Pinehurst: Local government gone wild (downtown parking edition)

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Yellow-dog Republican Pinehurst is developing quite a reputation for authoritarian government.  Village government requires approval from your neighbors if you want to erect a fence on your property.  (There are even regulations — enforced by planning office staff — on fence picket widths.)  The village council even passed an ordinance banning children being outside after 7 PM — even on their parents’ property.   It was rescinded after some raucous public outcry.

The village planning office has been shaking down developers for years for cash in exchange for plan approval.  A recent protest from a developer (and coverage from this site) has caused the village council to, um, revisit this practice.

Village government has developed an interest in revitalizing Pinehurst’s struggling downtown.  Businesses have left downtown Pinehurst — or shunned it outright — due to the onerous regulatory practices of the village planning office.  New businesses are setting up shop in neighboring Southern Pines or Aberdeen — where planning practices are a lot more reasonable.  Thanks to the hyper-aggressive traffic enforcement practices of the Pinehurst police department, quite a few folks take a pass on venturing into downtown Pinehurst.

Well, the village government is now setting its sights on improving the parking situation in the downtown area.  Downtown Southern Pines has a voluntary program called “Customers First,’‘ which has merchants encouraging their employees to reserve prime, close-in parking spaces for customers.

What’s Pinehurst doing to deal with the same problem?  They’re hiring a new employee to hand out citations to area business employees parking in what are viewed as prime spaces.  How do you tell the difference between employee vehicles and visitor / customer vehicles?  The village government will be handing out decals.

A voluntary, private initiative is working well in neighboring Southern Pines.  Their downtown is prospering.  WHY is bureaucratic expansion always the first instinct for Pinehurst leaders?

Where is the Pinehurst Business Guild on this?  Its membership is the main beneficiary of this initiative.  Let them take the lead on spearheading anything like this — just like their compatriots in Southern Pines have done so well.