SLWLA LogoFour candidates who will compete for three open seats on the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Board of Directors were introduced during the Tuesday, January 25 Work Session: Patti Cleary, Jim Ferguson, Jim McCarthy, and Jack Stevens.

Each candidate spoke briefly about their background and reason for running for office [see story here]. The February 4 edition of The Times will feature more extensive interviews with the candidates.

 

Floodplain status clarified for lakefront lots

It has taken nearly a decade of work, but the Association finally has a signed assurance that Seven Lakes West's lakefront lots are not in a high hazard flood zone, President Shepard reported during Tuesday's Meeting. The lower risk designation means Lake Auman residents should not have to purchase expensive federal flood insurance.

Gerhard Hergenhahn spearheaded the effort to obtain official notification from Moore County that Lake Auman lots are not located within a Special Flood Hazard Area; Shepard thanked Hergenhahn for his effort, prompting a round of applause from the assembled landowners.

Look here for a more detailed explanation of how the flood plain delineation affects lakefront lot owners.

Read more: Candidates, Flood Plain, & Culverts at Westside Work Session

SLWLA LogoWhen, in 2002, the Federal Emergency Management Administration [FEMA] published drafts of new flood maps, parts of all 500 Lake Auman lakefront lots were shown in the "high hazard" flood zone, designated "AE," of the lake.

But, at the same time, they had determined the rise of the lake level in the hundred-year flood to be a mere three-quarters of a foot, easily contained by the two-foot high bulkheads. Gerhard Hergenhahn, in cooperation with the Moore County Planning Department, launched an official protest. By the time the maps were declared final in Octoer of 2006, FEMA had redrawn the flood zone line: it is now identical with the shoreline, thus showing all lots in the low risk zone "Shaded X," identifying a statistical flood risk of once every 100 to 500 years.

Because of the low-risk designation, banks need not require their mortgage holders to buy mandatory flood insurance or provide an elevation certificate by a surveyor that would prove the low risk of the home. Instead, the homes automatically, without survey, qualify for the much less expensive Preferred Rate Flood Insurance.

Read more: Floodplain status clarified for Lake Auman lots

After a four hour public hearing on Tuesday night, January 18, the Moore County Board of Commissioners tabled MHK Ventures' request for Planned Unit Development - Hamlet [PUD-H] rezoning for the proposed Pine Forest Golf Club subdivision, pending further review by both the Planning Department and the Board.

Moore County LogoThe Planning Department is expected to bring recommendations to the Board's February 1 or February 15 regular meeting.

After hearing testimony during the quasi-judicial public hearing that development might threaten the headwaters of Nick’s Creek, Commissioner Larry Caddell asked to withdraw from voting on the rezoning request, because he felt he could not rule impartially.

“It’s hard for me not to be partial after spending thirteen years of knowing Nick's Creek,” the former Carthage Mayor said. "I've never run from a vote," he told The Times during a break in the meeting. But his intimate knowledge of the creek and its importance to the Carthage water system, he added, made it difficult for him to render the impartial decision required.

After Caddell made his request to withdraw, his fellow Commissioners voted unanimously to excuse him from further consideration of the matter.

Read more: Pine Forest PUD critics speak out

Initiated over five years ago by a petition of property owners, the construction and paving of Woodland Circle Extension is officially complete. But the possibility that a majority stakeholder could walk — potentially leaving Foxfire Village with a $1.5 million unpaid assessment — dominated discussion at a Public Hearing on Thursday, January 13.

Foxfire LogoAddressing the Village Council on behalf of John McKean, who owns a significant portion of the property to be assessed, attorney John May argued that the Village was asking his client to pay more than his fair share of the cost.

Using the equal rate per acre methodology laid out in the preliminary resolution approved in December would burden McKean with almost three-quarters of the project costs, yet, owing to the position of his land, he will own only 30% of actual road frontage lots.

“The property that is going to pay the most for the assessment will not be equally benefited by the methodology you have chosen,” said May. “He [McKean] is not looking for a fight or to avoid paying some of the costs, but he would like very much for the Council to consider another more equitable methodology or approach in how to pay for this.”

May said that the current tax value on McKean’s 156-acre property is $1.1 million and that his anticipated assessment is $1.5 million. He also noted that a 2008 survey delineated 20% of the property as jurisdictional wetlands, leaving only 130 acres of divisible land.

“He will get to a point that it is not economically appropriate for him to pay the assessment, if he’s never going to get the money back out of the property,” warned May.

Read more: Woodland Circle project takes unexpected turn

Construction on a rail safety project that will close two crossings in West End and equip the Lakeway Drive crossing in Seven Lakes with gate arms and upgraded signals is likely to begin in late Spring or early Summer, NC Department of Transportation [NCDOT] engineer Nancy Horne told The Times on Tuesday.

Documents assessing the environmental impact of the project have been signed by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Reources and by the Federal Highway Adminstration, which is providing funding for the $650,000 project.

Once she has those signed approvals in hand, Horne said, she can prepare the Plans, Specifications, and Estimates package and seek approval for construction funding.

NCDOT personnel are likely to handle the crossing closures in West End, while the Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway will complete the work on the Seven Lakes signals.

