Last nights meeting was a bit of a marathon. The first hour was spent honoring Mary Cameron and her service to Clemmons. She was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, which is a great honor and was bestowed upon her by order of the Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, and presented to her by Representative Donny Lambeth along with many mayors and council members from years past.
The next hour and a half was spent on council business, which included (but was not limited to) a conversation about sidewalks, the library and Novant’s outpatient surgery center. I’ll get into all that, but first I want to mention how uncomfortable being up there was.
I had no idea it would feel like that. I felt as prepared as I could be for my first full meeting, yet it still felt so strange to talk in front of of an audience like that and to know that every word you say is “on the record”. I understand now why our council members speak so little – it’s not always necessarily that they don’t want to share their opinion or go on the record with it – but rather that you fear misinterpretation or have a hard time putting words to your thoughts. I continue to be humbled by the honor to serve Clemmons and guarantee that I will misspeak at times, but I will continue to try and share my opinion as eloquently and accurately as I can muster on demand ;).
Back to business.
Last nights full agenda can be found here and I am always happy to discuss it ahead of time or after the fact. The minutes for that meeting will be available online soon as well. Mayor Wait and I have a few ideas about how to improve the ease of reading the minutes and agenda in the future and hope to propose some changes at the upcoming Village retreat (TBD).
Mike Gunnell, Director of Public Works, along with a recurring holiday intern (who also happens to be a former Eagle Scout of newly elected Councilman Scott Binkley) mapped out, at my request, all of the sidewalks throughout Clemmons. Not just any map. A full GPS-pinned map that shows where sidewalks currently exist, are already funded and planned and where previously proposed ones are. It was an incredible feat and thanks to its timely completion the Council was able to propose that three sidewalks be reviewed by the DOT for matching funds. The due date is Jan 15th and without this document Council would have had a hard time proposing anything. Three sections of sidewalk were submitted. They may or may not be approved for federal funding, which would provide an 80/20 split (80 – federal / 20 – Clemmons) and even if they are approved Council will still have an opportunity to figure out exact cost estimates and if those sidewalks are feasible for the budget at this time.
Novant Health Outpatient Surgery Center and Office Building
Councilman Chris Wrights is out of town (family vacation) and so there was only one councilman that really could engage in a meaningful conversation about this and I’m so grateful he did. His questions were shared by me and I can bet the others as well. The surgery center was approved in 2009 and as part of that approval the previous council required that they invest in the infrastructure to support the additional traffic (kudos to them). The surgery center will be off of Harper Road and part of the greater Village Point/ Morgan Elementary area.
Even with those infrastructure investments already made, Councilman Mike Combest asked pointed questions about the impact that the anticipated increased traffic would have on our Village. His goal was to be sure that we had the RIGHT kind and amount of infrastructure in place to not create another congested, difficult-to-navigate road like that of Lewisville-Clemmons. Council was assured by Novant’s engineering consultants that it would be more than enough to maintain the level of B service (as assigned by NCDOT) for many years to come (approximately 50 years to be specific).
The New Clemmons Library
This is one is frustrating. After all of the hard work that went into getting Clemmons a new library the county is now trying to cut back on “architectural design” elements. I opened the conversation with that if we let the county take those elements away, even with their promise of putting them back in based on final costs, that those would never be worked back in and would instead be hailed as a savings to the project. Mike Combest voiced that is not just an architectural design element but truly (and I’m paraphrasing here) changes the value of the building to those that would be using it – and I couldn’t agree more.
It’s not just the removal of columns, a porch and pergolas. It changes a beautiful library into just another government building. It is not what Clemmons asked for and it is not what Clemmons agreed to. We wanted another place for our community to gather and a a place where families could spend time together, inside or out, enjoying the resources that a library has to offer.
I made the motion to table the conversation until January 22nd so that we could see if the community (this is you, folks) is just as passionate about this issue as many of us on council are. If so, we will fight this at the county level and have our voices heard. It will be a HUGE help if citizens can come and make a comment about this issue at the January 22nd meeting. There will be a special spot on the agenda that is open to public comments for specifically this issue.
Next meeting, January 22nd, there will be a public hearing on the following:
- Zoning Map Amendment for Bing-Merr, LLC from RS-15 and LO-S to LO-S (professional office) for Tract 1 located at 3725 Clemmons Road and Tract 2 located at 3729 Clemmons Road – Zoning Docket C-224.
- Zoning Text Amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to modify Chapter B, Article IV of the UDO to amend the Historic Overlay regulations to include additional small towns within the Forsyth County’s Historic Resource Commission and to make clarifications to the Historic Overlay District requirements – C-UDO-77.
- Library architectural changes submitted by the county. Please come and sign up to share your opinion on these proposed changes that remove not just architectural features of our new library.