We tried out our new meeting structure tonight. Typically, we have two meetings each month that include regular business and agenda items that require deeper Council consideration. What we are currently test driving is a a meeting structure were we DISCUSS an item in the first meeting of the month and VOTE on it the next meeting. What this accomplishes is twofold.
- Council is able to digest information presented over the course of two weeks before having to speak to it or vote on it. As opposed to three days at times.
- It puts the same issue on the agenda TWICE so that members of the community have two opportunities to be heard on it.
One concern was about only voting at one meeting – if we only voted at one meeting it might hold up some of the regular business items the Village staff needs approval on to move forward. We think we resolved this by not being too strict on voting or not voting as a general rule, but rather as a tool to postpone an on-the-spot decision for the bigger issues and not the day-to-day Village business.
The full meeting agenda can be found here.
Here are the two issues I found most intriguing from the last meeting.
The state passed the Brunch Bill, which allows counties and municipalities to opt-in to allowing locations to serve or sell alcohol on Sunday at 10am instead of 12pm. Currently this cannot be done until Sunday at 12pm in Clemmons, which was the statewide law until this past summer when the Brunch Bill was passed by Gov. Roy Cooper on June 30th.
Forsyth County has passed the Brunch Bill, but each municipality within the county can decide on whether or not they wish to also pass it. Nearby Lewisville has not yet passed it, but Bermuda Run has.
I plan to vote that we pass it at our next meeting. I think not passing it can put our businesses (Publix, Lowes, Harris Teeter, etc.) at a distinct disadvantage from their nearby competitors. I also worry it could deter a restaurant from choosing to open in Clemmons. Here is a slightly outdated list (last updated in November 2017) of counties and municipalities who are “brunching”.
While a public hearing is not necessary the Council agreed to set aside time on the next Agenda (April 9th) for people to respond. I look forward to hearing comments on both sides of the issue and while I plan to vote in favor of it I am open to hearing reasons why I should not. I just haven’t heard a compelling one yet.
Speed Limit Reduction
Any street in Clemmons can apply to have their speed limit modified from the Village speed limit of 35mph and if they receive 75% of the streets residents’ signatures it is likely to be approved by Council based on past precedent. West Blue Bonnet Lane has applied for a reduction and met the threshold of 75%.
I will absolutely vote in favor of the speed reduction to 25mph and have previously spoken with Village staff about the cost to reduce ALL neighborhood speed limits to 25. There are so few neighborhoods in Clemmons that have sidewalks and 35mph just feels too fast. Many of our neighborhood roads are long and straight with few stop signs, which may encourage speeding above and beyond 35 and, again, I feel even 35 is too fast when there are people out walking, biking and playing in the streets.
The cost would be minimal to decrease all neighborhood speed limits to 25mph, but potentially so would the impact. While I personally still think it’s worth exploring it was explained to me that reducing the speed limit may help to deter a few drivers but not as many as residents may hope. There are traffic calming measures that should be considered instead as a more real solution to speeding and pedestrian safety, which include (but are not limited to):
- Speed humps
- This would limit snow plowing.
- Roadway narrowing or lane reductions
- This can be done by adding sidewalks or bike lanes (win-win?)
- Roadside shrubbery
- Large expense and is often up to the homeowner and not the Village
- Allowing on-street parking
- Most of our neighborhood roads (to my knowledge) do allow this already
- Improving speed limit compliance
- This means more traffic cops, which would be a huge expense