Council gets update on 2003 Village Point Small Area Plan

Published 9:56 am Monday, September 5, 2022

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Comparison to reality of 2022 shows significant differences

Remember 2003? It was the year that George W. Bush was serving his first term as president, “American Idol” and “Friends” were two of the top television shows, and things like Facebook and social media didn’t even exist.
Locally, it was the year when the Village Point Small Area Plan was implemented in Clemmons. And when Caroline Drake, planning technician, did a presentation on the 2003 plan, including a comparison to the current reality of 2022, in the Aug. 22 Clemmons Village Council meeting, it drew plenty of reaction.
“As I look at the 2003 version and the 2022 reality, I see such a significant difference and ask if the 2003 version is even useful anymore as a guide,” said council member Mike Combest.
Yes, it was a long time ago for sure.
In that year, the council approved a small area plan for 340 acres with a mixture of single-family residences and large, undeveloped tracts bound by Peace Haven Road to the north, I-40 to the south, Lewisville-Clemmons Road to the east and Harper Road to the west — serving as a guide for this geographic area.
It was established at the time as a detailed vision designed to set the course for future investment in this area, realizing the community had been described as lacking a “central core” with a plan proposing development opportunities targeted for Village Point.
Those included:
• Neighborhood retail and small office development at the intersection of Peace Haven and Lewisville-Clemmons roads
• Creation of the Clemmons Village Center, integrating retail, multi-family and entertainment uses along Lewisville-Clemmons Road
• Office campus opportunities between I-40 and Harper Road
• Residentially-scaled office development along Harper Road
• Single-family residential and townhome opportunities along Harper Road
• Creation of The Grove at Peace Haven and Harper, an upscale residential development.
At build-out, which Drake showed in her presentation, this plan proposed approximately:
• 169,500 square feet of retail
• 351,500 square feet of office
• 243 attached residential units
• 159 single-family detached units
• 7,500 square feet of restaurant space
• 4,500 square feet of bank space
• 12-18 screen theater
That compares to the 2022 reality numbers she shared:
• 72,000 square feet of retail
• 59,725 square feet of office
• 468 attached residential units (including those approved)
• 0 single-family detached units
• 73,950 square feet of restaurant space
• 19,200 square feet of bank space
• No theater
Obviously, there were some major shifts from the earlier projections to what has unfolded.
“This is just a recap of where we are and where we can go,” Drake said. “The plan from 2003 had a 15-year build-out for 2018, which is obviously still in the works.”
Combest said that the information was “very powerful” but added, “It no longer has any relevance to what we’re after. It’s a meaningless comparison, and let’s get rid of it.”
Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh pointed out that the 2003 Village Point Small Area Plan has been periodically updated by the Clemmons Community Compass, which is meant to supersede the plan. But he agreed that small area plans, after an extended period of time, do lose their utility if not updated and need to be reconsidered.
“The only thing I’d recommend is if we can keep design standards for the Small Area Plan,” Rahimzadeh said. “That’s preferable. I can look into the language again and review it.”
Combest contended he would be hard pressed to keep the design standards, too, but council member Mary Cameron said perhaps they should be considered with what is actually there now.
“What I’m saying is we need to look at what’s there now and have some kind of consistency,” she said. “I don’t want to have a brand new set of design standards that are going to look silly compared to what’s already there. Maybe we’re talking about two different things. If you want to throw out the plan, that’s one thing. If you want to throw out the architectural standards and the look of something, that’s a different matter.”
Council member Michelle Barson asked if it could made into an overlay district and not be tied to a plan. And council member Chris Wrights brought up another consideration — there are now only a couple of parcels left, and there’s not much land left to develop there.
Mayor Mike Rogers said, “I think we just need to start over with the whole kit and kaboodle with what’s there and look at design standards and what we envision in 2022 going forward and dump 2003 as Mr. Combest has said.”
Rahimzadeh concluded by saying that adding architectural standards could be put into zoning ordinances, and reiterated that the more recent Clemmons Community Compass could trump the older Village Point Small Area Plan.
“If we got rid of it, we’d only have this document,” he said of the Community Compass, “and we wouldn’t have to worry about the Small Area Plan document.”
As Rogers started to move on to the next item on the agenda after praising the work done by Drake on putting together the maps and the update, clerk Lisa Shortt asked about clarification on getting direction for the next step.
Village Manager Mike Gunnell then interjected, “What I took from it was you’re directing staff to go back and look at the design standards and to do away with the Small Area Plan and look at modifying the existing design standards if we have to fill in the gap. I will take a stab at putting something together and bring it back to council.”