Moore County LogoFrom billboards to sewers, fracking to zoning, water to taxes, Moore County department heads worked their way through a raft of questions posed by the Greater Seven Lakes Community Council [GSLCC] during a Thursday, August 15 meeting with the Moore County Board of Commissioners.

As GSLCC President Jack Stevens explained at the opening of the meeting, the group brings together the Presidents of the landowners associations serving Seven Lakes West, Seven Lakes North and South, and McLendon Hills, as well as the President of the Seven Lakes Business Guild. The purpose is "to identify concerns that are common to our communities and present them in a unified manner," Stevens said.

You'll find several articles below that report on individual topics covered in the joint session, including: water and sewer, zoning and billboards, tax revaluation, fire insurance districts, and fracking for shale gas.

Read more: Commissioners Meet with Seven Lakes Council

Moore County LogoThough steady Summer rains have erased any concerns about drought this year, ensuring an adequate supply of water is always a top concern in Seven Lakes, which is served by Moore County Public Utilities.

So, it was no surprise that the Greater Seven Lakes Community Council [GSLCC] had some questions about water -- and about sewer -- when they met with the Moore County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, August 15.

Public Works Director Randy Gould reviewed a $12 million project that will bring water to Seven Lakes from Harnett County's treatment plant on the Cape Fear River. Currently, almost all of Seven Lakes' water comes from wells in Pinehurst, traveling in a water main that parallels NC Highway 211.

That system can provide about one million gallons per day, Gould said, and the community's 6,365 residents require a maximum daily supply of 881,000 gallons. By 2030, the County expects 9,125 residents in Seven Lakes, and a maximum day demand for 1.22 million gallons of water.

The County currently purchases up to two million gallons per day [MGPD] from Harnett County at a cost of $2.40 per thousand gallons. A new initiative approved by the Commissioners will buy into an expansion of Harnett's water treatment plant at an upfront cost of $5.25 million, providing up to 3.0 MGPD at an ongoing cost of $1.92 per thousand gallons.

Booster pump upgrades, a new water main on NC Highway 73, and a new water tank near West End will bring Harnett County water to Seven Lakes. In addition, the County plans to drill three new wells near Foxfire that will increase the supply of water to Pinehurst.

Read more: Harnett County Water coming to Seven Lakes

Moore County LogoExpressing concern that dilapidated buildings in West End will not put the best face on the Seven Lakes area when thousands of visitors arrive to attend the 2014 US Open Golf Tournaments, the Greater Seven Lakes Community Council [GSLCC] asked Moore County Board of Commissioners to "insist, through inspections, that West End businesses on 211, comply."

The Council also expressed concern about a perceived proliferation of billboards on NC Highway 211 and asked whether Village Business zoning could be stiffened by including architectural standards.

Compliance in West End

Taking up the question of compliance in West End, Planning Director Debra Ensminger asked, during the Thursday, August 15 meeting of the Council and Commissioners, "Comply to what?" The County's zoning ordinance does not include architectural standards for West End -- or for the Seven Lakes Business District.

Residents in attendance mentioned the old Stanley Furniture plant and the West End Theater as buildings in need of upgrade or demolition.

Ensminger explained that the County does have the power to condemn buildings, and it does not have money budgeted to pay for demolitions. While a lein could be placed on the property to cover that cost, Ensminger expressed doubt that the money would ever be collected.

Read more: Appearance Issues and Billboards Cause Concern

Moore County LogoUnder NC General Statutes, Moore County property is due for a revaluation for tax purposes on January 1, 2015. The Greater Seven Lakes Community Council asked how foreclosures impact that process.

Basically, they don't, Appraisal Division Leader Gary Briggs explained during the August 15 joint meeting of the Council and the Commissioners.

Briggs explained that foreclosure sales are typically not good examples of an arm's length transaction, but often involve financial incentives or accommodations that impact the price. Briggs said he had pulled data on seventy Seven Lakes property sales and found only nine that appeared to be foreclosures.

"I tend to think the trend toward foreclosure sales has slowed down, " he added.

Briggs explained that NC law requires that properties be valued for tax purposes at one hundred percent of their market value. In order to arrive at that value, the Appraisal Division has already begun collecting data on "every component involved in the pricing of property," Briggs said.

