2022 Year in Review

Published 12:10 am Thursday, December 29, 2022

It was another busy year for the local municipalities

Before moving forward to the new year, let’s revisit what happened in 2022 with a look back at highlights from the front pages of the Clemmons Courier:


• For the better part of 2021, the Town of Lewisville took on a dual initiative called “Lewisville Tomorrow” of updating the Comprehensive Plan along with the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Development Master Plan. (Jan. 6)
• The Clemmons Village Council took the next step in attempting to address growing traffic safety issues around local schools by forming an internal committee to work with representatives of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School System and the Department of Transportation. (Jan. 13)
• Scott Buffkin, who was hired five years ago as the new manager for the Village of Clemmons, resigned his position effective Jan. 14. Clemmons Mayor Mike Rogers and the village council made the announcement in a press release, which followed a special called council meeting that stated Buffkin submitted his resignation for personal reasons. (Jan. 20)
• West Forsyth High, Clemmons Middle and Lewisville Elementary were among the schools to report the highest number of positive cases of COVID for student and staff. (Jan. 27)


• Throughout the years, there’s been talk and a desire to have a community center in Clemmons, but nothing has ever come of it. However, an idea was pitched in the Jan. 24 village council meeting during a presentation by Sandi Scannelli, president and CEO of the Shallow Ford Foundation (formerly the Clemmons Community Foundation). That led to discussion and what Mayor Mike Rogers ultimately called hearing “unanimous intent and enthusiasm to proceed with looking for a future partnership and finding and building a community center.” (Feb. 3)
• Early last year — actually months before the sparkling, new Clemmons Branch Library opened on James Street in June — there was a “for sale” sign at the former library location on Clemmons Road. And nearly 40 years after the town’s first full-service library opened in August 1984 on land donated by Edgar and Melanie Broyhill, a buyer with a familiar name emerged for the old facility. Forsyth County accepted an offer of $715,000 from Old Clemmons School Library Properties LLC to purchase the property, including a 1.01 acre lot and 8,500-square-foot building at 3554 Clemmons Road. Broyhill owns Historic Broyhill Office Suites, the former location of the old Clemmons School that is next door to the east side of the property. (Feb. 10)
• The Village of Clemmons didn’t have to look far to find a new manager. In the Feb. 14 meeting, the council voted unanimously to appoint Mike Gunnell as village manager. Gunnell, who has held several positions with Clemmons since being hired in 2012, served as interim manager after Scott Buffkin resigned in January. (Feb. 17)
• After opening the month of February with a discussion on a variety of topics in its retreat, the Town of Lewisville turned its attention to projects with higher price tags. That started with the Williams Road Gateway Project, which was delayed in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic and then met with lack of response in 2021 because of the overall state of the economy and contractors being overwhelmed with work. (Feb. 24)


• 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 Road and Idols Road. 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. (March 3)
• Families in the Waterford neighborhood expressed concerns involving the impact on the existing infrastructure and environment over a potential development being considered. The proposal would add 77 units in the heart of Waterford, and a proposed request was submitted for annexation in the Village of Clemmons along with a rezoning application from R-40 to RS-15S. (March 10)
• After providing an update with more positive news involving the Blue Heron Trail project in Bermuda Run, Town Manager Lee Rollins offered what he said was “probably the most important thing for folks here” in March’s council meeting. And that was “to confirm that the engineering group for Chick-fil-A did submit a full site plan for consideration” for the popular fast-food restaurant chain moving ahead in in the shopping center anchored by Lowes Foods on N.C. 801 just off I-40. (March 17)
• During the March meeting of the Lewisville Town Council, Mayor Mike Horn threw out an interesting tidbit that he learned Forsyth County was planning on doing “a significant renovation at Joanie Moser Park, and they’ll be installing a lot more pickleball courts.” And Damon Sanders-Pratt, deputy county manager, confirmed that the county commissioners had indeed approved spending $200,000 in January toward development of nine pickleball courts. (March 24)
• Upon receiving word last spring that Clemmons would receive $6.6 million in federal relief funding through the American Rescue Plan as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were quickly put into place to use the money to address the growing stormwater problem. (March 31)


