Council reviews street modification guide

Published 12:10 am Thursday, July 25, 2019

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By Jim Buice
For Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council moved a step closer to proceeding with a new street modification guide Monday night after reviewing edits that were suggested at the last meeting but ultimately decided to “chew on it a little more.”

Those were the words of Mayor John Wait after more discussion on the guide, which reflects a restructured process where residents of the community or a home owners association can initiate a request for street modifications and a study, which village staff and the transportation committee will address — working through the council as appropriate.

Village Manager Scott Buffkin said that Jonathan Guy, an engineer from Kimley-Horn, and Public Works Director Mike Gunnell worked together to make the modifications that were suggested in the July 8 meeting, including determination of need and setting up the document with two tiers and an appeals process.

Guy said that this will give the council, as well as the transportation committee and public works, “a lot of flexibility in how you look at this. There is not cut-and-dry cases, and each one is unique.”

However, Councilman Mike Combest also raised a separate issue involving funding for projects.

“The one part I find problematic is that 50 percent comes from village funds and 50 percent from the ‘pro’ residents stated on the petition,” Combest said. “If it warrants the village through the council saying ‘yes, this needs to be done,’ it ought to be borne by all 20,000 of us.

“What Councilwoman (Michelle) Barson said from the start when she counseled us was our solution has to be coherent and comprehensive. If we had some neighborhoods that feel like they could afford this stretch of road, what we end up with it is the temptation to get patchwork fixes. If the council pays for it all, it might be some hard decisions, but we are more assured of that comprehensive, coherent solution because we’re paying every bit of it out of the village’s funds.”

While council members agreed with Combest’s assessment, Guy said that it is common for municipalities to split the fee.

“Every community is different, and it just comes down to what the community wants to do,” Guy said. “If you use this manual, it’s difficult to be very restrictive. You have to be very flexible in how you implement this manual and the recommendations because each site is completely different.”

Barson said it was important to note that in general having the Street Modification Guide was about changing the conversation to “I want a stop sign here” to “there’s a problem that we need for you to investigate and make recommendations.”

The council also learned when asked about starting with a baseline on various streets that Guy would be willing to help with no additional cost to the village.

“We can talk with Mike (Gunnell) and give him recommendations on the streets for speed limits of 25 vs. 35 (speed limits),” Guy said. “We’re already helping you with your Comp Plan update and some of the mapping, so we can easily do that.”

“I encourage you to do that before you implement your manual. Some streets may need to stay 35 because of the connectivity and traffic, and for others, 25 is perfectly fine. Establish that before implementation.”

It was decided to add the item to the agenda for the next meeting, which is three weeks away on Aug. 12, as an action item but that the council doesn’t have to take action if it needs more time. Buffkin said that the new edits can be added and sent to council members to review before the next agenda packet.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

• Called for a public hearing for a rezoning request for Salem Presbytery from LO-S to LO-S (Limited Office — Special Use) — offices, misc.; medical, surgical and professional offices for property located at 3950 Clemmons Road. Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh said that Salem Presbytery is planning to remain in part of the building and would like to rent the remainder as a medical office or professional office.

• Approved a preliminary subdivision site plan review for Loader Acres — C-19-002. The subdivision, which is 6.19 acres and has 17 lots (2.74 lots per acre), is located at 760 Peace Haven Road.

• Approved the low bid of $283,700 from DreamBuilt Construction of Advance for a Public Works wash bay, which is a requirement of the village’s stormwater program. The bid also includes a 15 percent contingency of $42,555 for a total of $326,255, which is well below the budgeted amount of $354,000.

• Approved the low bid of $30,451 from Cooper Ford for the purchase of a 2019 Ford F250 truck for public works.

• Approved a budget amendment for the Lewisville-Clemmons Road Interchange/Kinnamon Bridge feasibility study to cover the cost of the 20 percent local match of $20,000.

• Agreed to place items on the Façade Improvement Grant Program for the Village Business District and the Village of Clemmons Volunteer Recognition Program on the agenda for the next council meeting on Aug. 12.

• Heard from Buffkin that the village’s request to reallocate funding for two sidewalk projects to the U.S. 158 West project was approved at last week’s Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting. He added there is an opportunity to receive a grant for a bike and pedestrian plan with an overall cost $50,000, including a $10,000 match from the village, and that could be added to the agenda for the next meeting.

• Also heard from Buffkin regarding receiving bids for the Market Center Drive project, and he will bring the tabulations for review in the next meeting.