Clemmons to buy land from Novant Health: Council announces plans to purchase 12.42 acres adjacent to Village Point Greenway and Fishing Pier for over $2 million

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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CLEMMONS — Talk about prime real estate, how about this? The Village of Clemmons announced an intent to purchase 12.42 acres of land from Novant Health adjacent to the Village Point Greenway and Fishing Pier for $2,235,600 million in Monday night’s council meeting.

That announcement came after a closed session — with funding coming from money awarded last fall under the House Bill 259 Appropriations Act.

Council member Bradley Taylor made the motion for approval, which includes four tracts of 2.59 acres, 2.85 acres, 5.44 acres and 1.55 acres, and council member Mary Cameron said she “would happily second that.” It was unanimously approved.

“This is such a great example of great things happening when a village works together,” said Mayor Mike Rogers. “This was a great team effort with support from N.C. Rep. Jeff Zenger, council, village staff and Novant Health. With input from our community, we are excited to see this long-awaited project come to fruition.”

Village officials said that this acquisition marks a significant milestone in a commitment to preserving open space and enhancing community recreational opportunities while providing room for additional amenities.

Future plans could include the relocation of village hall, the Clemmons Community Policing Officers and the Clemmons Farmers Market, constructing an amphitheater or events structure, building picnic shelters and permanent restrooms, and promoting passive recreation.

Rogers said that after the property is officially acquired, there will be a comprehensive planning process to receive input from the community on the development in the area.

“We will do our due diligence, and then dig into it,” he said of determining the specifics. “The council will have 22,000 opinions coming in.”

Village officials noted that Novant Health has long been a community partner and that its willingness to accept an offer at a significant reduction from the asking price shows its continued dedication and partnership with the village.

“Acquiring property to enhance our public community space has been a top priority for this council,” Rogers said. “We could not pass on this wonderful opportunity in the center of Clemmons.”

Rogers announced in a council meeting last September that Clemmons had been awarded $4.8 million in funding from the state’s Appropriations Act to use, for all intents and purposes, as the village best determined.

At the time, the mayor said that the windfall was programmed to come in two installments of $2.4 million each with the first part included in the recently approved budget for spending in fiscal year 2023-2024 and the second part to be included in the 2024-2025 budget — without requiring any matching local funds.

This land transaction is expected to be completed this summer.

Another item on Monday night’s agenda was a budget amendment approved for increasing allotments for salaries and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office hustles including West Forsyth High School traffic.

That led to a more extensive conversation involving tickets being issued to those who park or stop along Lewisville-Clemmons Road for pick-off/drop-off, effective on the first day back from Spring Break, which is Tuesday, April 9.

Village Manager Mike Gunnell clarified that two extra deputies will be at the entrances at West just before school lets out — with council member Michelle Barson adding “the goal being through this year and likely the beginning of next to retrain and educate the drivers through that area and then hopefully bring them off of there.”

Gunnell said that the amendment would “carry us through the end of the budget year.”

J.R. Snyder from the sheriff’s office was on hand for the meeting and provided more information.

“We’re going to be handing out flyers, and the school has already sent out information,” Snyder said. “Our goal is to get everyone on board with what we’re doing. During the first two weeks, we’re going to be issuing warnings. After that, it’s free game. Our traffic units are going to be out there, and if somebody stops in the middle of the road, they’re going to get a ticket. Hopefully it will alleviate the problem. It’s right at around a $300 ticket with court costs and everything.”

Rogers said, “Hopefully, they will heed the warnings and avoid tickets.”

Barson added that “this is the first step in what will be additional opportunities to improve traffic.”

In council comments, Barson brought up the Tanglewood Business Park surfacing again — without any communication coming from Forsyth County officials — with county commissioners approving a resolution in last Thursday night’s meeting seeking grant funding that would be used to proceed with work on the undeveloped business park just outside of the municipal limits of Clemmons.

“There has been no communication among elected officials over this property,” Barson said. “Kyle Haney (the county’s community and economic development director) let our Village of Clemmons staff know last Monday that it would be on the agenda last Thursday but did not ask for input from them or attempt to set up any meetings among elected officials or encourage those connections.

“I continue to find it concerning that no county elected official has bothered to reach out to the elected body of the town to be most affected by this development. Unfortunately, that’s how they operate. They approve projects on our borders with reckless disregard for the residents of Forsyth County who reside within the jurisdiction of Clemmons.”

Taylor followed Barson with this comment: “I would welcome anybody from the county to come share information at any one of our open meetings. I’m inviting them.”

And this from Rogers: “We would hope they would drop in more frequently than only once every several years. I will relay the message also myself to the county manager and board chairman.”

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

  • Recognized Fara O’Byrne from the Clemmons Elementary School PTA for her involvement with Neighbors Helping Neighbors for the school’s cereal box project supporting the Clemmons Food Pantry. Shannon Ford, marketing and communications director, provided some more numbers for a video of the project that has “blown up tremendously” and went viral on Tik-Tok, Reddit and Twitter. “I know for sure that there’s been more than 35 million views on Tik-Tok alone,” Ford said, adding it also has been on NBC’s Today Show and several of the local television stations.
  • Heard a proclamation from Rogers recognizing March 2024 as March for Meals Month.
  • Approved minimum housing standards, abandoned and unsafe buildings and amendments to the Title XV land usage adding a new Chapter 150 minimum housing and unsafe buildings to the Code of Ordinances of the Village of Clemmons following a public hearing where no one spoke..
  • Approved two 50-50 private property cost-share stormwater projects – one at 3604 Forsythia Trail with a contractor bid of $10,500 from LJB Engineering (and cost share amount of $5,250 each for the homeowner and the village), and the other at 1512 Lakefield Drive with a contractor low bid of $7,650 from RCJ Contracting (and cost share amount of $3,825 each for the homeowner and the village).