Letters to the editor — July 25

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 25, 2019

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Saying no to industrial park

On July 19, The Winston-Salem Journal reported “Beaufurn furniture company wants the money back from Forsyth for a lot in Tanglewood Business Park.”

Although the industrial park cannot be considered entirely dead while the property remains in the county’s hands, Beaufurn’s withdrawal from the project likely marks the beginning of the end for that project.

I want to thank all my neighbors that signed the No Industrial Park petition, sent emails, and showed up at town halls, village council meetings, and county commission meetings. This is a great example of what vigorous community activism by home owners and engaged municipal government can accomplish when working towards a common goal. Your opposition has been in the highest tradition of our colonial forebears who settled this land when it was still considered the frontier — a village coming together in a moment of dire threat and meeting it head on.

Your sustained efforts have safeguarded our property values and quality of life, prevented a fiscal disaster for Forsyth County taxpayers, protected our natural environment, and prevented our streets from being flooded with industrial traffic that they are not designed to handle.

I would like to recognize a few of the heroes that went the extra mile in this effort:

• The 507 signers of the No Industrial Park petition. These days, affixing your name to any politically charged position is an act of courage, and I thank you for doing so. The petition can be found at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/noindustrialpark.

• Former CW President Judith Houver and Allen Daniel. Judy and Allen were the first to barricades on this issue when they spoke before the county commission in 2017. They subsequently made numerous pleas to the county commission in the ensuing months.

• Mark Beckmann wore out a pair of shoes getting us to 500 signatures on our No Industrial Park petition. Mark has been tireless in defense of his neighbors and community, and I have greatly appreciated his prayers on our behalf.

• Joan and Stan Fleishman made great statements before the village council and county commission.

• Jackie Dee reached out to local environmental activists to seek their support.

• HOA board members Donna Kamper and Heidi Olds took time away from jobs to speak before the county commission.

• Clemmons West Recreation Association President Andrew Wild made very compelling arguments against the project to the county commission.

• Salem Glenn HOA President Ken Burkel rallied his residents and worked closely with the Clemmons West HOA to oppose this project.

• Council members Michael Combest and Michelle Barson were responsive to the neighborhood early on and spent a tremendous amount of their personal time conducting analytical research and engaging with the neighborhood and county commission on this issue. They were a great team and their work provided the county commission with an honorable exit when faced with local opposition.

• Council member Chris Wrights, when replying to a post on the Clemmons West Facebook page, was the first member of the Clemmons Council to take a public position against Clemmons funding any part of the industrial park.

• Council member PJ Loffland supported the neighborhood with heartfelt and well-reasoned statements before the county commission. Throughout this process, she proved herself to champion for Clemmons homeowners, and I greatly appreciated her moral support and advice throughout.

• Mayor John Wait was engaged and listened to the neighborhood’s concerns and took time out of his work schedule to attend county commission meetings. He always had an open door for any concerns I wished to express about this or any other neighborhood concern.

• Village Manager Scott Buffkin and former Village Planner Megan Ledbetter worked tirelessly with their county counterparts to come up with a plan for the property that would meet the needs of all stakeholders.

• County Commissioner Tonya McDaniel was, as far as I know, the only commissioner to come out to Clemmons to see what all the fuss was about. I thank her for that and for communicating her findings back to her colleagues. I’d also like to thank the other commissioners, so far anonymous, that listened to the community and declined to provide additional funding for this project. Sometimes the best course of action is no action and, in this case, they have served the taxpayers of Forsyth County well by simply not moving forward with this project.

• I’d also like to thank County Manager Dudley Watts, Deputy County Manager Damon Sanders-Pratt, and Economic Development Program Manager Kyle Haney of the for engaging with Clemmons in a good faith effort to find common ground on this issue. They have no doubt spent countless hours on this issue and would have preferred a different outcome. If I’ve said or written mean things about you, please know it wasn’t personal. I thank you for your continuing service to residents of Forsyth County.

As home owners, we have done our part, but I encourage you to stay engaged with this issue and the political process surrounding it. It is critical that our next village council secures this hard-won victory by reaching a final resolution with the county through acquisition of the land or an agreement that allows Clemmons a say in how its developed.

In this matter, I have tried to serve the neighborhood and community to the best of my ability and I hope that, in the fullness of time, our principled opposition will be justified as a more compatible use is found for the land on Idols Road. I now return my (metaphorical) musket and powder horn to their place above the mantle and go back to tending my fields, such as they are. I wish you and yours good fortune in the years to come.

Charles Franklin Sherrill, Jr.
President, Clemmons West Home Owners Association