A motion to exclude renters from service on committees of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] is on the agenda for the Association's Thursday, May 28 Open Meeting.

President Chuck Leach, introducing the motion, said the question of whether tenants can serve on committee arose during the last Board's term.

Leach said the Association has benefitted from the "advice knowledge, and expertise of some of our long-term renters." 

He added that he personally believes long term renters in good standing should be able to serve on any committee, though they should serve in a non-voting capacity only on the Finance, Judicial, and Architectural Review Committees.

Leach said a question had also arisen about the eligibility of a spouse to serve on an SLLA committee when they are not listed on the deed of the property.

To clear up that question, SLLA attorney Roger Knight was consulted.

Knight, who provided his answer in an email to Community Manager Ray Sohl, said if property was acquired by a married couple but only one was listed on the deed, the unlisted spouse was nonetheless a co-owner under North Carolina law, and therefore a member of the Association, and able to serve on Committees. 

If the property was acquired by one spouse before the marriage, however, the deed must be altered to include the unlisted spouse in order for him or her to be a member of the Association.

Where tenants are concerned, Knight said the Association could create a tenants' committee or create non-voting tenants' seats on other committees.

However, he wrote, "Tenants are not owners and are therefor not by definition members of the Association and cannot vote in elections or serve on committees."

Knight provided no further explanation of that opinion referencing state law or SLLA legal documents.

According to Leach, Knight said that some Association decisions had been overturned in court because tenants had voted on them.

"I just don't understand giving up talent because someone is not a homeowner," resident Bob Miller said.

"I think it is a shame that the expertise is not accepted," Director Joy Smith said. "I would like the expertise."

"I don't think it matters what any of us think," Leach said. "Now we have a ruling from an attorney."

Although Knight had suggested the options of establishing a non-voting seat for tenants on any committee, Leach made a motion to forward to the Open Meeting a policy to exclude renters from all SLLA Committees, "based on the legal opinion provided."

Director Sandy Sackmann seconded the motion, which passed four-to-three with Smith and Director Mary Farley opposed and Director Mark Gyure abstaining.

Read more: Vote Scheduled on Renters Serving on Committees

This may be the last year for the diving board and lifeguards at the Seven Lakes North swimming pool.

The Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors discussed whether to discontinue lifeguard service, effective with the 2016 swim season, during their regular Thursday, May 14 work session.

Community manager Ray Sohl argued forcefully for the elimination of lifeguards, based primarily on his contention that having lifeguards subjects the Association to more liability risk than not having them. Sohl also argued that the diving board poses an increased risk of injury and increased liability for the Association.

In the Work Session Meeting packet, Sohl shared the "Community Manager’s comments & concerns:

1. Diving boards: Perhaps one of the biggest risks at the pool can be the diving board, which can cause severe injury and even death. According to a study by Columbus, an Ohio-based national children’s hospital, more than 6,500 children and teens are treated for diving related injuries every year.

2. Wading pool: The line of sight issues for lifeguards poses a safety concern. The lifeguard stand is across the pool and too far for prompt responses.

3. Lifeguard staff levels: Maintaining adequate swimmer to lifeguard ratios throughout the season is difficult. Lifeguard turnover rates are high, particularly at the end of the season. Not having staff levels as recommended in the Red Cross Lifeguard Manual puts both patrons and lifeguards at risk.

Sohl said the SLLA office had surveyed 40 area swimming pools and found only five have lifeguards. He noted that, of 55 CAS-managed properties with pools, only five have lifeguards. He added that the Association's insurance broker has also mentioned the trend of communities eliminating lifeguards.

The Association has $24,000 budgeted for lifeguards this year. Sohl estimated that running the pool with only one attendant would cost $9,000.

Recreation Director Mary Farley said her committee had unanimously voted to keep lifeguards for this swim season, "Because we have so many children coming to the pool . . . . We feel a lot better and safer for our children to keep the lifeguards."

"If you all decide you want to change your mind for next year, then that's another story," Farley said.

Read more: SLLA Board Considers Eliminating Lifeguards

The pasture fence is back on the agenda of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors, with a vote on the $40,000 - $45,000 project scheduled for the Association's Thursday, May 28 Open Meeting.

President Chuck Leach put the proposal on the table during the Board's Thursday, May 14 Work Session.

The same proposal for a four-and-one-half foot fence with round posts and three round rails failed in a tie vote of the previous Board in March, with opposition from Directors Steve Ritter, Bob Racine, and Mary Farley. Leach, Sandy Sackmann, and Dave Hill voted for the proposal. [Ritter and Hill's term on the Board have since expired.]

Leach said the fence was needed to protect the Association from the liability, if a horse escaped the pasture, as happened a couple of times in 2014.

