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Council approves ordinances

Clemmons addresses nuisances, abandoned vehicles

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

On a night that was light for business action items, the Clemmons Village Council voted to approve ordinances regarding public nuisances on private property and abandoned vehicles in Monday’s meeting.

Village Manager Scott Buffkin provided the council with drafts of each ordinance to consider in the previous meeting.

First on the docket Monday night was Ordinance 2021-03 respecting the prevention and abatement of public nuisances on private property.

“Most all of our authority here is tied to the public health, safety and welfare,” Buffkin said, “and does not necessarily give us the authority to address aesthetics. So this is not going to be able to tell a person to paint their shutters or something like that, but it certainly can be much more extensive in what is declared a public nuisance than the county’s current ordinance does.”

Councilwoman Michelle Barson said that “these are ordinances that have been asked about time and again for us to review as a community as opposed to leaving it to the county, which they don’t have the time to enforce some of these things.”

Definitions applied regarding property include appliances, building material, business trash, garbage, hazardous waste, household trash, industrial waste, junk, litter, recyclables, rubbish, solid waste, trash and yard waste. Mayor John Wait said, ‘This really does hit a delicate balance, which is we have these especially troublesome properties, and so it gives you some ability to deal with those while leaving nearly everyone else alone. It’s not an ordinance that is going to impact 99% of the people. There’s just a few properties around town that are truly a nuisance.”

Councilman Mike Rogers added, “This gives us the tools here locally that we need to enforce these ordinances without having to interpret the county’s ordinance. It’s very specific.”

Next on the list was Ordinance 2021-04 prohibiting abandoned, hazardous and junked motor vehicles.

It also was met with unanimous approval from the council after attorney Elliot Fus was asked if he felt comfortable with the definitions and procedures included in the document.

“I think you will find ordinances like this in many other municipalities,” Fus said.

Regarding the ordinance, councilwoman Mary Cameron said, “We’re not going to drive around town looking for junked cars or whatever. We’re not going to spend a lot of time patrolling the streets. But if I were to call and say there’s been an abandoned vehicle on my neighbor’s yard for six months, now we will have something that we can go and solve that issue. It’s on the books.”

In other business, the site plan review of real property known as the Tyler Merriman Property at 3711 Clemmons Road — located between village hall and Piedmont Federal Savings Bank — was tabled until the next meeting after the council expressed concerns about keeping a second driveway.

Although the Planning Board had given unanimous approval in its meeting last month, staff had requested the closure of one of the driveways, but planner Nasser Rahimzadeh said in the last council meeting that the petitioner did not agree to that condition.

Rahimzadeh said that the staff’s reasoning was because of Clemmons Road (U.S. 158) being a major thoroughfare and the need to reduce access points.

However, he said the proposal, which would add parking spaces and an ADA handicap-accessible ramp, met all the other conditions for the .49-acre tract, which includes an office building.

Councilman Mike Rogers first made a motion for approval with the condition of closing the driveway cut to the east (closest to the bank), stating the need to minimize the number of conflict points and adding that NCDOT had recommended eliminating that driveway.

Wait then asked if it was possible to approve the site plan contingent on closing the driveway.

The petitioners then addressed council, stating they wanted to minimize the impervious surface they are adding and the disturbance on site, saving the existing trees and not having widen the single-access driveway.

Council members further debated the issue before the petitioners asked if this item could be tabled until the next meeting “to have a discussion with our client and see if we can come up something that will work for everyone.”

Rogers said he would be willing to withdraw his motion to provide that extra time.

In another item on the agenda, Wes Kimbrell, stormwater engineer, provided an updated Stormwater Capital Improvement Program (CIP) rankings list at the request of the council at the previous meeting.

“We went ahead and reranked everything that we need to,” Kimbrell said. “I don’t think anything is really a surprise.”

Here are the current rankings: Springside North, Tanglebrook, Greendale, Springfield Farm, Woodlark Court, Parkdale, North Lakeshore Drive 2, Innisfail Lane, Boyer, Springside, Bridle Path, North Lakeshore Drive 1, Glen Oaks, Lasater, Knob Hill, Rolling Oak Court, Brookland, Tanglebrook 3, Moravian Heights, Doublegate, Haywood, Springvalley.

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

• Heard from Public Works Director/Village Engineer Mike Gunnell regarding a contract with Sharpe Brothers on paving. Gunnell said this has been “a good year of paving” but after the last round, he said there had been additional costs. “Right now, for our current budget, we went just over $120,000,” he said. “I did pick up some additional streets while we were out. The funds that we spent needed to be spent.” Gunnell said that milling contributed significantly to the overall costs. He added he wasn’t asking to appropriate any more funds and that additional funds had been added to the Powell Bill paving out of the General Fund, and that he was working on the list for the next round of paving this spring.

• Heard from Cameron regarding an upcoming Rotary Club event on May 18 for a drive-by lunch in recognition of “heroes who are working in our community” and a request for a monetary donation and/or something in kind. It was decided for Buffkin to meet with a representative of the Rotary Club to get more details.

• Heard from Barson about adopting a road for cleanup for municipal-maintained streets and to see about letting staff bring a proposal on doing this. The council agreed by consensus.

• Heard from Allen Daniel in the public comments portion of the meeting, referencing the two ordinances on the agenda. He said that there was a lack of enforcement of many ordinances, primarily because of lack of manpower.

• Approved Budget Amendment 21-S-6 for a wash bay pump.

• Heard in the marketing/communications report that the Medicine Drop will be March 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clemmons Fire Department on James Street and the Clemmons Farmers Market’s Easter Pop-Up Market at the Jerry Long Family YMCA will be Saturday, April 3, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Also, the Clemmons Quaranclean CleanUp will be ongoing from March to May with details and registration on the village’s website at clemmons.org.

• Heard from Cameron that brick pavers to be a permanent part of the new library, which will be opening soon, are still for sale.

• Heard a proclamation that Forsyth Creek Week will be March 20-28.