[The original version of this story misquoted Jan Johnson's analysis of stable finances. We've made a correction below. The Times regrets the error.]

After months debate, a new $21,470 fence for the Seven Lakes North horse pasture is a go. That amount, however, will replace only the fence along Seven Lakes Drive and the portion along the southwestern perimeter, where the pasture adjoins the Business Village.

The Board of Directors of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] approved the project in a four to one vote during their Thursday, May 28 Open Meeting, with Bob Racine opposed, Mark Gyure abstaining, and Mary Farley absent from the meeting.

A proposal to replace the entire perimeter was rejected in a tie-vote of the previous Board of Directors. The information packet for the meeting referred to the approved project as "Phase 1," but the motion by President Chuck Leach only sought authorization for $21,470.

A round post fence with three round rails will be installed in place of the existing split rail fence, with the posts set at a height of four feet six inches.

Read more: Partial Pasture Fence Replacement Approved

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

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

 Members of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] elected three new directors and returned one incumbent to the Board in balloting that concluded at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 22.

Bob Racine was elected to a third two-year term. New members include Joy Smith, Mark Gyure, and Greg Lishawa. David Hill, who was appointed in September to fill a vacant seat, did not secure enough votes to remain on the Board, and petition candidate Lawton Baker failed in his bid to secure a seat.

Smith led the vote count, with 292, followed by Gyure, at 290. Racine collected 276 votes; and Lishawa, 269. Baker garnered 193; Hill, 171.

The membership turned down a $25 dues increase recommended by the Board, with 234 voting against the increase and 201 in favor. Board members then approved the proposed FY2016 budget, without the additional revenue the dues increase would have provided.

Assuming that every landowner who cast a ballot voted yes or no on the dues increase, turnout for the election was less than thirty percent of those eligible to vote.

Read more: Smith, Gyure, Lishawa, & Racine Elected to SLLA Board

In Memory Of

  • Jane Scales Facey

     of Foxfire Village died on Tuesday, April 19 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. A private...

  • Nancy P. Neilson

    formerly of Seven Lakes, died on Monday,  April 18. Nancy and her husband, Roger, retired from...

  • John E. Letter

    95, of Seven Lakes, died Monday, March 21, at his home, surrounded by family and friends. A...

  • Marilyn Rose Kemble Bearden

     84, formerly of Seven Lakes, died on March 8 in Greenville, SC. The family will receive friends on...

  • Vonadora Baker Stackhouse

    96, died on Wednesday, March 2, her wedding anniversary, at her home in Seven Lakes West. Services were...

  • James R. Nichols

    (Jim) of Seven Lakes died at his home on Monday, February 22.  A Celebration of his life will be...

  • Timothy William Bouchelle

    49, of West End died on Friday, February 19, 2016 at his residence.  A visitation will be held from...

  • John P. Carpenter

    75, of Seven Lakes North died Saturday, February 13 at FirstHealth Hospice House in Pinehurst. A...

  • Michael Jerome Loney

    87 of Seven Lakes West died Tuesday, February 9 at First Health Moore Regional Hospital in...

  • Glenda Mae (Marks) Tucker

    64 of Seven Lakes passed on Sunday February 7 at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro.  A...

  • Dr. William Harrell Johnson

    92 years old, of Seven Lakes West, died on Tuesday, February 2, at home.  A memorial service was...