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Four projects are added to stormwater list in village

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council continued to address the town’s growing stormwater problem in Monday night’s meeting by unanimously approving four more projects to be included into the Capital Improvement Program.

The chart of 13 projects already in place, led by Springside North on the priority list, has a price tag of $4.6 million.

The council voted to add Glen Oaks, Knob Hill, Rolling Oak Court and Moravian Heights, at an estimated cost of about $600,000, to the docket.

Public Works Director Mike Gunnell said that an engineering firm came in when the village started its stormwater program and developed guidelines for putting projects on the list based on a set of criteria including public impact, safety issues and water levels.

Councilwoman Mary Cameron said that she spoke at length with Wes Kimbrell, the village’s stormwater engineer, before making her motion in Monday night’s meeting.

“I think what we’re trying to do is to find projects that will solve more than one issue,” she said. “If we solve problem A is that going to solve problem B, which is downstream, which is what I think what we’re looking for to get the biggest bang for our buck so to speak.”

Councilwoman Michelle Barson added, “and helping the most amount of people.”

A small section of Lasater Road, which didn’t make the cut, was the fifth name on the list but still could be added later. Gunnell said it is being evaluated by a third party and that the road didn’t top during the Aug. 6 storm.

“With this particular case, it basically affects one residence,” Gunnell said. “I think the initial estimate if we upsized the pipe would be close to a half a million dollars to cut the street, dig down, replace it and recompact the street and put new asphalt back down.”

The previous rankings list of Sept. 14 will change with the new additions, which now has 17 names.

After having the special stormwater meeting before the previous council meeting, the board wanted to address ways to work more efficiently with the Stormwater Advisory Board, which only meets quarterly and had a five-month gap this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the interim there are events that occur that the council is not brought up to speed on or not aware of, which in that regard we may sometimes be caught a little off guard as to what is actually happening in the community,” councilman Mike Rogers said. “That’s another layer that staff goes through to get the information to the council. We need to streamline our events and how we get our information and how we do our processes to do it the most efficient, effective and quickest way we possibly can.”

Barson agreed, saying “the dollar figures that are associated with our stormwater projects really force it to be the responsibility of ours to meet immediately and regularly. We’re not hearing these projects until they’re really filtering through that group right now, and again, these are large-ticket items, infrastructure concerns, that need to be addressed by the elected body.”

Cameron said that the discussion in the special meeting included several suggestions that the council had for staff to look into for additions to the stormwater program.

“With the changes we are making, I think we need to get a grip on what we want to add or don’t add or what we want to change … just kind of get our house in order, so to speak,” Cameron said.

The council approved directing staff to look at a couple of options on how to move forward with the Stormwater Advisory Board from an ordinance perspective.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, the council heard from three individual expressing concerns over continuing water problems in the village.

Jonathan Jarvis, who said he has resided in a house on South Peace Haven Road near the YMCA since 2007, talked about how the water and runoff issues have escalated over the last few years and voiced his concerns on the handling of stormwater maintenance. Jarvis said he is a neighbor of Kenny French, who spoke at the last council meeting about significant damage from the Aug. 6 storm, and tried to help him with placing sandbags.

David Lamoureux, who lives on Stancliff Road, talked about an ongoing issue with water coming from the cul-de-sac behind him that is draining off the court through his backyard and out into the street. He said that the water is causing some erosion and getting into the crawlspace of his house, which is causing the house to crack and the foundation to settle even more.

Allen Daniel, who lives on Fernworth Court, has spoken at recent meetings on the stormwater issue and again provided several examples of problems he sees in Clemmons.

Also in Monday night’s meeting, the council received an update on last week’s accident in Tanglewood Park involving a Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department deputy who is part of the Clemmons community policing division and received significant injuries when his vehicle struck a tree and caught fire.

Sgt. Brian Gieger, who heads the Clemmons community policing division of the Sheriff’s Department, said that deputy Wesley Summers was responding to a panic or fire alarm at the park’s maintenance department around 6 a.m. last Tuesday when the accident occurred.

“As he was traveling in Tanglewood Park right past the ticket booth where the road curves to the left, he ended up going straight and ran into a tree,” Gieger said. “The car did catch fire. He was able to get out of the vehicle, but he has two injured wrists. He’s had surgery on both wrists, a broken hip and two broken ribs. At this point, he’s still in the hospital. When I talked to his wife the other day, he was getting ready to start physical therapy at the hospital. So that’s where we stand at this point.”

Gieger said that Summers joined the policing force in Clemmons a month or two ago and was introduced at a recent council meeting. He added that the Sheriff’s Department is looking to fill that vacancy in Clemmons until Summers is able to come back, which Gieger said “could be months and months.”

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

• Heard from attorney Elliot Fus, who said he received a call Monday from new lawyers in the Allegro Investment Properties litigation — John Vermitsky and John Taylor from Morrow Porter Vermitsky & Taylor in Winston-Salem. Fus said that they are taking over responsibilities for the original lawyers who filed the lawsuit against the village “who had a conflict of interest problem.” Fus said he referred the new law firm to attorney Pat Flanagan, who is handling the lawsuit for Clemmons.

• Approved the low bid of $1,267,281 from Sharpe Brothers of Greensboro for the fall list of paving streets in the village.

• Approved a resolution to adopt a Title VI policy to prohibit discrimination in programs, services and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

• Discussed a bulk pickup contract with consideration of going from in-house to outsourcing.

• Approved Resolution 2020-R-7 addressing COVID-19 preventative measures at voting precincts.

• Heard that the annual Monster Dash and Goblin Hop was being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.