Leach said that two fence contractors contacted for bids on the job "said that this is the worst fence they have ever seen along a main road to contain horses."

Once the need to address the aging pasture fence was raised last year, he explained, the facilities committee researched the issue, visiting local horse farms, the NC State Equine Center, the NC Cooperative Extension Service, and a company that manufactures horse fences. 

The veterinarian who services the Seven Lakes Stables recommended putting up the "strongest fence you can afford" along Seven Lakes Drive and East Shenandoah Drive, Leach said. Fencing contractors recommended the round post fence with three round rails.

In order to make the cost of the project easier for the Association to digest, Leach recommended having the work done in two phases, splitting the cost over two fiscal years. Community Manager Ray Sohl said the price offered by the lowest bidder a few months ago had increased by five percent.

Once Leach opened the floor for comments from the Board and members in attendance, the debate lurched back and forth between the need for the fence and the need for the stables.

Read more: Board to Vote Again on Pasture Fence May 28

Sunday, May 17

• Rosary at Our Lady of the Americas Church – 8:00 am, 298 Market Rd. Biscoe, 974-3051.

• St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church – 9:30 am, Holy Communion. 1145 Seven Lakes Drive. 673-3838.

• West End Presbyterian Church – 11 am service.  275 Knox Lane, West End, 673-4341.

• Moore Philharmonic Orchestra Spring Concert in Troy – 3 pm, Trinity United Methodist Church, 239 North Russell Street, Troy, NC. Featured soloist is world-renowned pianist Sophia Pavlenko with guest conductor Paul Chandley.  Music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Jean Sibelius as well as selections from Fiddler on the Roof and the Wizard of Oz, among other popular pieces. Special feature will be a piano concerto composed and performed by Sophia Pavlenko. No tickets required, but tax-deductible donations are welcome. For more information, visit Moore Philharmonic Orchestra at www.mporchestra.com or on FaceBook.

• Party for the Pine – 3 pm, Come celebrate the birthday of the Worlds's Oldest Known Living Longleaf Pine – 467 Years Old. Meet at the Visitor Center, then car pool (4 miles) to the Boyd Tract and celebrate with a guided Park Ranger to visit the tree,  have birthday cake afterwards. Weymouth Woods, Sandhills Nature Preserve, 1024 Fort Bragg Rd. Southern Pines, 692-2167 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

• West End United Methodist Church Explorers – 5 pm – 6:30 pm, for children grades K-5. A time of learning, crafts and activities before eating dinner with the youth from 6 – 6:30 pm. Children’s ministry, explore God’s Word through scripture, crafts, games. West End United Methodist Church, 4015 NC Highway 73, West End, 673-1371.

• West End United Methodist Church Youth Group – 6 – 7:30 pm in the Youth Room at the church. Youth Ministry led by Mandy Allen, open to all youth in 6th – 12th grades. Enjoy fellowship, study and a meal. West End United Methodist Church, 4015 NC Highway 73, West End, 673-1371.

• The Rooster’s Wife – doors open at 6 pm, show at 6:45 pm, in the gallery of Poplar Knight Spot. Music guest tonight: Ameranouche. Rooster's Wife. 114 Knight St., Aberdeen, (910) 944-7502 www.theroosterswife.org 


Monday, May 18

• Victoria Day

• Planting for Success Lunch and Learn – noon to 1 pm, Sandhills Horticultural Society presents a free program on planting. Janet Peele of Aberdeen Florist & Garden Center will talk about the plants that are proven winners. The Ball visitors Center at Sandhills Horticultural Gardens. The Gardens will provide drinks. Register by emailing, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• Memory Monday – 4 pm - 5 pm, MaryBeth Bailar with Resources for Maximizing Life. For everyone as they age. Senior Enrichment Center, 8040 NC Highway 15-501, West End, (910) 215-0900.

• Weight Watchers Meeting – 5 pm to 6 pm, at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 1145 Seven Lakes Drive, Seven Lakes. Group leader Armecia Medlock.

• Sandhills Natural History Society – 7 pm, Weymouth Woods Park Ranger Nancy Williamson will share photos and stories about adventures she and her husband have shared in keeping tally of all the birds they've seen so far in 2015. Visitors welcome. Weymouth Woods Auditorium, 1024 Ft. Bragg Rd, Southern Pines, 910-692-2167 for more information or www.sandhillsnature.org 

Read more: The Week Ahead

The May 15 edition of The Seven Lakes Times is now available for download in pdf format. You can download a high-quality PDF here, or, if you have a slower internet connection, download a smaller PDF here.

We're back! Health problems resulted in the cancellation of the past two editions of The Times. But we're back on the job and we appreciate the continuing support of our readers and advertisers.

