Teaser Moore County commissioners

Moore County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement with the developer of a new subdivision in West End to install the required infrastructure before lots can be sold.

Planning Director Debra Ensminger said the developer of Gretchen Pines, Johnny Harris, addressed concerns raised by the commissioners. Last month, commissioners heard concerns regarding stormwater runoff from the subdivision affecting homes in the nearby Happy Valley community. Ensminger said Harris included stormwater costs, estimated at $70,000, to address their concerns.

Commissioners approved the 166-lot subdivision on Gretchen Road in August after determining that it meets all of the requirements of the zoning ordinance. Opponents, including the Auman family, argued that the development would not be in keeping with the rural character of the area.

The agreement, called a performance guarantee, is a financial commitment by a developer to ensure that funds will be available to install the required infrastructure — water and sewer lines, paved roads and stormwater management systems — in the event he cannot complete it.

The agreement is for the first phase of the subdivision.

Ensminger explained that the county development ordinance allows a developer to enter such an agreement in lieu of installing and dedicating all of the improvements before receiving final plat approval, which is required for any lots can be sold. It guarantees the improvements will be completed.

She said Harris provided the county with a certified check for $376,000. The agreement runs through April 30, 2020. She said if the work has not been completed by then, it can be extended, or a new agreement can be approved.

Board Chairman Frank Quis said he was pleased that Harris, who was in the audience, addressed the commissioners concerns about the stormwater runoff.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” Quis said.

Commissioner Catherine Graham added that it is “always better to get cash instead of a performance bond.”

Also during the meeting, commissioners unanimously approved:

* Acceptance of the water and sewer mains for the new Pinehurst community center in Cannon Memorial Park. The lines were installed by the village’s contractors. Ownership is then transferred to the county, which operates the utility system serving the village.

The village is nearing completion of the $4.9 million facility and asked the county to expedite approval, Public Works Director Randy Gould told commissioners.

* Purchase of 115 replacement computers for the Department of Social Services for $85,560.

Information Technology Director Chris Butts said funding is included in the budget. He said the county has a plan to replace computers that are more than five years old. He added that the state typically reimburses the county for about 55 percent of the costs.

Butts said some of the old computers will go to the county public library in Carthage to replace ones that eight to 10 years old. He said some will be made available for nonprofit organizations and some may be sold as surplus.

* Purchase of 31 new portable radios for the Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $85,587.

Maj. Andy Conway said the funds are already in the budget, which is part of a program of replacing old radios. He said that when the county switched to the VIPER system several years ago, it required replacing all of its radio equipment.

He said the county developed a multi-year plan “so the county doesn’t have to replace them all at once.

* A proclamation declaring November as Adoption Awareness Month. Social Worker Earlicia McBryde read the proclamation, which noted there are 43 children in “substitute care” and that adoption is the permanent plan for 11 of them. She said the county has finalized nine adoptions since Nov. 1, 2018.

Contact David Sinclair at (910) 6934-2462 or dsinclair@thepilot.com

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