Local bill draft struck down by council majority

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speaks during an event in San Francisco, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

PINEHURST — The Village of Pinehurst Council met Tuesday with the major item on the agenda being attempted legislation to regulate short-term rentals.

The debate over whether or not to regulate short-term rentals has been ongoing in Pinehurst for months now, but it seems it will continue after an attempted local bill was struck down by a majority vote of the council. 

The Village had drafted a local bill that would have been passed on to the state representatives and presented to the N.C. General Assembly to have legislation that clarified the Village’s municipal authority to regulate short term rentals.

“What we are trying to accomplish here in working with our state delegation, is to put in their hands a document we feel is very fair based upon all of the discussion we’ve heard over the last few months with respect to short-term rentals,” said Mayor John Strickland. “The state representation asked us to work with some members of the STR committee, we did that and this is our best effort to make a fair effort to bridge that gap.”

However, due to what was seen as a lack of significant mediation from the two sides of the debate, councilmembers Jeff Morgan, Lydia Boesch and Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Pizzella voted against sending the draft to the state representatives. 

Even without state legislation, the council can still draft ordinances or make changes to the UDO to provide some regulations, which is likely to be the next path taken by the Village.

“We are working on our own ordinance recommendation, so that if the local bill did not go through, we’d have a plan and a backstop,” Mayor Strickland said before the vote. “We’re working ahead on that.”

The council then approved two motions related to the Pinehurst Historic Preservation Commission. The first was the reappointment of David Herring to a second term and the second was the reappointment of Eric VonSalzen to a partial-second term as chairman of the HPC.

“This is a little bit of a deviation from the stated policy as written, but we think it’s in accordance with the intent of the policy,” said Village Manager Jeff Sanborn on the reappointment of VonSalzen. “The policy as written specifies that a chairperson cannot be nominated for a second term. But having said that, it would be very awkward to ask Eric to serve out the remainder of his second term on the HPC as a normal HPC member. I’m pretty sure we’ve made this deviation at least once or twice in the past.”

The council approved the renewal of their contract for legal services with Van Camp, Meacham, & Newman, PLLC for FY 2023 at a 2% cost increase and an annual cost of $59,340.

The Village also held two public hearings, one for the 2023 Budget and the other for the extension of the development moratorium at Village Place and Pinehurst South.

Neither the proposed budget nor the development moratorium extension met any public resistance and the extension was approved following the closing of the hearings. 

The development moratorium – which would have expired on June 8 – will be the third extension provided by the council and will extend the deadline by another 120 days to allow time to adopt plans and amend the zoning ordinance as needed to implement the plans.

The Village of Pinehurst Council will next meet June 16.

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