"There are dramatic differences in land prices from one end of the County to another," Briggs said. So, the appraisal staff divides the County into more than 600 neighborhoods. He noted that there would be several neighborhoods identified within Seven Lakes West, for example.

"Once we get the neighborhoods established," Briggs said, "we look at the improvements: whether it is a single family home, what type of siding, whether it is stick built." Additional considerations include whether a home is on the lake or golf course, or is simply on an interior lot.

Read more: Property Tax Revaluation Due January 2015

Moore County LogoIt fell to Moore County Fire Marshal Ken Skipper, during the Thursday, August 15 meeting of the Board of Commissioner and Great Seven Lakes Community Council, to explain what may have been the most confusing topic of the evening: a change in County fire insurance districts that did not include a change in response districts or fire tax districts.

Skipper said Moore County Public Safety noticed in 2011 that some insurance companies were placing homes in the wrong insurance districts when writing homeowners policies -- for example, assuming that homes in McLendon Hills were covered by Seven Lakes Volunteer Fire and Rescue instead of by Eagle Springs.

When Public Safety notified the companies of the error, some residents saw their rates increase -- and that produced complaints to both Public Safety and the Board of Commissioners.

The County's response was to commission a comprehensive study of the fire and EMS systems that may ultimately result in changes to the fire tax districts and the and fire and EMS response districts. But that process requires coordinated planning among the County's eighteen fire, EMS, and rescue agencies.

NC General Statutes allow the Board of Commissioners, within limits, to shift fire insurance district lines so that they are not exactly the same as response district or tax district lines.

In order to provide relief from high homeowners insurance rates to some landowners, the Board recently voted to change some lines. Skipper said the changes are projected to save homeowners as much as $300,000 in insurance premiums.

Read more: Fire Insurance District Lines Redrawn

Moore County LogoThe Greater Seven Lakes Community Council asked the Commissioners to explain their position on the hydraulic fracturing method of drilling for natural gas, commonly known as "fracking."

Chairman Picerno explained that the Commissioners had passed a resolution on June 5 of last year asking the General Assembly to give local government some say in regulating fracking. The state legislators declined to do so.

"We have no authority when it comes to fracking," Picerno said.

Read more: Raleigh Preempts Local Role on Fracking

After eighteen months of work by a committee of citizens appointed by the Board of Commissioners and led by Planning Board Chairman Robert Hayter, a final draft of the new Moore County Land Use Plan is complete and ready for public comment.

The Public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the draft plan during the Thursday, August 8 Planning Board meeting, before the plan comes before the Commissioners in a public hearing tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 15.

Land Use Plan CoverThe draft plan, which runs to nearly 100 pages, includes not only goals and objectives that will guide development in Moore County for at least the next decade, but a demographic, economic, and cultural profile of the County.

It will replace the current Land Use Plan, a much briefer document that was the County's first such plan, approved in 1999. The Land Use Plan has a critical role in guiding decisions about zoning and development at both the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners.

Months of meetings that included input from a variety of experts and stakeholder groups helped the twenty-five member Land Use Plan Steering Committee craft the plan, assisted by members of the Moore County Planning Staff.

A copy of the final draft is available on the Planning Department section of the County website here.

Printed copies may be obtained from the Planning Department Office, located at 1048 Carriage Oaks Drive in Carthage, during normal business hours.

Foxfire LogoThe Foxfire Village Council finally got what they have been asking for: a full house.

More than fifty residents showed up at a Thursday, July 25 public meeting to hear Moore County Public Works Director Randy Gould present the County’s proposal to buy Foxfire’s water system.

Council members have been mulling over the idea since February, but the County is urging them to make a decision by August 6, in order to roll the Foxfire water project into a much larger expansion of the County's water sources, and to pay for it all with a zero-interest loan from the state.

There's a September 30 deadline for that loan application, and lots of engineering work and approvals to be done between now and then.

Read more: County Asks Council for Quick Decision on Water System Merger

Moore County LogoMoore County Fire Marshal Ken Skipper issued a press relase shortly after 3:00 pm Friday reporting that "all 911 lines have been repaired and service has been restored."

Moore County LogoMoore County Fire Marshal Ken Skipper announced in a press release just after Noon on Friday: "Moore County Public Safety E-911 Center has lost the ability to receive calls from normal 911-lines. We are currenty working with the telephone company to resolve the issue. Citizens can still contact E-911 using (910)947-2911."

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...