SLLA LogoMaking short work of a packed agenda of discussion items, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors met for an hour long evening Work Session on Monday, May 9.

The meeting time change was prompted by a call for more openness and public participation in the planning and decision-making process — in particular as the Board begins to tackle the financial impact of last year’s Reserve Study recommendations.

However, the newly seated majority of four directors had to first clear an early hurdle brought about when two veteran Board members resigned shortly after the Organizational Meeting.

At the April 27 Open Meeting, former Director Bruce Keyser, Jr. who was unsuccessful in his bid to retain his seat in the last election, was appointed by a vote of acclamation to fill one of those vacancies. [A full report on the April 27 Open Meeting is available at sevenlakestimes.com.]

During the May 9 Work Session, the Board gave a unanimous nod of support to Anderson Lowe, who was nominated to claim the other seat. A formal vote on Lowe’s appointment will be called at the May Open Meeting.

Read more: Keyser &?Lowe Join SLLA Board

SLWLA Logo

Nearly half of Seven Lakes West is receiving weekly “e-blasts” Secretary Jane Sessler reported during the Tuesday, May 10 Work Session of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Board of Directors.

The number of households receiving the emails has nearly doubled — to 450 — since March, Sessler told The Times, adding that a bug that has some households receiving multiple copies of the email updates is still being worked out.

She noted that the SLWLA website itself continues to grow as more community organizations utilize it to get the word out about their activities.

One major “disappointment” with the website, Sessler said, is that more people are not communicating directly with Board members on matters of concern. “We are trying to make it easy to communicate,” said Sessler, who encouraged individuals to reach out to the Board by email or phone.

To keep members informed the website is also being utilized to add minutes of the Board’s work sessions within 24 hours of a meeting.

Area Reps are trying to help with the communication process by compiling a list of individuals without access to a computer, so the Board can better communicate with them.

A meeting of the Area Reps is scheduled for May 9 with a website “tour” on the agenda.

Also on the communications front, the Area Reps will be hosting a wine and cheese party on Monday, June 13 for newcomers to the community and are assembling an emergency contact list.

Read more: West Side makes communications key priority

Foxfire Logo

Making short work of a lengthy agenda, the Foxfire Village Council tackled a variety of topics at a sparsely attended meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

Echoing comments that were also raised in two recent citizens’ participation budget workshops, Craig Ramey expressed concern that the overall appearance of the Village was on the decline.

“I know we don’t have a Zoning Administrator and that enforcement has been lax,” said Ramey. “And with Woodland Circle and the [Foxfire Golf] Club’s bankruptcy, I realize appearance is low on the list of priorities. But, some areas haven’t been mowed in years. Several lots have trees down. It’s not a major concern, but just something you get sick of looking at all the time.”

He also reported that a debris pile behind the golf maintenance yard is growing and the entire area is a mess, including two buildings he said should be condemned.

Ramey volunteered to chair a community standards-type committee of five members, as was originally developed by the late Carl Munro, which could address the problem.

“It wasn’t just one person, but a group of people looking at items and agreeing whether something needed to be done,” said Ramey.

Picking up on his suggestion later in the meeting, Long Range Planning Chair Mick McCue recommended that, rather than form another committee, the work could be tasked as part of the responsibilities of the existing Appearance Committee.

Read more: Concern expressed over Village appearance

Foxfire LogoLooking to increase resident awareness, interest and participation in the municipal budget process, on Thursday, May 5, Foxfire Village Finance Director Leslie Frusco and Mayor George Erickson led a second budget workshop meeting in as many weeks before a packed room of residents. [A full report on the first budget input session is available at sevenlakes times.com.]

With the second-lowest tax rate in Moore County — currently set at thity-two centers per hundred dollars of valuation — Foxfire has retained its small town feel despite significant growth over the past decade through several voluntary annexations and a multi-year spurt of new residential development.

With net projected valuations for 2011-2012 at $141,694,500, a one cent tax increase would generate $14,169 annually and a five cent tax increase — or approximately $150 in additional annual property taxes on a $300K home — would generate $70,847.

