Village Chapel extension has opposition

The Village of Pinehurst held a public hearing during its Tuesday Work Session to discuss amending zoning for 4.5 acres.

When Architect Pete Bogle addressed the council on the proposed zoning amendment to construct an additional 7,197-square-foot educational building for Village Chapel, he offered two solutions to the primary problem of storm run-off which floods the Woman’s Exchange area, several homes, and the Village Chapel.

One offer is to install 25-year storm basins, and the other offer is to install additional storm basins to catch the uphill flow from Old Town and Village Green East and West.

“It will save money to install during construction,” Bogle said.

Rendering of Village Chapel education building contributed by Architect Pete Bogle.

During the Public Hearing, Village Chapel Pastor John Jacobs summarized the 30-year growth trend with young families choosing Pinehurst. The youth are currently dropped-off at an administration building while parents drive off to another building for Sunday morning worship.

“Now is the time to change that,” Jacobs said.

John Rowerdink, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Village Chapel, said that 94% of the congregation approved the proposal last September, and they raised the funds to complete it in less than a year.

Vicky Smith, Minister of Children and Youth, said that there were 20 children in choir. She said that there is not enough room for age-dedicated classrooms and that sixth-graders were in the same room as seniors. When a child from the third to fifth grade classroom needs to use the bathroom, the child must walk through two other classrooms.

Grievances about inadequate furniture, including adult furniture in children’s rooms was shared. Concerns about disruption from the modular’s thin walls and safety concerns due to excess access to doors from children were shared as speakers favored the construction of “Heritage Hall.”

John Hoffman, a Village resident, said that he read Bogle’s engineering records with “great interest” and has concerns with the zoning change because it would allow previously unallowed zoning and shows “extreme non-conformity” to Pinehurst Development Ordinances. His concern with impervious surface is because Bogle proposed 33% impervious surface which is over double the recommended limit of 12%.

Hoffman’s second issue is flooding from storm run-off and said it was a major problem, calling the construction a “serious disservice to the entire area.”

Hoffman’s third issue is the ratio of 10,500-available-square-feet of space with Bogle’s 20 new parking spaces. The 20 spaces allow for 60 people.

“This parking scheme has reached a sustainable limit at the present non-conforming limit of 22.3 impervious surface,” Hoffman said, “This is strictly a land use issue which involves the entire Village.”

Council members listed issues with the square footage having increased from its original design of 6,300-square feet, preserving the site’s historic dignity, inadequate parking, the replacement of trees and the increase in impervious surface.

The playground was a concern because “outside activity” is different than the indoor activity of children on Sundays. The timing and hours of “allowed uses” was discussed.

There is a stipulation that the educational building cannot serve as a school.

Slides with artist renderings provided visuals on the proposed project and demonstrated how shrubs will be used as buffers as well as s-shaped driveways.

It was suggested that Magnolias, Dogwoods and Holly trees replace some to the 50 trees to be removed.

The Development Ordinance and Zoning Map discussion on the proposed extension of Village Chapel will continue at the July 28 meeting without a public hearing.

Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.


Photo of Village Chapel in Pinehurst by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Cow McFarland.

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