Pinehurst voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to fill the mayor’s seat and two council seats. Incumbent mayor Nancy Fiorillo has three challengers trying to replace her. One of those challengers, councilman John Strickland, has hit Fiorillo in a last-minute letter to a large segment of Pinehurst voters:
Dear Neighbor and Fellow Historic District Resident,
I am proud to live in the Pinehurst Historic District as I am sure you are. Living in the District provides Cynthia and me with an assurance and a level of protection that our neighborhood will not be overrun with development or the type of building that will destroy the special character of Pinehurst that we have come to enjoy and cherish.
In the last few years, the Historic District has been threatened by our Mayor. These threats have included reducing the size of the Historic District to just the center downtown area and reducing the authority of the Historic Commission while giving final authority for Historic District decisions to the Mayor and Council. These actions are unprecedented and none of the other 93 Historic Districts and Commissions in the State of North Carolina has had such actions taken or attempted by their local leaders.
I have resisted these attempts and have been successful in defending the District for the past four years. My term soon ends as a member of Council because I am running for Mayor. If I am not elected, who will defend our neighborhood and rights?
I pledge that if I am elected I will do everything possible to maintain the protection you currently have in the Historic District and the enhanced value of your property because of the District. Please cast your vote for me on Election Day.
John C. Strickland
Seriously? Mayor Nancy has been “threatening” something? I wonder what she has to say about that.:
Dear Neighbor and Historic District Resident:
You recently received a letter from John Strickland stating that as Mayor, I alone threatened the very existence of our Historic District.
With regard to the threats, Council minutes will show there were conversations about reducing the size of the Historic District in 2013, and later about having the Village Council act as the Historic District Commission — as some local Councils do. As part of my personal due diligence on the Historic District topic, I informally polled our Historic District residents and found that they value being in the District, which would have guided my single vote. However, none of these discussions ever resulted in motions, votes, or any other action to change our Historic District. So, where is the threat to boundaries that have been in place since 2007?
I did encourage minor work (i.e., replacing an existing deck with an identical deck) to Historic District properties be approved by staff rather than require a Historic Preservation Commission hearing. Council minutes will show that these changes were approved by a majority of the 2013 Council.
Please carefully consider the facts of my response to this last-minute letter’s allegations. Your vote on Tuesday is more important than ever.
*Sniff*. What’s that smell? Someone’s pants on fire?