Council Invites Consultant to Discuss Options for Village Place
The Pinehurst Village Council will speak with a consultant about how to develop a key 19-acre section of the village that has been nearly void of significant change for nearly a decade.
Council members on Wednesday will invite Ian Colgan to their Nov. 13 meeting to discuss Village Place, the area between the Village Center and Rassie Wicker Park. That area was formerly known as NewCore.
"Things haven't happened as quickly there as we would like," Village Manager Andy Wilkison told the council. "But we want to move forward."
Village senior planner Bruce Gould described the area as "woefully underutilized" and said the area has "seen very little activity" aside from change in uses for some properties.
The village is a major landowner in Village Center.
Colgan, who handles consulting services for Development Concepts Inc. in Indianapolis, was recommended by Pat Corso, executive director of Partners in Progress.
"Ian is a community developer. He can come to Pinehurst, work with the community over some months to see what they want, create a master plan, and then solicit developers to make it happen," Corso said.
Corso also said Colgan, who has done work in Chapel Hill and Durham that has been well-received, is familiar with the area.
NewCore was identified as an area for development in the village's 2003 Compre-hensive Long-Range Plan. A plan for development in the area was adopted in 2006, with updates in 2008 and 2010.
At one time, a development group out of Atlanta, which no longer exists, had designs to develop the area, but no work ever occurred.
Jane Deaton, who chaired a committee on NewCore, told the council that one of the key issues that needs to be addressed this time around is a market analysis.
"We are never going to revitalize the village unless we have an array of businesses to bring people to town," she said.
Deaton added that in the past some business owners "lashed out" and "felt threatened" by the idea of bringing business development to Village Place.
"We didn't take the second step of soliciting developers to say, 'Does anyone want to play ball with us?'" Deaton said.
Mayor Nancy Fiorillo and councilman Doug Lapins likened the situation to one that is currently happening in Southern Pines concerning the possible development of land known as the Knollwood tract.
Lapins, who is the only current council member who served back in the mid-2000s when developing NewCore was discussed, said that now, as then, there is no clear vision for the area.
"The issue, to me, is nobody still has come to us and said here's what we can do here," Lapins said.
Wilkison said the issue of how a proposed development of NewCore would impact traffic in the village was one of the key stumbling blocks in the past.
"I did worry about overwhelming our core village and I still have those concerns now," Lapins said.
Gould also recommended a corridor study for the area along Rattlesnake Drive, which is an important connector road to Village Place and, ultimately, the Village Center.
The only real major attempt at new development in the area was a plan to bring luxury townhomes to property near the entrance to the park. That project didn't get off the ground, and the land, which has undergone several zoning changes in recent years, remains undeveloped.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey@ thepilot.com.
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