Officials review hurricane preparation plans

Published 12:10 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Luckily, the remnants of Hurricane Florence caused few problems in the Village of Clemmons, but the town was more than ready for the pending storm.

During Monday night’s Clemmons Village Council meeting, Public Works Director Mike Gunnell outlined the preparations, and Shannon Ford, marketing/communications director, reviewed how the Village got the word out for a weather event that caused catastrophic damage along the coast and in eastern North Carolina.

As an action item, Clemmons officially terminated the state of emergency that was declared on Thursday, Sept. 13, in advance of the storm.

Gunnell provided a checklist of items from Public Works “to prevent any damage that we could,” including acquiring debris storage sites at strategic locations within the municipal limits.

“We did get three sites permitted with NCDEQ (N.C. Department of Environmental Quality) for the next six months in the event we have another storm,” Gunnell said. “As long as these sites remain open and the property owners are agreeable to let us use them, we can, by a phone call, reactivate them once they’re permitted.”

Gunnell said that he wanted to publicly thank Barry Leonard (Southwest Forsyth Little League parking area on Dillon Industrial Drive behind Public Works), Stan Forester (large field across from Holder Road on the west side of Lewisville-Clemmons Road) and Gene Lowder (graded site on Peace Haven Road) for their help.

“That gave us multiple sites where we wouldn’t have to haul all of the debris back to the (Public Works) yard,” Gunnell said. “It made for shorter distances and made the cleanup quicker and more efficient. We didn’t have a whole lot — maybe four or five trees.”

Councilman Mike Combest wanted to commend the three property owners.

“I would propose that we officially and formally recognize them because that’s a pretty big deal granting that access to us,” Combest said. “Hopefully, that recognition may motivate others to do likewise.”

The council agreed to do so by consensus.

Ford said that the communications effort was done primarily through email blasts and Facebook.

“We tried to funnel everyone to Facebook during the storm because even people who are not using Facebook have access to our Facebook page so you don’t actually have to be a user,” she said. “We tried to get out as much news as possible from our relative news sources.”

Ford also expressed her thanks to Mayor John Wait for a video he did explaining the emergency declaration.

“We got a lot of positive feedback from that,” she said.

In other business items, the council voted to direct staff to begin the process of repealing the size of political signs to allow for conformity to the state statute.

Village Manager Scott Buffkin said that issue came up “in an effort to simplify everyone’s life and where there will be no conflict” with what the state statute allows compared to the administrative policy that is in place in Clemmons.

“The only thing that we can find in any of our ordinances that addresses political signs at all is in the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) — the sign portion and it limits the size of the political signs to basically two feet by two feet whereas the state statute will allow what is effectively three feet by two feet,” Buffkin said. “That’s truly the only difference that I believe there is currently in what the state statute is and what our ordinance says.”

In other business, the council:

• Approved Resolution 2018-R-13 fixing the date of a public hearing for Oct. 8 on the question of voluntary annexation pursuant to NCGS 160A-31 by Tharrington — Mission Development LLC and called for a public hearing on a Zoning Map Amendment for Tharrington — Mission Development LLC — Zoning Docket C-227.

• Called for a public hearing on a Zoning Map Amendment for Arden Group for Magnolia Park — Zoning Docket C-228.

• Heard from Wait as a matter of information regarding a conversation he had with Fire Chief Jerry Brooks about a fire tax increase of a 1/3 cent countywide to help create two overlay districts to assist with coverage in larger areas and that essentially $94,000 that is being generated in Clemmons isn’t being spent in Clemmons. The council asked if Brooks could be invited to a future meeting and provide more information.

• Heard from Ford in the marketing/communications report that Clemmons will participate in the National Coffee with a Cop on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Chick-fil-A and that the final “Movie Night in the Village” will be “ET” on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Jerry Long Family YMCA.