Potty Break: Village Eyes Downtown Restroom
By Tom Embrey
The Village of Pinehurst could possibly have a location for a public restroom in the downtown.
Susan Clift Brown, one of the owners of the Razook's building on the corner of Chinquapin and Magnolia, told the council during its work session Tuesday that she was willing to discuss the idea of building a public restroom, or comfort station, on her land.
"It has been brought to my attention through the community that there is a need for a comfort station within the village of Pinehurst," she said, "and while it's never been my intention or the intention of PSR Partners to have a public restroom facility next to our $6 million building, I have been forced to consider alternative options to obtain some additional financial security.
"After much thought, I believe that there may be an opportunity to discuss and consider this."
The possible location of the comfort station would be between The Harvard Building and the Razook's building, which is currently being remodeled.
Alan Stagaard, an architect working on the Razook's building, told the council that there were two issues that needed to be addressed for the idea to be viable.
The first is the setback requirements. To build the facility on the existing property, with all the state and federal requirements, parts of the building would encroach on the 5-foot setbacks required by the village.
The second issue was that of a 3,000-gallon stormwater retention tank that is buried underground on the proposed location for the site.
"We would propose that we look at the option of abandoning the tank and look at managing or handling stormwater," Stagaard said. "If we have to keep it there, we could build over the tank, but we'd all prefer not to do that."
Brown added, "It's there, not by my choice. But the question is, 'Does it need to stay?'"
Stagaard said the initial intent was to manage stormwater runoff discretely the way many of the other building are doing, by using gutters and downspouts and discharging the water out to the curb. The village instead required that they build the storage tank.
The concerns of the storage tank were numerous, including undermining the foundation of existing buildings when water is disbursed.
It the village determines that the tank is unnecessary, it could be filled, Stagaard said.
"We feel that there is a good solution here," he said. "We can do something architecturally so that it doesn't look like an add-on to the building but looks like it has always been there ... that is, centrally located, a more viable location than somewhere else."
The village has been exploring the option of placing a comfort station/public restroom in the downtown for some time. The council seemed receptive to the concept.
It would provide a facility that meets the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which Mayor Ginsey Fallon said "is desperately needed" in the downtown.
"We've talked about a need for that, and it seems like a great location," Fallon said.
Councilman Mark Parson added, "It almost seems like it's supposed to be there. It's a win-win."
Stagaard told the council that he could provide a more specific design if the concept and the location were viable, and it didn't have issues with eliminating the tank and managing stormwater differently, and allowing relief from the setback requirement.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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