• One of the items in the Lewisville Town Council’s retreat earlier this year was a presentation on “the future of fire service” in the town. When Mayor Mike Horn was reviewing the possible impact on the topics submitted on the list, he said one that really “popped out” was the fire service and changes throughout the county with volunteer departments with some mergers and shifting of funding. However, Darin Needham, the town’s fire chief who shared a PowerPoint presentation in the retreat titled “Lewisville Fire Protection — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” said that it was meant more as a routine update to talk about some of the changes with fire protection in the county. (April 7)
• Shannon Ford, director of marketing and communications for the Village of Clemmons, started an initial exploration on gathering information for a community center and admitted what she found “was really exciting and somewhat surprising.” Ford gave a report in the April 11 village council meeting on her findings after meeting with representatives of the new Clemmons Branch Library, Jerry Long Family YMCA and Historic Broyhill Center. (April 14)
• It wasn’t part of the agenda for the April Lewisville Town Council meeting, but the biggest news in a three-hour session came near the end when Mayor Mike Horn announced that Town Manager Hank Perkins would be leaving his position late in May. “Our manager, after 10 years of doing an exemplary job and guiding us through a very exciting time in the town’s growth, has decided he wants to take a job up in Lake Lure,” Horn said. (April 21)
• There was a fairly steady stream of customers that came through the door April 23 at the Clemmons Civic Club for the organization’s first pancake breakfast in two years. Members of the West Forsyth Key Club were also on hand to volunteer in a variety of roles. (April 28)


• When notices went out to property owners on Idols Road adjacent to Tanglewood and the Yadkin River of a proposed new development by RS Parker to build over 500 single-family homes on over 300 acres, it didn’t take long for word to spread fast and elicit concerns regarding traffic, safety and the environment. (May 5)
• The popular Clemmons Community Day made its return to the Jerry Long Family YMCA May 7 after a two-year absence because of COVID-19 and the continuing pandemic, but it may have started a new tradition by joining forces for the first time with the Clemmons Farmers Market. Denise Heidel, the executive director of the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce, said that it was great to be back and also to share the venue on Opening Day with the Clemmons Farmers Market just across the way at an adjoining lot at the Y. (May 12)
• When May’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting was moved to the spacious WinMock At Kinderton Loft from Town Hall because of early voting, the timing seemed ideal to accommodate a large crowd expected for a rezoning request of 22.5 acres behind Lowes Foods for a proposed multi-family residential development. But it never happened. The applicant decided on May 10, the day of the meeting, to withdraw its request, meaning no public hearing and no action needed on the request that was met by overwhelming opposition by residents of Kinderton Village. (May 19)
• The recent steady stream of developments going through the process by the Clemmons Village Council continued May 23 with a new addition just outside the town limits that sparked 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 a public hearing for Zoning Docket F-1617 on May 12. Village officials stated their concerns of the impact on traffic and stormwater. (May 26)


• For Bermuda Run, it was a time of transition with Lee Rollins, the longtime town manager, announcing his plans to step aside at the end of June and Andrew Meadwell, senior planner and director of Davie County Development and Facilities Services for the past 18 years, being hired as his replacement. Rollins said he’s not getting any younger and wanted to explore what might be next after leading Bermuda Run’s government since August 2009. (June 2)
• The Shallow Ford Foundation, a community-based foundation serving Clemmons, Lewisville and Yadkin County, awarded scholarships to six graduates from West Forsyth High School. Scholarship recipients included John “Hank” Ewing, Allison Furbee, Mia Laws, Kristina Perdue, Janie Peterson and Daizha Rattley. (June 9)
• Drones as first responders … and in Clemmons? It could happen as the town was targeted by Forsyth County as the first choice for a Drone as First Responder Program. Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Barson was invited to be a part of a recent meeting including Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, Brian Mullins, the county sheriff’s office drone team leader, and Basil Yap of AeroX, to gauge the interest of Clemmons in being part of this pilot program. (June 16)
• As Stacy Tolbert recently took on the extra duties as interim manager to go along with being the town planner in Lewisville, Mayor Mike Horn talked about her wearing two hats on the job. That certainly was the case in the June Town Council meeting highlighted by her summary on the proposed fiscal year 2022-23 budget and being part of a discussion on possible modifications to the Lewisville Rural Overlay. (June 23)
• Once again, it was a packed house in Village Hall for the June 27 council meeting in anticipation of Harper Acres, a controversial residential development, coming before the board for the continuation of public hearings on the question of annexation and a rezoning request.
And like the last time appearing before the Village Council on May 9, Tonya Powell, an attorney with Nexsen Pruet in Raleigh and a proponent who was representing the applicant, was the first to the podium in the public hearing. She again asked for a continuance. (June 30)


