July 9, 2018 – Regular Meeting

Here is the draft agenda from last nights meeting.

Meeting minutes from last nights meeting will be posted once approved at our next council meeting.

The Median

NCDOT Public Input Session for Lewisville-Clemmons Road Improvement Project at River Oaks Community Church on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 4-5, 5-6, and 6-7pm.

We hope that these input sessions will be well attended. The more folks that show up and share their thoughts the better able your Council can represent you during the on-going conversations with DOT.

Just yesterday Mike Combest and I met with Pat Ivey, the Division 9 Engineer, about other potential infrastructure challenges and opportunities around Clemmons. We spoke briefly about “the median” project and discussed how the initial presentation of the design appeared well-received. It was a custom designed solution made to meet the many needs of those who travel L-C Road each day. For instance, it should maintain shoppers’ easy access to businesses (but in a new way); better flow for the commuters; and, increased safety for all.   I’m hopeful!

 

Ad Hoc Transportation Committee Meets

The newly created Ad Hoc Transportation Committee met for the first time last night to put in a place a regularly scheduled meeting day and time.  They have decided on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 6pm at Village Hall.

At their official first meeting they will determine Chair,Vice Chair and other pertinent roles they see fit to assign, as well as receive input from members of council on direction to take.

You can click here to find out who is on the committee and learn more about the scope and objectives of the committee here. 

Disclaimer: Their first meeting may not be the 24th as many are out of town.  This will be communicated through Clemmons government communications.

June 25, 2018 – Regular Meeting

The agenda for last nights’ meeting can be found here.

The bulk of the meeting was spent on Idols Road Industrial Park, which can be found under project updates.

In other news, the Village staff continues to work on projects such as:

  • Updating and streamlining the Village website, Clemmons.org.
  • Getting the project management software up and running.
  • Determining the most efficient way to record or live stream regular meetings of the council.

Ideas welcome! One option was $30k, but obviously we don’t need this to be in HD. Another option is an iPad on a tripod. If you have an idea and would like to share it, please comment below or contact me.

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2018 – County Partnership

Below are some highlights from the meeting last night. Click here to review the full agenda.

CALENDAR UPDATES:

The Community Input Session originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 6:30pm for the Comprehensive Plan Review at River Oaks Community Church (Coffee Bar) will be rescheduled to a later date.

Special Meeting (Worksession with Pat Ivey from NCDOT) on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 5:30pm

Events 
April 28 – 8AM Clemmons Community Spring Cleanup @ Public Works
April 28 – 6PM Movie Night in the Village: Ferdinand @ YMCA

 

The biggest take away from last nights meeting in my mind were all project updates so I will tag those into the appropriate blogs. The underlying theme of them being that the county is listening to Clemmons. They care what Clemmons has to say. And, really, why shouldn’t they? Clemmons is Forsyth County – there is an overlapping voter base and shared group of citizens that need support and partnership from their Village council and their County commissioners.

The Village has had a history of feeling snubbed by the county and the county has found Clemmons difficult to work with.  The past is the past and I’m positive about the partnership that is being built between the two entities at both a staff and elected official level.  We are both making compromises and working at promoting an atmosphere of clear, regular communication.

April 9th, 2018 – Brunch Bill

I shared most of what occurred last night via my “project updates”. The most interesting thing going on in last nights meeting included the “Brunch Bill” and the Idols Road Industrial Park (now called Tanglewood Business Park). Here is a link to the full agenda.

TANGLEWOOD BUSINESS PARK

Let’s start with Tanglewood Business Park.  There’s not a whole lot to report on other than there appears to be an offer back on the table. The county had received a loan for the sewage, but they’re still interested in receiving the money for it from Clemmons (and repaying that loan immediately I suppose?). What we don’t know is what we will get in return. No matter what they exchange for it the numbers won’t add up in regard to getting back the money we put in so that angle is fruitless.

So why is this still worth considering?

One, the money we would spend on the sewage is earmarked for projects like that and the only other two projects that could request funds from that same source (in the foreseeable future) are much too large for Clemmons to take on, on our own. This means we have the money to give.

Two, perhaps control of the park and having it annexed to Clemmons has benefits.

  1. It would have to meet our building standards so it would be an attractive building with proper green space and potentially even greenway trails connecting to Tanglewood.
  2. The Village staff would work to ensure the property would be as least disruptive to the residents nearby as possible.  This could be accomplished by including berms, meeting our stormwater guidelines, etc.
  3. Annexation to Clemmons means we would have control of the property in the future and would receive the tax dollars generated from that property.

The Council believes the County wishes to build on this property. Wether it’s today or tomorrow that land will be developed and it is currently zoned for light and general industrial.  If we pass on this opportunity, which they are setting up as the last opportunity (though that’s been done before) perhaps we will lose any opportunity to have a say.

Staff is going to reach out and see if the original offer from a year-in-a-half ago is something that looks more agreeable to them now.  Once we find that out the Council can have a more constructive conversation around this issue. Mike Combest and I are also meeting with Don Martin (Forsyth County Commissioner) on Thursday in regard to the Clemmons Library and will ask for some insight on this project as well.  We will share with the rest of the Council what we learn.

BRUNCH BILL

Last night the Council voted 3-2 in favor of the Brunch Bill.  The “Brunch Bill” is a bill the state passed this past summer allowing the sales of alcohol on Sunday at 10am instead of 12pm. It’s a unique bill because each municipality gets to opt-in.

This issue was brought to us by a number of grocery stores and restaurants calling in to the Village Manager.  It was decided at the retreat to put it on the agenda.  At our last regular meeting Council decided to have a special public comments section regarding it and invite our local ABC Representative Eric Blanks to speak in regard to it. Blanks – Brunch Bill info can be found here. It is the document he provided Council with prior to the meeting and will be included in the final agenda publishing.

Eric Blanks spoke at the meeting and provided some background information on the bill, as well as some history on the sales of alcohol in our state.  I voted in favor for the following reasons:

  1. To attract more restaurants to our community similar to 2520 to better round out our dining-out opportunities.
  2. To show support of the grocery stores and restaurants that are here now and requested it.
  3. Higher sales at restaurants and groceries means more tax revenue for the community and perhaps even a demand for more employees.

There were two interesting arguments brought up against this bill.

  1. There was no one there to support it or fight it so why were we even discussing it?
  2. Who cares that government liaisons from the grocery chains are contacting the village. It should be the local managers.

Let me answer both. To the first, the businesses want it. The reason the businesses want it is because the interest is there from the people they serve.  They called us and therefore we should address it. Regardless of outcome it deserves being addressed as they are a stakeholder in our community too.

To the second, here’s how the process works for chain locations.

  1. Shoppers complain about not being able to purchase.
  2. Store managers tell corporate offices their sales could by higher if alcohol sales were available earlier.
  3. Corporate offices talk to their lobbyists / government liaisons about addressing this issue on their behalf.
  4. The government liaison contacts the appropriate body of government or elected official and asks them to consider their perspective on the issue.

There may even be something prohibiting managers of chain locations from contacting local government. Large corporations can often be restrictive on their employees in order to maintain continuity among their locations.

So I believe that the process that occurred is exactly the one that our society has put in place. Therefore whether or not a call came from down the street (as some of them did from our local restaurants) or across the country the weight it carries in our community on behalf of a business is equal. Certainly, they serve the same residents of Clemmons and surrounding areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 26, 2018 – New Meeting Structure

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Brunch Bill

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