Talk stalls on Idols industrial park

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

By Jim Buice

The Clemmons Courier

If the Clemmons Village Council has its way, the Forsyth County Commissioners will get to hear their side of the story regarding the long stalemate between the county and Clemmons over the Idols Road Business Park.

Forsyth County has requested $1.2 million for the design and construction of sewer and water infrastructure at the park from the Village, which has had more questions than answers with any agreement. Clemmons officials stated they didn’t feel like the park would be built to their development standards and worried about the impact of the increasing traffic, including lots of large trucks, in the area.

The two parties have discussed this project since late last year with no agreement, and it became a topic on the agenda in Monday night’s Village Council meeting after council members expressed continued concern about the project as it now stands and its timeline.

They proceeded to request staff to arrange a meeting as soon as possible with the county commissioners to let them know where they stand with the Idols Road Project.

“Let them hear it from our lips,” councilwoman Mary Cameron said. “The county commissioners have only heard it from their staff. If they truly want to partner with us, it needs to be two-sided.” Cameron said she had listened to two recent county commissioners briefings and it was very clear to her that this project was going to happen, with or without Clemmons. “We’ve been getting mixed signals from day one,” she said. “What it boils down to is they are asking us to accept something into the Village that we know is not built to our standards. It will have an impact far beyond just the park itself with the traffic and our roads. Those roads unfortunately are not our roads. They’re not even county roads. They are state roads.”

Councilman Mike Rogers added that the Comprehensive Plan clearly states that adequate road and water/sewer infrastructure must be in place prior to development. “They are doing it backwards and going against what the councils, planning boards and staff put together years ago,” Rogers said.

Councilman Mike Combest brought up a media report stating that the urgent demand to approve the Idols Road Business Park appears to be driven by a need to support Davie County sewage disposal projects and, at least initially, businesses. Beaufurn, a furniture company in Davie, is the first tenant in Phase I of the project and is expected to close in November. “We should be concerned, if not alarmed, that our county commissioners appear to be more responsive to the needs of Davie County businesses and elected officials than those of Clemmons,” Combest said. “We should at this point assume the county officials intend to go ahead with this full speed ahead, and we need to do anything in our power to stop it.”

Mayor Nick Nelson said that the county has this property and isn’t going to sit on it. “We have to take a much stronger stance,” he said of getting the Clemmons council and county commissioners together. “This may be our last chance to publicly hold their feet to the fire and enough of the staff discussion. This is what needs to happen. And if they’re unwilling to hold that discussion, I think the community and the county needs to know that.”

Even before the council addressed the Idols Road Business Park, three individuals spoke about growth in the public comments portion of the meeting.

Judy Houver, president of the Clemmons West Homeowners Association, said their group is concerned about the potential traffic, noise and changes to their quality of life if Idols Business Park becomes a reality.

Clemmons resident Art Fraunhofer spoke about the Village growing too quickly and that it needs to grow better but not bigger.

Allen Daniel of Clemmons stated his concerns over the “rampant, seemingly uncontrolled overdevelopment of what used to be a quiet, safe place to raise our children.”

In another item, Rogers, who is the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) representative for the council, reported that Clemmons received approval last week to receive $320,000 in federal funding from a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant as part of an 80-20 split for a parallel road project (sidewalk, intersection and crosswalk improvements) from Stadium Drive to Ramada Drive and from Stadium Drive to Cook Street. The Village will pay $80,000 for its part in the project.

Clemmons also received notification from the state, according to Village Manager Scott Buffkin, that a Downtown Revitalization Grant had been awarded in the amount of $100,000 to be used for the overlay road project. “That gives us a total of $500,000 for parallel roads, and it cost the Village $80,000,” Rogers said. “Not a bad day’s work.”

In other business, the council:

• Approved an ordinance declaring a speed limit modification from 35 mph to 25 mph for Littlebrook Drive after receiving a petition of at least 75 percent of the dwelling units on the street. • Called for a public hearing of Zoning Map Amendment for Ernest G. Golding (Golding Office Building) – Zoning Docket C-222.

• Approved the purchase of a flail axe mower for $14,262 from Parker Farm Service in Kings Mountain.

• Heard from Cameron, who said that the Clemmons 101 class would be held Sept. 5, 12 and 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in her marketing report. She said the next Coffee with a Cop would be Tuesday, Aug. 15, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Chick-fil-A in Clemmons. The Christmas in July movie, The Polar Express, was rescheduled because of excessive heat from July 21 to Aug. 25 at the Jerry Long YMCA.