Letters to the editor — Sept. 26

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2019

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De-annexation in Clemmons

It was months ago but people want to talk about the de-annexation of two acres in Clemmons.  They ask why the state legislature wanted to de-annex land that was part of Clemmons. A developer, Stan Forrester, wanted to build a shopping center on about 42 acres but two of those acres were in Clemmons while the rest were in Forsyth County.

Back in April, Mr. Forrester spoke with the Village Council members about his desire to develop the land. At the meeting, my observation was that he was disrespectful and argumentative. His answers about his plans were lacking in detail and uninformative. I did not understand why Forrester behaved this way and why state legislators supported his drive to get this land removed from Clemmons and put under the county’s sole authority.

I emailed N.C. Reps. Lee Zachary, Donny Lambeth, Debra Conrad and Sen. Joyce Krawiec, asking why they supported a bill to de-annex those two acres when the Village Council was on record against it. Also, I asked if they received campaign contributions from Forrester.

Debra Conrad, a former county commissioner, wrote, “The answer is simple. Forty of the 42 acres are in the Forsyth County zoning jurisdiction. All seven county commissioners sent me a letter of support to remove the remaining two from Clemmons by de-annexation. It is very easy to check campaign finance reports on the N.C. Board of Elections website. I have had no contributions from Mr. Forrester.”

Donny Lambeth wrote, “I will vote against. In fact, when I co-sponsored I was told all endorsed. If that is not the case I will vote against.”

Lee Zachary wrote, “I introduced the House bill because Forsyth county commissioners sent me a resolution supporting the de-annexation. Plus, the way Clemmons annexed this area is not legal in my opinion and the developer can’t serve two masters.” That last phrase was stated by Mr. Forrester at the Clemmons council meeting, too.

Senator Krawiec did not reply and all the others said Forrester did not give to their campaigns. Later, Krawiec’s staff member said the senator was waiting before she replied.

There were other email exchanges, but these were most useful and nothing relevant was omitted here. So, the representatives thought the Forsyth county commissioners passed a resolution. However, Clemmons Council member Chris Wrights said that there was no resolution from the county. Instead, the county’s manager went to each commissioner and had them sign a letter to the state representatives. Did the county commissioners submit an illegal document to the state representatives? There was no county resolution or other official act. Michelle Barson looked for and found nothing that was official, which I communicated to Conrad who admitted she would look into that.

Why would the county take such a step? That was hard to uncover. I called two people who have been involved in the politics with people in the county and Clemmons affairs for years and they will stay unnamed. The sum of their thoughts was that this problem is symptomatic of the issues that Forsyth County has had for decades when Clemmons incorporated and let everyone know that Clemmons thought it was “special” from that point onward. Clemmons “wants everything for free” and Clemmons cannot be a team player in county issues where some of the thoughts people shared.

Finally, it seemed appropriate to speak with people who seek to build properties — not Mr. Forrester. These folks will remain unnamed, too. Folks who know me might be quick to guess these sources and would be wrong. The summary view was that Clemmons made all developers’ work too difficult to get approval and completion. The rules change “all the time.” The council makes decisions despite different recommendations by the Planning Board. Finally respect for the Planning Board members was difficult because many of them were unprepared to discuss things for which they had material in advance of the meetings and discussions.

As readers of the Clemmons Courier know, the state legislative process was on its way to approving the de-annexation except that Clemmons Council member Mike Combest went to Raleigh to stand up for Clemmons and oppose the de-annexation. He had to do that more than once and sometimes on extremely short notice. Had he not gone to Raleigh to speak on behalf the Clemmons Council’s resolution in opposition the state’s bill, the land would have been legislated away from Clemmons.

— Paul Johnson

Shady campaign?

I hope that the voters in Clemmons now realize what happened to them in the last council election. Some citizens and businesses bought into and jumped on the “No Median” campaign for no good reason (as the results show). Past council would have taken an objective view and do what would be in the best interest of the Village of Clemmons.

When Mike Rogers is elected in November, then he will be “re-elected,” having served on the Clemmons Village Council in the past. He won the first election as a write-in candidate (two years) and was re-elected for another (four-year) term. Unfortunately for Clemmons, he and others got passed by the “No Median” campaign railroad deal.

Let’s support Larry Kirby for mayor and Mike Rogers for council member in this November election.

— Ron Riddle

Vote for Mary Cameron

Election day is upon us again and while this is not a national election, the local elections are of utmost importance. Make time to vote and do your part to see that Clemmons continues to be the best place to live. Voting is a privilege and a responsibility.

Mary Cameron, a proven leader in the community, having served on the council 24 years, is running for a seat on the council. We need to elect Mary. Clemmons deserves quality leadership. She is highly qualified and her sound guidance is needed. She will provide responsive municipal government, support a low tax rate while efficiently using our tax dollars and she will work to assure a safe environment for our village. Mary will be an excellent leader, listener and resource for Clemmons residents. Mary wants what is best for Clemmons.

Please vote for Mary Cameron Nov. 5.

— Susan D. Jones