Lewisville embraces tradition, quiet way of life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thanksgiving was still a couple of days away, but in his remarks before the first-ever joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Clemmons and the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce, Lewisville Town Manager Hank Perkins addressed the gathering and gave thanks for neighboring Clemmons and Winston-Salem.

“We’re a little bit different in Lewisville,” Perkins said when discussing community building and growth. “We sort of take a different tact in our growth. We’re able to do what we do and enjoy what we do because other communities like Clemmons and Winston-Salem are able to do what they do. We pride ourselves on being a laid-back community in a rural setting. It’s also a place that’s a residential area where people enjoy what Clemmons has to offer and enjoy what the big city of Winston-Salem has to offer.”

Yes, bigger isn’t necessarily better in Lewisville, and it’s OK to be “little brother” to the larger communities to the south and west as the ultimate bedroom community.

“We don’t really see a lot of retail growth in Lewisville mainly because our population migrates out, probably 90 percent outside of Lewisville during the day, and then grows at night again,” he said.

Even with the Great Wagon Road project, a parallel road system to Shallowford Road that has been in the works for years and is getting closer to becoming a reality (and could lead to commercial growth), Perkins didn’t seem to be bothered that it didn’t come along any sooner.

“The Great Wagon Road, while we are looking at it as an opportunity for downtown building, first and foremost came about probably 10 years ago as a way to mitigate traffic and traffic as that was envisioned for the future probably at the time where it should have already been here, and it hasn’t, I guess to our luck,” he said.

Obviously, Lewisville likes the laid-back, country feel that Perkins describes and treasures its heritage.

Remember earlier this year, the town endured somewhat of a stir when it came to possible changes to the town charter and term limits in Lewisville. Former mayors and council members filled Town Hall to state they didn’t want to see any changes and to maintain the traditions of the town.

Lewisville has always been known as place with many upscale subdivisions, and Perkins said that inside the last 12 months, residential real estate growth has surged with the approval of five new developments along with starting about 450 homes — with prices from $300,000 to $750,000.

After remarks from Perkins and Clemmons Village Manager Scott Buffkin in the joint meeting, Perkins was asked by a real estate agent about the lofty prices of the new home inventory. She said in the past that Lewisville has been “very strict, for the lack of a better word” on what is allowed to come in and wondered what are the determining factors for these neighborhoods, adding the town needs $275,000 and lower price homes and that the $300,000 and higher category only applies to a certain demographic.

“What we have in regulation doesn’t speak to a demographic or a market for housing,” Perkins responded. “What we attract from is what people bring into it. Somebody could come in and start a community with that exact market ($275,000 and lower). We just haven’t seen it.”

Another question came regarding affordable housing — not Section 8 — using school teachers or firefighters as an example — in the $125,000 range and what Lewisville could do to help those prospective home buyers.

“I’m all for it,” Perkins said. “It’s just a question of what you’re going to end up with coming in the door. So far the developers have come in and targeting a certain price range. And it’s not that group.”

“I think a lot of people think that Lewisville has some sort of burden to their development standards. I don’t think so, certainly not in residential. I don’t think that our residential subdivision code is that much different than you’re going to find in the City of Winston-Salem or the Village of Clemmons. If you put them side by side, I don’t think you’re going to find too much difference between them.”

However, with the new Great Wagon Road — and four new roundabouts — coming along with sewer in the northern part of town, a new middle school and other projects, including an exciting Williams Road Gateway Project, Lewisville will eventually have to expand growth beyond the residential and service-based business landscape.

But for now, Lewisville will stay true to its roots.

“You’ve never heard of us, right?” Perkins asked the crowd when opening his remarks.

And that’s the way they like it.