S.P. Council to Vote July 25 on Tyler's Ridge
BY TED M. NATT JR.
Now that the arduous public hearing process has finally closed, the Southern Pines Town Council will vote July 25 on the proposed Tyler's Ridge at Sandhills development.
The council listened to almost five hours of testimony Tuesday night during a second public hearing on the 46.2-acre mixed-use project at the corner of N.C. 22 and Airport Road.
"We don't plan to vote on this tonight," Mayor Mike Haney said midway through the hearing.
The council delayed a vote until its monthly work session because it must weigh the evidentiary testimony and a stack of paperwork submitted by proponents and opponents during the hearing.
"I want to be shorter and briefer," said Robert Hayter, principal at The Hayter Firm in Pinehurst, who spoke on behalf of developer Jim O'Malley. "It is, however, my obligation to be thorough."
Hayter then spent an hour outlining plans for Tyler's Ridge, which include a commercial development on the north side, featuring small shops and a restaurant. A multifamily development on the south side includes 216 one- and two-bedroom dwelling units.
The first application for a conditional use permit submitted by O'Malley led to public hearings in back-to-back months at both the council and Southern Pines Planning Board levels.
The board voted 4-2 on Jan. 20 to recommend that the council deny a permit for the project. O'Malley then withdrew the initial application in April after it became clear to him that the application did not comply with the town's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
The move pre-empted a vote by the council on whether the application complied.
O'Malley submitted a second application in May, and the board voted 5-0 after a public hearing in June to recommend approval of the revised plan.
In a separate vote last month, the board unanimously approved three conditions - that the commercial development exclude hotels and motels, and bars and nightclubs; and that a review of the project by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) be submitted upon completion.
The primary changes in the new application include the addition of three single-family lots, the reduction of the number of apartments from 232 to 216, the revision of access to N.C. 22 to improve traffic flow and the FAA review.
"The changes in this new presentation are purely cosmetic," said Robert Kroll, a pilot who is opposed to the project. "This project has been sugar-coated over and over throughout the process."
The property is zoned Planned Development (PD) and is on the west side of N.C. 22 between Airport Road and Aiken Road and across from Warrior Woods Road. The site also adjoins property owned by Sandhills Community College and a private property owner, Esther Frye.
Opposition to the project centers around safety concerns, aircraft noise, an alleged glut of apartments in Southern Pines, current commercial space vacancies in Moore County and the project's proximity to the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens.
FAA standards prohibit the construction of any structure that would encourage public assembly in a runway protection zone (RPZ), areas that extend beyond the edge of a runway.
RPZs are trapezoidal zones that have specific land-use regulations to keep runways clear of any obstacles that could hinder takeoff and landing. They begin 200 feet beyond that area usable for takeoff and landing.
The airport is seeking federal funds for expansions that include an extension of the airport's main runway 600 feet toward N.C. 22 and 400 feet toward Hardee Lane in Whispering Pines.
The commercial portion of the project and the three single-family lots would be in the airport hazard overlay zone, but the multifamily residential portion would not.
However, part of the multifamily residential portion is under the eventual departure path for planes coming off the main runway at the airport once the expansion is complete.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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