Basic Problem Missed
Ralph Redmond wrote about the Pinehurst dispute over the Historic Preservation Commission’s denial of approval for the Village Green plan (“Going After the Wrong Target in Latest Pinehurst Dispute,” Feb. 8).
A lot of time and taxpayer money has been wasted over this unfortunate fiasco.
The truth of the matter is that everyone has missed the basic problem. At the heart of the matter is process.
The Pinehurst Historic Preservation Commission is a quasi-judicial body operating under regulations established by the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office.
To quote directly from the State Handbook, “Until the commission adopts design guidelines … changes to the exterior appearance of landmarks and properties in historic districts cannot be reviewed or regulated” (p. 31, State Handbook).
It just so happens that the Pinehurst commission’s standards and guidelines say absolutely nothing about public park property.
All the guidelines are geared exclusively toward private property owners, both residential and commercial. Therefore, in the case of the Village Green, the commissioners had no legitimate guidelines upon which to base their decision.
Without good standards, and enforcement of those standards, appearances could easily deteriorate.
We need to tighten up our procedures so that both the council and the commissioners have better guidance.
In conclusion, I should clear the air by stating that I recently resigned as a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, and that mine was one of the two minority votes in favor of the Village Green design.
Regardless of any personal feelings, I could not have voted to deny the appropriateness of the plan because there was not any hard evidence that any design standards had been compromised, and I felt it would therefore have been improper to do so.
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