Clemmons looking at pedestrian crossing at West Forsyth

Published 12:27 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

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Council gives priority to Harper Road and Idols Road sidewalk projects

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council closed out the month of February by considering the next moves in pursuing a potential pedestrian crossing at West Forsyth and long-anticipated sidewalk projects along Harper and Idols roads in Monday night’s meeting.

The council heard a presentation in an October meeting regarding traffic and safety issues around local schools — including West Forsyth High School, which has more than 2,000 students — leading to a “road map” to address safety issues with vehicular and pedestrian traffic to kick off the new year.

Then in Monday night’s meeting, Mike Gunnell, who was elevated from interim manager to new manager in the previous meeting, followed up with a possible action plan.

Gunnell cited the previous meetings and concerns expressed from the public and a recent meeting with Kevin Spainhour, West’s principal, who said he had been contacted by several local residents — particularly those living in the neighborhood across the street.

“What I wanted to ask council is to see if there is any interest in doing an estimate and talk to DOT on what it would take to add a pedestrian crossing at the light in trying to help some of those students get across,” Gunnell said. “It would be a short extension of the sidewalk from the current subdivision that’s across from West up to the light and then possibly looking at putting pedestrian lights there at the intersection.”

Gunnell said that what he was basically looking for was “council’s permission to go to the next step and let me report back to you what the cost estimate would be to see what it would take to get it done.”

Council member Mike Combest said, “I’ll recommend that we take the action you just recommended.”

Mayor Mike Rogers then asked for council consensus, which was greeted by enthusiastically positive responses.

Then in a late addition to the agenda, Gunnell said that Clemmons had four sidewalk projects that have already been approved by the Transportation Advisory Council — U.S. 158, two on Harper Road – from Trinity Elms to Morgan Elementary, and then from Morgan to the Jerry Long YMCA, and Idols Road — and that he recently heard from DOT wanting an update.

Gunnell said that he had spoken to Kelly Garvin of the TAC about how the village can allocate those funds and if they can be moved from one project to another, particularly with the recent high construction costs involved. Here’s the breakdown in costs for the four projects:

• U.S. 158: Total federal funding, $2,110,400; total local match, $527,600; grand total, $2,638,000

• Harper Road (from Trinity Elms to Morgan Elementary): Total federal funding, $531,200; Total local match, $132,800; Grand total, $664,000
Harper Road (from Morgan Elementary to Jerry Long YMCA): Total federal funding, $1,001,000; Total local match, $250,250; Grand total, $1,251,250

• Idols Road (from Middlebrook Drive to Tanglewood): Total federal funding, $882,200; Total local match, $220,550; Grand total, $1,102,750
Gunnell said he wanted to gauge the council’s pulse “to see what projects we can do and if we need to look at moving some of the funds from one project to another or possibly delaying one of the projects.”

That was in reference to the U.S. 158 sidewalk project, considering DOT is currently doing a feasibility study for widening the busy road from Lewisville-Clemmons Road to Harper Road — with an estimate in getting the results of that study coming in late May or early June.

After Gunnell’s comments, Combest said, “I’d recommend to the council that we do kind of exactly what the manager said and take the 158 sidewalks and put them in, whatever the right word is, until the state executes their plan to widen 158, which will include it.

“Right now we have four projects approved, so we put that one on the very back burner, which gives us money to put towards higher priority projects, and we can put sidewalks from Trinitiy to Morgan, Morgan to the Y, and then after we get those done, the Idols Road area. I recommend we direct the village manager to take the staff actions required to make those adjustments.”

Council member Mary Cameron said, “I would agree,” and Combest then made a motion to do the two Harper Road projects first, and then Idols Road after they are completed — with U.S. 158 being the fourth priority. It was approved unanimously.

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

• Voted to send Zoning Docket C-246 back to the Planning Board, at the request of the developer, for further consideration, which would also include a public hearing and neighborhood meeting, for Zoning Map Amendment of real property owned by Main Street Village Point LLC from PB-S (Pedestrian Business — Special) to PB-S (Pedestrian Business — Special), located at 3060 Village Point Drive, consisting of 6.62 acres. The public hearing for the Planning Board will be April 19. The council will then call for the public hearing in its second meeting in April and then hold a public hearing May 9.

• Agreed to postpone Resolution 2022-R-5 directing the clerk to investigate a petition received under NCGS160-A-31 — Voluntary Annexation request of ALTA (Harper Acres) for Forsyth County properties of 12.31 acres and 14.45 acres owned by Jasper L. Harper Sr. and Jasper L. Harper Jr. until March.

• Called for a public hearing to be held on March 14 — Zoning Text Amendment to amend multiple sections in Chapter A Definition Ordinance, Chapter B Zoning Ordinance, Chapter C Environmental Ordinance and Chapter D Subdivision Ordinance of the United Development Ordinances per changes to N.C. General Statutes (Zoning Docket C-UDO-86).

• Received an additional update from Combest with a few changes for the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the council, mayor and manager in General Ordinances, and agreed to get a final proposed draft.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the Marketing/Communications report that last Saturday’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors finale in the month-long campaign at the Clemmons Food Pantry brought in 278 pounds of food along with $650 donated.

• Approved Resolution 2022-R-3 designating new manager Gunnell as the deputy finance officer in case someone else is needed to sign checks in the absence of finance officer Ann Stroud.

• Approved Resolution 2022-R-4 accepting Hampton Chase HOA stormwater basin while classified as an integrated infiltration system and wet detention basin.