In the arm-wrestling match between the Invisible Hand of Capitalism and the Heavy Hand of Pinehurst, the People’s Republic of Pinehurst is winning.

After hearing the Village Council’s latest run-through of its proposed ordinance to ban short-term rentals from most single-family neighborhoods, it is more evident than ever that Pinehurst is where conservatives retire to become liberal big-government throttlers of free enterprise.

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(15) comments

Peyton Cook

If Pinehurst bans Short Term Rentals (STR) they are killing the Golden Goose. Many small businesses depend on them. Additionally Pinehurst is a major golf destination. The USGA is building a second headquarters and the World Golf Of Fame is relocating to Pinehurst. Finally several future Open tournaments will be held on Course 2. Housing will be needed for golfers, volunteers, and spectators.

I know one of the current owners of a STR, and they operate under strict guidelines and has had only one problem with renters. Even the Pinehurst Police have had minimal complaints. An out and out ban is draconian. Perhaps a moitorium (sp) is needed. Don’t kill the Goose that lays the Golden Egg!,,

Robert Hansen

Perhaps the Village can have a license for individuals with homes they chose to rent out, and provide a menu of requirements, regulations, and expectations...as well as a list of actions the town may take if the tenants do not follow the regulations. The town can reserve the right to cancel a license as a result of repeated violation of the Regulations. Some of our local businesses provide packaging for out of town golfers and guests, and some own houses for the purpose including The Resort.

Sally Larson

That's a great idea, it puts the responsibility back on the owners who should then make sure their tenants know the rules.

Debbie Lalor

To the editor.

Inconvenient Truths Indeed.

Pinehurst does not now, nor has it ever, maintained a record of resident complaints about the behaviors of tenants in neighboring short term rentals (STRs). For the eight years of her mayoralty, Nancy Fiorello and the Village Staff responded to citizen complaints by saying, “There is nothing the Village can do. Call the non-emergency phone number at the Police Department for help.” Happily, the new Mayor and Council members have been more interested in trying to help Pinehurst residents experiencing problems than their predecessors were.

A reasonable person might have thought that all the phone calls received by the Pinehurst Police Department on this subject over the past ten years were being recorded, a data base established identifying problematic properties, property managers, etc. You would be wrong. Despite technological advances in the 21st century, the records maintained by the PPD do not include any data identifying phone calls or car dispatches as related to STRs. There is no data base. Anyone who says, “We have no record of any complaints about short term rentals” is speaking the truth…..There are no records of any phone call made by any resident because they weren’t identified as STR police calls. Ever.

The City of Wilmington has solved this problem by creating a dedicated phone line to handle resident complaints about inappropriate behavior by STR tenants. Pinehurst could do the same. Or, it could ask it’s IT Department to work with the PPD to establish an internal recording system on the non-emergency line to identify these calls. There are solutions to this challenge.

The issue of record-keeping (or the lack thereof) has been raised at multiple Council meetings and in on-line comments to this paper. Pinehurst’s failure in this regard is no secret. Mr. Nagy should have been aware of this issue. It is easy to make misstatements. It is a big man to acknowledge them once exposed. I hope Mr. Nagy will publish a correction in the Newspaper, correcting his serious and embarrassing misstatement.

An inconvenient truth indeed.

ken leary

No dog in this fight, but you people did buy a house in a resort town. It is sort of like having to live near a resort town airport. Woodward will buy anyone a ticket out of town I'm told.

Jeffrey Heintz

People’s Republic of Pinehurst? Crackdown Kommissars? The Pilot’s August 7 editorial on short-term-rentals was notable for its introduction of red-baiting smarminess and juvenile personal attacks into what had been a fairly civil debate. Notable, too, in its about-face from the April 3 editorial saying that STRs should be “safe, congruent with reasonable standards and not a burden on those around them.”

Notable, finally, for the contortions it goes through to support its conclusions: “You have a valid survey here not supporting STR problems.” Huh? That’s true only if you casually disregard the opinion of more than one-third of survey respondents.

Here’s what the data actually shows: STRs in Pinehurst’s single family residential districts have doubled since 2020. Half have been acquired in the last 2½ years. At that rate, without limiting their growth, single family neighborhoods will shortly be overrun.

“Anecdotal and sporadic” claims of noise, parking, sanitation and worse? Tell that to the dozens of residents who’ve told their horror stories to Council over the past months. (It would be helpful if the Village kept proper records of these.)

Finally, the Village’s recent quality of life survey shows a “significant” (as that term is defined by the Village) number of residents report a decline in the quality of life in their neighborhoods attributable to STRs. And that decline gets more pronounced the more STRs in their proximity.

Without putting the brakes on now, single family neighborhoods soon won’t deserve the name anymore. Communities all over North Carolina have done exactly what is under consideration in Pinehurst.

But then there’s the editorial’s hand-wringing about violations of individual property rights. We should all be respectful of those. But as the old saying goes: “your rights end where my nose begins.” And when I can smell your garbage, hear your rowdy behavior, and see my neighborhood devolving into a series mini-motels, it’s appropriate to adopt and enforce local zoning laws.

