Clemmons de-annexation on table in Raleigh vote

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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CLEMMONS — Raleigh legislators will convene Wednesday to vote on a bill that initially concerned de-annexation for property in Fuquay-Varina, a town in southeastern Wake County, but that just last month carried a rider that would carve properties out of Clemmons.

Just how exactly it got on onto the bill remains a mystery.

The bill passed the N.C. General Assembly in its original form, but the element that pertains to Clemmons was not added until the bill was up for review by the state senate. During the committee process, Sen. Steve Jarvis of District 30, which covers Davie and Davidson counties, tacked on the Clemmons de-annexation proposal.

Request for comment from Jarvis’ office was not returned by the Courier deadline. A request for comment from Rep. Erin Pare (District 37, Wake County), the bill’s original sponsor, was declined.

The addition to the bill “removes three parcels, (520, 1526 and 1532 Lewisville-Clemmons Road), from the corporate limits of the Village of Clemmons” and would take effect for “taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2023.”

The problem is that the property owners, the Voglers, and Clemmons village officials oppose the measure.

In a statement from Clemmons Mayor Mike Rogers, he laid out his opposition in plain terms.

“We understand this bill has been sent back to the House for action and is on the calendar for July 12,” Rogers said. “The village has reached out to other mayors for their support in opposing the forced de-annexation of three Clemmons parcels that was approved in the third edition on June 26. This edition to House Bill 5 occurred without the knowledge or request of either the property owners or the village. We have passed along this mayors collation of support to numerous representatives for their assistance in ensuring this rogue action does not reach approval in the House.”

In a June 26 letter to Raleigh officials, the Voglers expressed similar dissent. That letter is being published here in its entirety.

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“We, the joint property owners of the three parcels listed in Part II of House Bill 5, are 100% opposed to our property’s inclusion in this bill. We have never requested de-annexation, and those who indicate otherwise have no authority to do so. We view this action as a forceful taking of our property. This action will almost certainly harm our property value, and we are staunchly opposed.

We enjoy Clemmons and are determined to stay in the village. For someone without consultation to remove us from this jurisdiction is wrong. The Village treats us well and we have no desire to leave. Our family has owned this property for decades and are opposed to any action to remove it from the Village of Clemmons.

We are determined to take all necessary actions to remain a part of this community.

We, the property owners, did not ask for this nor do we support it. We were never informed of this revision to House Bill 5. We do not consent. We are determined to remain in Clemmons and ask that our parcels be removed from House Bill 5. We ask you to take all necessary action to revise this bill and remove our three properties. For further reference, these are identified as Forsyth County Parcel Identification Numbers 5884-98-0192, 5884-98-002, 5884-97-0932.”

A line including the signee’s phone number was removed for privacy reasons.

• • •

The properties in question have been at the center of de-annexation discussions before. A site plan for the property submitted for village consideration in 2021 was ultimately withdrawn before the village council could deny it. The pitch made before the Clemmons Planning Board received a recommendation of denial.

Concerns expressed at the time regarded the impact on traffic in the area if a large-scale, mixed-use development was permitted to be constructed. A traffic study showed that the proposed development will add more than 16,500 vehicle trips daily to Lewisville-Clemmons Road, described in the study as “the backbone and business artery of Clemmons.”

Such an uptick would constitute a 63% increase over the most recent count reported by the North Carolina Department of Transportation of 26,500.

At the time, village officials related concerns that with so many new cars, the roadways could become clogged in addition to the extra wear and tear the roads would endure. If de-annexation occurred, Clemmons would have no input on the development impacts.

Local developer Stan Forester, who wishes to develop the properties under consideration for de-annexation, sees things differently.

“(Clemmons) wants to see it developed as single-family residential, and I want it to be developed commercial in the front and higher density in the back,” Forester said.

Forester also said, “(Clemmons) has a lot of regulations that are unique to them. Their vision and my vision are not the same.”

Forester acknowledged that he would like to see the bill pass the house, although it is still not clear how development could take place if the Voglers don’t wish to see their property.

A March email from the Voglers to Forester obtained by the Courier indicated a desire to cease negotiations for the sale of the property.

“After your years of working on this project you are no closer today and further from zoning changes than when you began,” the email read. “Based on many factors that have been tried by your group has alienated local authorities and any chance of you working with CLEMMONS is slim to none.”

In closing, the email said, “Thanks for your offer however we have no interest in further negotiations at this time … We have no interest in participating (in the house bill) and further alienating CLEMMONS.”

Following the Wednesday vote in Raleigh, the story will be updated.