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Nov. 29, 2017

This is the post excerpt.

Jim Buice, Political Reporter for the Clemmons Courier, wrote a post-election article and interviewed the candidates (incumbents and those challenging them) and some of it can be read below in the photos. Dwight Sparks, Editor, provided a summary of election day and the results that can be found here.

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Often a single issue dominates a campaign – at any level. Ours was just a little more concrete (pun intended).

This campaign had a single issue that dominated it – median or no median – as a solution to the traffic issues we face on Lewisville-Clemmons Road.  The incumbents refused to recognize it as a political issue yet it was an issue that the incumbents were going to make a decision on and didn’t seem that interested in listening to the small business owners of the strip or the residents of Clemmons. Read more about the hearing that was demanded by the people of Clemmons in 2016 here.

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Excerpt of article where I was quoted. Each candidate was interviewed about the results.

It was frustrating to be called a “single-issue candidate” because while this issue was important and provided a clear distinction between the incumbents and those challenging them it was NOT the only issue that each of us cared about.  I’m passionate about clear, regular communication that will provide transparency to the public and better opportunities for community engagement.  In addition to that, I plan to focus on how we manage projects as a Village, both internally and externally, so that the ball isn’t dropped on big opportunities and that everyone knows exactly where the Village is on any project – large or small.

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My friend promised me that every Election Day is cold and rainy.  She was right! She surprised me with a custom sweatshirt.

June 11, 2018 – Citizen Boards

Here is the agenda from Monday, June 11.  The minutes will be posted once approved at the June 25thmeeting.

Public Spaces

At the meeting prior to this we approved the use of the Village Point greenway by the YMCA for their upcoming Dirty Dozen 5k.  There was no cost associated with the use and the Council was in unanimous agreement to lend the property.

The Village attorney recommended, following that discussion, that we explore creating a comprehensive policy for all of the publically owned properties as it opens us up to future requests. Having some guidelines around usage will be helpful for staff in the future if asked and provide consistency among all those that make requests.

At this weeks’ meeting the Council was interested in knowing how often is the use of Clemmons property requested. It sounded as though it was minimal to none existent, however many of us wonder if it’s not because people are unfamiliar with the areas. So, here they are in their entirety. The first three are the only ones that I would envision groups wishing to utilize.

  • Village Point (lake area and parking area across from Novant hospital property)*
  • “Pocket Park” (Stadium and Ridgecrest)*
  • Small Park (4630 Greendale Way)*
  • Village Hall
  • 6301 Cook Ave. (will be part of the right-of-way for James St. Ext. as part of the library project and remainder will revert to Hubbard Properties)
  • Field Area (2838 Harper Road)
  • 2677 Knob Hill (drainage area)
  • Public Works (3800 Dillon Industrial Dr.)

Citizen Boards

Monday was the night where we voted on the appointees to the citizen boards, which included the newly created Transportation Committee, Zoning Board of Adjustments, Planning Board and Stormwater Advisory Board.

In addition to the newly created board the Council also voted to expand the Stormwater Advisory Board from five to seven members.  There are also two non-voting members, which include a member of the Council and a member from the Planning board both who serve as liaisons to their respective groups.

In previous years, the Council had found it difficult to find citizens interested in serving. Through the utilization of our e-blast list and our Facebook and Nextdoor accounts this was no longer a problem (thank you, Shannon Ford).  There were nearly 40 applicants for these few positions, which presented Council with a new problem – how to work through so many wonderful individuals and pick just a handful.  It was a hard process because it isn’t based just on education, professional occupation and other civic service but on how one will fit with the group and what other skills they may have such as organizational, project management or in even broader terms of enthusiasm for the task at hand.

Available Positions Included:

Transportation Committee – 9 members

Zoning Board of Adjustments – 2 voting and 1 alternate

Planning Board – 3 members

Stormwater Advisory Board – 4 members

June 11 – Idols Industrial Park

 PROJECT UPDATE

Mike Combest and I asked our fellow council members this past Monday for their approval to move from a position of learning and potential supporting of the Idols Industrial Park to one of actively advocating and working for a more profitable, productive use of that area. This recommendation came after a series of meetings with County staff, Village staff and multiple county commissioners.

Council directed staff to craft a resolution that would represent to the County Commissioners that we do not support an industrial park at that location.  Mike and I also hope to present on information we have uncovered and the timeline of events so that our community fully understands what has led us to this conclusion and course of action. Look for that on the June 25th agenda.

