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Clemmons rejects offer on property

Village not willing to include costly sewer extension for Harper Road tract

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Although Clemmons received an offer that met an established minimum bid on a Harper Road property it bought in 2007, a “major caveat” led to the village rejecting it in Monday night’s council meeting.

Manager Scott Buffkin explained that the $600,000 offer from Henson Realty LLC to purchase the 14.7-acre property at 2848 Harper Road — just north of the roundabout at Peace Haven Road — included a request to extend utilities to the tract.

“There is already water along Harper Road, but sewer is a different issue,” Buffkin said. “Our property is not far up the hill going southward from the Harper Road pump station, and we did receive an estimate from the Utilities Commission about a year or so ago that it would cost approximately $250,000 to extend that sewer to our property.

“So it calls into question if this is truly a qualifying offer and, if not, maybe it warrants a longer discussion or at least some work by staff to present council some options that perhaps we would like to go ahead and make that extension ourselves and set $600,000 plus whatever our actual cost is to extend that utility as a new opening bid.”

Buffkin said he wanted to “throw all that our there for discussion,” and councilwoman Michelle Barson quickly said, “I do not see this as a qualifying bid. This is a really odd offer, and I think it makes a ton of sense to extend the sewer and then bake that into the price of the property. That makes it more valuable, and it will keep any future deals from muddying the waters in this way.”

That led to council consensus to pursue the extension and outline other options, and later unanimously rejecting the offer from Henson Realty LLC.

The village purchased the property for $593,000 and change in November 2007 but never found an adequate use for it over the years and finally decided to declare it as surplus this summer.

The council approved a resolution authorizing the advertisement for upset bids for the sale of the property, setting the floor for a minimum bid of $600,000 for consideration in the July 12 meeting.

Buffkin mentioned in the Sept. 27 meeting that there was “some interest” in the property prior to announcing in Monday night’s meeting that the offer for the property “that on its face meets the minimum bid” before revealing the hefty price the village would be responsible for if required to extend sewer.

In other business, the village approved a preliminary major subdivision plat — Tudor Oaks Subdivision by Bowtie LLC located on 11.238 acres zoned RS-9 to include 20 lots at 3115 Tudor Oak Drive (Zoning Docket C-21-002).

Planner Nasser Rahimzadeh said that there was “some work, for sure” with MLA Design Group LLC and Bowtie LLC to reach a consensus but the proposal was “pretty simple and straight forward” with one way in and one way out, and that one of the biggest issues was getting a T-shaped turnaround location.

He said that the site plan for the development, which was “maybe in its fourth iteration” going back to 2018, was compliant with UDO requirements. Lot sizes are 9,000 square feet or larger.

Councilwoman Mary Cameron said that “these are really attractive houses and a need for this size and type. It’s a good location and a good product.”

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

• Heard a presentation from Gayle Goldsmith regarding Resolution 2021-R-15 Supporting the Goal for 100% Clean Renewable Energy by 2050 with the hope of committing to reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. She was asking for support from Clemmons, stating that Forsyth County and Lewisville had already passed similar resolutions. Barson said that the village has been talking about exploring an environmental and sustainability committee and having experts possibly being on a board like that. No action was taken on the resolution Monday night, but it will be on the agenda for the next meeting.

• Approved a Zoom integration system for the council chambers in Village Hall by Strategic Connections at a cost of $6,535, which also included the approval of a budget amendment.

• Heard from Barson and Cameron about the possibility of considering small temporary signs to help local businesses. However, Rahimzadeh said he thought that could be creating a “slippery slope,” and councilman Mike Rogers said he thought he thought it would “open up Pandora’s Box.” Councilman Chris Wrights added he wasn’t interested at all, so the idea was dropped.

• Heard from Buffkin recognizing Finance Officer Ann Stroud after receiving notification that the village had received a certificate of excellence in financial reporting for the 16th straight year, which “for those of us who have been in local government for a while, that is absolutely remarkable.”

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the Marketing/Communications report that there are only two weekends remaining for the 2021 Farmers Market. The Saturday morning market at the Jerry Long Family YMCA goes from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will conclude on Oct. 23, which will be Harvest Fest. The Clemmons Fall CleanUp is ongoing through the end of November. The Monster Dash & Goblin Hop will be held at participating businesses with 40 monsters that are located around the village and clues starting to be released this week. The Fall Medicine Drop will be a drive-through event on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Public Works Facility at 3800 Dillon Industrial Drive.

• Received a quarterly stormwater report from Wes Kimbrell, including that work on Greenbrook Drive was completed, and that 36 tons of debris were removed off the roads from July to September in the commercial corridors and two tons were removed from the residential corridors during that same period.