• 68°

Clemmons formally completes settlement

Council agrees to rescind rejection of rezoning request, then approves rezoning request

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

After agreeing to pay $150,000 as part of a settlement agreement for the denial of a rezoning request by Allegro Investment Properties LLC for the Village of Kinnamon multifamily apartment project, the Clemmons Village Council formally completed an additional agreement regarding the affordable housing development in Monday night’s meeting.

As the other piece of the settlement, the board voted first to rescind the council’s June 8, 2020, rejection of the rezoning request in Zoning Docket C-234 and followed that by moving to approve the rezoning request in Zoning Docket C-234 and adopt Ordinance No. 2021-07 and the zoning amendment statement provided by staff.

The settlement allows the Zoning Map Amendment for Carlos Pereira from RS-15 & LO-S to RM-12-S (Residential Building, Multifamily) located at 3462 Clemmons Road – PIN number 5893-30-8703 and 5893-30-9990 – approx.. +/ 8 acres – Zoning Docket C-234 for the project that includes three large buildings with up to three stories, including 41,835 square feet and 78 units (one, two and three bedrooms).

This was the second time in three years that the Village of Clemmons agreed to pay $150,000 as part of a settlement agreement for the denial of a rezoning request by Allegro Investment Properties LLC for the multifamily apartment project.

During the changes to the agenda early in Monday night’s meeting, the council moved the action item from the Business – Action Items portion of the agenda to the bottom of the list after a closed session.

No action was taken there, but when the council reconvened in open session, councilman Scott Binkley made both motions for the zoning amendment for Carlos Pereira, and both were seconded by councilman Chris Wrights. Councilwoman Michelle Barson voted in favor for both while councilman Mike Rogers voted against both, making it a 3-1 vote. Councilwoman Mary Cameron abstained for both.

“I’m doing so in order to comply with the agreement that was approved by both parties and to ensure that the village will not suffer any future financial hardship from the petitioner,” Cameron said.

In most cases, a vote to abstain counts as a default “yes” vote, but since this was a zoning issue, attorney Elliot Fus said that this one should not be counted as a “yes.” Regardless, the vote would have carried with the three votes in favor from Binkley, Wrights and Barson.

Also in Monday night’s meeting, it was announced that the current library in Clemmons would close on Saturday (May 29) and that the new library on Stadium Drive will officially open at noon on Thursday, June 17, preceded by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m.

Cameron, who holds positions with both the county library board and the Friends of the Clemmons Library group, said, “I’ve been waiting 14 years to make this announcement, but it’s here, and I hope everybody goes on the 17th. It’s going to be beautiful.”

Cameron said that after the current library closes on Saturday, the move to the new library will be ongoing from June 1-9 with no access at either location. She added that there will be a “soft opening” on June 10, “which means you can have access to the building but you probably can’t check out a book.”

In the stormwater engineer’s report, Wes Kimbrell, said that he and Public Works Director Mike Gunnell have had extensive conversations about the ordinances involving stormwater.

“They are dated,” he said. “This is not an overhaul. This is a patch until we get a little more time on our plate to do an overhaul. These are code ordinances only, not UDO (United Development Ordinance). This is more in our policing and enforcement as well as it covers some of the changes that we’ve discussed as far as the billing structure.”

Even if most of the $6.1 million in funding coming to Clemmons through the American Rescue Plan Act is applied toward stormwater, Kimbrell said that “at least twice that is needed — $12M to $14M off the top of my head. Again, we’re going to go back and do a study based off of some of the projects we’ve had on the list since 2009 that have not had a cost update since then. As we all know, costs have gone up substantially.”

As far as working toward providing “a long-term solution,” Kimbrell said he was hoping to have something to present by the end of the calendar year.

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

• Approved Resolution 2021-R-07 to accept $6.1 million through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Grant Funds and approved Special Revenue Budget Ordinance 2021-08 to appropriate the funds. Town Manager Scott Buffkin said that the large majority of funding will likely be allocated toward stormwater projects but that is still forthcoming based on further guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department.

• Called for a public hearing for the council meeting on June 14 on the 2021-22 budget and stormwater utility fee rate.

• Called for public hearings to amend multiple sections in Chapter A Definition Ordinance, Chapter B Zoning Ordinance, and Chapter D Subdivision Ordinance of the Unified Development Ordinances per changes to N.C. General Statutes (C-UDO-83); and to amend multiple sections in Chapter C Environmental Ordinance of the United Development Ordinances to strengthen stormwater requirements for public health, welfare and safety (C-UDO-84).

• Approved Resolution 2021-R-08 opposing Senate Bill 349/House Bill 401 Proposed Legislation on Planning and Zoning where “this legislation is clearly designed to benefit special interest developer, builder and realtor groups with complete disregard for the planning and zoning efforts of cities and towns.”

• Approved Ordinance 2021-12 Establishing a Filing Fee for the Non-Partisan Municipal Elections for the Village of Clemmons Pursuant To N.C.G.S. 163-294.2. The filing fee of $5 remains unchanged, but Buffkin said that establishing an ordinance would do away with the previous method of doing this through resolutions.

• Heard from Buffkin that the Clemmons deputies involved in the fatal shooting of a man in March 2020 after a mile-long chase that ended near the entrance to the Lowes Foods shopping center on Lewisville-Clemmons Road were officially cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident. “It was unfortunate, but we’re proud of the way that our deputies protected our citizens,” Buffkin said.

• Approved the renewal of the attorney’s contract with Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros, P.A. Attorney Elliot Fus has been serving as the company’s representative in working with Clemmons.

• Heard from Rogers during the attorney’s report that he heard Aldi, the new grocery store that is going into the former Kmart site on Lewisville-Clemmons Road, would be open prior to Thanksgiving.

• Heard from Nasser Rahimzadeh in the planner’s report said that he would like to focus on a pedestrian plan in 2021-22 through the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or N.C. DOT and then maybe next year for a separate bike-oriented plan.

• Announced that the Village of Clemmons offices will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day and that trash pickup will be delayed by one day.

• Recognized the 2020 Clemmons Community Spring Cleanup T-shirt Design Winners — Clay Payne and David Medina-Galvan (fifth-grade students at Morgan Elementary School — currently sixth-grade students).

• Heard from Shannon Ford in her marketing and communications report that 450 customers came to last Saturday’s Farmers Market at the Jerry Long Family YMCA and that there are now more than 20 seasonal vendors. The market is held each Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Also, E-Recycle will be Saturday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Public Works Facility.