Council pulls support for Tanglewood Business Park

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Village of Clemmons has decided to pull out of any support of the Tanglewood Business Park project with councilwoman Michelle Barson calling it “an unwise investment for the county and a poor choice for that specific piece of property adjacent to our municipal boundaries.”

In a prepared statement in Monday night’s Village Council meeting, Barson said that the council had moved “from a position of learning and potential supporting of the Idols Industrial Park to one of actively advocating and working for a more profitable, productive use of that area.”

This follows a series of meetings with county staff, Village staff and county commissioners — with Barson and fellow councilman Mike Combest serving as council representatives.

The county had previously requested just under $1.3 million for utility upgrades from Clemmons for the 170-acre park, but the two parties have gone back and forth for some time and been unable to reach an agreement on being partners on the former Idols Road Industrial Park, which recently was renamed Tanglewood Business Park.

Barson, who is Mayor Pro Tem and was running the council meeting for the second straight time with Mayor John Wait out of town on business, received approval from council for staff to create a resolution for the next meeting on June 25 “outlining why this is a poor decision for the taxpayers of Forsyth County and an even worse one for those that happen to reside in Clemmons.

“The resolution would represent to the county commissioners that we do not support an industrial park at that location and that we will not help subsidize the sunken costs on their pump station investment. The county has made it clear that we are not partners looking toward the future together on this project, but rather a nuisance to be dealt with and that is not someone that we recommend we enter into an investment with at this time.”

The longtime expectation, dating back to when the project was first introduced by the county to the Village in 2016, had been that the park would be annexed into Clemmons.

However, in the earlier meetings, Clemmons officials stated that they didn’t feel the park would be built to their development standards and worried about insufficient infrastructure being in place, particularly including the impact of increasing traffic and large trucks in the area.

The closing for the park’s first tenant, Beaufurn, a furniture company, has been scheduled for July 11 — after several delays — with the due diligence period ending June 30. Barson said she and Combest were in the process of scheduling time with the commissions in the next two weeks and getting in touch with the owners of Beaufurn.

Regarding another project with the county that is moving forward, planner Megan Ledbetter said that the Planning Board has received the site plan review for the new library site, adding that the county has moved forward with the modifications that the council committee worked on for the elevations along with curb and gutter on Stadium Drive.

Also during the business portion of the meeting, the council appointed 19 citizens to various boards to fill upcoming vacancies.

The following were appointed by the council:

Planning Board: Rob Cockrum, Martin Majorel, Edee Wilcox

Zoning Board of Adjustment: Elizabeth Seymour, Holly Slaughter

Zoning Board of Adjustment Alternate: Connor Groce

Stormwater Advisory Board: Jeffrey Dean, Kevin Farmer, Jessie Lester, Al Seymour

Ad-Hoc Transportation Committee: Garrett Ball, David Byington, Jay Clapp, Tan Ersoy, Kyle Laird, William Lawler, Joanna Lyall, Michael Tingle, Dana Wilmoth

Before the vote, the council agreed to amend the number serving on the Stormwater Advisory Board from seven to nine, which they also approved to serve on the new Transportation Committee. The Planning Board also has nine members.

Earlier in the meeting, Combest requested to go into closed session to discuss some of those candidates on the ballots, saying some were unqualified, but it didn’t receive a second.

Combest thought it deserved that consideration but Village Attorney David Kasper countered, saying these candidates were for various boards and their credentials were already pubic record based on their applications.

In a statement, Combest said that the Village had already established a “great track record of getting growth right” over the years by filling board positions with superbly qualified people.

“When we select these committees, our Village will judge us,” Combest stated. “They will assess whether we appointed the most qualified candidates or one who petitioned the most urgently, or one we know best and like most. If we chose to appoint a personal favorite over a candidate who is eminently qualified, rest assured that as a body we will be taken to task … and rightly so.”

In other business, the council:

• Approved the adoption of the 2018-19 budget ordinance and stormwater utility fee rate after a public hearing where no one spoke.

• Approved resolutions for tax collection by the Forsyth County tax collector for the collection of 2018 taxes and for the collection of taxes for 2017 and prior years.

• Approved a capital project ordinance amendment for approved Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant appropriations for the second phase of the Market Center Drive project, which has a total price tag of $400,000, with a 20 percent local match of $80,000.

• Appointed councilwoman P.J. Lofland as the council’s alternate delegate to the Piedmont Triad Regional Council.

• Discussed updating a policy regarding the renting of properties that are owned by the Village.

• Discussed the process of evaluating the Village Manager.

• Heard from David Cross in the public comments portion of the meeting. Cross said that he wanted to mention the 64-item plan objectives from that previous meeting, adding that was quite a list to track and that he would like to see the council note the progress made on each of them.