Column: Pinehurst must control the proliferation of rentals or harm its residents | Opinion

With regard to the recent story in The Pilot on short-term rentals, I think it is important for your readers to see that there is another issue at play which has not been widely discussed, that of existing covenants on many single family residential properties in our area.

The existence of pacts is nothing new. They are a carryover from English land law dating back hundreds of years. They exist to provide a variety of protections to owners’ property rights.

In a nutshell, if you live in a neighborhood that has covenants that prohibit anything other than single family use of the property, you became obligated to them the moment you purchased your property. And if you don’t, you’ll likely be asked to pay both parties’ attorney fees in any legal action against you.

I believe the vast majority of Pinehurst voters want to protect our neighborhoods from the damage that short-term rentals, or STRs, do to property values ​​and preserve the vibe that brought most of us here.

Just a few years ago, the important role that neighborhoods play in the village was explicitly recognized as “guiding principle” No. 3 of the development plan adopted by the village council: “To protect and improve the quality and the character of existing residential neighborhoods. ”

Many of us believe that our existing single-family neighborhoods will become largely unrecognizable within a decade if STRs are allowed to proliferate. STRs will not protect or enhance their quality and character.

In light of this, I am extremely concerned that the direction Pinehurst Village Council is taking does not reflect the overwhelming desire of Pinehurst voters to completely prevent STRs in neighborhoods intended for single family residential use or which have private but publicly filed covenants. that either prevent commercial activities or are intended to prevent any use other than single-family residential.

People of all ages, but particularly in the retirement sector, are buying, building and moving to Pinehurst relying on certain zoning and covenant restrictions.

Why would anyone buy or build and move in here knowing that they could find their retirement home next to a mini Motel 6 with several different groups of unknown visitors several times a month, maybe even in a single week?

Any government action that intentionally or inadvertently undermines the basis of our reliance on single-family zoning or long-standing valid covenants must be opposed.

Undermining the property rights inherent in single-family neighborhoods in preference to those who rent or buy property without reading or respecting their filed covenants would be a slap in the face to responsible voting citizens.

And note that the 2014 Pinehurst Development Ordinance specifically provides in Section 1.6(B) that “the ordinance is not intended to abrogate any easement, covenant or other private agreement.”

I think any effort by the Village of Pinehurst on STRs needs to be carefully designed to ensure that it doesn’t inadvertently greenlight STRs in areas that have strong single family use-only clauses, such as those in CCNC, Pinewild, some around Lake Pinehurst, and Pinehurst No. 7, to name a few. Otherwise, many STR owners and tenants will simply think that any new regulations allow STRs literally anywhere in the village.

Why would the Village Council create headaches for dozens of homeowner associations and voting citizens who clearly have valid and enforceable covenants?

STRs may still exist in the village, but they should only be in areas where they comply with current zoning and in areas that do not have covenants prohibiting them.

Finally, although STRs are relatively new, they may be prohibited or regulated under applicable state law. The UNC School of Government, which Pinehurst typically relies on, has repeatedly weighed in on how to handle STRs. Their work is easily accessible from the Internet.

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