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Clemmons discusses how trees can help

Council explores ways to control stormwater

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

While considering all avenues to help with stormwater control in Clemmons, the village council discussed how tree preservation could play a role in Monday night’s meeting.

The item on the agenda was a “tree ordinance follow-up discussion,” and planner Nasser Rahimzadeh went into some specifics about runoff first before addressing the matter at hand.

“I know the original question was, ‘Does stormwater and trees have an impact?,’ ” he said. “And the answer is yes. Is it positive? Yes. Is it super cost-effective? That’s certainly debatable. Should we rely on it as the only means to address stormwater? No. Does it help? Yes. The other question is what do you guys want to do and explore. I’m trying to give you as much information as I can.”

Rahimzadeh said that Clemmons is “to a large extent built out, and that there’s not a lot of what you would call green property, which is just kind of untouched property out there.”

He added that he has explored how other towns deal with trees and how they go about their business.

“It’s an interesting position to be in,” Rahimzadeh said. “I would say there are two options you can take into account — looking at preserving more trees when the site is redeveloped and going in the direction of actually planting more trees and see what that would require.”

Mayor John Wait said that he and the council could understand and appreciate disturbing less trees when development occurs but another solution could be having a program, similar to a community cleanup, where the village plants or distributes trees.

Rahimzadeh said it would be good to know how many private citizens and organizations were already involved in such efforts, and “then going from there, eventually in five to 10 years, it will start showing up on this potential tree canopy. So eventually you’ll have positive effects. I’m leaving it up to you guys in what direction, but there are a lot of potential ways to go.”

Councilwoman Mary Cameron said, “If we embark on some kind of plant a tree program, we need to make really sure where the trees are planted and where they need to be and not where they’re going to cause problems” and also to see if there is any way now to use trees to help with stormwater problems that already exist.

Rahimzadeh said he would probably need to talk further with Wes Kimbrell, stormwater engineers, about where the stormwater issues are and looking at site plans to educate him more about stormwater and “help out about putting what where.”

Rahimzadeh also stressed the importance of having the right tree size and species.

Village Manager Scott Buffkin mentioned looking into the Tree City USA program sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation and other programs that may be able “to provide us some technical assistance and making sure we get native species and not invasive species.”

In a night light on business items, Wait made note of having “a lot special citizens who reside in Clemmons, and one of those people is Thomas F. Shook Jr., who is going to be 100 on Friday. He was a teenager shortly before Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the Navy, and he was there at Pearl Harbor. He is a living survivor of that attack.”

Wait said that Shook moved to Clemmons to be closer to his daughter, Betty Telford, who is a dean at Salem College, and her husband Kurt, a former principal at West Forsyth High School.

A drive-through birthday celebration will be held Saturday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at their home on Abelia Way in the Fair Oaks subdivision.

“Betty and Kurt wanted to celebrate in a special way,” said Cameron, who is a neighbor, “so he will be sitting at the end of the driveway wrapped up in blankets with a space heater there to accept all congratulations that we can give him as we drive by. Not only did this guy survive Pearl Harbor, but it took his parents two weeks to find out he was still alive.”

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

• Called for a public hearing at the request of the Village of Clemmons from County RS-40 to Clemmons RM-18-S for the annexed property of Parr Investments and Hendrix Commercial Industrial Enterprises Inc. for a property that is located at 1930 Lewisville-Clemmons Road and is 38.48 acres (Annexation Ordinance 2020-A-01 — Lake at Belmont).

• Heard from attorney Elliot Fus regarding a billboard appeal case involving an electronic billboard at 2558 Lewisville-Clemmons Road and that the court “ruled in our favor,” adding that an order has been entered by the Superior Court affirming the Zoning Board of Adjustment decision. Also in his attorney’s report, Fus said that the village continues to push to get the right-of-way finalized on the Market Center Drive property at Wells Fargo.

• Heard in the marketing/communications report that there will be a Valentine’s pop-up Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Feb. 13, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Jerry Long Family YMCA in Clemmons.

• Discussed possible time frames for the annual retreat with February and March mentioned as likely months, and talked about any changes in the usual format. This will follow a second retreat that was called in November last year after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that arrived in 2020 following last March’s retreat.

• Reviewed Bulk Pickup and E-Recycle dates and a follow-up on considerations for a new phone service system for Village Hall.

• Went into closed session to discuss property acquisition.