'Cultural Landscape' Report Urged for Village
After meeting with representatives from the National Park Service, two consultants are recommending that Pinehurst create a Cultural landscape Report to protect its landmark status and guide future development.
Consultants Richard Mandell and Cari Goetcheus met with NPS officials on Feb. 15. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the village's landmark status and determine if or how the village could gain approval for enhancements to its downtown.
"Cari and I recommend that the village pursue creation of a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for the entire Pinehurst NHL district," Mandell wrote in a letter to Pinehurst Mayor Nancy Roy Fiorillo that is dated Feb. 22. Fiorillo and other council members declined to talk about the letter until they could discuss it together.
The enhancements, which include proposed improvements, will do more for the village than just satisfy NPS requirements and guidelines, Mandell wrote. The CLR, he said, "will provide added value in the form of long-term influence on future design and development projects throughout not only the downtown area, but the entire NHL district."
The CLR not only documents the past, he said, but also can help determine what is historically significant to the area and serve as a guideline for future development.
He also wrote that creating the CLR "will help secure a long-term relationship with the NPS, satisfy many village residents and quiet dissidents."
The letter details the discussions held between Mandell and Goetcheus and NPS representatives Bill Reynolds, Christine Arato and Tracy Stakely.
Mandell's letter describes how the NPS stated NHLs are rare because of the rigorous criteria they must meet. In that regard, the NPS is congressionally required to monitor the condition of all NHLs nationally every four years. The letter states that 2012 is the next round of monitoring.
Pinehurst obtained its NHL in 1996 as part of a joint effort with Pinehurst Resort.
"The purpose in monitoring any NHL is to encourage stewards to pursue a variety of strategies for the long-term preservation of the historic resources such that collectively they can remain historically significant in perpetuity," the letter says, adding that the NPS said the original and revised NHL nominations were well crafted, but that "enhanced documentation for many of the village's NHL resources would greatly assist their (NPS officials') ability to assess proposed improvements moving forward."
Pinehurst is unique in NHLs because it is a district made up of 417 resources, all of which need to be analyzed individually and in relation to one another to fully comprehend how to retain their collective historic integrity.
Now Under Watch Status
According to the letter, the NPS "continued with a description of the preservation planning process, a process similar to long-range city planning that fully integrates the continued identification, evaluation, protection and enhancement of historic properties into any and all planning development decisions."
In several letters sent to the village, NPS officials have expressed concern that incremental changes that have occurred in the past may have impacted the historic integrity of the entire NHL district.
"As such," Mandell wrote, "the NPS feels that it is critical to analyze the village of Pinehurst NHL holistically. Without addressing the NHL in a holistic fashion, the potential for deterioration of its status is accelerated because individual projects separate from the entire district (as well as from each other) can slowly erode the fabric that makes the village so special."
The NPS designates NHLs in one of four categories: Satisfactory, Watch, Threatened and Emergency. Reynolds has said that status changes are not always made in single steps, and that it is possible for a NHL to go from Satisfactory to Emergency, depending on the nature of a change.
Pinehurst is currently under a Watch status as a result of individual changes, like the small roundabout, that were completed without a reference to complete study of the area noting the possible impact of the changes.
'A Good Step'
Reynolds said the meeting was a "good step" and said the ball remains in Pinehurst's court.
"They need to figure out what their next steps are," Reynolds said. He added that the NPS is "committed to helping them through the process."
Mandell's letter reads: "If the village does value its hard-earned NHL, then it is the duty of the NPS staff to ensure that any proposed changes shall minimize impact on the history significance and integrity of the village of Pinehurst NHL district in its entirety (buildings, roads, landscapes, objects, etc.)."
The council has said on numerous occasions that it values the status.
"Ms. Arato, Mr. Stakely and Mr. Reynolds all expressed that they feel the best way to accomplish that and ultimately preserve the village's NHL status is through the development of a thorough research, analysis and evaluation document, preferably a Cultural Landscape Report," Mandell said.
His letter further states that CLRs are not required of any NHL.
"They simply see a CLR as a means to allow the village to move forward without others challenging their NHL status," he said.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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