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.
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.
Well, it’s officially, official. The Clemmons Branch of the Forsyth County Library has received an additional $200,000 from the county. The money comes from savings gained on the Central Library and was packaged with more money for the other library’s, but with Clemmons leading the way and receiving $200,000. These dollars will go a VERY long way and bring back the aesthetic and useful design elements of front columns (for a covered porch-like area), courtyard pergolas (that make an outside courtyard inviting and more useable on hot days) and fencing (that will help to define the space and keep kids safe).
The conversations with the County started because of the Clemmons community reaction to such design elements being value engineered out to come in under budget. The Village Council entrusted Mike Combest and I to represent the community and together we met with Commissioner Don Martin. Thanks to Don Martin the Village and County staff reconnected. The County Deputy Manager (Damon-Sanders Pratt) myself, Mike Combest, David Byington (a Clemmons-based architect) and Village staff began meeting on a regular basis.
After many meetings, emails and phone calls it became clear there wasn’t much ability to reallocate dollars at this point in the project. The dollars have been put toward these elements, but Combest and I are still hopeful about elevating the site two to seven feet… soooo if you know anyone who wants naming rights at the library and has suitable soils (and is willing to deliver and possibly even compact the dirt) their donation would be greatly appreciated and rewarded with a sponsorship level that equaled the value donated.
*There was a previous miscommunication about when this budget amendment was voted on. It was passed today April 26th and not last Thursday. My apologies for any confusion and misrepresentation.*
Mike Combest and I met with Forsyth County Commissioner Don Martin who represents Clemmons on Wednesday April 11th to discuss the library and broach this topic as well.
He made it clear that construction of the Tanglewood Business Park would be taking place. He asked what our major concerns were and we shared a few.
One, that the covenants included a berm but not on the side that would be facing the homes of Clemmons West. I asked if he would consider a berm on that side as well and he felt as though that was a very reasonable request. He asked us to come back with a short list of improvements that would make this park more palatable to Clemmons residents.
Second, we asked that it meet the existing standards of Union Cross business park that the county also built. The discrepancies are currently being reviewed.
Mike Combest and I left that meeting feeling incredibly hopeful about the future of this project and how it will impact Clemmons. Don Martin also shared that the assumptions we (the Village) were making on when we would make back money invested into the pump station were not accurate, but this is a matter of continued debate as it’s all based on unforeseeable numbers.
So, next steps.
- Mike Combest and I were granted authority (just last night) from our fellow council members to maintain conversations with the County and continue to represent the Village in matters regarding the business park.
- Mike is speaking with a county employee that Don Martin pointed him to, to discuss the differences in Union Cross and Tanglewood Business park.
- We are still waiting to hear on the results from the traffic impact analysis.
- Have our Village Planner, Megan, choose specific requests to take back to the county for consideration.
- Create an on-going communication plan as was done for the library.
The Yadkin Valley Paving bid was approved last night. The roads scheduled to be repaired for 2018, include:
Forest Oak Drive
Each of these roads will be resurfaced, which will occur as a multi-step process. First, sections currently outlined with white paint will be removed, recompacted, and then patched with structural asphalt. Then the entire road will be resurfaced with an aggregate binder course. Finally, a 1-1/2 to a 2-inch topping asphalt will be applied.
The funds for road repair come from the Powell Bill Funds,
which is money given back to municipalities by the state for resurfacing of streets, as well as maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing or widening of any street or public thoroughfare including bridges, drainage, curb and gutter, and other necessary appurtenances within the corporate limits of the municipality or for meeting the municipality’s proportionate share of assessments levied for such purposes, or for the planning, construction and maintenance of bikeways, greenways or sidewalks. (
The Powell Bill: N.C.G.S. 136-41.1 through N.C.G.S. 136-41.4).
The amount of Powell Bill funds allocated to municipalities used to be statutorily tied to the gas tax, but the formula linking Powell Bill funds to gas tax was repealed (Section 29.17D.(a) of S.L. 2015-241)
My understanding is that it was changed for two reasons. The first is that when gas prices fluctuate it is hard for municipalities to know what to expect and budget for. Second, that there are times when gas prices drop too low to offer a meaningful impact in Powell Bill funds back to a municipality. Now municipalities receive Powell Bill funds as appropriated by the General Assembly each year.
As many of you have already noticed there is a large part of Village Point Drive (near Jessie Lane) that has a severe amount of damage. Last night, Mr. Steven Hankins of Hankins Properties (the developer of the site on Jessie Lane) came to the meeting to discuss the damage and the timeline, as well as cost for repair.
Let me back up by saying this…Mr. Hankins called the Village immediately after one of his contractors’ trucks first caused the damage (wether it was the quality of the road or a mistake by overloading the truck or even some coming together of the two is not yet determined). I think this speaks highly to Mr. Hankins communication skills and the integrity of his company. He took ownership of the problem immediately and he is working with NCDOT (it is currently a DOT road) on resolving the problem and repairing it.
So, back to last night. Mr. Hankins came to the meeting because he knew this item would be discussed. He stood up and spoke and was clearly unhappy that damage had been done and promised the people of Clemmons an expedient repair and one that would cost them nothing. Due to the time of year, as well as the fact that there is still a ton of work being done back there (i.e. lots of big trucks still moving lots of big things) it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to repair the road right now. When construction is over in the next 60-90 days the road will be repaired soon thereafter. Our Village staff will stay in communication with Mr. Hankins as this process moves along.
Mr. Hankins also addressed the damage to the sidewalk near the excavation site on Village Point Drive. This too will be repaired once construction stops.
I think many of us have our own personal construction horror stories and I hope that we can all be patient as we wait for construction to be completed and the repairs to be done. I’m grateful the Village has a partner in Mr. Hankins. I feel confident he is committed to making things right.
The library advisory committee met and discussed dirt. Yup, dirt.
Currently the County and Village disagree on the necessity of dirt and who should have to pay for it. In an effort to be proactive on the issue and avoid spending Village money on dirt Village staff members Megan and Mike (planning and public works) are reaching out to contacts to find out about any low cost or free dirt. Dirt ranges in cost from $12-$15 a square foot (I think I’m saying that correctly) and the cost comes not necessarily from the dirt itself but from the transportation of it.
Also on the agenda was an update from our community partner – David Byington. He’s an architect from our community who is donating his time to help with the library. He reviewed the finer details of the plan such as materials and sub-contractors over the past two weeks. He was hoping to find some “gold plating” in the plan that could be reduced to “silver” but that was not the case. He said all of the materials were great quality and cost effective and that all of the subcontractors were among the same his firm used. He was impressed with the materials and subcontractors. This gives me renewed hope on one aspect of our library – the interior. I anticipate the interior layout, materials and technology are exactly what Clemmons had hoped for.
Current concerns include:
- Raising the elevation of the site 2-7 feet
- Getting outdoor space (front pillars and backside pergolas, walkways and courtyard)
We meet again in just two weeks. In the meantime, Councilman Combest and I will be exploring additional opportunities to resolve these concerns.