July, 2018 – NCDOT Wants Your Opinion

Last week, there was an NCDOT meeting regarding proposed improvements to L-C Road and other areas among our most congested south of I-40. NCDOT is taking comments through August 8, 2018 to provide feedback to Clemmons Council at our August 13th meeting.  You can email these to me,  another member of Council or Village staff and we will be happy to forward them to DOT.
 
Here is the presentation provided at the meeting by Kimley Horn  U-6004 Public Meeting Presentation July 2018 along with the handout  U-6004 Public Meeting Handout from the public meeting.  
Here is a link to the maps that were on display.  
  1. The first map shows the project study area and the breakout of the larger map exhibits.
  2. Exhibit A shows a more detailed view of Lewisville-Clemmons Road and US 158/Clemmons Road. To address the backup of southbound left turn traffic, the project proposes dual left turn lanes with two receiving lanes in front of Walmart. Widening is shown in yellow. Medians are shown in red. The medians are being extended a bit to address safety and operations.
  3. Exhibit B shows the area discussed between Stadium Drive and the I-40 interchange where the median is proposed. A traffic signal would be installed at the leftover at Sessions Court to facilitate left turns and U-turns.
  4. Exhibit C shows a proposed right turn lane at Peace Haven Road.
 
Options for the interchange layout need to be analyzed further, but NCDOT is waiting to see if the project is supported by the public and Village Council before anything moves forward. If the project is not supported, it will not move forward. If the project is supported, it will proceed with developing more detailed designs and return to the public with that information.
 

 

 
 

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.

 

 

 

Feb. 26, 2018 – Interlocal Agreement

As February winds down and our Neighbors-Helping-Neighbors initiative comes to an end the Village has begun to prepare for  March 2018 as March for Meals Month.

Shannon Ford, Village Marketing and Communications, will prepare data for our next council meeting to showcase the success (hopefully) of the Village of Clemmons promotion and support for the Clemmons Food Pantry over the past month (the chosen non-profit for the month).

March is also Random Acts of Kindness month – a month dedicated to the encouragement of kind acts for no reason other than to make that other persons day better. One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Princess Diana and I believe captures the message of this initiative.  She said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you”.

This leads me to our INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT Tobaccoville 2017-2018 where the Village of Clemmons assists the Village of Tobaccoville with their annual collection of bulk trash.

Northwest Piedmont Safety Partnership

Each year Clemmons assists the Village of Tobaccoville by lending workers and trucks to perform their bulk trash pick up.  It is scheduled at a time when we do not utilize the trucks and comes at no cost to us as Tobaccoville covers the cost for each day our staff and trucks are there (as determined by our own Ann Stroud, Village Finance Officer).

Clemmons partners with a number of smaller municipalities (Kernersville, King, Lewisville, Rural Hall, Tobaccoville, and Walkertown) and representatives from each one meet four to six times each year to discuss unforeseen disaster plans and discuss how they can share resources when applicable. This coalition is called the Northwest Piedmont Safety Partnership.

The Northwest Piedmont Safety Partnership was created out of a need that smaller municipalities have – fewer resources both monetarily and in manpower.

Its roots can be traced back to the early 90’s when a severe storm hit Mayodan (a town in Rockingham County) causing power outages and extensive tree damage. Clemmons, Rural Hall, King, Kernersville, Mocksville ,Mt. Airy, Madison, Walkertown and Winston Salem all sent staff and resources to aid with recovery.  Later, in 1998, Clemmons was hit with tornadoes in the Waterford Area and help came in from the outlying municipalities.

The collaboration has been helpful beyond disasters by allowing each municipality to open the lines of communication among them and reinforce the idea of helping one another in both times of desperate needs and for the everyday.   Each time they meet they discuss safety and operational topics.  They’ve also hosted outside experts and partners such as engineers, vendors and representatives from the League of Municipalities.

 

Community Garage Sale

Each year Clemmons has a bulk trash pick up in March, which also happens to be our Random Acts of Kindness month.  I spoke with Shannon Ford, Village Marketing and Communications, about the feasibility of promoting a community-wide yard sale prior to the bulk trash pick up and what that might look like. I also asked about partnering with a non-profit (or two or three or however many) to come between the yard sales and the bulk trash pick up to see if there were any items that would fit the needs of those they served and take additional pressure off of our public works staff.  She thought this could be done and after a brief discussion at Monday’s council meeting and consensus among the council she is going to put this event together for 2019.

Many neighborhoods already schedule their neighborhood-wide yard sales in the weeks prior to bulk trash pick up for much the same reason…no one wants to bring that stuff back in the house. But what if we could coordinate it so that people from Clemmons, around Clemmons and far outside Clemmons came a few different days to shop at multiple yard sales all in the sam general vicinity? We could bring some attention not just to the strip (though that’s a great benefit too), but to our many beautiful neighborhoods and homes.  It would help showcase Clemmons as a great place not just to eat and shop, but to live.  Plus people are more willing to travel for a garage/yard sale when there are multiple to go to near by.

The hope was to get this going for 2018, but there’s been a lot going on this winter so Shannon will wait until 2019 to launch the program and see if it gains any traction.

If you are in charge of planning your neighborhood yard sale each year or know who does, please contact Shannon Ford and let her know.  One thought she had was to create a special event facebook page where homeowners could add their address if they were participating, but it would also be great to send out information via email and Nextdoor of any neighborhoods that are participating. Hopefully the planning can begin in January so that a date is set early enough for everyone to coordinate with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how’s it going?

