Village, County Land Swap in Works
A proposed land swap between the village of Pinehurst and Moore County could be a small but critical step toward revitalizing the area in Pinehurst known as New Core.
The Village Council on Tuesday night authorized Mayor Nancy Roy Fiorillo to sign a letter of intent to make the property trade happen. The county commissioners unanimously approved a similar letter of intent at their meeting Feb. 7.
The letters are not binding. So if one side opts out, it will not happen. In any case, there would be no payment of money by either party.
The land swap calls for the two sides to exchange 6,500-square-foot tracts. The village proposed the swap “to facilitate the necessary width of right of way to construct a section of road off Magnolia Road in accordance with the 2008 New Core Master Plan-Mobility Plan,” according to a staff memo to Village Manager Andy Wilkison that was provided to the council.
The land the village would receive is now a site for ground storage tanks used by Moore County Public Utilities, according to a letter from County Manager Cary McSwain to the county commissioners. Both pieces of property are near Magnolia Drive.
McSwain said in his memo that the land swap, if approved, is expected to be closed by April 1.
Assistant Village Manager Jeff Batten wrote in a Jan. 5 letter to McSwain that “the village of Pinehurst is working on an economic development package to bring a business to Pinehurst that is looking to expand its operations in the historic steam plant building.”
The steam plant is owned by Pinehurst Resort.
“The investment in the project, including a village-constructed road, is estimated at approximately $1.1 million,” the letter reads.
The village of Pinehurst has applied for a $200,000 Main Street Solutions grant. Assistant Village Manager Natalie Dean said the village should learn if it will receive the grant by the end of this month. That grant could be used to help rehabilitate the building.
Earlier in the week, Wilkison stressed the importance of revitalizing the New Core area, which is now being referred to as “Village Place.”
“Since 2006, when we adopted the first New Core plan, we’ve been all about renewal of this area,” Wilkison said.
When asked about what business or businesses were considering coming to the area, Wilkison declined to say.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Fiorillo called the land swap a “good idea,” whether the project moves forward or not.
In other business, the council received a brief presentation by representatives of the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) on improvements to the Traffic Circle. Rob Stone, Division 8 operations engineer, told the council that the proposed plan would move the plantings more to the central part of the islands that surround the circle and place a brick feature at each pointed end of the islands.
The plan decreases the area for plantings and includes a water feature at the center of each island, which would allow for plantings twice a year. The plan could be implemented beginning in 2013.
The plantings are expected to decrease the need for maintenance, improve safety for maintenance workers and provide drivers with improved sightlines, the council was told.
“Hopefully you’ll have a clear line of sight the entire way,” said Richard Hancock, NCDOT’s new Division 8 engineer.
Wilkison told the council that village is also working with NCDOT on a plan to thin the “non-longleaf growth” in the central area of the circle. The project, which could begin in March, will be completed over a three-month period.
The council appointed member John Cashion to the Triangle Area Rural Transportation Planning Organization. He replaces former council member Joan Thurman, who left the council after running an unsuccessful mayoral campaign in November.
The council also passed resolutions honoring June Jefferys and Peter Franklin for their service on the Pinehurst Board of Adjustment, and Tom Campbell for his service on the Pinehurst Planning and Zoning Board.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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