In the meantime, we are scheduling time with county commissioners who were not previously approached regarding this issue to make sure they have a full understanding of our position.

May 29, 2018 – Citizen Boards

The Village of Clemmons has a number of Citizen Boards that were created to gain insight from the population that the Village staff and officials serve.

In the past, a few newspaper advertisements in the Courier were placed to recruit volunteers. This year, ads went out via Facebook and Email blasts resulting in a HUGE number of applicants! I’m thrilled about this change in our marketing strategy for these boards because the interest in them had always been a little on the lighter side due primarily to a lack of familiarity with them. Council members have always contacted people to apply for these roles and that piece of it won’t change. Sometimes you meet or know of someone that you just know will be a great fit and you ask them to apply.  Regardless, any applicant must be voted in by a majority of the council so there aren’t any “handpicked” members.

Having more people participate in the process will give our boards grater diversity of age, gender, and experience.  Here’s some information on each board and how many applicants there have been

Planning Board

The planning board is focused on land use and future development.  There are just three board positions whose terms expire June 30, 2021 and we have received over 20 applicants! It’s great news for the Village, but makes making a decision about who to choose very difficult.  For more information about the planning board, click here. 

Zoning Board of Adjustments

The zoning board sets the tone for the Village and how areas are zoned (commercial, residential, general use, industrial, etc.). This board receives very few applicants but is really a very fascinating piece of the municipal puzzle as once areas are zoned that determination stays with the property regardless of it changing hands or business closing, etc.  so one must really think through it’s applications and how that will impact the community.  There are two regular seats and one alternate seat available for applicants. We have received over 15 applicants. Learn more about ZBoA here.

Stormwater Advisory Board

This board only meets once a quarter, but it’s very important. It focuses on water quality and protecting the natural resources for our neighborhoods.  There are just two seats available for appointment and we received about ten applicants. I see this board playing a huge role over the next couple of years and have some exciting ideas for them to explore. Read more about stormwater here. 

Ad-hoc Transportation Committee

This group will be updating the Village transportation plan, which includes greenways, sidewalks and roadways. More information is available here.  The deadline for this group has been extended until Monday June 4th because to it’s belated completion. You can apply online here.

There will be 5-10 spots available. Most likely the number will settle around 9.

Terms and Voting

The Council will vote on and announce applicants at the June 11th meeting.  Anyone who will no longer be serving will be recognized on June 25th for their hard work and commitment to the Village.  Terms are three years and will be effective July 1st. The exception is the Transportation Committee, which was created to be a temporary committee with an 18-24 month window of time. If the need is there the Council can vote to extend that committee or even to make it a permanent addition to the citizen boards.

All applicants must live within the corporate boundaries of the Village ofClemmons. Applications are available at the Village Hall, 3715 Clemmons Road and on our website at http://www.clemmons.org/citizenboards.  For more information, call 336-766-7511 and ask for our Village Clerk, Lisa Shortt. Applicants that are not appointed to these positions will be maintained on file for consideration in future openings on boards so please don’t feel discouraged if you are not chosen.

 

May 29, 2018 – 158 Sidewalk Update

The sidewalk connecting Middlebrook to Tanglewood Park to run along 158 is moving in the right direction.

There have had to be a number environmental studies for this project because of floodways and a creek crossing at Asbury Place. Those studies were recently received and they are approved.  This is great news!

Mike Gunnell and Megan Ledbetter have already gone out to the sites and itemized all of the necessary easement and right of way (ROW) needed.  Now those (ROW), temporary easements and permanent drainage easement dedications are being drafted by the Village attorney.  The goal is to receive those drafts some time next week. Once those are complete the Village will meet with property owners along 158 to receive their signatures, which should take one to two weeks.

After those signatures are obtained all of the agreements will be sent to NCDOT for ROW certification. Once the ROW certification is complete the plans will be reviewed again by NCDOT for concurrence, which will then allow construction authorization. The goal to receive construction authorization is by the end of June.

After the Village receives construction authorization advertisements will go out for a CEI firm and construction firm. The Village will pick the lowest responsible bidders and then submit those selections to NCDOT for approval. Once that approval is complete mobilization on the project can begin.

If everything goes as planned (as it always does – ha!) the construction should begin by the end of July and finish before the cold season.

 

 

 

May 14, 2017 – Special Session

Last night, prior to the regular meeting, there was a presentation by Pat Ivey, NCDOT Division 9 Engineer and Kimley-Horn Planning and Design Engineer Consultants focused on the solution for Lewisville-Clemmons Road. The majority of the presentation was done by Teresa Gresham, PE Project Manager with Kimely-Horn.

