Quasi-Judicial Proceedings

Pinehurst Losing Sleep and Appetite Over Proposed Bed and Breakfast

Greg Owen and his wife own the Maryhurst Retreat House in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Built in 1910, the House was once owned by the Catholic Church where it served as a rest house for vacationing clergy and nuns. The Owens, who recently purchased the property and are in the process of conducting renovations, would like to operate an “upscale, five-star” bed and breakfast from the House to the reported goals of “cover[ing] the cost of extensive repairs to the home” and providing a “boon to the local economy.” The problem? Such a use is not permitted where the House is located in the Village of Pinehurst.

Determined, the Owens proposed a text amendment to the Pinehurst Development Ordinance to allow bed and breakfast inns as a major special use in the residential district where the House sits, currently zoned R-30. Even as a special use, of course, qualifying operations would need separate Village Council approval to open and operate in the R-30 districts, assuming the zoning text amendment passes.

Nevertheless, public opposition has been vocal, as it can often be. Specifically, neighbors to the House have complained that the amendment’s breadth will impact Pinehurst in a manner far beyond this one property, that the amendment contradicts the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, that the public traffic created in a residential district would be “a nightmare,” that property values will be adversely affected, and the additional resort space is unnecessary in this particular Village. Opponents to the amendment also note a prior, unsuccessful attempt to accomplish precisely what the Owens are trying to do with the House.

The Village Council, which has once before returned the proposal to its Planning Board for further consideration, will hold its public hearing tomorrow evening to consider the proposed legislative action. We will watch with interest.

***Update***
The Pinehurst Village Council voted on Tuesday evening, September 28th, to deny the amendments proposed by the Owens, owners of the Maryhurst Retreat House.

Mike Thelen is an associate in Womble Carlyle’s Real Estate and Real Estate Litigation practice groups. He regularly represents a wide variety of clients, from local governments to businesses, in both state and federal venues throughout North Carolina.

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