Clemmons addresses more development

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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Council discusses new Riverwalk project, hears more details on other property

The recent steady stream of developments going through the process by the Clemmons Village Council continued Monday night with a new addition just outside the town limits sparking a discussion.

Riverwalk, a proposed 540-home residential development on over 300 acres on Idols Road just across from Tanglewood Park and under the jurisdiction of Forsyth County, was on the agenda after the City/County Planning Board meeting held May 12 included a public hearing for Zoning Docket F-1617.

Village Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh had detailed in a memorandum to Marc Allred, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Project Planner, on the Riverwalk proposal not fully conforming with the objectives of the Clemmons Community Compass 2040 Comprehensive Plan and generating considerable traffic that will mostly travel into or through Clemmons.

He added that without a mix of uses as prescribed by both Clemmons and the county pertaining to future land use plans, the traffic generated by this development will reduce the level of service on roads in Clemmons, particularly Middlebrook Drive.
The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning Department staff recommended approval, including modified conditions — where it will next go before the County Commissioners, possibly in their June meeting.

After a lengthy discussion, the council decided to direct staff to craft a resolution “to make the development the best it can be” and talking points for Mayor Mike Rogers to verbalize the village’s position before the commissioners — with primary concerns being the density in regard to the impact on traffic and stormwater.

Doing so will require the council to call a special meeting to be determined before the commissioners’ June meeting.

“We want to get the best product,” Rogers said. “We are not opposed to residential. We are opposed to industrial. I believe that is what we basically said on the industrial park.”

Clemmons opposed the proposed Idols Road Industrial Park several years ago, and Forsyth County eventually decided to cancel the project.

Council member Michelle Barson said she thought “the best answer is for it to be annexed (into Clemmons) so that we can at least control the stormwater and traffic piece of it.”

However, Rahimzadeh said that in the City/County Planning Board meeting that developer Greg Garrett did inquire about the development being annexed, but “that almost immediately disappeared from any further engagement with staff. I don’t expect Mr. Garrett to show any interest in wanting to annex.”

Rahimzadeh said that meeting featured “a pretty interesting, spirited debate” with two Planning Board members, George Bryan and Melynda Dunigan, “expressing concerns with the density of the development.”

Rahimzahem noted that the property is in Growth Management Area 4 and Growth Management Area 5 but is treated as a Growth Management Area 3 due to water and sewer (Idols Road Pump Station) access.

Among the modified conditions mentioned were widening the southbound approach of Middlebrook Drive with exclusive left and right turn lanes, and widening the approaches on Idols Road as it turns into the Riverwalk main entrance, and on Foxpark Drive, which is supposed to be the secondary access.

Rahimzadeh said that the village’s area plan is not adopted by the county and added if this is indeed on the agenda for the next county commissioners’ meeting, “I wouldn’t be shocked if this is approved.”

In other business Monday night, also involving development, the council called for a public hearing for a zoning map amendment for Main Street Village Point LLC (Zoning Docket C-246) for mixed-use buildings containing 156 multifamily units and 4,240 square feet of retail space.

Rahemzadeh said that last week’s Planning Board meeting was two hours and 35 minutes and included two rezoning requests, including Main Street Village Point LLC.

“We did bring up issues such as density, parking and height restrictions,” he said. “It still received recommended unanimous approval.”

That was followed by Gateway West Apartments LLC (Zoning Docket C-248), which calls for 39 multifamily units on 5.88 acres. It was continued further “as there are some site plan concerns regarding that,” according to Rahemzadeh.

The zoning map amendment from RS-40 (Residential, Single Family) to RM8-S (Residential Multifamily — Special) for property at 2070 Lewisville-Clemmons Road on 5.88 acres was postponed until the June 21 Planning Board meeting after chairman Brad Hunter requested a clear understanding of the board’s concerns in writing. The motion was unanimously approved.

Of course, the previous council meeting included representatives of Harper Acres (Zoning Docket C-247) asking for a continuation of its project to the June 27 meeting. This followed the Planning Board holding a public hearing of a zoning map amendment and preliminary major subdivision review last month on 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.

Also in Monday night’s meeting, council member Mike Combest provided a Transportation Advisory Committee update on projects related to Clemmons, which was highlighted by the Lewisville-Clemmons Road improvement project, with a price tag of just over $40 million still being “on schedule” with right-of-way (fiscal years 2023-25), utilities (fiscal years 2023-24) and construction (fiscal years 2025-28).

“The bottom line on all of that is that it’s still healthy and still in program and barring any unforeseen circumstances proceeding on pace,” he said.

Combest also noted Clemmons requesting to transfer grant funding from the U.S. 158 Sidewalk Project to sidewalk projects on Harper Road with the village prepared to repay $181,000 already spent and meet the 20% local match for new projects. This will come up for action in the July meeting.

In addition, Combest said that there is “a boatload” of money available for infrastructure projects, and that “we can compete for funds” for transportation grants.

Rogers said that he thought “this might be an opportunity for us to go back for our 158 project and get it fast-tracked between Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Harper Road, and include sidewalks.”

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

• Was formally presented with the fiscal year 2022-23 fiscal year budget and called for a public hearing on June 13 to adopt the Budget Ordinance and to set the Stormwater Utility Fee Rate.

• Heard from Village Manager Mike Gunnell regarding a request from council to look into ideas on improving employee retention. He said he took it to staff and top ideas included Public Works having flexible hours (which would be a benefit for the staff and the public), birthday holidays, employee longevity pay, insurance assistance, and a sign-on bonus where the new hire and the employee who made the suggestion could earn a $500 bonus after six months.

• Approved enacting a moratorium of off-premise ground signs.

• Approved a resolution and policy establishing control access to facilities.

• Approved an American Rescue Plan Act conflict of interest policy.