The proposed solution for Lewisville-Clemmons Road south of I-40 shows there will be NO MEDIAN south of Stadium Drive. The proposal was a great beginning.  Here is their presentation: U-6004 Council Presentation 5-14-18.2  *Please note that one item not taken into account yet is the I-40 bridge/interchange. 

Once it was known that a full median wouldn’t be accepted the work began on a more inclusive option. However, this proposal still leaves a lot to be desired. We need to explore more access roads, parallel streets and what type of realistic possibility we have at securing the necessary easements in a timely manner to make any of this happen.

This proposals’ primary focus was safety.  However, I’m concerned not just with safety, but with access to businesses and improving the level of service to the road.

Teresa specifically mentioned that more “ins and outs” at intersections will help to keep a high level of access to busineses where the median crosses in front of them. She provided for that in her proposal. What is also vital is the interconnectivity within the business parks and that still needs to be worked through.  I feel confident that throughout the next couple of months and working together we can fine-tune the plan to make it something that everyone is excited about.

I hope that by creating a safer driving experience there will be a higher likelihood of drivers stopping to conduct business and if the flow is improved (thus drive time is reduced) then there will be more available time for drivers to stop and conduct business. Again, proper access is still key.  Difficult access or time-consuming access may also deter drivers from becoming shoppers.

Kimley-Horn also proposed an added righthand turn lane along L-C Road in front of the Baptist Health center heading North and an additional lefthand turn lane at 158 and Middlebrook.

There are future widening plans for 158 West of L-C Road and this project takes that into account and would take into account a Kinnamon ramp (if that project were to be prioritized).

There was discussion about adding multi-modal opportunities such as bike lanes and sidewalks, but I have a hard time envisioning bike lanes with so many curb cuts. I worry for the safety of bikers.  I believe even walkers/runners will have a difficult time on the sidewalks along L-C Road, but also believe that, that type of access must be made available.

Council must commit to the prioritization of this project (or not) by September, but we will not be making this decision in a vacuum.  If the decision is to move forward then right-of-way acquisition will begin in 2023 and construction would begin in 2025.

We will be seeking both citizen and business input on this proposal over the next couple of months. Please, stay tuned for those public input session dates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 14, 2018 – Tanglewood Business Park

I hate this new name…it’s misleading. It is not a proposed business park, but rather still a proposed industrial park…I digress 😉

Councilman Mike Combest and I now have regularly scheduled meetings with County staff and a core group of Village staff to help shape the future of the land use off of Idols Road in Forsyth County, but adjacent to Clemmons limits.  Essentially, we have decided to follow the same playbook that strengthened communication and partnership between the Village and County as was done for the library.

What we have learned thus far is that the project is not one that any specific Commissioner is passionate about – it’s a staff-driven project.

Unfortunately, we have also learned that the county scope of “economic development” measures only two things – job creation and tax revenue. Economic development is a more comprehensive term that should have more comprehensive research placed behind it.  It should take into consideration logistics, home values, quality of life, environment, and more.  Economic development isn’t just about jobs – it should be about the overall impact on the economic climate of an area.

I am positive about our next steps and how the conversation has been received by a few county commissioners thus far. I believe that even if this goes the route of industrial or business park that Clemmons will have a voice in the execution of it.

May 14, 2018 – Library Update

As many of you have already read the County approved our need for additional funding. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough money to raise the site the desired 2-7 feet. It was priced out at $18/sq foot. The most we could have raised it with that amount of additional money was 2 feet.

We have been assured that there will be no money spent toward a pump station and that gravity flow sewage will work just fine at the current level. We have been assured that raising the site was purely for aesthetic reasons and the county feels the dollars allocated for landscaping will help to negate that difference between the library site and the sidewalk. That said, the pricing has all be quotes up until now and if there is additional money left in the budget we will have influence over where that goes.

We are looking for partners who wish to donate and deliver suitable soils in exchange for naming and sponsorship opportunities. Please contact the village and we can put you in touch with the right contact at the county to make that happen.

We are also looking for community partners who wish to contribute money in exchange for naming and sponsorship opportunities. The Village will be adding to the what the county offers to further promote any business or family that donates. Money that is received sooner can be put toward elevating the site.

ATTENTION: The Planning Board will review the site plans for the library at 7pm tomorrow at Village Hall.