• The Village of Clemmons got the word about receiving $500,000 in state funding with the passage of the state budget for 2022. The money was used to complete work on Market Center Drive from the east side of Lewisville-Clemmons Road from Ramada Drive to Cook Street. (July 7)
• 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 its July 11 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. (July 14)
• When it came time for Bermuda Run to start the search for a new manager, the town didn’t have to look far. In fact, Andrew Meadwell had been to quite a few town council meetings in his role as senior planner and director of Davie County Development and Facilities Services for the past 18 years. So when longtime manager Lee Rollins decided to step down in May, Meadwell — with his vast experience and familiarity with the community — was an obvious choice. (July 21)
• Clemmons received good news in its July 25 meeting from council member Mike Combest, the Village’s Transportation Advisory Committee representative, that a proposal to adjust and transfer more than $2.1 million in grant funding for two sidewalks projects along Harper Road had been approved. (July 28)


• It was a season full of accomplishments this summer for the Southwest Athletics 12U All-Star team. As state champions and Southeast Regional champions, the team earned a berth in the Cal Ripken World Series, the first team to advance to a World Series since 2017, and the players were recognized at the July 25 council meeting. (Aug. 4)
• One officer was injured and one individual died after an officer-involving shooting Aug. 5 in Clemmons. The suspect, who was identified as 26-year-old Alexander Weah of Charlotte, was located in the 2400 block of Lewisville-Clemmons Road at the Speedway gas station. (Aug. 11)
• It might not have been on the agenda for August’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting, but a number of residents from Kinderton Village continued to express concerns regarding a rezoning request involving a possible apartment complex behind the Lowes Foods shopping center.
This goes all the way back to when the applicant withdrew its initial rezoning request of 22.5 acres for the proposed multi-family residential development on the day of the council meeting in May. (Aug. 18)
• After months of changes and continuances, the village council finally addressed a rezoning request for Harper Acres, a proposed residential development, by denying Zoning Docket C-247 following a public hearing — much to the delight of a full house Aug. 22 in village hall.
The council had approved a request for voluntary annexation for the property in a June meeting, but the rezoning issue was continued a couple of times for two parcels owned by Jasper L. Harper Sr. and Jasper L. Harper Jr. from RS-40 (Residential, Single-Family) to RS-30-S (Residential, Single-Family — Special), located east of Michelle Drive and north of Lismore Street and Dunmore Court, consisting of 26.76 acres. (Aug. 25)


• Chris Paul left his mark at West Forsyth High School before he became a superstar at Wake Forest and then in the NBA. His name will now become a permanent part of the new gym floor at Simpson Gymnasium after the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education approved renaming the floor Chris Paul Court in Paul’s honor. (Sept. 1)
• The Clemmons Village Council got an update on the 2003 Village Point Small Area Plan in a presentation that included a comparison to the current reality of 2022 in the Aug. 22 council meeting. “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. (Sept. 8)
• The Village of Clemmons took the next step in possibly being the first Drone as First Responder Program in Forsyth County. In the Sept. 12 council meeting, Mayor Pro Team Michelle Barson gave an update to council members with more information on the high-tech pilot program and an outline on what’s ahead in the process. (Sept. 15)
• How much interest was there in a rezoning request involving a potential 270-unit apartment complex on 19 acres between Kinderton Village and the Lowes Foods shopping center? Well, it was enough for the Bermuda Run Town Council to move the Sept. 13 meeting from Town Hall to the Calvary West’s church auditorium in anticipation of a large crowd. The residents of Kinderton Village turned out in droves to state their opposition and then cheered loudly when the council voted 5-0 to deny the proposed conditional rezoning request after a two-and-a-half hour meeting. (Sept. 22)
• The Clemmons Village Council decided to take a different path with future transportation needs in its Sept. 26 meeting by putting the brakes on a pedestrian plan to instead look at taking a more comprehensive approach. (Sept. 29)


