stewart's position and the retailers' position."
If approved, banks and financial institutions would be prohibited on the ground floor "of the principal building" in any circumstance. The current ordinance says offices can be located on the ground floor as long as the ground floor "is occupied by at least 50 percent retail uses in frontage and area." That clause would be removed under the proposed change.
Another change would eliminate a 120-day period in which a nonconforming use can be discontinued and re-established. If approved, it will be changed to read: "Any cessation in use shall result in the discontinuation of that use and the space may only be reoccupied by a conforming use."
The village Planning and Zoning Board voted last month to recommend that the council reject both changes. The council did not vote on the changes. It did not indicate when a vote would be taken.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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