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Twin-home development gets zoning change OK

Springfield Village to fill need ‘for different change of product’

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council approved a change in a zoning map amendment for a proposed twin-home development with 26 units on 13 acres off of Springfield Farm Road in Monday night’s meeting.

Zoning Docket C-242 for Springfield Village, a property owned by Pennston Corp. from RS-9 (Residential Single Family) to RM-5-S (Residential Multifamily – Special) received unanimous approval following a public hearing.

Brant Godfrey, representing the developers of Springfield Farms and Springfield Village, said, “We started this in 1993, and this is the last bit of land that will be developed in the neighborhood.”

In an area surrounded by RS-9 parcels, this one will be different with the twin-home concept.

“What we’re asking for is not any greater density than exists in the neighborhood now, but a slightly different change of product, and the reason for that is that we’ve seen a need and a desire for this sort of twin housing in other neighborhoods that we’re involved in,” Godfrey said, saying many folks no longer want to take care of the landscaping.

Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh said that the overall parcel is 54 acres, much of which is a flood plain/wetlands and won’t be developed, but that the front portion of 13 acres was the only part proposed to be rezoned.

He said that the developer’s willingness to change to a U-shape road with two public access routes, including a sidewalk, was a positive change in a development that has a density of just two units per acre, two less than required.

Councilwoman Mary Cameron said that she likes the new design and a safer, better look, pointing out that prices for the twin homes would be in the high $200,000 range.

“I’m all for different types of housing and choices,” said Cameron, who added that the development would be cared for with an HOA and that stormwater would be under the management of the HOA. “It’s been said that we shouldn’t amend zoning, but I don’t agree. Times change and households are not the same as five or 10 years ago. It’s a good idea to keep up with the times.”

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Krista Cudar, who lives on a property that backs up to Springfield Farm Road, spoke in opposition to the project — primarily because of the “horrible traffic” already on the road, which is considered a collector road.

Rahimzadeh said that this project, with an average peak under 20, doesn’t require a traffic analysis, but councilwoman Michelle Barson said that the village should look at that road and area based on the traffic concerns expressed by Cudar and others in the community.

“I think what I’m hearing is that there’s already a traffic issue,” she said. “It doesn’t sound to me that people are as concerned about the project itself.”

Councilman Mike Rogers added: “There’s a future road, a connector from Springfield Farm to Lewisville-Clemmons Road, and it will continue on to Peace Haven Road once the Beltway is built, so Springfield Farm is going to become more of a thoroughfare than it is today. It’s a DOT project, which will end up continuing all the way to Lasater Road. Of course, this is years down the road.”

Also in Monday night’s meeting, the council heard from Keith Green, the Clemmons representative on the Triad Municipal ABC Board, regarding complaints and concerns on availability of alcohol due to supply chain issues, including lack of truck drivers and a glass shortage.

“It’s a perfect storm that’s affecting the board here and boards also the country, but we are aware of it,” Green said. “We know that a pandemic is going on, but the demand is high. It would be ideal if everyone could get what they order.”

Barson said she had heard from the manager of the ABC store and some local restaurants and their inability to get some of the most basic liquors for their customers and therefore affecting their business.

Green said that a recurring problem has been that once the orders are put in, sometimes the trucks don’t bring what was expected, but it seems to ebb and flow between empty shelves to sometimes being fully stocked.

“So one truck may have an order for 1,400 cases but only show up with only 400 cases,” he said. “There’s a lot of issues like that. The information that we have given is that is this is all they have. Then once we start digging deeper, we find out there’s shortages of drivers in the state, there’s shortages with glass.

“Things are going pretty good in terms of what the numbers look like, but it could be even better if liquor was available.”

In another item on the agenda, the council approved an updated draft with stronger language in opposition to N.C. Senate Bill 105 and its proposed legislation on environmental budget provisions with specific emphasis on stormwater.

In the previous meeting, Wes Kimbrell, stormwater engineer, said that this bill, if approved, would wipe out the village’s stormwater program except for the water quality portion of it.

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.

“Everything that we’re addressing in this is all included in the House version of the budget, but these are all non-budget items,” Barson said. “It would be great if it was taken out so they could focus on what actually costs money as opposed to some of these other changes that have nothing to do with their state spending.”

Cameron added, “We should also point out that Clemmons has literally millions of dollars of stormwater problems, and if this is passed, we will not be able to do any of them.”

Then there was this from councilman Mike Rogers: “We would not be able to address these issues and as infill development comes we would only be able to mitigate a certain amount of runoff, and it would flood neighborhoods downstream from this. And what we do today as far as replacing piping would be outdated in five to 10 years if infill is allowed to go high density with minimum requirements on runoff.”

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

• Heard from Village Manager Scott Buffkin that there has been some interest in a property on Harper Road that the village owns and has on the market, and that the former library property owned by Forsyth County on U.S. 158 has had interest but no formal offers at this point.

• Heard from Rogers in a Transportation Advisory Committee update that the Clemmons request for a bicycle/pedestrian study to be reduced to only a pedestrian study passed with a total cost of $50,000 with the village responsible for paying $10,000 in a 20% match.

• Approved a letter of support for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council — Build Back Better Challenge Grant — for next generation manufacturing after a presentation from Matthew Dolge, executive director for the PTRC.

• Approved Ordinance 2021-19 enacting and adopting Supplement to the Codes of Ordinance.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the Marketing/Communications report that the Farmers Market will continue each Saturday morning at the Jerry Long YMCA from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. through Oct. 24. In upcoming events, the Clemmons Fall CleanUp is ongoing through November with more details and registration that can be found on the village’s website. The Monster Dash & Goblin Hop will be different this year with a town-wide scavenger hunt and clues to be coming out next week. The Fall Medicine Drop will be a drive-through event on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Public Works Facility at 3800 Dillon Industrial Drive. And Ford added that the village partnered with the Y last weekend for the Dirty Dozen Race, which sold out with 350 participants, and the Clemmons Bash. “It was a great event, but we had to cap it due to COVID restrictions,” she said.