Street Repair for 2018

The Yadkin Valley Paving bid was approved last night.  The roads scheduled to be repaired for 2018, include:
Moratock Lane
McKnights Trace
Bridle Path
Willow Court
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to municipalities used to be statutorily tied to the gas tax, but the formula linking Powell Bill funds to gas tax was repealed (Section 29.17D.(a) of S.L. 2015-241)  My understanding is that it was changed for two reasons.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.
Here is a very outdated (2015) Powell Bill map. The Village receives an updated one from the state each year.

Village Point Drive (Repair work)

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.

Library Advisory Committee Meeting – March 28, 2018

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.

Market Center Drive Update – March 26, 2017

Last meeting, the Council asked Village Planner, Megan Ledbetter, to look into removing an aesthetic stamping of the Village logo on the ground and reallocating those funds to the general project.

The project overage (thus money that would be requested from our general fund) and stamping were about the same cost. There was a concern that because the stamping was specifically mentioned as part of a grant provided by the NC Department of Commerce we would not be able to shift those funds. This was not the case and we are pleased to have the project funded and ready to move forward.

Thanks to Public Work Director, Mike Gunnell, the Village was able to save an additional $40,000 on the project.  He negotiated with the lowest bidder, Yadkin Valley Paving Inc., and the bid was brought down from $793,513 to $752,513.

The Market Center Drive project is part of the Village Comprehensive Plan and is the first phase of many that provide improved public access through existing shopping centers.

Jim Buice, of the Clemmons Courier did a great job detailing this project. You can read his story here. 

Tanglewood Business Park – March 26, 2018

Confused? Don’t be. The county has upgraded the name from the Idols Industrial Park to  Tangelwood Business Park. Sounds more palatable, but that’s the only part that is.

All documents moving forward will reflect this name change so if you’re following the County Commissioners on this project be aware of the change.

The County had a meeting to vote on the Declaration of Protective Covenants for the business park and a copy of this is going to be shared with the Village. We are still waiting on these and engaging in an ongoing conversation around them.

The County staff has also reported that the traffic reports will be received on April 3rd and submitted to NCDOT for a sign-off.  The Village has been told we will receive a copy of that as well. Currently the Beaufurn closing is scheduled for May 10th.

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

 

 

 

March 12, 2018 – Market Center Drive

The biggest part of the meeting last night was in regard to the Market Center Drive project.  Market Center Drive is a road that runs parallel to Lewisville-Clemmons Road and connects Stadium Drive to Meadowbrook Mall Court.  The scope of the project includes the reconstruction of it (if you’ve been on it you know how bad it is), including road repair, sidewalk creation, increased and improved parking, street lights, crosswalks and street trees (i.e. it includes pretty stuff and super, useful pedestrian stuff, as well as creates more safety type of stuff).  A fully itemized list is available via the draft agenda for March 12 here.

The money for the project comes from many areas, but the one that came into question last night was in regard to the Main Street grant, which is a grant that comes from the NC Department of Commerce.  This is because $57k of the $100k from that grant was allocated toward a stamping of the Village logo on Market Center Drive and the project has gone over budget by about those same dollars. Last night Council was asked to adopt the revised budget with the project overage…instead it was sent back to Megan Ledbetter, Village Planner, to see if we could reallocate some of the received grant dollars for the logo stamping to a more necessary part of the project and remove the logo stamp from the scope of the project entirely.

The project has gone over budget for a number of reasons, including:

  • Costs were forecasted (so were approximations) for many of the line items
  • The project was originally meant to be started years ago so there has been a natural rise in material and labor costs
  • There has been a rise in costs (just over the last year even) due to rising oil prices
  • Since the economic downturn there are fewer construction companies, which means less competition for business thus higher costs

I’m hopeful we can reallocate those dollars to a more meaningful aspect of the project and move forward with it.  I would love to see something like a stamped logo on our streets but in a more prominent intersection (for instance, 158 + Middlebrook or Peacehaven + Lewisville-Clemmons or the like) or at an area that serves as a “gateway” to our community (for instance, Harper Road + 158, etc.).

Oh, and also on the agenda. A proclamation for Forsyth Creek Week 2018 in Clemmons. 

This is actually pretty cool – it’s truly just this acknowledgment that water is a valuable resource and for our community to be successful we have to protect it.  Read the proclamation – very short, but very meaningful.  We cannot live without water and I know I take having clean, accessible water is something I take for granted every day….every Tervis full. If you want family, fun activities for creek week (next week March 17-25) visit Triad Moms on Main.