Harper Road rezoning request approved this time: Council now moving forward with Marty Lane sidewalk project

Published 12:10 am Thursday, November 16, 2023

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A little more than a year ago, the Clemmons Village Council addressed a rezoning request for a proposed residential development on Harper Road after months of changes and continuances by denying the project, much to the delight of a full house in village hall.

However, it was a different scenario in Monday night’s meeting as the council approved Zoning Docket C-255 with several changes from the August 2022 request and no one there to protest after residents from nearby Waterford had been vocal in their opposition to the original proposal — expressing concerns about the impact on the existing infrastructure, including traffic, safety and accessibility.

The approval by council for the zoning map amendment for PMA I Holdings for property owned by Jasper L. Harper Sr. and Jasper L. Harper Jr. from RS-30 (Residential Single Family, 30,000-square-foot lot size) to RS-20 (Residential Single Family, 20,000-square-foot lot size) for 26.76 acres on Harper Road located east of Michelle Drive and north of Lismore Street and Dunmore Court came after a public hearing where no one spoke.

Village Manager Mike Gunnell said that the difference with this request, which was already unanimously approved by the planning board and staff, is that it is more of a residential subdivision, whereas before, it was a planned residential development with smaller lots.

“This time, it’s larger lots and more consistent with the surrounding lots, like what’s in Waterford,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Barson said: “If folks recall, when we voted on the rezoning previously, many of us weren’t opposed to RS-20. We kind of split the baby at the time from RS-40 to RS-30, just more as a new starting point for whatever was to come next. The majority of the homes in that area already in real life are RS-20 whether or not they are appropriately zoned that way on the books.”

Although no one voiced any comments in the public hearing, petitioner Justin Mendenhall, representing PMA I Holdings, did approach the podium to say he was there to answer any questions.

There were none, but council member Mary Cameron did offer this: “This is a more palatable suggestion than we had before. We do not have a roomful of angry neighbors, which is a good thing, so I think this is a nice compromise.”

Council member Bradley Taylor later added: “It’s a great journey to see the residents of the adjoining Waterford neighborhood as well as the property owners and the firm (PMA I Holdings) that came together and found a solution that seems agreeable among all of those in the area.”

In another item on Monday night’s meeting, there was a change from a decision made in the previous meeting as the council shifted from its original first choice when considering funding in the current Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program application cycle — now opting for a sidewalk project over a road extension because of a technical issue.

In that meeting, the council voted to submit an extension of Springfield Farm Road to Lewisville-Clemmons Road (approximately 1,000 feet) with a total project cost of $1,180,000 (and a 20 percent village match of $236,000) over sidewalks on one side of Marty Lane from Lewisville-Clemmons Road to King Richard Drive (approximately 2,500 feet) with a total project cost of $1,250,000 (and a 20 percent village match of $250,000).

The Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization announced a call for projects from Oct. 3 to Nov. 10 to select and fund transportation projects that met the criteria for fiscal year 2025 CMAQ funding.

While the council said it would be nice to do both projects, the majority sided with traffic concerns and voted in favor of the Springfield Farm extension to Lewisville-Clemmons Road by a 4-1 margin.

However, Gunnell said Monday night that after making the submittal to the local MPO, the village learned that the Springfield Farm Road project was not fairly classified and, therefore, could not be submitted as a CMAQ project.

So Clemmons then went back to the Marty Lane sidewalk project, which he said had been submitted. The council gave consensus for the approval of the local match.

Gunnell said that the next step for the Springfield Farm Road project would be to get a classification and seek grants for the extension.

Barson said that’s a good reason to have two projects in the pipeline ready to go. “And now we know the process a little bit better as well,” she said.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

  • Heard from Taylor that Sunday night’s TOAST (The Totally Outstanding Awesome Stroll through Tanglewood) event, which benefits local charities and is popular for families, walkers, strollers and wagon rollers to view the lights prior to the official opening for the Festival of Lights, had “well over 2,000, 3,000 people. We had support from the Forsyth Sheriff’s Department, who said it was the largest crowd they had ever seen in the years since it has been taking place.” Cameron added that “it was the warmest it has ever been for a TOAST event. Usually, it’s like 20 degrees, and we freeze to death. That may be part of the reason that we had so many people.”
  • Heard from planner Doug Moore that the village’s first historic marker for Clemmons Milling Company was ordered and that a ceremony would be held at the site with a tentative time in May 2024.
  • Heard from Barson, who ran Monday night’s meeting and served as “mayor for the day,” saying she was honored to be one of the dignitaries who celebrated the governor’s proclamation of Diwali earlier that day at Sri Mata Hindu Temple on Lasater Road in Clemmons.