Village Hires Consultant to Work on Projects, Safeguard Historic Designation
Pinehurst has hired a firm to assist the village with documenting the historic accuracy of public and private projects in its local historic district.
The Village Council earlier this week voted 4-1 to have the village manager execute a contract with John Milner Associates, a historic preservation consulting firm in Charlottesville, Va.
Council member Mark Parson cast the dissenting vote.
Prior to voting, the council discussed the issue at some length. The discussion revolved around the consultant’s role, its interaction with the National Park Service, which oversees the historic landmark designation, and whether a cultural landscape report might be needed.
Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said the consultant will fill an important role as the village moves forward with project improvements while maintaining its historic character.
“If we want to be the stewards of the village that we say we are, there need to be some outside eyes looking at things,” Fiorillo said.
The village, after gathering input from residents, had previously decided against doing a cultural landscape report. That report would document all the historic elements within the village. The report, recommended by the National Park Service, had been deemed too costly and without a guarantee that, if completed, it would preserve the village’s prestigious landmark status.
The consultant would ensure that the village’s accomplishments are documented and assist village staff, elected and appointed leaders in making decisions on matters that affect the local historic district. The consultant may also be asked to create guidelines for landscape restoration and maintenance, and may also act as a liaison with the state’s Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
The first project the consultant will take on is the streetscape improvements on Cherokee and Chinquapin roads in the village center. The council has budgeted $25,000 for the consultant’s work, an amount expected to last well into 2013.
The larger, more-discussed project downtown is improvements to the Village Green and the sand parking lot. That project was originally rejected by the Pinehurst Historic Preservation Commission.
The Village Council appealed the decision to the Board of Adjustment, which will hear the matter Oct. 4.
Mark Parson voted against hiring the consultant in part because he said he was uncomfortable spending money for the position prior the Board of Adjustment’s decision on the Village Green project. He added that he didn’t want to spend money in a fight with the Park Service to try to save the landmark status.
Representatives from the Park Service have warned the village that incremental changes to the historic district could combine to result in significant alterations to the district, which could lead to a change in designation.
Council member John Cashion said he thinks the consulting firm can help with others’ views of how the village handles its historic landmark status.
“One thing we have suffered from is a perception of doing something wrong because we don’t have documentation,” Cashion said. “The NPS piece is a byproduct of doing what we need to do in the best way we can to maintain the historic integrity of Pinehurst.”
The village has said it hopes to complete the work downtown in time for the back-to-back U.S. Open and Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey @thepilot.com.
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