Photo by Patti Stokes/NWO | Cameron Cotter, a Northern Guilford High School alumnus and a pitcher on NC Stateís 2021 baseball team, accepts a resolution on behalf of his team at Stokesdale Town Councilís July 8 meeting.
WHAT they voted on, and HOW they voted:
Stokesdale Mayor John Flynt, Mayor Pro Tem Thearon Hooks, council members Derek Foy, Jim Rigsbee and Jimmy Landreth voted on the following issues during the council's July 8 meeting...
5-0: Approve a site plan for a 56-lot development; 95% of the property is in Forsyth County, but common area and an entryway are in Stokesdale
5-0: Approve a resolution setting the candidate filing fee at $5
5-0: Approve a resolution to enroll employees working 32 hours or more in the N.C. Local Government Employees' Retirement System
5-0: Request the town's Planning Board schedule a public hearing to consider designating warehouse and storage units be allowed in light/heavy industrial zoned property only
5-0: Schedule a special call meeting Aug. 5, 7 p.m. to discuss water system priorities
5-0: Bring names to the August council meeting of potential citizen volunteers to serve on a committee to update the Future Land Use Plan
as reported by PATTI STOKES
After Mayor John Flynt called the monthly meeting to order, which opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, the council unanimously voted to pass a resolution in support of NC State's 2021 baseball team being "the nation's best college baseball team for the 2021 season." The resolution stated the team was "victorious against the three best pitchers in the country in three consecutive games as part of their journey to the College World Series," but in a heartbreaking decision, the NCAA eliminated the team from the National Semifinals after some members tested positive for COVID.
The meeting agenda was unanimously approved after adding a report from Stokesdale Fire Department.
Public Safety. Stokesdale Fire Chief Todd Gauldin encouraged residents to practice outdoor cooking safety by making sure grills and other outdoor cooking equipment is serviced, using the correct type of fuel, and keeping plenty of clearance between cooking equipment and buildings.
Citizens are invited to the fire department's annual meeting on Tuesday, July 27, 7:30 p.m. at the fire station on U.S. 158 in downtown Stokesdale.
The department recently purchased a 2021 engine which it will use for fires and wrecks; the engine replaces a 1997 model.
"To say we got our money's worth out of it, we really did," Gauldin said. "We were able to sell it to another fire department after it served our citizens for 24 years."
Repairs to the fire station's exterior brick walls due to water damage are near completion, Gauldin said, noting some people have asked if the department added more space, but it didn't.
Council voted 5 to 0 to approve the May 6 council meeting minutes.
Interim Town Clerk Dale Martin noted a new A/C unit for Town Hall is on order but the town doesn't have a delivery/installation date yet.
Martin said she has been working with Piedmont Discovery on a campaign to market all trails and parks in Guilford County.
In the month of June the town received 68 8-1-1 requests, sold 10 water meters, issued three backflow permits and processed 26 new water applications, Martin reported.
Thus far the town has received 62 resumes in response to its ad for a permanent town clerk.
Finance Officer Kim Thacker presented her report on the town's financial activities and checking account and investment balances for the general fund and water enterprise accounts.
Mike Crawford, HOA president for Angel's Glen subdivision, asked the council for help in getting Adano Road paved so that drivers would stop using the adjoining Barbelo Drive as a cut-through, which has presented safety concerns because of small children playing nearby.
"Angel Pardue Road is tar and gravel, and that would satisfy those of us in the neighborhood if NCDOT would go along with it, but they wouldn't," he noted, explaining the subdivision's developer, Kevan Combs, initially offered to pave the road but NCDOT said it would need to be paved to DOT standards.
The council agreed to contact NCDOT about paving Adano Road.
Appeal to Planning Board Decision. Town Planner Oliver Bass explained this case was to hear an appeal to the Planning Board's decision on June 24 regarding a development underway on Coldwater Road; 95% of the property is in Forsyth County and Forsyth County, the county's Planning Board and its commissioners approved rezoning property for the development and approved a development site plan.
Mayor Flynt asked why, with only a sliver of this 56-lot subdivision being in Stokesdale, the town's Planning Board and council were having to vote on it. Bass explained it was because the development's common area and a right-of-way are in Stokesdale.
Town Attorney Tom Medlin explained this case involves split jurisdiction because part of the property (nine acres of common area and new street right-of-way) is in Stokesdale - "Therefore, the development ordinances that are applicable will be those in both jurisdictions."
The town's planner and Planning Board disagreed about what applies to the town in this case and the Planning Board determined the town's development standard which states there can be no more than 50 lots served by a single entrance applies to this development.