With an agenda that includes future capital projects, the potential need for a tax increase, concern over the aging pool and tennis facilities, and ongoing debt service, the Council is actively seeking input and direction from the community.

However, one major factor over which the Council has no control is the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings at Foxfire Golf & Country Club. Currently the Club owes $80,000 in delinquent taxes, and the Village’s projected budget anticipates no tax revenue from the Club. The property is listed to be auctioned on Tuesday, May 10.

Frusco said her understanding of the situation is that the bank that is the primary creditor in the bankruptcy proceedings is not interested in selling the Club for pennies on the dollar. Instead, she suggested the bank may be inclined to make a competitive bid themselves and then hold onto the property until the economy improves.

Read more: Foxfire Council gathers input on budget

MCS Logo

West Pine Middle School may receive its “Green Initiative” certification by the end of the school year, Skyla Stuckey, told the Moore County Board of Education during its Monday, May 9 regular meeting. Stuckey, an intern with Sustainable Sandhills, reported that she has been working with various schools in Moore County to pursue Green Initiative certification and become more sustainable.

Currently, three schools in Moore County, including West Pine Middle, have met various criteria — including promoting a recycling program, compiling data on energy consumption, and encouraging environmentally responsible behavior — in order to become “Green Initiative” certified. Stuckey said she was particularly impressed with West Pine Middle’s pilot recycling program and with the involvement of the staff and maintenance department.

“Everyone is really wonderful” at West Pine Middle and is taking the “Green Initiative checklist very seriously,” said Stuckey.

The Green Initiative program covers five key areas: Awareness/Education, Pollution Control, Waste Reduction/Recycling, Water Conservation/Efficiency, and Energy Conservation/Efficiency.

Read more: West Pine Middle pursues ‘Green Initiative’

Moore County LogoWhile continuing to protest that it's the result of an unfunded federal mandate, Moore County's Board of Commissioners have decided to move the County's Emergency Communications System to the VIPER [Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders] system developed by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

At their special budget work session on Thursday, May 5, they approved the Public Safety Department's recommendation to move forward with implementing the transition to VIPER, because of a Federal Communications Commission [FCC] mandate that requires emergency communicators to move from the current 512 megahertz [MHz] to a 12.5 [kHz] kilohertz narrowband by the beginning of 2013.

The Board did not settle on a plan for covering the estimated $5 million cost of the transition. Chairman Nick Picerno said he is “trying to find a way to pay for this without increasing the burden on taxpayers.”

Read more: County chooses VIPER for EMS communications

Moore County LogoA planned expansion that will add Sunday School rooms and meeting spaces to The Seven Lakes Chapel in the Pines was approved unanimously by the Moore County Planning Board on Thursday, May 5.

Peggy Olson, Chair of the Chapel Board, told Planning Board members that the expansion would answer a need for meeting space in Seven Lakes -- for example, to accommodate a growing support group for those caring for those suffering with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia.

Because the 3.5 acre property on which the Chapel sits is zoned Gated Community - Seven Lakes, a primarily residential designation, the church must obtain a conditional use zoning permit, which is what the Planning Board approved Thursday night.

No one spoke in opposition to the expansion, and only Board member Robert Hayter addressed the issue, asking whether there was sufficient parking to support the expansion. Planner Tim Garner explained that only sanctuary capacity is counted toward parking space requirements in the county's zoning ordinance. Since the Chapel addition will not increase the size of the sanctuary, the parking issue was moot.

However, Olson assured the Board that the Chapel's current gravel parking lots exceed the county's requirements based on the size of the sanctuary. She added that a lower parking lot may see more use once the addition is built, because it will include a lower level entrance and an elevator and stairs.

Planning Board member Dave Kinney, a longtime Seven Lakes resident who now lives in Southern Pines, recused himself from the matter because of his association with the Chapel.

