This one ranks right there with ‘the dog ate my homework.’ You’ve all heard bad excuses from kids who have been caught red-handed misbehaving. You expect this stuff from kids, and not middle-aged or senior citizen elected officials.
Let’s recap. The Strickland-Pizzella-Hogeman cabal had approved a development moratorium for much of the available land left in town to develop. The moratorium has been dragging on for more than two years – with no apparent end in sight. Property owners were left with no options but to pay their taxes and keep waiting around.
Realizing that they could talk no sense into the majority at village hall, property owners turned to the county’s legislators in Raleigh for help. Senator Tom McInnis introduced a local bill ending the current moratorium and restricting village government’s ability to approve a new one.
Village manager Jeff Sanborn organized a closed-door meeting between himself, mayor John Strickland, council member Lydia Boesch and senator McInnis and Rep. Neal Jackson. The purpose of the meeting was to reportedly try to reach some middle-ground on the on-going development stalemate.
Strickland and Sanborn defended the moratorium by suggesting it was the will of the people. After all, they said, no one came to complain to them.
Does anyone seriously think that complaining to the perpetrators of the development crackdown about the crackdown itself would have resulted in anything positive?
Apparently, someone from the Moore County Home Builders Association (MCHBA) had supplied the legislators with copies of emails documenting complaints to Strickland and other senior village government representatives about the moratorium. THAT introduced the implication of LYING into the moratorium discussions.
That brings us to March 10. Sanborn drafted a letter to Jackson and McInnis suggesting that the legislators and the public had been victimized by a great deception. (The manager tried to get all of the council to sign the letter, but only Strickland would join him in signing.) :
[…]You mentioned that you had been contacted by individuals or groups who felt their property rights had been abused during the commercial building moratoriums which are in effect for our Village Place and Pinehurst South districts. We feel we have followed all requirements of state statutes regarding hearings, notices, and extensions ofthe moratoriums. As we mentioned, we have no record of any person(s) objecting to the moratoriums during the public hearings, or in other contacts with Village staff. We have provided a list of all comments from the public hearings with this letter.
We welcome the opportunity to meet with any individuals or groups that have contacted you with grievances so that we can work with them to resolve their concerns. Please encourage them contact to us immediately or supply their information to us and we will take the initiative to contact them. […]
This crowd at village hall is notorious for harassing and / or intimidating people or groups who dare to get in the way of their political agenda. Who in their right mind would go complain to Strickland or his pet manager?
[…] The Pilot on-line newspaper dated, March 1, reports that Paula Nash, with the Moore
County Homebuilders Association, complained about our moratorium via email with the
Pinehurst Planning Department in December 2022. After comparing the email that was provided to The Pilot with our non-alterable archived email records, we have concluded that the email provided to The Pilot was intentionally altered. The actual, original email only contained a question regarding whether the moratorium was still in place or not.
The copy provided to The Pilot added a fabricated complaint about the moratorium. […]
So, The Pilot conspired with the home builders to fabricate emails to make village government look bad? Is that what we’re supposed to believe? The Strickland-Pizzella-Hogeman cabal is already doing a fine job of that all by themselves.
[…] We understand the key issue for you is the length of time our moratoriums have been in place. There are valid reasons for that, and there is no limit in the statute as to duration of moratoriums so long as progress is being made on the underlying cause. The expiry dates for the two moratoriums are May 5th and June 4, 2023.
We do not intend to extend these moratorium dates. Tom made it clear to us that he believes 42 months is too long for any moratorium, and Neal expressed similar concerns.
We are wondering if a prudent, and more comprehensive way to address your concern would be to add a 24-month limit to the existing general statute language regarding moratoria. We would not object to this kind of approach.[….]
Puh-leeze. The current moratorium is already more than 24 months old. And they were planning to extend it even further.
So, instead of acting like grownups — admitting a mistake was made and trying to reach a compromise — the ruling cabal and their manager resort to nanny-nanny-boo-boo tit-for-tat garbage you’d expect on the Pinehurst Elementary playground and not in the halls of government.
Remember, village elections are in November. We are in desperate need of brave souls to step forward and help us clean up this horrible mess.