Clemmons facing another de-annexation request: Village working with property owners on Lewisville-Clemmons Road to have their land removed from House Bill 5 proposal

Published 12:10 am Thursday, July 6, 2023

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For the Village of Clemmons, another de-annexation proposal on the western side of Lewisville-Clemmons Road near River Center Drive feels like déjà vu all over again.

That may be an old saying from baseball player Yogi Berra, but Clemmons officials expressed their concerns involving what Village Manager Mike Gunnell called a “last-minute addition of properties addressed as 1520, 1526 and 1532 Lewisville-Clemmons Road” to House Bill 5 last week that was one of the first bills introduced in January originally only involving the town of Fuquay-Varina.

“Almost as quickly, we met with the joint property owners to understand their adamant opposition to their property’s inclusion in this bill,” Gunnell said. “The Village of Clemmons and the property owners are working together to have these Clemmons properties removed from the bill. It is our understanding that at this time, there is no information on exactly who lobbied for this action.”

The properties in Clemmons are owned by Robert Vogler and William Vogler.

The village fought a similar situation early in 2019 involving the same property when the Clemmons Village Council adopted a resolution opposing de-annexation for a small segment of land in the village limits for a proposed mixed-use development on 38 acres.

Instead of agreeing to a request from Stan Forester for the de-annexation of 2.5 acres of land at that prime location, the council maintained its preference for the developer annexing the larger portion of the tract in the unincorporated area of Forsyth County into the village.

The resolution said that Clemmons and its citizens “should receive the benefit of the property being developed to the village’s standards as well as the property tax revenue as required to balance any consequences new developments bring.”

It further stated that the village, which had concerns about how the property might be developed, adopted this resolution in opposition to Senate Bill 205, House Bill 392 or any other bills addressing the same property and that this document would be transmitted to the members of the General Assembly to assure their knowledge of the village’s position.

At that time, Forester, who developed the nearby River Ridge Shopping Center, made the de-annexation request of the three tracts from Clemmons to the N.C. Legislature with the intent to develop the land through the county’s zoning auspices.

Forester, who also was unsuccessful at the time in his request to seek a modification to the future land use map in the area, said he tried to work with the village in the past without success and that the primary reason he filed for de-annexation was because 94 percent of this property is in Forsyth County.

Ultimately, it took council member Mike Combest driving down to Raleigh twice in May 2019 — once in the wee hours of the morning — to help stop an 11th-hour drop of the House bill.
However, even then, he made the following comment after it was all over: “We appear to have stopped this de-annexation effort, but we’re confident everything can be tried again. We’ll be keeping a close watch.”

That time has come again.

House Bill 5 was filed as a local bill — with no opposition — for the town of Fuquay-Varina De-annexation on Jan. 26. It was referred to as “an act to remove certain described property from the corporate limits of the town of Fuquay-Varina,” and gained unanimous House approval on March 7.

The latest bill was amended and updated on June 26 to Fuquay Varina/Clemmons De-annexations with similar language, plus identifying the three parcels to be removed from the village. After being the “last-minute addition” that Gunnell referred to, House Bill 5 soared through the Senate Finance Committee and Rules and Operation Committee before ultimately clearing the Senate. It is now on the House floor calendar for July 12.

Clemmons Mayor Mike Rogers offered this comment regarding the matter: “As local elected officials, it is our duty and responsibility to look after the health, safety and welfare of our residents and their properties. The Voglers are long-standing Clemmons residents, and we are committed to support their efforts against unsolicited de-annexation. They have expressed their determination to remain in the Village of Clemmons.”