Highlights of this 32-page edition include:

- There's no increase in the property tax or Advanced Life Support levy in County Manager Wayne Vest's FY 2016 budget, despite an overall decrease in real property values.

- Seven Lakes and West End will see an increase in the fire tax rate — a result of the County's consolidation of its sixteen fire districts into one. But, given lower property values, Commissioner Nick Picerno expects most citizens will see no overall increase in taxes paid.

- The Planning Board has approved major changes in the PUD-Hamlet permit for the Pine Forest development, allowing the developer to move a wastewater treatment plant to the Dormie Club and to use potable water from the County system to irrigate a golf course for an undetermined period of time.

- There's a burgeoning interest among local high school students in taking classes at Sandhills Community College. That bodes well for the planned concept high school, but it may put some pressure on the school district's fund balance next year.

- The County Commissioners are determined to put pressure on Raleigh to make the formula the state uses to fund teacher salaries hew more closely to the actual needs of local school districts.

- Seven Lakes West plans to replace the equipment shed at the base of Lake Auman Dam.

- The Lake Auman Sports Club installed a new flagpole at the entrance to Seven Lakes West, and dedicated it with the help of Chapter 966 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

- The final phase of repairs to the Northside Pool was approved by the SLLA Board, but the prospect of running a new pool pump 365 days a year/24 hours a day did not sit well with members of the Finance Committee.

- The Foxfire Council appears ready to zone all of Grande Pine Rural Equestrian.

- A bad batch of paint will delay the opening of the Foxfire Village pool by at least a week.

- Easter was a month ago, but we couldn't resist sharing some photos we took at egg hunts sponsored by the SLLA and by Pumpkin Creek Cafe.

- The Gallery at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church featured the work of several local artists recently. We have photos.

- We also have some photos of the celebratory Open House hosted by Seven Lakes Golf Club to show off the newly-remodeled dining room and bar.

Download the high-quality PDF edition (or, if you have a slower internet connection download a lower-quality pdf edition) and read it all this morning, pick up a copy at locations all over Seven Lakes this afternoon, or check your mailbox tomorrow.

The 1,650-acre Pine Forest planned unit development is back on the agenda of the Moore County Planning Board.

Developer MHK Ventures, Inc. will appear before the Planning Board during its regular Thursday, May 7 meeting to seek three amendments to its PUD application and land development plan, including:

• Moving the NC Highway 211 entrance to the development further east, closer to Archie Road, which serves as the main access to West Pine Elementary and Middle Schools.

• Moving a proposed private wastewater treatment facility from the Pine Forest property to MHK-owned Dormie Club, a golf resort subdivision located off Beulah Hill Church Road near its intersection with NC Highway 73.

• Using County-supplied potable water to irrigate Pine Forest golf courses until the wastewater treatment facility is handling sufficient volume to produce reclaimed wastewater for irrigation purposes.

Pine Forest stretches along the north side of NC Highway 211 from West Pine Middle School to West End and, if the developer's plans are realized, will eventually include 700 homes, 300 hotel rooms, two-golf courses, and a shopping village.

Read more: Pine Forest Back on Planning Board Agenda

[Moore County Public Safety has compiled a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the proposal to consolidate the sixteen existing fire districts into a single district with a single tax rate. The text of that FAQ appears below.]

Moore County Governmental staff has received calls with questions concerning the public hearing scheduled for April 21, 2015 to discuss a single/unified service district.  In an effort to help answer the common questions we have compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions.


Question: Is the county abolishing the local fire departments?

No, the county is not abolishing the local fire departments, or establishing a county-wide fire department.


Question: Does the new fire service district affect the insurance districts?

No, we are not moving the 5 mile or 6 mile insurance district lines.  We are establishing a single service district for the collecting of taxes at a single rate.

Read more: County Answers Question on Single Fire District

The speaker identified as Ed Nuti in the story below was , in fact, not Ed Nuti, who is not a member of the Lakes & Dams Committee. The Times regrets the error.

After much discussion about the need for the expense, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board, during the March 18 Open Meeting, voted in favor of an engineering study of Ramapo Dam that is expected to cost at least $7,000, as well as a survey that will add an estimated $1,000 to $1,500 to the project cost.

“I would like to add that the motion should include funds for a survey," Community Manager Ray Sohl said. "This has been discussed in the past. We don’t have a fixed number for the survey. We are estimating $1,000 to 1,500 for a survey. We cannot nail down the cost until the engineer provides us with requirements after the assessment.”

“Then we are looking at a total of $8,000 or $9,000,” Member Les Sommers noted.

Read more: Board approves study of Ramapo Dam

Seven Lakes West has acquired a nearly six acre buffer bordering the outside of Longleaf Drive, stretching from near Douglas Drive to near Callis Circle.

