Time is short for the developer of of a 1652-acre Planned Unit Development that, if built, would stretch from West End to Pinewild and from NC Highway 211 to NC Highway 73.
The zoning permit for Pine Forest — a proposed development that was to include 700 homes, 300 hotel rooms, two-golf courses, and a shopping village — is set to expire on September 6, thirty-six months after it was approved by the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
Planning Director Debra Ensminger provide the commissioners with an update on the project during their May 20 meeting.
"Along with the rezoning," Ensminger said, "a board order was executed that listed ordinance standards and additional conditions that must be followed during the development process. And I stand before you tonight to share that nothing of that order has been completed. We are just where we were on September 6, 2011, today, May 20, 2014.
"Some requirements have to be executed by September 6, 2014, or that permit goes away," Chairman Larry Caddell reiterated.
"There are a number of things that are in front of the developer between now and September," County Manager Vest explained.
Among them are:
• The resolution of a Rural Center grant that helped to pay for a water line extension down NC Highway 73. Employment commitments that were a condition of the grant have not been fully met by the developer, so a portion of the grant funds will have to be repaid by the developer, MHK Ventures, Inc.
• A water service agreement with the county that has yet to be completed. That agreement would involve a multi-million dollar payment from the developer to the county to defray the expense of adding capacity to the county water system.
• State approval for a private wastewater treatment facility.
Vest said Pine Forest developer Walter Mackey has had a number of conversations with Public Works about water and wastewater scenarios, "but none of those have come to fruition."
"We are coming up on the deadline for those requirements to be met, Vest concluded,"or the zoning reverts back to the previous zoning."
That previous zoning was mixture of three residential districts — RA-20, RA-40, and RA-5 — and some property zoned B-2 Highway Commercial.
"I spoke with Mr. Mackey this afternoon,"Vest said, "and he reiterated that they are continuing to work with their investor for the project. He is fully aware of the water capacity funds that are required, and he's fully aware that the Rural Center money has to be paid back. I pointed out to him a number of times that, until those two commitments have been completed, that the Board is probably not going to be receptive to any recommendations."
Sign ordinance revisions cause concern
Some proposed revisions to the Moore County Sign Ordinance — a part of the Unified Development Ordinance [UDO] — put Commissioner Nick Picerno between a rock and a hard place during the May 20 meeting.
Picerno objected to aspects of the ordinance and asked to table it for further study, but representatives of West End Presbyterian Church pointed out the delay could put their sign in jeopardy.
Planning Director Debra Ensminger explained that there were only two changes to the ordinance:
• Allowing off-premises signs in the B2-Business zoning district, which was necessary to save the church's existing sign.
• Consolidating the rules and regulations in a table, to make it easier to read.
That consolidation was evidently effective, because it alerted Picerno to language regulating portable signs that he found unduly restrictive. But Ensminger pointed out the language had been in the ordinance when it was initially approved by the commissioners.
"We can pass it, we want you to have that sign," Picerno told the church representatives. "But I see more restrictions on the citizens of Moore County."
The Board approved the ordinance revisions four to one, with Picerno opposed.
In other business during their Tuesday, May 20 regular meeting, the Moore County Board of Commissioners:
• On the Planning Board, replaced Julia Latham and Les Murray, whose terms expire in June, with Moore County Property Manager Rich Smith, who comes with an extensive background in land development and construction, and Scott McLeod, whose background is in IT sales and management.
• Tabled consideration of an interlocal agreement among Moore County, Montgomery County, and the Heart of North Carolina Megapark, LLC. Given the length and complexity of the agreement, County Manager Vest suggested devoting some time in a future work session to a thorough review of the document.
• Changed the time of the regular board of commissioners meetings, which are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Beginning in July, both meetings will begin at 5:30 pm. The first meeting in July and the second in December will not be held, and the first meeting in December will be held on Monday rather than Tuesday, to avoid interfering with the annual Carthage Christmas parade.
• Added $20,000 to the value of what had been a $130,000 annual contract for the grinding of yard waste at the Moore County Landfill. Public Works Director Randy Gould explained that the amount of yard waste that comes into the landfill has increased dramatically in the past few years.
• Approved the use of $688,634 in excess funds from the Lake Pinehurst sewer lift station project for five other projects water and sewer line extensions, the replacement of two lift stations and elimination of a third, and improvements to the SCADA system, which allows for remote monitoring of the county water system.
• Approved the FY2015 funding plan for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
• Approved a cost allocation plan that helps the Community Development Department forecast expenses that will be reimbursed from grants.
• Extended the county's contract with the North Moore Family Resource Council to allow the non-profit more time to help a few families qualify for home loans.
• Heard from Lynne Drinkwater, the Department of Aging's coordinator for the Senior's Health Insurance Information Program [SHIIP], that the department had received grants to support educational efforts aimed at informing low-income seniors about Medicare Savings Plans.
• Appointed Commissioner Picerno and reappointed C.C. Edsel to the Department of Social Services Board.
• Reappointed Jimmie Ann Lassiter as an ETJ member of the Town of Robbins Planning Board.
• Reappointed Gert Strine to the RSVP Advisory Council.
• Reappointed Public Safety Director Bryan Phillips, Emergency Manager Scot Brooks, and Fire Marshal Ken Skipper to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
• Appointed Scott Kidd and reappointed Anita Herron and Mary Spell to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
• Reappointed Carla Williams to the Human Resources Appeals Committee.
• Reappointed engineer Dennis Mabe to the Board of Health.
• Reappointed Joe Clendenin to the SCC Board of Trustees.
• Reappointed John Garner and Louis Gregory to the ABC Board.