Griffindell subdivision site plan denied

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2021

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Clemmons Council reacts to Senate Bill 105 proposal

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

A preliminary major subdivision presented for Griffindell, a proposed 18-lot, single-family development on 9.7 acres off of Idols Road, which was tabled in late June after receiving mixed reviews from the Clemmons Village Council, resurfaced in Monday night’s meeting but failed to get the votes to proceed.

Points of contention for Zoning Docket C-21-001 included a staff request from the applicant to install curb and gutter as well as provide direct access from the subdivision to Idols Road. At the time, Greg Garrett, an engineer representing the applicant, said adding an access road to Idols Road was a “deal breaker” but that he could work with the curb and gutter part of the impasse.

In Monday night’s meeting, he reiterated that he still wasn’t willing to build a road to Idols Road but would be do curb and gutter.

“I took all your remarks to heart and have been working ever since to try to figure this,” said Garrett, who looked at other alternatives, such as doing townhouses to help with stormwater. “We’ve done everything we can, but we can’t go out to Idols Road.”

The final vote to deny the site plan was 3-2 with council members Scott Binkley and Chris Wrights opposed.

“I understand the concerns with the developer only having one way in and one way out,” Wrights said. “The problem I’m running into is that we don’t have an ordinance that requires him to have a second way in or out because of the size of his development. We have approved much larger developments with only one way in and one way out. My biggest thing is just being consistent in our decisions.”

Councilwoman Michelle Barson said that her vote wasn’t fully based on just the secondary access, and Mayor John Wait said he got “flooded with emails” opposed to the project.

In another item on the agenda, Wes Kimbrell, stormwater engineer, brought up being aware of Senate Bill 105 and how it “throws restrictions and regulations on local governments and what they’re allowed to do and enforce against development in the future.”

“The more people that reach out in opposition to this, the better this is going to play out. I highly advise everyone to go look at Senate Bill 105.”

Kimbrell said that Clemmons “has turned a major milestone in our ordinances with becoming one of the most stringent stormwater groups in the state for development, and we did that in an effort to protect our citizens” and that this bill would essentially wipe out the village’s stormwater program except for the water quality portion of it.

“If this bill goes into effect, we’re going to have floods everywhere,” councilwoman Mary Cameron said, to which Kimbrell agreed.

Mayor John Wait said he was frustrated with state government systematically trying to dismantle whatever power local governments have.

“I’m really tired of General Assembly thinking that they can come and just make whatever rules they want and have it apply everywhere across the state to every municipality instead of letting the people that actually live there make the decisions,” he said. “It’s utterly ridiculous.”

Clemmons has made stormwater a top priority with a long list of capital improvement projects on the books and committing most of the $6.6 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan funds to address what has become a growing problem.

In the meeting, it was decided that the village would connect with other local municipalities and discuss putting together a joint resolution and that council members Barson and Mike Rogers head a committee to represent Clemmons in this matter and other issues.

“I hope that our citizens see that our battles are not just with developers,” councilman Mike Rogers said. “It’s with our own state legislature and even our own county commissioners at times.”

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

• Heard from six residents during the public comments portion of the meeting opposed to Forsyth County’s proposal to build a 50,000-square-foot agricultural multi-use event center at Tanglewood Park. The council suggested that residents should also make these comments to the Forsyth County commissioners and complete the online survey.

• Approved Ordinance 2021-15 Grant Ordinance to replace Special Revenue Ordinance for American Rescue Plan funds. Buffkin said that, due to the Census, the village will receive a total of $6.6 million in funding (instead of the original projection of $6.1 million) and that the first allocation of $3.3 million was received last month.

• Heard from Buffkin that the village has reached a sewer agreement with Parr Investments but that is just in draft form at this point. Parr received approval in the spring for a multifamily project, The Lake at Belmont, on Lewisville-Clemmons Road. Buffkin added that the Utilities Commission is ready to proceed when Clemmons receives official verification from Parr.

• Discussed with Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh about creating an ad hoc committee to look at parking lot parameters, including landscaping, and reviewing the processes for subdivisions, including looking at the idea of developing a connectivity ordinance.

• Called for a public hearing for a Zoning Map Amendment of real property owned by Gateway West Apartments LLC from RS-40 (Residential, Single Family) to RM-18-S (Residential, Multifamily – Special) at 2070 Lewisville-Clemmons Road of a property containing 5.88 acres (Zoning Docket C-240). Rahimzadeh said that the Planning Board unanimously recommended denial in last week’s meeting.

• Called for a public hearing for a Zoning Map Amendment of real property owned by 2020 MOJO LLC from PB-S (Pedestrian Business – Special) to PB-S (Pedestrian Business – Special) of a property containing 1.351 acres (Zoning Docket C-243). Rahimzadeh said that the Planning Board unanimously recommended approval in last week’s meeting.

• Called for a public hearing for a Zoning Map Amendment to amend multiple sections in Chapter C Environmental Ordinance of the Unified Development Ordinances to strengthen stormwater requirements for public health, welfare and safety (Zoning Docket C-UDO-85).

Rahimzadeh said that the Planning Board recommended approval by a 6-1 vote in last week’s meeting.

• Adopted Resolution 2021-R-11 after receiving a voluntary annexation petition to allow the clerk and the attorney to work together to investigate for the certificate of sufficiency for the request of Mid-Atlantic Commercial Properties LLC for William Lindsay Vogler Jr. and Robert A. Vogler, Milo & White Investments LLC (Cary White), Impulse Energy II LLC (Stanley L. Forester, Manager) and Impulse Energy II LLC, consisting of 35.20 acres. The council will then call for a public hearing at the next meeting.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the Marketing/Communications report that the Farmers Market continues is averaging about 300 customers, despite the heat and late summer vacations, each Saturday morning at the Jerry Long YMCA. In upcoming events, another Movie Night in the Village is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, when “Night at the Museum” will be shown at the Y at sunset. The Dirty Dozen & Clemmons Bash is scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Y with registration still open. And the Monster Dash & Goblin Hop will be Sunday, Oct. 24, from 2-4 p.m. at the Village Point Greenway. Ford said she is working on a revamped format for project lists on the village’s website.

• Approved the disposition of old records per the retention schedule.

• Approved unsealing of closed session minutes of council meetings from Oct. 28, 2019 to Aug. 23, 2021