Much Ado About Bed and Breakfast
You might think that Pinehurst, which is dependent on the tourist trade and takes pride in its quaint ambience, would welcome bed-and-breakfast inns.
But as is so often the case with Moore County’s beloved but sometimes exasperating resort village, you’d have another think coming. (That’s the original and correct folk expression, by the way. The corruption of that phrase into “another thing coming” reared its head later when Judas Priest recorded a rock song by that name.)
When word first went out that Greg Owen and his wife wished to open a B&B in their cavernous old home at 5 Shaw Road NE, alarm tocsins sounded and letters came to The Pilot and petitions began circulating in an effort to keep such a horrifying thing from happening, at least outside the central business district.
We’re not sure what the big deal is. Both Pinehurst and Southern Pines used to be full of lodges and boarding houses and such in the old days, and they did fine. The issue of increased traffic has been mentioned, but how many additional vehicles can an inn with three or four guest suites disgorge onto the village’s curvy streets?
Anyway, a 5-3 majority of the village’s Planning and Zoning Board saw nothing wrong with the application and recommended approval of an amendment that would make B&Bs a “major special use” in the R-30 zoning district. But the Village Council voted 4-0 this week (with Mayor Ginsey Fallon absent) to send the text amendment back to the P&Z Board for further consideration.
The main reason for rethinking the amendment is that applicant Owen had added more proposed restrictions to it in an effort to make it more palatable. In the new version, B&Bs in residential districts would be permitted only if they (1) have more than 9,000 square feet of living space; (2) sit on a lot of 40,000 square feet or more; (3) front on a major thoroughfare.
The new version doesn’t add a stipulation that the applicant’s last name must begin with an “O,” but it might as well have, since the village’s planning staff did a study and found that Owen’s building (formerly known as Maryhurst but now redubbed “Thistle Dhu”) is the only property in town that would qualify. And just for good measure, no other B&B could be opened within 2,000 feet of an existing one. In other words, if you’re even thinking about another inn, forget it.
Even if the planning board goes along with the narrowly drawn new amendment, it won’t do so until Aug. 5. Then, no work can begin until the Village Council approves the actual special-use permit required, which won’t happen until September at the earliest. So more months of heel-cooling lie ahead. The wheels of municipal permission-granting, like the mills of justice, grind slow but exceeding fine.
Again we wonder: What’s the big deal?
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