Harper Acres development next on docket for Clemmons Council

Published 10:59 am Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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Planning Board recommended unanimous denial

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Expect a large crowd for the next Clemmons Village Council meeting on May 9 when the proposed Harper Acres residential development comes before the board for a public hearing for a rezoning request and annexation.

During Monday night’s meeting, the council approved the certificate of sufficiency for the voluntary annexation request from the property owners, Jasper L. Harper Sr. and Jasper L. Harper Jr., along with Resolution 2022-R-6 for setting the public hearing on the question of annexation.

Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh reported that the Planning Board held a public hearing last Tuesday, April 19, of a zoning map amendment and preliminary major subdivision review located on two tracts for a combined 26.76 acres to include 58 lots east of Michelle Drive and north of Lismore Street, and recommended unanimous denial with the adoption of the inconsistency statement of Zoning Docket C-247.

“It was a pretty spirited conversation,” Rahimzadeh said. “The meeting lasted about an hour and a half. Full house. The council should probably expect the same.”

There were approximately 140 people in attendance, and 86 written comments were submitted prior to the Planning Board meeting. Many families in the Waterford neighborhood have expressed concerns since word got out about the potential development and the impact on the existing infrastructure and environment for the property.

Among those speaking in the Planning Board public hearing, attorney Gray Wilson, who said he was there on behalf of the Waterford Homeowners’ Association, submitted a report from land planner Robert Grasso, who was unable to attend, as well as a petition.

According to the minutes from the meeting, Wilson stated that the local roads to which the development would connect, Dunmore Court and Lismore Street, are approximately 22 feet wide with no sidewalks and lots of pedestrian traffic, and need to be widened with sidewalks

He also advised that the development should connect to Harper Road or at least produce a revised traffic impact analysis, and added that the proposed density could create erosion and stormwater issues affecting Blanket Creek.

Further, Wilson said that the development is inconsistent with the character of the surrounding uses and advised that the HOA was seeking denial for the present configuration and recommended that it be sent back to the drawing board for adjustments.

April Jacobs, who lives at 3505 Innisfall Court and is a resident of Waterford and representing the HOA, said that the neighborhood welcomes development as long as it’s consistent, but the proposed lots are still substantially smaller than the existing Waterford lots, and the development will likely worsen erosion and flooding.

Scott Fowler, who stated he represented the adjacent property owners to the south, said they share the concerns of the HOA representatives.

Tonya Powell, a proponent who spoke in rebuttal, said that the review of the Traffic Impact Analysis performed by Kimley Horn on behalf of Clemmons found the analysis to be satisfactory and that some of the numbers used were actually conservative and accounted for more traffic
than may be actually be generated. She added the development is consistent with the future land use plan designation of cluster residential.

Jasper Harper Jr., one of the property owners, stated that he has been a member of the community for 40 years, and his family, including his father who owns the other parcel, have been residents even longer. He added his family has previously sold land that is now a part of the adjacent Waterford subdivision and that he would like to see progress made for people to have a place to live.

After closing the public hearing, Planning Board members discussed many of the points mentioned, along with all the concerns, and Kevin Farmer made a motion to adopt the inconsistency statement as stated in the Statement of Plan Consistency and recommended denial for Zoning Docket C-247. Tom Mekis seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

In other business in Monday night’s meeting, the council voted to reallocate funds from the Kinnamon Road Bridge Feasibility Study to a traffic study for all schools in the Village.

“Right now we have $200,000, and I understand there might be interest in doing something else,” said Rahimzadeh, adding he would like to hear from council on how to proceed.

Council member Mike Combest then replied, “I recommend that we allocate those funds toward study and potential solutions to the challenge of congested traffic and school dropoff and pickup.”

When asked for more specifics by Rahimzadeh on how wide he should go when changing the scope for the project, Combest said, “You know what I’m going to say is however wide we need to go. Obviously as much as we can get for $200K, however comprehensive we can make that analysis I think is what we want.”

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

• Had a two-hour budget workshop for fiscal year 2022-23 prior to the council meeting.

• Approved a preconstruction contract with A. Morton Thomas and Associates Inc. (AMT) for $207,000 for the inspection and construction administration of the Tanglebrook Trail and Springside Drive Stormwater CIP Projects.

• Heard from Shannon Ford, marketing and communications director, that the first Farmers Market on Saturday, May 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Jerry Long Family YMCA will coincide with the return of the Clemmons Community Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Heard from Connie Wayne, who lives at 1330 Glen Oaks Drive, regarding concerns about water runoff and potential flooding events at her property, which is on the village’s stormwater Capital Improvement List. She asked for Clemmons to revisit the project on the list, and Town
Manager Mike Gunnell said he would take a look at the issue.

• Approved a contract from Gibson & Company P.A. for audit services.

• Approved Resolution 2022-R-7 declaring May 2022 as Historic Preservation Month in Clemmons.

• Approved Ordinance 2022-03 amending portions of the Code of Ordinances to decriminalize certain violations.