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Council votes 3-1 to expand library site

The Clemmons Village Council heard overwhelming opposition to expanding the current site for the town’s library in Monday night’s regular meeting but opted to call for a public hearing in its next meeting on July 13 for that particular site on U.S. 158.
Councilman Bill Lawry made the motion, and it passed by a 3-1 margin with councilmen Norman Denny and Darrell Roark also voting in favor, and councilwoman Mary Cameron opposed.
With Mayor Nick Nelson absent from the meeting after the birth of his first child on Saturday, councilman Mike Rogers, who serves as mayor pro tem, filled in and did not vote.
Three individuals who spoke in the public comments portion of the meeting, including Pat Way (representing the Friends of Clemmons Library), were against the current site because of concerns over dangerous traffic conditions and a lack of parking.
Cameron questioned why to even have a public hearing when it only involved one site.
“May I ask how people in general are to make a decision when they have only one choice to choose from?” Cameron asked.
To which, Lawry replied: “Well, they seem to have made a pretty clear decision based on the confidential nature of our executive sessions. They all come in here. They’re against the expansion of the library on its current site. So I presume they know all about the rest of the sites, too.”
Several members of the crowd shook their heads in disagreement and muttered “no.”
Cameron said that the council had been in negotiations for weeks “on a site, not this site. Those negotiations were closed down. And this site was brought up again. We’ve gone through five, six different iterations of this site. I don’t even know which site we’re talking about. I’m not even clear on which picture we’ve seen that we’re talking about.
“So, are you prepared at this public hearing to reveal the other sites that we’ve been dealing with, and the other site that we were in negotiations on?”
Lawry said “no.”
Denny said that in the last closed session, there were more council members in favor of the current site and that nothing was said regarding the other sites.
“We saw that there was three in favor of and two against (Rogers joined Cameron in opposition), so it was decided that a public hearing be called,” Denny said.
It was mentioned that Rogers, as mayor pro tem, had called for the public hearing, but he interjected that it was not intended to be for one single site.
Lawry said that he spoke with the mayor about sponsoring having a public hearing on the existing site be put on the agenda by getting two other supporting votes.
“Our job is to pick a site,” Lawry said. “Our job is to get public input with regards to that site. That’s it.”
He said all the other questions “are totally irrelevant to
what we’re doing.”
Roark added: “We’re going
to look at this site and
see what the public feels
about this site.”
Will the council be prepared
to move forward after
the hearing?
“I don’t know yet,” Lawry
said. “We’ll have to see
what happens.”
Cameron again stated that
it would make more sense to
have questions about the existing
site nailed down and
answered before it is presented
to the public.
“It seems like we’re putting
the cart before the
horse,” she said.
In the earlier public comments,
Way said that the
Friends of the Clemmons
Library were opposed to
expansion of the present
location because parking
and traffic have been a longtime
problem, and that will
intensify even more when
the new Wal-Mart neighborhood
market opens just
across the street.
One resident, Linda Preschle,
called the current site
“a dangerous location,” and
another, Betty Telford, said
she asked her elderly parents
to stop going to the library
because she feared for
their safety entering and exiting
the parking lot on the
busy road.
One of the constant
themes among library supporters
in the lengthy process
after the county approved
a bond referendum
several years ago has been
wanting to have an opportunity
for public input when
it was time to make a decision.
In other business, planner
Megan Ledbetter said that
cases could be heard in the
July Planning Board meeting
involving the extension
of Barrington Oaks on
Hampton Road. Preliminary
paperwork has been filed for
44 additional lots to be developed
by R.S. Parker.
Ledbetter added that paperwork
is expected to be
added for a 66-lot subdivision
(formerly called Rosemont
but never developed)
off the Hunters Run area
on Idols Road. Taylor &
McChesney Associates are
the developers.
The council also:
• Approved a contract
with Stimmel Associates for
$33,500 to redraw the plans
for Village Point Drive because
the current plans need
to be updated. Manager
Larry Kirby said that Clemmons
would be reimbursed
for that portion in the $3.8
million project.
• Approved a capital project
ordinance for an access
road for Village Point.
• Approved a budget
amendment for Novant
Health’s contribution to the
roundabout at Harper and
Peace Haven roads in appropriation
of funds.
• Received a draft from
attorney Warren Kasper on
a policy regarding growing
problems involving peddlers
and panhandlers in
Clemmons after he received
additional input in the last
meeting. The subject will be
revisited in the next meeting.
• Heard from Ledbetter
during the planner’s report
regarding continuing discussions
in last week’s Planning
Board meeting about
updates to the Comprehensive
Plan.
• Honored Bobby Patterson
with a certificate of
appreciation for six years
of service to the Planning
Board, including the last
year as chairman.
• Appointed Chris
Wrights, Lanny Farmer and
Chuck Houska to openings
on the Planning Board;
Bruce Britton and Holly
Slaughter were appointed to
the Zoning Board of Adjustment;
and Jeffrey Dean and
Jessie Lester were named to
fill spots on the Stormwater
Advisory Board.
• Heard from Shannon
Ford, marketing/communications
manager, about
receiving eight applications
by Monday’s deadline requesting
a total of $77,286
through the Tourism/Occupancy
Tax Grant process.
Ford also said that July
11 will be Clemmons Community
Day at the Winston-
Salem Dash game. And the
first Movie Night will be
held July 24 at the Jerry
Long YMCA starting at 7
p.m. She announced that the
movie will be “Big Hero 6.”
• Heard that Nelson and
his wife Catherine were the
proud parents of their first
child, Catherine Anne.