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L-C Road remains priority

Clemmons mayor gives update from TAC meeting

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

As the Transportation Advisory Committee’s representative for Clemmons, Mayor John Wait updated the Clemmons Village Council in Monday night’s meeting on the status of a number of current and pending projects, including good news on Lewisville-Clemmons Road.

“Almost all changes were delaying projects in one form or the other,” Wait said of last Thursday’s TAC meeting. “It was interesting that there was not a delay put in there for the corridor project on Lewisville-Clemmons Road.”

Although no time frame has been provided, considering the recent budget challenges for the N.C. Department of Transportation — including the continuing coronavirus pandemic, Wait noted that that the biggest focus on the Lewisville-Clemmons corridor is updating the I-40 bridge. “I think that’s why that project remains a main priority,” he said.

In addition to adopting the Comprehensive Transportation Plan for the Winston-Salem Urban Area with a 25-year horizon, Wait said that the meeting covered projects in the local division and the state.

Besides Lewisville-Clemmons Road and the I-40 bridge, Wait said a “major revamping” of the intersection that includes Middlebrook Road and U.S. 158 on the other end of the corridor “is a certainty and is going to get done.” He added that a question remains about doing anything at Stadium Drive and U.S. 158.

“I know that’s something that previous councils have definitely stressed that they want done,” he said, “and adding an extra left-turn lane from Lewisville-Clemmons Road at the McDonalds out to Stadium (Drive) will substantially increase the traffic going in that direction.”

Councilman Mike Rogers said that “improving intersections doesn’t do much good if the traffic has nowhere to go.”

He brought up U.S. 158 between Lewisville-Clemmons Road and the Yadkin River being taken out of the project list.

“In April 2018, we put 40 points toward that project, which went into Davie County, but from what I understand they said it was too expensive because of right-of-way acquisition and utility location,” Rogers said. “Has there been any effort to put that back in there — because it’s a major clog in Clemmons?”

Councilwoman Mary Cameron agreed, saying the answers she had received were there was probably not much that could be done other than adding a third lane, which would be “very disruptive because it is the bottleneck.”

Rogers said he thought the council should advocate looking at improvements all along the stretch of U.S. 158 “to unclog this section so traffic can get through,” and Cameron added, “it wouldn’t hurt to ask now.”

Wait then said he would be happy to advocate on that, among other things, and asked about an official motion. Attorney Elliot Fus suggested putting together a resolution in some form to take to the TAC might provide the most impact.

Councilwoman Michelle Barson brought up also considering a sidewalk along U.S. 158, so Village Manager Scott Buffkin said he could do two different drafts, including doing one with the pedestrian component for consideration. The council agreed by consensus.

Also in Monday night’s meeting, stormwater items, including a cost-share program and looking at a stormwater fee structure, were on the agenda.

Wes Kimbrell, stormwater engineer, said he wanted to come back with a second revision to the cost-share program with the major modification being to decrease the maximum match amount per property from $10,000 to $5,000 along with other minor revisions.

With approval, Kimbrell said he would prefer not starting the new program until the next budget year, starting on July 1, and for about $100,000 to be allocated as a preliminary starting point.

Fus said his understanding was to work this into an appropriate form of a draft ordinance before any vote. Buffin concurred, saying at this point he only needed consensus to a basic framework and then “bring back a finished product probably as we move through the budget process.”

Rogers added he wanted to thank Barson for being “the engine driving this train” among council members to help address the stormwater issue in the community.

Also in the meeting, Kimbrell said he needed consensus to move forward with changing the structural billing system with respect to drafting an ordinance with the residential tiers.

By getting consensus, Kimbrell said that “come July 1, we’ll be ready to go.”

Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done between now and then.

Also related to stormwater, planner Nasser Rahimzadeh offered a follow-up to the previous meeting’s discussion regarding the impact of trees.

“Trees are nice,” he said. “They don’t address all things stormwater. Evidence for trees impacting stormwater is in the single digits in terms of positive impact. I would still advocate using conventional stormwater measures.”

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

• Approved Annexation Ordinance 2020-A-01 — Lake at Belmont after a public hearing, where no one spoke, regarding 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.

• Called for a public hearing — Zoning Map Amendment for Clouds Harbor Landing petitioned by Wayne E. Weber Revocable Trust for properties consisting of 8.42 acres currently zoned RS-15 to RS-9 (residential single family) for the boundary survey of Weber parcels as shown on a site plan located in the Village of Clemmons (Zoning Docket C-238). In his planner’s report, Rahimzadeh said that the Planning Board voted unanimously in approval of the rezoning and approval of the subdivision in last week’s meeting.

• Approved the annual audit report, which was presented by Craig Hopkins of Gibson & Company.

• Approved resolutions for an increasing thresholds for purchase orders from $350 to $500 and designating deputy finance officers for preaudit authorization under the purchase order threshold.

• 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 and that next month the village will again be hosting the Neighbors Helping Neighbors campaign to educate the community on the Clemmons Food Pantry, including services provided and opportunities to help.

• Heard from Fus regarding the recent billboard appeal case that the petitioner, Visible Properties, has now appealed the recent ruling where “we had prevailed in Superior Court. That will start a new chapter in that litigation.”