Pine Forest Rezoning Hits Snag
The county commissioners on Monday held off setting a public hearing date on a request to rezone land near West End for the proposed Pine Forest development.
Bob Hansen, of Pinehurst, has asked the county to rezone about 1,652 acres as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for a luxury golf resort.
Its present zoning designation is RA-20 residential/agricultural, RA-40 residential/agricultural, RA-5 residential/agricultural and B-2 highway commercial.
Pine Forest, as proposed by MHK Ventures Inc., fronts on N.C. 211 and stretches toward N.C. 73, abutting the Dormie Club, which the company is already developing.
The Pine Forest development will have two communities. One will be gated, and the other will be an open community with a retail center.
The plan calls for two championship golf courses and a nine-hole course along with a resort hotel, clubhouse and related amenities. It includes up to 710 residential units and up to 300 hotel rooms, but the total is not to exceed 890 units.
The commissioners were expected to schedule a required public hearing on the request for their Feb. 15 meeting. It will be a quasi-judicial hearing in which the board sits in a judicial capacity to hear sworn testimony.
But the commissioners raised concerns about language in a proposed agreement between the county and Hansen's company, MHK Ventures Inc.
"We thought $2.8 million was to be set aside for a water line," board Chairman Tim Lea said. "However, the language only says 'up to' that amount."
The money would pay for a new water line from Montgomery County. Hansen is negotiating with Montgomery County on that issue. Moore County and the developer will contract over where water serving Pine Forest comes from and who pays the costs involved.
Now County Attorney Misty Leland and County Manager Cary McSwain will negotiate with Hansen over the language in that contract before the commissioners call a public hearing on the rezoning.
There has been opposition to the development, most of it focusing on issues related to water and other environmental concerns such as wildlife habitats.
In other action, the commissioners authorized McSwain and Public Works Director Dennis Brobst to negotiate a contract with Hobbs Upchurch for upgrading the Addor Water Pollution Control Plant.
The county, as a result of a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) on the upgrade, qualifies for $26 million in state loan funding, commissioners learned. The cost of the upgrade is estimated at $32 million. With $7.7 million in capital reserves, Moore County could move forward on this upgrade. Engineering fees to Hobbs Upchurch are included.
Upgrading that system is important, because it is already operating at 98.7 percent of capacity. The state will not allow the county to exceed 100 percent, so upgrading it to greater capacity is essential, Brobst said.
"We'd have to shut down," he said. "We treat at that site at half the cost other counties have."
State and federal regulations require owners and operators of sewer plants to initiate expansion plans once the existing facility reaches 90 percent capacity usage. The plant was built in the late 1970s and was originally designed to serve Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen, with those municipalities assuming responsibility for debt service. Since then, service has been extended to Pinebluff, Carthage and Camp Mackall and other outlying areas.
The commissioners also appointed Robert Hayter to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board created by the death of Giles Hopkins, and they commended workers who went out in bad weather on Sunday to deal with the storm.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or by e-mail at jchap email@example.com.
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