Parks, plans, and recreation discussed by village council

The Village of Whispering Pines Council hosted its meeting on Jan. 11. Council members and Whispering Pines residents gathered to have their voices heard and discuss recent happenings in the community, covering a full agenda and livestreaming the meeting online.

The council discussed whether to maintain village amenities for the use of Whispering Pines residents only, with residents and council members speaking on both sides of the debate. The council is no stranger to this discussion; this topic has come up a handful of times over the last several decades.

Those who argued for opening the amenities — even to a limited extent — pointed out that neighboring municipalities offer many of their parks and recreational facilities to nonresidents. The intense community support among all Moore County residents during the power outage from the attack on our grid was noted, with Robbins in particular being singled out for sharing its amenities while neighboring areas lost power.

However, those in favor of maintaining amenities for village residents only spoke on the fact that taxes have already been raised for residents in the past and that the amenities are already facing max usage from resident use alone. One resident approached the podium with concerns about littering, loitering, and lack of parking — problems already existing within the community that would potentially be worsened by actively welcoming nonresidents.

Another resident agreed, pointing out that much of the current appeal of Whispering Pines is the availability of the many fine amenities offered that are typically private and for residents only. Questions about property values were raised, as well as concerns about an additional increase in taxes due to allowing nonresidents and the physical strain they would have on the amenities.

When all arguments had been made, and all voices had been heard, the council voted 4 to 1 in favor of keeping amenities limited to resident use only for the foreseeable future.

On a similar but smaller-scale note, the council discussed the Land Development Ordinance about recreational equipment and play equipment for children. A resident voiced that they were unhappy with having more lax rules regarding children’s play equipment, arguing that recreational equipment — particularly basketball hoops — led to noise in an otherwise “tranquil community.”

This resident pitched the idea that a basketball hoop could be installed at Hardee Lane Park instead of loosening the community guidelines on recreational equipment at private dwellings. The resident felt that if allowances were made for small things such as basketball hoops and swing sets, many other residents would soon want exceptions, as they have in the past.

However, every other resident who spoke at the podium favored encouraging children to play outside in reference to basketball hoops and swing sets, as were all of the written testimonies submitted to the council online.

“I don’t think either of these things will hurt the neighborhood,” noted a resident in a written submission. “I’m for anything that encourages children to go outside and play.” Another resident raised concerns over more significant aesthetic issues, and children’s play and sports equipment seemed small in comparison.

Though a decision was not reached regarding the recreational equipment and basketball hoops, all voices were heard, and all online submissions were read aloud.

The council also moved forward with a proposed plan to build a restroom pavilion at Hardee Lane Park. As it stands, no other permanent restroom facilities are offered at Hardee Lane Park. The building will be 30 feet by 60 feet in size and introduce a set of men’s and women’s restrooms, flanked by picnic areas on either side.

All council members spoke favorably about the addition of the pavilion and were pleased with the progress that has been made on Hardee Lane Park. The budget ordinance amendment proposed for the bathroom pavilion for $200,000 was approved unanimously by the council, and the project may enter the next phase of development.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Abegail Murphy.

Photo of Whispering Pines sign by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Melissa Schaub.

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