I’ve attended the council meetings on this issue. I don’t agree with all the members but I’m impressed with the effort each has expended. Hopefully, none will be distracted by an editorial that’s intemperate in its tone, wrong on its conclusions, and unworthy of consideration on an issue as important as this one. I encourage the three Council members who have spoken on behalf of our neighborhoods to have the courage of their convictions and see their solution through to enactment.

David Vess

Jeff speaks for the vast majority of homeowners in Pinehurst. The PILOT speaks for their largest group of $$ backers - real estate agents - who are riding a wave of speculative purchasers for future short term rentals. Thanks Jeff !

Marcus Larose

I am sorry I disagree! Jeff is not speaking to the vast majority of homeowner in Pinehurst. The quality of life survey clearly states that 95% of residents believe that the quality of life is excellent or good. 4% were neutral and 2% were poor or very poor (that's 101% but that is what the survey says) Jeff is speaking for the 2%. You can twist the numbers anyway you want to but that's the facts from the survey.

John Webster

Marcus

What you forget to share is that in the survey when people were asked to specify how many STRs are close by, their responses of Excellent dropped from 76% to 47%, i.e., there is a clear correlation between proximity to STRs and a decrease in perceived quality of life.

You have stated that those of us who dislike having STRs close by should move to a gated community. I guess that is why you live in CCNC. However, we do not want to have to move home to suit your financial aims, we just expect to live in single family neighborhoods that are residential, not commercial, where the people next door are neighbors, not transient visitors, some well behaved, others not. You will remember the near riot at one of your managed properties in 2020. Most of us haven't forgotten either.

John Webster

This has to be one of the worst editorials Nagy has printed so far. I get Ragan’s quoted need to raise a profanity, but this is truly embarrassing. There is not even a veiled attempt to convey a balanced view of this issue, just a rude diatribe painting three VOP Council members as communists because they are listening to the Village’s residents and not the almost 80% of short term rentals (STRs) investors who are not Pinehurst residents.

Do you wonder why there is a majority Council view on this subject and why the dissenting two Council members live in a gated community that prohibits STRs? Maybe the Pilot understands the minority view because the publisher and the editor also live in gated communities that prohibit or severely restrict STRs.

If a prohibition of STRs in single family areas is totalitarian, why isn’t the Pilot leading the march on Southern Pines and Whispering Pines’ municipal offices to chastise those governments into lifting their prohibition of STRs in single family areas? And how about insulting Pinewild, CCNC and Seven Lakes into changing their bylaws?

Does Nagy accept zoning prohibitions that disallow car washes and retail shops in single family areas or are these also a communist attack on property rights and free enterprise? They probably do restrict free for all enterprise, but they are there for a good reason: people who choose to live in zoned single family areas do not want to live beside unrestricted and unregulated commercial enterprises, with all the noise, etc externalities that come with them. There are areas zoned for commercial and lodging activities and that is where STRs belong.

My thanks to the three Council members who do not take their instructions from Raleigh legislators or the local paper also beholden to the real estate industry.

Teresa Johnes

Two of the 3 members wanting to ban STRs Also live in Pinewild.

John Webster

Teresa

Jane Hogeman does, who is the second one?

Kent Misegades

“Pinehurst is where conservatives retire to become liberal big-government throttlers of free enterprise.” Good try, failed miserably. Among true conservatives no one in this state sees Pinehurst as a bastion. For elite leftists and country club Republicans, perhaps, but definitely not grassroots conservatives. There are of course some exceptions, such as the erudite Steve Woodward, who has more than deserved a weekly column in this paper. He’d easily balance the sum of the other columnists and provide us all some humor and lessons in English, as one of the few true journalists in our county. I do actually agree with the spirit of this editorial. A property owner has the right to use it to generate income - that is the pure definition of Capitalism. Ask Governor Roy “Shutdown” Cooper, whose rental property on the elite Bald Head Island probably earns him six figures annually. This came to light when he claimed he didn’t know that he had to claim income from rental property on his taxes. Must be nice to be a Democrat...

Sally Larson

Pinehurst is notorious for bending to a few loud voices instead of waiting to see what the majority think.  A few people are spinning up a storm that needs to calm down.  Pinehurst is a resort town where people come to visit and enjoy the comfort of a home. Everyone knows that when they move here. The first thing I do is look for a short term rental when we travel. It's less expensive and more comfortable.  They are found all over the world.

Everything is changing very quickly around here, the traffic circle is getting a makeover, the building is everywhere and people are moving here every day.  It's no longer the sleepy quiet  town of the past.  I suspect the majority of rentals are hardly noticed. It really goes against the grain and sounds like a few grouchy busybodies having a fit. 

Kent Misegades

Sally, you must know who really controls Pinehurst? The owners of the resort, who want all visitors to stay in their rooms. Pinehurst is more of a company than a town, otherwise it would have multiple high-end resort hotels and chain stores one finds in other exotic locations around the world. It’s still a pretty neat place though, despite its warts and pimples, and I’m not a golfer. I’d bet cooler heads will prevail as you wisely suggest. My compliments on your good comments.

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