Gateway West Townhomes project denied

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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Citing traffic concerns for the proposed Gateway West Townhomes, the Clemmons Village Council unanimously voted to deny a petition to rezone the property in Zoning Docket C-248 in Monday night’s meeting.
Representatives for Gateway West Townhomes LLC presented their case in a public hearing, requesting the change from RS-40 (Residential, Single-Family) to RM-8-S (Residential, Multifamily – Special) at 2070 Lewisville-Clemmons Road and the intersection of Culler Road for 40 townhomes and duplexes on 5.88 acres.
Council member Mike Combest, in offering his position, stated the main reason for disapproving the request “is that the development fails to meet the Village of Clemmons standards regarding traffic. The requested rezoning will, in fact, make an already unsatisfactory situation worse.”
Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh said, “What we saw looks like a Level of Service drop for the eastbound approach at the intersection of Hanesbrook Circle and Lewisville-Clemmons Road. It goes from Level of Service D to E.”
Combest added that the Traffic Impact Analysis associated with C-248 states there will be a drop in an already unacceptable Level of Service at that intersection and is confirmed by the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which “explicitly establishes Levels of Service E and F as ‘unacceptable.’ ”
According to the UDO, Level of Service E is “unacceptable … Freedom to maneuver within the traffic stream is extremely difficult, and it is generally accomplished by forcing a vehicle or pedestrian to ‘give way’ to accommodate such maneuvers. Comfort and convenience levels are extremely poor, and driver or pedestrian frustration is extremely high. Operations at this level are usually unstable.”
Bryan Scott, an attorney representing the petitioner, said that the developer has made a lot of modifications before the planning board “to really get the property and the proposed development down from a much higher density.”
Scott said the original proposal called for two four-story buildings with 48 units each for a total of 96 units.
“Over time and consultation with the neighborhood, the West Meadows neighborhood mostly and the planning board, they have scaled that back to right at 40 units with a single access loop road,” he said, adding all the surrounding properties are multifamily apartments. “This property
has essentially just been left behind. It hasn’t been developed for a long period of time.”
Rahimzadeh said that the project received approval by a 6-1 vote in the June 21 planning board meeting.
Council member Chris Wrights asked representatives of the petitioner about any recommendations for improvements to help alleviate the drop in the Level of Service regarding traffic, and the response was there are limited improvements that can be made for traffic at that intersection on Lewisville-Clemmons Road.
Council member Bradley Taylor said that with all the multifamily communities already in the area, and with the median on Lewisville-Clemmons Road forcing some U-turns and the nearby church that has an off-duty officer to manage the traffic during busy times, he has a concern for traffic overall throughout that area of Clemmons.
In his remarks, Combest said that according to a staff report dated July 5, the existing current trip generation is 9.43 gross trips per day compared to the proposed trip generation with the new development of 270 gross trips per day.
“Our council is not obligated by statute or ordinance or principal to approve requests for rezoning,” Combest continued. “We are expressly chartered by our ordinances to ‘promote the health, safety and general welfare of residents within Clemmons’ by applying the regulations and standards listed in our Development Ordinance.
“In this case, we do so by not continuously overloading roadways and intersections already operating at unsatisfactory levels of service. We do so by disapproving the petition to rezone the property in Docket C-248 from RS-40 to RM-8-S.”
The council followed by moving to deny the rezoning request “because it does not meet our traffic requirements.”
In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:
• Shared that the rezoning request for Harper Acres will now come before the council in the Aug. 22 meeting, which will include a public hearing, instead of the Sept. 12 meeting, which was announced in the previous council meeting. It will still go back to the planning board on Aug. 16. In the June 27 meeting, the council approved voluntary annexation for the two tracts owned by Jasper L. Harper Sr. and Jasper L. Harper Jr. for a combined 26.76 acres from RS-40 (Residential, Single-Family) to RS-20-S (Residential, Single-Family – Special) that includes 58 lots east of Michelle Drive and north of Lismore Street, and continued the rezoning request.
• Approved a budget amendment for Market Center Drive, which covers some changes from Phases II-A and II-B as well as some modifications to Phase I-B, and includes $500,000 in state funding. “This should be enough to complete the project,” said Village Manager Mike Gunnell. “We hope to have everything done sometime in August.”
• Again discussed final changes to Zoning Docket C-UDO-87, amending multiple sections of the Clemmons Unified Development Ordinances. Council consensus was given to the planner for another draft before approval.
• Approved a quote from Carolina CAT for $87,866 to retro fit the village’s limb truck and approved a quote from Parker Farms for $46,430 for a new Kubota tractor – with Parker Farms offering $4,500 for a trade-in for the village’s 18-year-old tractor.
• Received a quarterly stormwater report from Emily Harrison, stormwater technician. Harrison also introduced Haley Bowman, the village’s new stormwater technician.