I get this question a lot or some version thereof.  The essence of it, how do I like being on the Village Council and is it what I expected.

It is exactly what I expected, but knowing it and living it are two different things.

How do I like it? That’s a loaded question for me.  I don’t want to say I dislike it because I feel that is disrespectful to all of the people who volunteered on my behalf and put their faith in me by voting for me.

That said, I cannot say that I LOVE it either.

What it is….all consuming. Time – Energy – Mental Capacity – Patience.  I spend a lot of time asking questions of, and listening to, our Village staff so that I can better serve citizens with concerns, as well as prepare appropriately for Council meetings. There’s a lot of looking into the past so I can see what roads have been travelled and the turns those roads may take. There’s looking into the future so that I can prepare now for the changes to our community that are inevitable.

There’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision and yet there is never a single right decision. There is no clear cut path for any community and there is never a way to make 100 percent of the people happy 100 percent of the time.

I was speaking to another candidate running for office a few weeks ago and said, “I feel like I’m going to disappoint people. That I may end up being someone other than they thought I was.” And she responded to me, “You can only be you”. A simple response, but one that resonated with me. She was right. I cannot be anyone else. I cannot pretend to make decisions in a way other than how I view the situation at hand and how my personal experiences, education and knowledge play into those. All I can do is research, ask the right questions of the right people, and respect my office and those that I serve by thinking each issue through to the best of my ability.

I know there will be failures, but I hope that the successes end up outweighing them.  Each success that comes I must find a way to feel internally rewarded so that I don’t get bogged down by the things I cannot change or fail at influencing in the way I had hoped to.

So, this role isn’t all bad. I see the potential for it to be, as it is already slowing becoming….

Rewarding – through making positive changes to our community with the help of our citizens and our Village staff.

Inspirational – by having the opportunity to meet and work with so many hard working, intelligent and passionate people.

Exciting – because a wise man once told me, “If you’re stuck in the past you’re going to get left behind” and, as a councilwoman, I have an exciting chance to help bring about progress to our tiny corner of the universe.

Council meeting on Monday. I hope to see many of you there.

Safety through community engagement

crime photo
EXCERPT: The city of Winston-Salem experienced 25 homicides in 2017, a statistic that residents shouldn’t accept, Police Chief Catrina Thompson says.
 
“We should never tolerate violence in our community,” Thompson said. “To combat this problem as a community, we can take time to invest in our youth.” END EXCERPT
 
There are many ways to combat violence and investing in our youth is just one of them. The Village of Clemmons has been working on engaging our youth and providing fun, safe and family-friendly activities in our community (thank you, Shannon Ford).
 
As children get older they look for more activities to keep them busy. As a former YMCA employee in youth sports I know that as children age the activities that once engaged them often cease to. I hope that Clemmons can begin to look at ways to engage our youth with safe activities that don’t take adult oversight to participate in.  For instance, Clemmons has no public parks, basketball courts or tennis courts. We lack sidewalks and greenways that older youth could use to get to Tangelwood Park, the YMCA or to their friends’ homes.
 
EXCERPT: …“it is not uncommon for neighborhoods to become less of a ‘community’ and more of a heterogeneity place where people live around each other but do not have consistently safe interactions.
 
“This increases the likelihood of being victimized by someone they know and also not having a ‘neighborhood watch’ to protect from victimization,” she said. END EXCERPT
 
 In 2018, I hope that we can find ways to provide safe outlets to our youth and increase our feelings of friendship and community by better connecting with one another through these same opportunities. Get to know your neighbor. Talk to people at the grocery store.  The more we can make our houses feel like homes and our neighbors feel like our friends the safer we will make our beautiful Village of Clemmons.
 
Have a safe, happy and healthy new year!
Read full article here.

It’s official!

As of Monday, December 11th of 2017, I officially became a Council Woman and the Mayor Pro Tempore for the Village of Clemmons.  I’m so honored and excited to start this new chapter both for myself and for the people of Clemmons.

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Judge Lawrence “Larry” Fine, of Clemmons, swore me in as a Council Woman and as Mayor Pro Tempore.

I truly believe that Clemmons is experiencing a time of major change that will prove to be it’s turning point when we look back at. We can’t really call ourselves a farming community anymore (even though my boys and I love to see the goats on 158 and the cows off of Harper Road) so we have to look at what we are today and learn what our identity is and then we decide if that’s the identity we want moving forward.

When I chose Clemmons to be my home four years ago I chose it because it offered:

I love Clemmons, but I think we can do better. We can be more proactive and thoughtful when making decisions for the future and more inclusive on input. Clemmons cannot follow the vision of just one person or even a small group.  Those outside of Clemmons will best be able to tell us what our identity is because it is them who determines it, but it is us, the residents of Clemmons, who get to help shape it.

As we move forward into the new year with a new mayor and three new council members let’s work together to make Clemmons the very best it can be. Let’s make wise investments that improve our quality of life and home values. Let’s be thoughtful about how decisions TODAY impact our community TOMORROW. And, more important, let’s do this all together!

Please join me at our first meeting of the new year on January 8th at 7pm at Village Hall. Village meetings are always the 2nd and 4th Monday’s of the month so please, join us as you can and bring your energy, ideas and enthusiasm for our wonderful Village!

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A view from the seats as the new Mayor, John Wait, and council members closed out the final meeting of 2017.