Medlin explained the planning staff (Bass) and Guilford County Technical Review Committee interpreted that Stokesdale's development ordinance standards do not apply in this case because all lots will be in Forsyth County.
"You have to decide: is this development standard (that no single entrance can serve more than 50 homes) applicable to that portion that is in Stokesdale? That is your decision," Medlin confirmed.
The council discussed the history of the town's 50-lot-per-entrance limit, and whether that rule should apply to this development when all but one of the homes will be in Forsyth County.
When the town attorney was asked to confirm what of this subdivision will be in Stokesdale, Medlin said the site plan shows a road from Coldwater Road, common areas and 80% of one lot in a future phase will be in Stokesdale.
Paul Holst, manager of Coldwater Development, said his company would be building a first-class development with lakeview lots of Belews Lake, an authentic stone bridge at the entryway, a playground and common areas. Holst said development got underway in April after his company got 15 different permits and approvals, and an offsite water main has been run off U.S. 158 to the property.
"We're way down on the road with this development and have 15 contracts on homes already," Holst said. "With all due respect, I feel the time to have this discussion and finalize it was when we proposed the land use change - most of the land in Stokesdale will be dedicated as common area... This plat only shows 28 lots in Phase 1. I'm stumped as to how that provision of the ordinance can be applied when the plat shows 28 lots."
Mark Nadel, a member of the town's Planning Board, said when the board reviewed this issue at its June 26 meeting, its decision was based on the paperwork presented, which showed 58 lots. Nadel then cited a plane crash in Cove Neck, New York, on the north shore of Long Island, in 1990 in which 73 of the 158 people on board died.
"With 55 emergency vehicles, the roads leading to the site became choked with traffic and the road was so impassable that many emergency responders had to park and run on foot," Nadel said.
He urged the council to support the Planning Board's decision, based on concerns about what could happen if there were a major disaster.
"Think about what is in the best interest of those 28 homeowners (in Phase 1) - I'm all for a waiver; another plan and another access route," he said, adding, "It's time for the town to stop letting the builders take this place hostage. ... the ordinance probably needs to be changed. I'm concerned about access."
After further discussion, Flynt motioned to approve the site plan for Phase 1 of the development on Coldwater Road as presented, and Mayor Pro Tem Thearon Hooks seconded.
During the subsequent council discussion, Derek Foy said he favored voting to approve a waiver.
Councilman Jim Rigsbee said he didn't want to impose jurisdiction over what isn't reasonable for the town to do so.
"We've got a unique situation that has put the builder in the middle; I feel we're adding overreach where we shouldn't be," Rigsbee said.
Council voted 5 to 0 to approve the site plan.
Council voted 5 to 0 to approve a resolution setting the candidate filing fee at $5.
Enroll in Retirement System. Council discussed whether to apply to enroll employees working 32 or more hours in the N.C. Local Government Employees' Retirement System.
"The type of candidate we're looking for (full-time town clerk) will be a person who is probably already in the system and will want to continue in the retirement system," Rigsbee noted. "Let's use Dale (Martin, interim town clerk) as a prime example. She's brought tons of experience - if we want to hire someone of her acumen we're going to have to step up. This is the most stable and consistent option on the books and why every other town is in the system except for us."
Council voted 5 to 0 (in two separate votes) to apply to participate in the N.C. Local Government Employees' Retirement System and to collect employees' portion of contributions to the System.
Request to Set Public Hearing. Flynt said he asked this agenda item be included, which is a request for the Planning Board to set a public hearing date and consider a change to the town's development design standards for warehouse and storage units. If changed, they would only be allowed in light or heavy industrial zones.
"I think if we don't adopt this change, we'll be bombarded in the next year or so for requests for mini storage, or for general business or highway business, and then come in with a site plan for mini storage and I don't think that's appropriate beside residential," Flynt said.
Council voted 5 to 0 to request the town's Planning Board schedule a public hearing to consider the above and then make a recommendation.
Spending priorities for water grant. Flynt explained the town needs to have a contract in place by next July for a water project that will use the $1.1 million grant it has received from the state.
Council voted 5 to 0 to schedule a special call meeting Aug. 5, 7 p.m. to discuss water system priorities.
Council discussed reaching out to smaller civil engineer firms to oversee some of its water projects in hopes they might offer better turnaround time and customer service than Hazen & Sawyer, the large engineering firm the town has worked with over the past few years which has multiple branch offices throughout the country.
Council voted 5 to 0 to bring names to the August council meeting of potential citizen volunteers to serve on a committee to update the Future Land Use Plan.