Northwest Observer | Northwest Guilford County, NC
Advanced Search

home : archive : archive April 8, 2020

3/19/2020 4:53:00 PM
SUMMERFIELD town council
WHAT they voted on, and HOW they voted:
Mayor Pro Tem Tim Sessoms and council members John O'Day, Lynne Williams DeVaney and Reece Walker voted on the following issues during the March 10 meeting. Council member Teresa Pegram was absent; Mayor BJ Barnes presided over the meeting, but in Summerfield the mayor votes only to break a tie.

4-0: Excuse the absence of Pegram from the meeting

4-0: Approve the meeting consent agenda

4-0: Appoint Dean Martin and Cary Gentry to the Trails and Open Space Committee

4-0: Approve the hiring of Archive-Social, a Durham-based company, to archive the content of the town's Facebook page

4-0: Approve spending up to $3,000 to hire the Wooten Group, a Raleigh-based consultant, to update its 2016 study that estimated costs for erecting water tanks around Summerfield

as reported by CHRIS BURRITT

Mayor BJ Barnes called the monthly meeting to order, with Mayor Pro Tem Tim Sessoms and council members John O'Day, Lynne Williams DeVaney and Reece Walker present. By a 4-0 vote, the council excused the absence of fellow council member Teresa Pegram.

Rev. Dennis Nunn, organizer of Every Believer a Witness ministry, offered the invocation. Capt. George Moore, commander of Guilford County Sheriff's Office District 1, led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Council voted 4 to 0 to approve the meeting agenda and the open-session minutes for the council's strategic planning retreat Feb. 1 and its monthly meeting Feb. 11.


Fire District. Assistant Chief Jenna Daniels reported Summerfield Fire District ran 21 fire-related calls, 61 EMS-related calls and 30 other calls in February. Firefighters installed 14 child safety seats.

Daniels discussed the department's plans for its fifth annual Stop, Drop and Roll 5K Saturday, April 4, followed by its annual Easter egg hunt at Summerfield Farms the next day. (The 5K has since been postponed until August and the Easter egg hunt has been cancelled.)

Daniels urged residents to take precautions to prevent getting and spreading the coronavirus. People showing emergency-warning signs such as shortness of breath and persistent chest pressure should seek immediate medical attention, she said.

Sheriff's Office. Moore reported the sheriff's District 1 office responded to 117 calls in Summerfield in February; about 34 percent of the calls were related to burglar alarms.

Deputies responded to the report of a robbery of a pizza delivery man, he said, adding the circumstances of the case were "very suspicious" and still under investigation.

Moore cautioned residents to refrain from providing financial and other information to people calling them on the telephone.

"We get fraud after fraud after fraud," he said.


Finance. Finance Officer Dee Hall said the Finance Committee is beginning its work on the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Historical. Chair Gary Brown reported that Benjamin Briggs, executive director of Preservation Greensboro, discussed with the board opportunities for refurbishing and using historic buildings at the intersection of Summerfield Road and N.C. 150.

Trails and Open Space. Chair Jane Doggett said trails advocates in Summerfield and Oak Ridge recently met to discuss common goals, such as eventually connecting each town's section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

"They're just as trail crazy as we are," Doggett said of the trail enthusiasts in Oak Ridge.

Founders' Day. Town Manager Scott Whitaker said preparations are going well for the annual Founders' Day activities, scheduled for May 15-16.


At the invitation of the Town Council, a Summerfield business owner speaks about his or her business during the monthly meeting.

The Jumping Bean. Selling coffee is "only part of what we do," founder Kevin Murray said, explaining he's established friendships with customers whom he serves through the window of his orange hut in the parking lot of Summerfield Square on U.S. 220.

The business is entering its eighth year and plans to open a second location in Stokesdale, Murray said.

"We all have a vested interest in each other's success and wellbeing," Murray said, noting he personally supports local charitable activities and also does so through his business as a member of Summerfield Merchants Association. He said he shares a portion of Jumping Bean's revenue with local schools and supports the activities of local churches and nonprofits, the town's Christmas tree lighting and the fire department's annual Stop, Drop and Roll 5K.


In response to the council's request last month, Bobby Norris, district engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), discussed the agency's plans for road improvements to handle increasing traffic from Revolution Academy, a public charter school planned for N.C. 150 east of Brookbank Road.

Brian Dick, with Freese and Nichols, the town's contract engineering firm, reviewed the school's plans for handling stormwater runoff from the areas where the buildings will be located and paved areas such as parking lots.

