March 2017 Highlights

In March, we dealt with some challenging zoning and neighborhood matters.  First, here’s a word about bulky item pickup.

 

Bulky item pickup continues:     Bulky item pickup is ongoing and will continue into the summer, by collection area.  Much of the Southwest Ward was collected during March, and other parts are scheduled for pickup in June or July. You can get all the details on what’s eligible for pickup and what isn’t, along with the week your neighborhood is scheduled for collection, by checking online here:  http://www.cityofws.org/Departments/Sanitation/Collections/Bulky-Items

For folks unfamiliar with this service, it’s an annual curbside pickup for old furniture and other household items not suitable for placing in the regular trash, and not eligible for recycling.  City sanitation “claw” trucks make a single pass through each residential street on a pre-announced schedule.  The basic drill is to have items you want collected out at the curb (but not blocking the sidewalk or extending into the roadway) by the Sunday evening preceding the week for which your area is scheduled for pickup.  (Collection trucks will get there that week, but we can’t predict in advance which day of that week.  They don’t come back for a second pass, so don’t be late.)  During the rest of the year, you can check with the Sanitation Department about getting a free pass to take a load of accumulated bulky items to the Hanes Mill Road landfill.

 

Stratford Manor Neighborhood Conservation Overlay approved:     The city council on March 6 gave final approval to the Stratford Manor neighborhood’s petition for a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO) district and rules.     The NCO had gone through a neighborhood petition process, Planning Department staff design and recommendation, and Planning Board approval, prior to final action by the city council.  The NCO rules will limit the percentage of a lot which can be covered by the house and outbuildings, and add extra setback distance from the property lines.  The neighborhood’s intent in pursuing the NCO was to ensure that new construction in the neighborhood retains its uncrowded, green character.  This is a small, pleasant neighborhood of Hannaford Road and Fentriss Drive, surrounded by the heavy commercial uses along South Stratford Road, Hanes Mall Boulevard, and Healy Drive.  It has for decades remained a green oasis among a sea of high-intensity uses.  Congratulations to the neighbors of Stratford Manor!

 

Burke Mill Road/Griffith Road shopping center:     Also at our March 6 meeting, the city council approved a modified version of a rezoning request to build a shopping center at the corner of Burke Mill Road and Griffith Road.  This was a challenging request to deal with, because of concerns about additional traffic in an already congested area.  While adjacent to the Southwest Ward, the area of the rezoning request is in the South Ward, so Council Member John Larson had lead responsibility for review of the details.  CM Larson concluded that the existing mixture of uses already approved for the area could produce worse additional problems than a carefully designed rezoning.  I worked with him to add changes to the request that would reduce its impact on neighborhoods fronting South Stratford road, and deal with traffic flow issues on Burke Mill Road and Griffith Road.  These will include a traffic signal, turn lane, median, sidewalks, and pedestrian crossings.  We also agreed to pursue a longer-term study of traffic problems along Burke Mill Road, and possible measures to address those.

 

Ardmore streets repaving to address utility work damage:     The extensive water and sewer lines renovation in the Ardmore sub-basin #1 area was completed in March.  As is frequently the case after major utility lines work, there was a lot of deterioration in the condition of many blocks’ street surface, even after patching was done.  Under city policy, that made the resurfacing of those street blocks eligible to be done with Utilities Department funds (from water/sewer fees) rather than having to compete with other streets for the limited general fund repaving budget.   City staff have finished evaluating the streets and calculating the total repaving cost for the damaged blocks.  Funding approval is to be obtained in April from the Utilities Commission and city council.  The contractor should then be able to complete the work this spring. 

 

Multi-Use Path funding approved:     The Multi-Use Bicycle and Pedestrian Path (MUP) for cyclists and pedestrians between Wake Forest/Baptist Medical Center and the downtown strollway took another major step forward in March.  The city council approved the city’s local 20% matching funds in order to take advantage of over $1.6 million in federal/state funding available for the project.  The MUP is to be built during the overhaul of Business 40/Salem Parkway, scheduled to begin this fall.  This approval means that the MUP is now funded from Peters Creek Parkway to Liberty Street.  (We’re still looking for the funds for the final segment, between Peters Creek Parkway and Lockland Avenue.)  The MUP will connect neighborhoods all through the center city area with downtown, the ballpark, and the “Wake Forest Innovation Quarter” (research park). 

 

Welcoming City resolution:      Intense discussion continued in March on my proposed resolution to reaffirm that Winston-Salem is a welcoming community for immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers.  The resolution comes in response to the current nationwide debate over treatment of immigrants and refugees.  I believe that it is important to reaffirm that our nation is a diverse society built by immigrants from many lands, and that we respect and protect all our citizens and residents regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.  In Winston-Salem, we also have a proud tradition of welcoming legal immigrant refugees from war and hardship abroad to a new home of safety and community in our city.  My resolution reaffirms our community support for this tradition as well.

     My “Welcoming City” resolution is not the same as a so-called “sanctuary city” ordinance.  My resolution does not include or call for the violation of any federal or state law.  It includes no action that would subject the city to federal or state financial penalties of any kind.

     The city council’s Community Development, Housing, and General Government Committee recommended approval of the Welcoming City resolution.  It is scheduled for discussion and possible action by the full city council at our April 17 meeting. 

 

That’s my report for March.  As always, you are welcome to email me at danbesse@danbesse.org with comments or questions.  Thanks!

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