County commissioners visit for ‘informal community meeting’

Published 12:28 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Residents come to Clemmons Branch Library to express concerns, get answers

The Clemmons Village Council frequently has been frustrated by a lack of communication from the Forsyth County commissioners over the impact of growth “outside our borders” but hopes a recent meeting might signal the start of a positive change.
During Monday night’s meeting, council member Bradley Taylor mentioned an “informal community meeting” held the previous Monday, March 6, at the Clemmons Branch Library put on by County Commissioner Dan Besse with about 50 local residents in attendance.
Besse is an at-large representative on the board, where members represent various districts. Commissioner Tonya McDaniel, who is a District A representative, also was in attendance.
Taylor added that the majority of the council came for the meeting, so the village made notice of a quorum to the public to be in compliance.
“I would say the sentiment in the room was that our residents want better communication about projects that may be within the village or the surrounding boundaries that may be unincorporated Forsyth County,” Taylor said. “I think we got a pretty good feeling from Commissioner Besse and Commissioner McDaniel that they are interested in better communication and coming out and see things that may be affecting the Clemmons population.
“Just speaking on behalf of the council, I think it was a good conversation, and I think at least it might be a step in the right direction of having a little bit more community information shared and received for projects that are outside of our village limits that may be affecting our residents.”
Besse, who held another public input meeting Monday night at the Fourteenth Street Community Center in Winston-Salem, made introductions and explained the roles and responsibilities of various elected bodies within Forsyth County and other items before opening up the session for questions from the crowd.
Topics included were the Tanglewood Business Park and Riverwalk subdivision off Idols Road with more than 500 homes on 300 acres just outside the village limits that will significantly impact the local infrastructure. Many of the residents in attendance live in and around the area of Clemmons West and Idols Road.
“They expressed many points of view and concerns regarding safety concerns, traffic implications and inconsistency in public awareness and communication by the county,” Taylor said, adding he and other council members present thanked Besse and McDaniel for coming to Clemmons and “being open to positive, productive and collaborative projects and communication pathways with the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners (and City-County Planning Board). We hope for improved communication and collaboration.”
During Monday night’s council meeting, Mayor Mike Rogers said, “It was nice having the commissioners to actually come to Clemmons and ask for our input.”
Besse noted the “excellent turnout and participation” at the meeting and added, “Tonya McDaniel and I know what is on your minds regarding community and county issues.”
In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:
• Approved an Interlocal Agreement between Clemmons and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission for a Sewer Main Extension to serve the village’s Harper Road property and the Blanket Bottom East Service Area. It will be put in by the City of Winston-Salem. The estimated cost for Clemmons is $250,000 with the money coming out of the sewer reserve fund.
• Approved the low bid of $90,948 from Lakey’s Backhoe Service in Mocksville for the Public Works water line extension. Village Manager Mike Gunnell said that $100,000 had been budgeted for the project, leaving room for a 10 percent contingency.
• Heard from council member Mary Cameron, who wanted to thank planner Doug Moore “for going over and above this week” in helping solve an issue for a citizen and then looking forward on how to handle this same kind of issue in the future.
• Heard from Rogers about participating in a recent ribbon cutting for Dog-Eared Coffee Company in River Ridge Shopping Center on the north end of Clemmons.
• Heard from Rogers on going to a recent breakfast at West Forsyth High put on by the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools nutrition team, saying it was very informative and that he heard a lot of positive comments about Clemmons, including “a lot of folks who are on that team want to live here.”