Letters to the editor — Feb. 14

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

Against industrial park

I am writing to express that I am opposed to the proposed industrial park for many reasons, the first of which is economic. Simply put, the numbers do not add up to the benefit of our Village:
• There will be no economic “return” via tax dollars to our community for at least 60 years and that money could be used for so many current economically beneficial priorities.
• The cost of upgrades to infrastructure (roads, traffic signals, etc.) along with hiring additional public safety and service personnel to serve the additional business properties will far outweigh any benefit that might be there.
• The negative impact to the surrounding housing resale values is a statistical fact and will decrease property tax revenues for the Village.
• Changes in zoning may sound good now but we all know anytime they feel that the need benefits the county, they can apply to change the zoning again. This zoning proposal is no guarantee that heavy manufacturing will never be part of this industrial park.
• The traffic on Middlebrook cannot handle an additional 100,000 (or 60,000) large trucks. Middlebrook traffic is already at capacity. The majority of CW residents exit their homes via three exits onto Middlebrook — all at stop signs. Trucks coming down that road at 45 mph will not allow for easy access onto Middlebrook. Adding the estimated 700 new workers — using Middlebrook along with the trucks will make it miserable for all.
• The “jobs” that will be available are not typical of jobs for Clemmons residents. Most will be minimum wage jobs — hence no gain to Clemmons residents.
• According to City-Data.com the 2016 median income for a Clemmons resident was $70,694 (not even close to the range of expected 700 jobs). So, the employees will be coming here from surrounding neighborhoods, not Clemmons.
• Clemmons may expect that crime will increase. According to a study done by Tate Twinam of the University of Washington and published in the Journal of Urban Economics: “A shift from residential to commercial use is associated with roughly 1.2 more robberies and 2.5 more assaults per 1,000 residents.”
• The county merely changing the name from the Idols Road Industrial Park to the Tanglewood Business Park may sound softer to Village citizens but it does not change any of the potential issues.

— Joan Fleishman

Steering clear of the county

While I am personally opposed to Tanglewood Industrial Park, I would like to thank Planner Megan Ledbetter, Councilwoman Michelle Barson and Councilman Michael Combest in ably representing the interests of Clemmons in this matter. Their efforts are much appreciated.

The specialized zoning district sought by the Village would represent a reasonable and appreciated accommodation to the concerns of residents on the part of Forsyth County. However, I must also point out that the context of The Village’s discussions with the county changed dramatically on Feb. 4, when the Winston-Salem Journal revealed that county staff underestimated the initial project costs by half, or $7.6 million.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, what was a once a local concern affecting the residents south of Highway 158 will inevitably become a countywide scandal of fiscal incompetence, political log rolling and crony capitalism. Thanks to the prudent judgment of both the current and previous councils, the Clemmons Village council is presently one of the few elected bodies in this area outside the blast zone of the developing scandal. I urge the Village council to consider its good fortune as it contemplates next steps on this issue.

To my thinking, zoning accommodations are the least Forsyth County can do to accommodate the reasonable concerns of residents in southwest Forsyth and they should not be made contingent on a quid pro quo exchange of zoning accommodations for Clemmons funding participation. The county made it clear at the outset that it would proceed with or without funding from Clemmons. They should be made to live with that decision. I urge the Village council to reject any quid pro quo required by Forsyth County to secure zoning accommodations, if for no other reason than it is the only politically viable course of action. The county kept digging this hole until it hit bedrock. This is not the time for the Village council to grab a spade and jump into the hole with them.

Judy Houver, my predecessor as Clemmons West HOA president, and lifetime resident Allen Daniel, first took the neighborhood’s concerns before the county commission in August 2017. Her concerns and those of Mr. Daniel were arrogantly dismissed out of hand. The following February, Manager Watts came before an HOA meeting and it was quite clear he hadn’t taken on board any of the neighborhood’s concerns. Only now, when the county’s fiscal incompetence is revealed to all, do they come back with accommodations in one hand and their up-turned hat in another.

For anyone that would like to actively participate in the opposition to this boondoggle, I invite you to visit tanglewoodbusinesspark.com.

— Charles Sherrill

Racism has no place in Clemmons

In 1974, a government official asked me to have the African-American woman student removed the dormitory room shared with his white daughter. Forty-five years later, I hear a story about Clemmons government officials that disturb me.

Last week’s Clemmons Courier story included a piece that our mayor assured us that a Village insurance policy would pay most of the $150,000. That should make you feel better, right? At least, the voters unelected the councilman, Mr. Lowry, who not only made his “discriminatory” comments in 2015, but wanted to know how to say it better when the Village’s attorney warned him about his comments.

However, the few people who campaigned last election to push out some Council members received as their reward, Ms. Lofland, who is now a current government official with the same “discriminatory” attitude. While she made her comments during public moments as a Village citizen, people ushered her into office because of her myopic view on one other issue. Do you think her beliefs are different, now? She aligned herself with Mr. Lawry. Both of them exposed something that makes our Village look pretty bad. Despite their failure, I do not know any other person who reflects their “discriminatory” views. I know that people who have seen discrimination will properly say this is racism.

Did you vote for Ms. Lofland? Only 15 percent of Clemmons people voted last time. Do other Village Council members share her views or have they publicly contradicted her? Did she apologize?

I thought we were better than this. Racism has no place in Clemmons. These people who claim to be conservative misrepresent the view of freedom that is inclusive of all.

— Paul Johnson

Comments not consistent with Clemmons’ values

On De. 15, 2015, a discrimination complaint was filed against the Village by the NC Human Relations Commission. Commenting last week on the settlement of that complaint, Mayor Wait said, and I quote, “No current council members were involved.” This is not true. As a matter of fact, the only two people quoted in the complaint were then-council member Bill Lawry and current council member Pamela Lofland. Mrs. Lofland was speaking as a private citizen at that 2015 meeting.

Two council members spoke at length about the danger of building 80 apartments and only one road in and out which echoed concern of the fire chief. Comments by myself and other council members made it abundantly clear that our first concern was for the safety of future residents. Some of Mrs. Lofland’s comments were, and I quote, “It’s going to be lower-income people, not that they are all criminals” and “lower-income housing should not be what we should be encouraging” and “I’m concerned that this type of housing could increase our crime rate.” These discriminatory comments show an appalling lack of concern, are abhorrent and are not consistent with the values of the majority of citizens of Clemmons.

The settlement reached was for $150,000 of which Clemmons will be paying $5,000 and will probably see our insurance rates go up. What bothers me even more is that those sort of discriminatory comments by Mrs. Lofland will raise their ugly head again and influence other decisions she will make as a member of this council. She does not speak for me or the vast majority of the residents of Clemmons.

— Mary Cameron

Cameron is a former member of the Clemmons Village Council.