Read more: Planning Board Approves Seven Lakes Chapel Expansion

Moore CountyThere's no tax increase in the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget that County Manager Cary McSwain presented to the Board of Commissioners during their Tuesday, May 3 meeting -- and, despite a threatened $12 million shortfall in school funding, there's no additional money for Moore County Schools [MCS].

If you needed a single word to describe McSwain's budget, it would be "flat" -- at least when compared to the budget the Commissioners approved for the current year.

Last June, the Commissioners approved a General Fund budget of $85 million. This year, McSwain is recommending $85 million. Last year, the County budgeted $26 million for schools; this year, McSwain is recommending $26 million for schools. Last year, the County budgeted $4 million for Sandhills Community College [SCC]; this year, McSwain is recommending $4 million for SCC.

Last year, the County allocated $13 million for public utilities; this year, McSwain suggests spending $13 million on public utilities.

Last year, the Commissioners set the tax rate at 46.5 cents per hundred dollars of valuation, plus two cents for advanced life support. This year, McSwain is recommending a tax rate of 46.5 cents per hundred with a two cent per hundred advanced life support levy.

Read more: No Tax Increase in County Manager's Budget

Moore County LogoA long-planned expansion of Seven Lakes Chapel in the Pines is on the Moore County's Planning Board agenda for Thursday, May 5.

The Chapel plans to add Sunday School rooms and conference areas in an approximately 8,000 square foot structure attached to the west side of the existing building, which will continue to house the sanctuary. Additional gravel parking areas will be added further west on the 3.4 acre tract the Chapel owns between Seven Lakes Drive and Devonshire Avenue.

The congregation mounted a successful fundraising campaign last Fall -- anchored by a single $300,000 contribution -- that will fund the expansion.

The Chapel's property, like the rest of Seven Lakes South, is zoned Gated Community-Seven Lakes [GC-SL] in the county zoning ordinance. Though the primary uses in GC-SL are residential and recreational, churches are allowed under a conditional use permit, which must be granted by the Planning Board.

Tuesday's Planning Board meeting will include a quasi-judicial public hearing on that conditional use permit; those wishing to speak on the matter will be sworn in before testifying.

As described in the staff report prepared for the Board [which you can download here], the Chapel's request is relatively uncomplicated. Driveways and vegetative screening are already in place, and the proposed expansion does not exceed the impervious surface limits within the Watershed Overlay District. A new septic system has already been approved by the County's Environmental Health Department, and no significant impact is expected on public schools or public infrastructure.

The Planning Board will hear testimony on and consider the Chapel's request in a meeting on Thursday, May 5, beginning at 6:00 pm, in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Historic Courthouse in Carthage. Also on the evening's agenda is an annual report on the Small Area A, which includes Seven Lakes and West End. You can download an agenda that includes the staff report on the Chapel's Conditional Use Permit Request here.

SLLA LogoBruce Keyser, Jr. will rejoin the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors, appointed in a quick up-and-down vote during the Wednesday, April 27 Open Meeting. Keyser will serve out the remaining year-long term of one of the two chairs left vacant when veteran Directors Melinda Scott and Chuck Mims resigned within days of the March annual election.

Following several contentious decisions in the waning days of the last Board term, voters made a strong statement in favor of a new direction by electing challengers Bob Darr, Bob Racine, Conrad Meyer, and Don Fentzlaff, while overlooking Keyser and fellow incumbent director, former SLLA President Randy Zielsdorf.

In the wake of the unanticipated loss of Scott and Mims, the just-seated majority of four, along with veteran Director Bud Shaver, were left shorthanded but determined to get down to business. Immediately following their first official Work Session earlier this month, they met in a Special Closed Meeting to discuss the vacancies.

According to Association By-Laws, the Board may appoint any member in good standing to fill a vacant Board seat, but should give first consideration to the Seven Lakes resident receiving the next largest number of votes in the previous election. That was Keyser, though the 101 votes he garnered was only one-quarter the number cast for the top vote-getter.

Read more: Keyser Back on SLLA Board of Directors

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...