Bordering the campus to the east and south is Henson Farms. Residents of that neighborhood expressed their concerns to the council about possible flooding of their yards and septic fields.

Bob Jones, president of Henson Farms' homeowners association (HOA), also conveyed the neighborhood's worry that heavy rainfall could potentially overwhelm a drainage pipe in Henson Lake, causing water to breach and damage the earthen dam.

Revolution Academy's plans for handling stormwater comply with town regulations, according to Dick. Instead of draining one of two ponds on the property and filling it with dirt, the contractor may use it as a retention basin to slow down the flow of runoff, the engineer said.

Leigh Swanson, who lives on Snow Hill Drive in Henson Farms, said runoff already backs up in his backyard where it abuts the Revolution Academy site. If that runoff were to increase it could flood his septic field and potentially shut down his septic system, making his home uninhabitable, he said.

Jones raised a broader threat from runoff flowing into Henson Lake.

"We're worried about the speed and the volume of water," the HOA president said, explaining that excessive runoff could overwhelm the lake's drain pipe and threaten the dam. "There are consequences if too much volume of water comes down too fast."

Norris said NCDOT is making preparations for increased traffic from Revolution Academy. The agency plans to install a traffic signal on N.C. 150 at Deboe Road where the entrance to the school will be located; he said the signal will be installed before the opening of the school, slated for December.

The agency also plans to build two turn lanes to accommodate school traffic traveling in both directions on N.C. 150, which currently handles about 7,800 vehicles, Norris said.

The right-turn lane on N.C. 150 would accommodate as many as 100 vehicles turning into the school, he said. A center lane would handle 300 vehicles turning left across traffic into the campus.

The school's entrance will consist of four lanes, with a median separating two lanes in and two lanes out, according to Norris.

The improvements are aimed at getting "all the parents off the road (N.C. 150) and into the school site" as they drop off and pick up their children, he said.

NCDOT also plans to install a traffic signal where Brookbank Road dead-ends into N.C. 150, eventually easing delays for motorists from Henson Farms and other areas driving north on Brookbank. Norris said it's possible a signal won't be installed at that intersection when the school opens, leading civil engineer and Henson Farms resident Richard Ringler to point out that Brookbank is a "major collector" road where backups during peak traffic hours will worsen without a stoplight.

"It is growing pains - everybody's going to have to deal with that," Norris said. "If there is a problem, we are not just going to walk away. It may take a little bit of time. We will get it worked out."


There were no comments from citizens.


Committee appointments. By a 4-0 vote, the council appointed Summerfield residents Dean Martin and Cary Gentry to the Trails and Open Space Committee.

Purchasing ordinance. At the recommendation of Town Manager Scott Whitaker and the town's Finance Committee, the council voted unanimously to adopt a new ordinance to improve Summerfield's purchasing procedures.

The council's vote rescinded a purchasing policy and procedures adopted by the council in 2008 and revised in 2017.

Social media archiving. The council voted 4-0 to spend $2,388 to contract with Archive-Social, a Durham-based company that backs up social media content for public agencies and municipalities. It will digitally capture the content of Summerfield's Facebook page and archive it, according to the contract running from April 1 through June 30, 2021.

"It seems like pretty good insurance to back up at least the social media that we have in a very comprehensive way," Whitaker said.

U.S. 220 landscaping. Mayor Pro Tem Sessoms volunteered to help Whitaker and town planner Chris York during discussions with NCDOT to plan landscaping improvements along I-73 and U.S. 220. The improvements are final steps in the interstate construction and U.S. 220 widening projects, according to Whitaker.


Water study update. In a 4-0 vote, the council decided to spend as much as $3,000 to hire the Wooten Group, a Raleigh-based consulting firm, to update its 2016 study that estimated costs for installing water tanks in key locations around Summerfield.

Providing a supply of water for fighting fires in town has reemerged as a topic among council members after discussions of a proposed regional water system for northwest Guilford ended last year.

Public records requests. The council instructed Whitaker and Town Attorney Bob Hornik to hold firm to their demand that former Mayor Gail Dunham pay $9,400, including half up front, to provide her with roughly two years' worth of town-related emails. Town staff would review the documents and remove confidential, non-public information.

Last November, Dunham requested all town-related emails distributed between Oct. 1, 2017, and Nov. 19, 2019, roughly spanning her two-year term as mayor.

Following comments by council members, the meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Northwest Observer PO Box 268 Oak Ridge, North Carolina 27310
Software © 1998-2020 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved