Mayor travels to Raleigh to oppose legislative bill: Rogers misses council meeting to protest HB 1064 that had no Clemmons input

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 27, 2024

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CLEMMONS — Once again, the village of Clemmons is battling another legislative bill that “was crafted and amended and introduced and forwarded … all with no input from anyone in Clemmons.”

That was part of a statement read by Mayor Pro Tem Mike Combest to explain why Mayor Mike Rogers was in Raleigh during Monday night’s Clemmons Village Council meeting to address the Senate’s Rules and Operations Committee.

“Mayor Rogers is there to convey council’s unanimous opposition to House Bill 1064, which is titled ‘City of Southport/Remove ETJ Authority,’ ” Combest read in the introduction note. “You may wonder why the village of Clemmons actively opposes a legislative bill created to deal with Extra Territorial Jurisdiction authority for the city of Southport.

“The simple reason is that HB 1064 has been edited and amended to now include provisions that fundamentally change how the village of Clemmons conducts local elections. Bottom line, if HB 1064 becomes law, Clemmons elections will go from non-partisan to partisan.”

Of course, the main issue from the Clemmons perspective was this taking place without any local involvement in such an important matter.

“Legislation that will fundamentally change how we in Clemmons select candidates and ultimately elect our local officials doesn’t just warrant timely, carefully considered and actionable local input … it demands it,” Combest concluded.

The “Clemmons Sections” (9.2.(b) and 9.2.(c) in the language added to HB 1064 on June 20 were included according to local officials “with no consultation with anyone from Clemmons. No council members, staff members, etc. were queried or consulted or given an opportunity to provide input.” 

Last summer, Clemmons faced another de-annexation request on the western side of Lewisville-Clemmons Road. This time, it was tacked on to an earlier unrelated house bill involving Fuquay Varina, but it failed to move forward after encountering strong local opposition from the village. 

The properties in Clemmons are owned by Robert Vogler and William Vogler, who were admittedly opposed to this unsolicited annexation, stating they wanted to remain a part of the village of Clemmons.

In 2019, Combest himself drove to Raleigh in the middle of the night to represent Clemmons in thwarting “an 11th hour drop” of another bill in a similar de-annexation effort.

In addition to Rogers making the trip to Raleigh on Monday, mayors of other Forsyth County municipalities joined in sending a letter last Friday to the N.C. Rules and Operations Committee — stating they are best suited to determine how they serve their residents.

Also, they pointed out their belief that the cost to local residents to run in a partisan election will be higher than running in a non-partisan election and more importantly will limit the voter choice of candidates.

Besides Rogers, the mayors signing the letter included Terry Bennett (Rural Hall), Kenneth “Doc” Davis (Walkertown), Mike Horn (Lewisville), Myron Marion (Tobaccoville), Dawn Morgan (Kernersville) and Brent Rockett (Bethania).

Also in Monday night’s meeting, planner Doug Moore shared that the village has been addressing numerous questions regarding the redevelopment project involving Retail Storage Services currently underway at 3645 Clemmons Road, the former location of PNC Bank.

Moore said that the property had been zoned HB/Highway Business District before incorporation. The HB District primarily accommodates retail service and distributive uses and allows a maximum building height of 60 feet.

“As part of our commitment to transparency, Retail Storage Services is permitted as a ‘use-by-right’ within this zoning district,” Moore said. “The zoning officer, in an open and accessible process, conducts the permit review required for this type of use within the HB District. This is why this redevelopment project was not required to hold a public hearing or public hearing notice.”

Moore added that the project, which was approved March 13, underwent several internal reviews by staff with changes made to the site plan, landscape plan and architectural elevations, “ensuring a streamlined and efficient process.”

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

  • Heard that an agenda item regarding possibly placing medallions on the bridges spanning I-40 at the Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Harper Road interchanges would be moved to the next council meeting on Monday, July 8.
  • Called for a public hearing of a zoning map amendment for Abattoir Properties LLC for real property owned by Abattoir Properties LLC from RS-15 (Residential, Single Family) to PB-S (Pedestrian Business – Special) for properties addressed 7420 Fair Oaks Drive and 7452 Fair Oaks Drive located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Fair Oaks Drive and Harper Road, consisting of 2.188 acres (Zoning Docket SZMA-24-1) at Village Hall on Monday, July 8, at 6 p.m.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing an increase in the Federal Micro-Purchase Threshold where the village can use the higher state purchase threshold instead of the federal purchase threshold.