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Bermuda Run deals with tree issues

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Town Manager Lee Rollins would be the first to admit he’s no arborist, but dealing with trees has certainly become a bigger part of his job these days in Bermuda Run.

In last Tuesday night’s town council meeting, Rollins outlined details where trees are either being removed or topped after councilwoman Heather Coleman mentioned Duke Energy starting work last week to cut down about 200 trees.

“In the original section of Bermuda Run, and really Riverbend Drive along the Yadkin River, there have been multiple outages over the last five or six years in particular,” Rollins said. “Over 90% of those are where tree limbs have hit those power lines. So it hasn’t been related to flooding. The issue has been that the flooding prevented Duke Energy from getting to the lines quick enough.”

And then there was another problem, Rollins noted.

“I am not an arborist, but I have been informed by Duke Energy that ash trees in North Carolina have been infested, and they are dying quickly,” he said. “And Duke Energy is working to cut those ash trees out on top of widening the right of way on properties where council member Coleman was talking about.”

Rollins added he was informed by Duke Energy that it would be a two-phase approach “because they can go in and take those trees down, but the ground is still too soft for them to bring the equipment to chip up the limbs and some other things.”

There have also been outages in Kinderton Business Park because the town’s feed goes to the Peace Haven substation, and work is being done on the right-of-way clearing tree limbs and the like going back to the substation.

Rollins said that there is a different substation from Steelman Ace Hardware back to the U.S. 158/N.C. 801 intersection.

“A lot of times, the main drag of 158 and 801, including the hospital, is not affected,” Rollins said, “but from Meg Brown back this way (to town hall), everything goes to Peace Haven. Back in the day, there was very little development.”

Also, Rollins said that Asplundh, which is contracted by Duke Energy to do tree trimming, will start work in the next couple of weeks trimming Leyland cypress trees along U.S. 158. He said that the town maintains those trees that as part of its Gate Operations Fund.

“When we start topping them out, we’ll get calls about widening the road,” Rollins said. “We’re not going to widen the road.”

In the only business item on last Tuesday night’s agenda, the council approved proposed text amendments that are intended to comply with N.C. Session Law 2019-111 — Zoning Text Amendment 2020-03 regarding General Statute 160D.

Amy Flyte, senior planner for Davie County presented the proposed amendments, and that was followed by a public hearing — where no one spoke — and then approval by the council.

Flyte said that while there are no major policies included in this text amendments, there are reference updates, terminology and process clarification.

“All N.C. cities and counties are required to update development ordinances by July 1 to adhere to these new laws,” she said. “Previously, county and town regulations were located in two separate sections of the General Statute, and they have been relocated to one — 160-D.

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

• Heard from Rollins that after upcoming planning sessions, he will be presenting a proposed budget in the April council meeting with a recommendation to hold a public hearing in May.

• Also heard from Rollins that a sign permit and a zoning permit had been approved for a boutique retail shop, South and Main, which will be going into the Kinderton Place shopping center where Lowes Foods is located.