Downtown Southern Pines

A decorative planting in downtown Southern Pines. Laura Douglass/The Pilot

The Southern Pines Appearance Commission is running at half-strength, a situation that Assistant Town Manager Chris Kennedy would like to rectify.

“The board was full just a few years ago. But more recently our participation has waned somewhat,” Kennedy said. “To be effective, we need to recruit more members.”

Ideally the Appearance Commission consists of 13 members who are appointed by the Town Council. Ten members must be residents of the town, and three represent the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Their purpose is to plan and carry out programs that enhance and improve the aesthetic characteristics of Southern Pines. Through different subcommittees, they focus on special events, work closely with the town’s Building and Grounds crews and volunteers from the Master Gardeners program, help coordinate the town’s Adopt-a-Street program, and schedule volunteer clean-up activities.

Kennedy said two new members were recently appointed, however there are still too many vacancies for the board to reach its full potential.

“Not having enough members compromises our ability to do everything else,” Kennedy said. “We’re hoping to gain some momentum so we can get more things done.”

Many people, he explained, have the mistaken understanding that the Appearance Commission is limited to beautification or landscaping projects.

“That is part of it, but there is a lot more work they do,” he said.

This includes helping with the town’s holiday decorations, reviewing citizen requests for tree removal, assisting the town’s code enforcement staff on compliance violations in residential and commercial areas, and planning Arbor Day events and the town’s Sprucing Up awards program.

“We like to be forward thinking about what we can get into,” Kennedy said. “Especially this year as we’re getting ready for our 40th year celebration as a Tree City.”

He encouraged anyone interested in learning more to attend the next meeting of the Appearance Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 8 a.m. in the Boyd Room at 180 SW Broad Street (Southern Pines Planning & Finance office). Interested potential members may also download an application from the town’s website at southernpines.net

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