Treasurer Mercedes Herdrich told The Times that the acquisition is part of an ongoing effort, lead by the CSI Team,  to secure and beautify the community's borders. That committee recently negotiated the donation of a one acre parcel that includes one of the Longleaf Pond dams.

The newly acquired Longleaf buffer totals 5.896 acres, according to a deed filed with the Moore County Register of Deeds on Thursday, March 26. The purchase price was $45,500. 

The 100-foot wide strip was carved out of a larger, 96 acre parcel that was clear-cut for timber harvesting last year, leaving an open and not particularly attractive vista from Longleaf Drive to the West End Presbyterian Church and Cemetery.

Read more: Westside Purchases Buffer Strip on Longleaf Drive

[This story originally appeared in the March 6, 2015 edition of the Seven Lakes Times.]

Seven Lakers could see a significant increase in their fire tax rate, if a plan to unify Moore County’s sixteen separate fire tax districts is approved by the county’s Board of Commissioners.

The Commissioners set the process in motion during their regular Tuesday, March 3 meeting, calling for a public hearing to be held on Tuesday, April 21 on the proposal to create a countywide fire service district. If the district is created, the Commissioners would then create a single fire tax rate that would apply to all unincorporated areas of the County. 

Incorporated towns and villages handle their own fire protection, sometimes by creating a municipal fire department, as is the case for Pinehurst, and sometimes contracting with a neighboring fire district, as is the case with the Village of Foxfire and West End Fire and Rescue.

If the plan moves forward, Commissioner Nick Picerno told The Times, a unified fire tax rate would likely be in the range of 7.2 or 7.3 cents per hundred dollars of valuation. Currently, those who live in the Seven Lakes Fire District — which includes all of Seven Lakes North and South and half of Seven Lakes West — pay the lowest fire tax rate in the county, at 4.0 cents per hundred.

In other words, someone who owns a $200,000 home in Seven Lakes would now pay $80 per year in fire taxes. If that rate were raised to 7.2 cents, the homeowners would pay $144 — an increase of 80 percent.

Read more: Fire District Plan Could Raise Seven Lakes Fire Taxes

In Memory Of

  • Ralph Patrick McCormack

     74, of Seven Lakes West passed away on April 29 after a lengthy battle with pulmonary fibrosis....

  • Tony Nick York

     73, of Seven Lakes West passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 28. The family will hold a...

  • Philip C. Castaldi

    of Seven Lakes West, died on Friday, March 27. He was 76 years of age. There will be no public...

  • Alan A. McLeod

    93, of Palm Harbor, FL, formerly of Seven Lakes, died Sunday, March 8. Services will be private.

  • Margaret H. Wallace (Peg)

    Margaret H. Wallace (Peg), 68, of Whispering Pines, NC, and formerly of Seven Lakes died on...

  • Melvin Franklin “Mel” Berngartt

    Melvin Franklin “Mel” Berngartt, age 90, formerly of Seven Lakes, a resident of the Village of...

  • Nellie McRae Dunn

    Nellie McRae Dunn, 92 of West End died Saturday March 7, at Manor Care Nursing facility,...

  • Anna Caiati Pena

    Anna Caiati Pena, 79, of Seven Lakes, died Saturday, March 7, at FirstHealth Hospice and...

  • Judith Carol Pendleton

    Judith Carol Pendleton, 73, of Seven Lakes West, died Wednesday, March 4, at First Health Hospice...

  • Violet Lillian Everhart

    Violet Lillian Everhart, 90, of Seven Lakes, died Sunday, March 1, at Elmcroft Assisted Living,...

  • Elizabeth (Beth) Schettler

    Elizabeth (Beth) Schettler, 91, of Foxfire Village died at FirstHealth Hospice House, Tuesday,...

  • Melinda (Mindi) Lea Zumwalt

    Melinda (Mindi) Lea Zumwalt, 58, of West End died peacefully at her home Saturday, February 7,...

  • Mildred Elizabeth Thompson Luck

    Mildred Elizabeth Thompson Luck, 85, died Wednesday, January 21, at her home in West End...

  • Thomas F. Ryder Jr.

    Thomas F. Ryder Jr., of Foxfire Village, formerly of Haverstraw/Stony Point, NY, died Friday,...

  • Marshall A. Nall

    Marshall A. Nall, 67, of Eagle Springs died Tuesday, January 6. Graveside services will be held on...

  • Jacqueline Gayle Hanley

    Jacqueline Gayle Hanley, 54, of West End, died January 5, at FirstHealth Hospice House in...

  • Vi Riddell

    Vi Riddell, 94, passed away on Wednesday, December 17, at Quail Haven Village, Pinehurst. Memorial services...