• What’s the latest with Lewisville-Clemmons Road improvements? After a lengthy NCDOT delay because of funding availability, Project U-6004, which is better known for proposed improvements on the busy stretch of Lewisville-Clemmons Road — including the I-40 interchange to U.S. 158 — was back on the drawing board. There was a public meeting held on Sept. 22 at River Oaks Community Church to give residents an opportunity to look at maps and other information along with asking questions to representatives from NCDOT and project manager Kimley-Horn on the proposed design. (Oct. 6)
• After going in a different direction in its previous meeting to consider a more comprehensive transportation approach, the Clemmons Village Council decided to revert back to a pedestrian plan that was originally approved in August. Ultimately, the decision came down to funding that had been in place since 2019 when the MPO (Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) approved the use of $40,000 of Surface Transportation Block Grant Direct Attributable (STBG-DA) funds with a $10,000 match from Clemmons — making a total of $50,000. (Oct. 13)
• For James Ayers, it was easy to see that coming to Lewisville as the new town manager was an ideal fit. “I actually came to visit, and this was long before my interview, and I just encountered so many wonderful, friendly people,” Ayers said. “I have visited there five times in the last several months, and each time that has held true.” Ayers, 59, who most recently served as the director of community and economic development for the Foothills Regional Commission and was the town manager of Manteo for nearly three years before that, was introduced at the Oct. 13 town council meeting to lead Lewisville’s staff. (Oct. 20)
• After hearing a review of the latest quarterly stormwater report in the Oct. 24 meeting, the Clemmons Village Council looked ahead in exploring a long-term action plan related to one of town’s top priorities now and going into the future. Emily Harrison, stormwater technician, gave a report on proceeding with work on regular culverts with the additional American Rescue Plan funds. (Oct. 27)


• The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office announced that the Drone as First Responder pilot program was live in Clemmons. It is the first of its kind in the state and one of only 11 programs with the applicable Federal Aviation Administration waivers nationwide. The program is designed to provide deputies with additional support for daily operations utilizing unmanned aircraft systems — commonly known as drones. (Nov. 3)
• Kathy Kovack knows she can never really step away from the Clemmons Food Pantry although she “retired” from her role as the executive director — a volunteer role — in the summer. Kovack, who joined the organization in 2004 as a volunteer and used her military experience and business management in various roles, was recognized in the Clemmons Village Council meeting on Oct. 24 for her years of service. (Nov. 10)
• Adrian Snow announced he was stepping down as West Forsyth’s football coach after 15 years of leading the program. Snow led the Titans to 122 wins, the most in school history, four Central Piedmont 4-A Conference Championships and 88 players who went on to play in college. (Nov. 17)
• The Chris Paul Family Foundation held its 12th annual Turkey Drive Nov. 19 at Truist Stadium, home of the Winston-Salem Dash, giving away 400 boxes of Thanksgiving goodness to families in the area. (Nov. 24)


• After discussing a pedestrian crossing on Lewisville-Clemmons Road at West Forsyth in its previous meeting, the Clemmons Village Council moved forward with the approval of a $150,000 budget amendment in its Nov. 28 meeting. The funding will cover the survey, design and construction costs, plus some contingency, to install a crosswalk with pedestrian signal heads at Southwest School Road and extending a short extension of the sidewalk across the street from West up to the traffic light. (Dec. 1)
• The annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony took place on Nov. 29 at Clemmons Village Hall with great attendance. Event-goers were treated to a series of Christmas songs from the Morgan Elementary School choir, a rousing performance from the West Forsyth drumline, plenty of fun activities for folks of all ages, and of course, an appearance from Santa Claus. (Dec. 8)
• With his pending retirement coming at the end of the year, Chief Jerry Brooks, the longtime leader of the Clemmons Fire Department, was awarded with a key to the city in the Dec. 12 village council meeting for his many years of distinguished service. Mayor Mike Rogers made the presentation to Brooks, who joined the fire department in 1971, which was all volunteers at that time, and advanced through the ranks to become chief in 1979. (Dec. 15)
• Brooks reflected on his life in Clemmons — with 51 years of service in the local fire department, including the last 43 as fire chief. (Dec. 22).