The Town Council backed a special use permit for the facilities, contingent on 11 conditions. The 10 cottages will be located where the former Elks Club Lodge stood and will be designed to house guests who want to play across all three courses. A crowd of 30 residents attended an earlier meeting in November to voice their concerns about the lodging development. Many of the same faces were at the final decision. Council member Taylor Clement says the cottages are a nod to the history of Southern Pines, including the town’s start as a “resort” destination, aid in enhancing the historic 1906 Donald Ross-designed course, and are compatible with nearby neighborhoods.
The Southern Pines (N.C.) Town Council approved a special use permit for cottage rentals within Southern Pines Golf Club on Feb. 14, contingent on 11 conditions, The Pilot reported.
The cottage debate began in November when the town’s planning board reviewed the proposal, The Pilot reported. A crowd of 30 residents attended that meeting to voice their concerns about the lodging development. Many of the same faces were at the final decision.
The 10 cottages will be located where the former Elks Club Lodge stood, The Pilot reported. The Elks Club was demolished in 2021 following the purchase of Southern Pines Golf Club by the Bell family and partner Haresh Tharani. The ownership group also controls the Mid Pines and Pine Needles golf resorts.
The cottages are designed to house guests who want to play across all three courses, The Pilot reported. There will be a total of 52 guest rooms. The application lists 56 rooms, but following a question from council member Taylor Clement, the applicant agreed to decrease the room number.
Clement wanted the total reduced to 48 rooms — the number first presented to residents at a neighborhood meeting before the application’s submission, The Pilot reported. The applicant would not go lower than 52 rooms, but Clement thought it was a fair compromise.
The town council also briefly discussed the importance of golf tourism in Southern Pines; the general welfare of nearby residents; the impact of the development on property values; and the appropriateness of the cottages within the facilities, resource and recreation zoning district, The Pilot reported.
Clement listed multiple reasons the golf cottages align with the town’s comprehensive long range plan, The Pilot reported. She said the cottages are a nod to the history of Southern Pines, including the town’s start as a “resort” destination, and aid in enhancing the historic 1906 Donald Ross-designed course.
She also referenced the compatibility of the cottages’ scale and architecture with nearby neighborhoods, The Pilot reported. For this project, Clement said the public interest seems to outweigh individual interests.
Mayor Pro-Tem Paul Murphy said neighboring property values would likely shoot “through the roof” because of the development, The Pilot reported. Lower property values was one concern of residents at earlier meetings.
Clement also acknowledged the applicant’s willingness to compromise before the town council’s final vote, The Pilot reported.
“I feel like we tried really hard to make a compromise that can make the neighbors happy. Before it even came to us, you increased the setback, the buffer; you moved the fire pits …” Clement said. “Beyond that, I searched through the complaints and looked for a way for you all to change that would make the neighbors happy, and the only thing that I can see that would appease the neighbors is for there not to be a successful golf course there, because a successful golf course will draw traffic, and it will draw people, and it will create noise. And I do think it’s important to protect that golf course as an asset to our town.”
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