 

The condition of drainpipes uncovered in Seven Lakes West's first culvert repair has persuaded Infrastructure Director John Goodman to accelerate his work schedule and fix four more culverts this Spring.

SLWLA Logo"It's really a matter of public safety," Goodman told The Times. "It's not worth the risk to wait for one of these to fail, because you don't know how long it would take to get on the contractor's schedule."

The questionable culverts carry water under Longleaf Drive. The first repair was conducted in the first week on the New Year and involved removing three 30-inch galvanized steel pipes from a culvert located on Longleaf between Wagoner and Vanore. Two of the pipes, when removed, turned out to be "on the low side of the scale in terms of their condition," Goodman told The Times.

"We could see that they had rusted out" during an earlier inspection, Goodman said, but silt in the pipes made it hard to determine the level of damage. Two of the pipes lIterally fell apart as they were being removed, he added.

Read more: Westside will speed up culvert repairs

Bringing more water to the greater Seven Lakes area is at the top of the agenda for the Moore County Board of Commissioners this year.

The Board concluded its annual two-day budget retreat, held January 13 and 14 at the Moore County Senior Center, with a goal-setting exercise moderated by Agricultural Extension Director Craven Hudson. The result was a list of ten goals for 2011 and six additional long terms goals. At the top of the list was finding a "Seven Lakes Water Solution."

“The only reason I stayed for four more years," said Commissioner Larry Caddell, referring to his recent re-election to the Board, "is because I promised my friends in Seven Lakes that I would take care of this.”

"We don’t need to wait to find water. We need to find it now,” Caddell said.

And, if the right deal can be negotiated, the Commissioners would like to find that water in the Town of Robbins.

The County plans to reopen negotiations with Robbins within the next forty-five days to determine whether the two local governments can work together to utilize a reservoir and mothballed water treatment plant that Robbins owns but is unable to use. Currently, Robbins buys water from neighboring Montgomery County.

The Robbins plant could pump as much as one million gallons per day of water into the county system that serves Seven Lakes and Pinehurst, through a new water line that would likely run down NC Highway 705 to NC Highway 211 and on to Seven Lakes to tie into the county system. Previous estimates have placed the cost of that water line and its pump stations at approximately $3.6 million -- and rehabbing the Robbins water plant is likely to cost nearly that much again.

The possibility of bringing water in from the Robbins treatment plant has gone back and forth for more than two years without any agreement being reached, but the Commissioners appeared determined to go back to the table with the intention of finally making a deal.

 

Read more: More 7 Lakes Water at Top of County Agenda

There's no dues increase in the proposed Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA].

That's the good news.

But initial reports from the recently completed Reserve Study suggest that substantial annual increases to reserve funds will be necessary over the next five years -- increases that may be hard to achieve without future dues increases.

"This year, we did not attempt to incorporate, at this late notice, any dues increase," Treasurer Denny Galford told the SLLA Board of Directors during their Monday, January 10 Work Session. "We want to take time to review operating costs and whether we can improve those first. If we can perfect current operations, then we may be able to generate additional monies.”

Detailed information on the Reserve Study and the proposed FY2011-2012 budget were not presented at the meeting, but discussion indicated that anticipated capital expenditures planned for next year include $125,000 from unrestricted reserves for work at the stables, among other projects, and $80,000 in restricted reserves to complete road repairs at Lancashire and Dogwood Lane -- two of the four areas identified as needing significant repair work prior to a community-wide major road repaving project.

The Board is expected to vote on the proposed budget during the January 26 Open Meeting.

Read more: No Dues Increase in SLLA Budget - for Now

In an unexpected announcement during the Monday, January 10, Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Work Session, Community Manager Alina Cochran reported that she had received bids from three of six companies contacted for quotes on handling landscape maintenance for the Association -- a task that has up 'til now been handled by the in-house maintenance department.

The Board did not discuss of the proposals, but quickly approved the item for action on the January 26 Open Meeting agenda. But it was clear that the idea of outsourcing landscape maintenance has been on the table during frequent closed sessions held by the Board this year to discuss legal and personnel issues.

If a landscaping contract is awarded, the change would be in keeping with other decisions over the last few years that have moved day-to-day functions of the Association -- such as security and administration -- from in-house staffing to contracted service agreements.

Read more: SLLA May Outsource Landscape Maintenance

Tuesday morning's Westside Work Session, already scheduled for a two-hour delay, has now been cancelled, Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] President Ron Shepard told The Times. Roads throughout the greater Seven Lakes area are ice-covered and treacherous, and non-critical travel is ill-advised.

Shepard said Thomas Trucking, which handles sand spreading and other snow and ice cleanup for Seven Lakes West, had been unable to roll its trucks, as of 9:30 am Tuesday.

The SLWLA Board is exploring options for an abbreviated meeting later today or later in the week in order to hold a vote on the proposed FY 2011-2012 budget, necessary before annual meeting packets can be finalized and the mailing readied by month's end.

The offices of both the Seven Lakes and Seven Lakes West Landowners Associations were closed Tuesday morning.

Moore County Schools are closed for a second day, with make-up days scheduled for the next two Saturdays. County offices are expected to open at 1:00 pm, though visitors would be wise to call the One Call Center at 910-947-4636 before making a trip.

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...