Village furthers interest in acquiring business park land

Published 12:10 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council officially established the village’s interest in acquiring the land for the proposed Tanglewood Business Park by voting unanimously to give the authorization to execute agency agreements with Meridian Realty.

No mention of the actual intent was made during Monday night’s meeting, but councilwoman Michelle Barson brought up the concept in the Aug. 12 meeting, and Mayor John Wait elaborated on entering into a contract with Meridian on potentially acquiring the 170-acre tract on Idols Road long owned by Forsyth County and proposed for a business park just outside the village limits.

“Like we’ve been saying for a while, we’ve been looking for a way to potentially acquire this land, so the council has engaged Meridian Realty to do that,” said Wait, who described the agency agreements after Monday night’s meeting. “The first one is a buyer’s agency agreement to try to acquire it, and the second one is a listing agreement to see if we can turn it around and do something with it.

“We’re hopeful that Meridian would be able to work something out and do something with the county. That’s really what this is all about is just trying to make sure we can engage the right people to work with the county to make this a beneficial piece of property for the village.”

The county’s plans for a business park sputtered after more than two years of meetings and discussions with the village — where Beaufurn emerged as the lone tenant and the timeline for the furniture company couldn’t be met this spring.

The village has long expressed concerns over traffic, quality of life, declining home values and whether the project even made good financial sense, and balked earlier this year when the county asked Clemmons to contribute $1.2 million to the effort.

That led to the village to begin looking into exploring ways to acquire the land, bring it into the village limits and ensure that it’s developed to village standards — and eventually talking with representatives of Meridian.

“For us, it’s a full-court press to work with the county on this project,” he said. “It will be interesting to see where Meridian is able to take these discussions and see what they can accomplish. We’re very hopeful we can work something out with the county.”

In an interesting twist, a member of the Meridian team that Clemmons will be working with is former planner Megan Ledbetter, who left the village after 12 years in May to take a position with the real estate company as a commercial broker offering land use and development consulting as part of her duties.

“Yeah, her name is on these agency agreements,” Wait said. “The great part about this is having someone who is working for us who has that kind of institutional knowledge about our village and who has a stellar record of doing things that are beneficial for us. For them to represent us now — and Meridian also has a good relationship with the county — we are very hopeful that they can bring us something that can make this an asset.”

Monday night’s meeting also included a discussion on the Blanket Bottom Area, which is an unincorporated area west of Lewisville-Clemmons Road, after Wait said that he, Village Manager Scott Buffkin and planner Nasser Rahimzadeh met with Lewisville Mayor Mike Horn and town officials in a joint meeting.

Wait said that the joint meeting was at the invitation of Horn and was something that the council had identified earlier this year as a goal to discuss. He said that the two bordering communities have a similar vision for that area and wanted to see about bringing the county into future discussions.

“If we can do something where everyone is on same page, there would be a lot of benefit to prevent issues down the road,” Wait said, adding that orderly growth was a goal for the area.

Councilman Chris Wrights weighed in, saying that the land “is kind of ripe for development now that sewer is through there and this land runs right in between the Lewisville and Clemmons boundaries, so we can work together on planning that for the future.”

In another matter, Buffkin said that he had just learned of an issue regarding campaign signs where one candidate for local office stated apparently being given an incorrect date for placing political signs in the right-of-way.

Buffkin said he wanted to reach out to the council and ask whether to reach out to other candidates and let them know this has happened and let them proceed in the same manner, or enforce the ordinance as it is written and apologize to the person for any inconvenience.

After discussion, the council agreed it would be best to reach out to all candidates and allow them to get their signs out early as well.

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

• Approved a budget amendment, 20-G-2, for the bike/pedestrian plan for a $50,000 project through the Metropolitan Planning Organization from the Metropolitan Planning Organization where Clemmons would only need to commit $10,000 (the local match of 20 percent).

• Received an updated timeline on the U.S. 158 sidewalk project from Buffkin, who said this has gone “quite a bit longer than any of us had hoped.” He said all right-of-way easements should be acquired by March 1, 2020, with the project going out for bid April 15, bids received by May 15 and construction authorization by June 15, 2020.

• Recognized finance officer Ann Stroud with a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Award for an employee, who as Mayor Wait stated, “does not get enough recognition” for all the work she does with the budget.

• Heard from Buffkin that “Small Foot” would be the next Movie Night in the Village on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Jerry Long Family YMCA, followed by The Lego Movie 2 on Saturday, Sept. 28.