Cecil Wood, Lewisville's Town Manager, is retiring today. That's too bad for Lewisville because Cecil's a good man and has been a tremendous asset to the town. During my service on the Planning Board I've had a chance to work with him over the last couple of years and have truly enjoyed spending time with him and seeing him in action. He really is one of the good guys.
Fans of local poet Terri Kirby Erickson can hear her read from her latest collection at the Lewisville branch of the Forsyth County Library tomorrow evening (August 30, 2011) at 7:00.
As I threatened this morning here's the first of what promises to be many video posts with my gift from Celeste this year: the Sony Bloggie.
According to an announcement on his blog Les Puryear, Senior Pastor at Lewisville Baptist, resigned his position as of yesterday. Also according to his post he's currently in Southeast Asia and upon his return he's going to start working in a secular job.
I've never met Pastor Puryear, but I've read his blog for quite a while so it kind of feels like I have. Anyway, best of luck to him and best of luck to the folks at Lewisville Baptist as they search for a new leader of their flock.
A front page article (subscription required) in this week's Triad Business Journal profiles the Lake at Lissara project in western Forsyth County, just outside the Lewisville Town Limits. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know much of anything about this project even though it's virtually a stone's throw from my house. From the article:
Four Triad developers are teaming up to create a 112-home subdivision on 255 acres in western Forsyth County that will feature a large man-made lake and could reach $50 million in total investment, making it one the largest residential projects in the county since 2008…
By summer, builders and individuals can purchase lots ranging in size from one-fifth of an acre to 30 acres. Wilcox expects the homes to eventually sell for $300,000 to more than $1 million over the next seven years…
To create Lake at Lissara, the developers purchased six parcels of land for around $4 million from six different families, Wilcox said. Godfrey’s firm, Westview Development, previously owned 100 acres of the land slated for the subdivision.
Wilcox estimates total build-out costs, infrastructure and home construction to be $50 million. Once the land is plotted and recorded next month, Coldwell Banker Residential Mortgage will begin selling home lots ranging from $70,000 to about $300,000, Wilcox said.
The goal of the project is create a unique subdivision dotted with waterfront homes, sprawling estates, views of Pilot Mountain and a 64-foot-deep lake where homeowners can swim, sail and fish. The lake itself stretches some 3,000 feet end to end and has an estimated three miles of lake frontage.
From the standpoint of Lewisville I'm not sure this is a great development. There's a pretty decent impact on infrastructure since the quickest access to US-421 is through town, and that section of town already experiences a great deal of traffic volume. On the other hand, since this development is in Forsyth the town won't recognize any tax revenue from it, and considering these are going to be high end properties that would be a decent chunk of change. Maybe the town will get a little indirect bump if the development helps raise the value of surrounding properties, but I don't think it will be enough to make up for the infrastructure hit.
Ethics have been on my mind of late. One reason is a hot story in Greensboro involving government, developers and stimulus funds and another story about Gov. Easley's right hand man being indicted for a multitude of crimes. The main reason, however, is the time that I'm spending on the Lewisville Planning Board.
Tonight the Planning Board will be holding a joint public meeting with the Town Council to kick off the five year Comprehensive Plan review process. Over the last several weeks we've been preparing for the meeting and in doing so we've spent a lot of time and energy making sure that we don't create the impression that this is a plan we're putting forward to be rubber-stamped by the citizens of Lewisville. We want them to understand that this is their plan, their process and their recommendations to make and our role is merely to be available for feedback and, eventually, to enact what they give us. We're painfully aware that some people think we're there to somehow game the system at their expense and to our benefit. Whether or not there's a basis for that belief (I don't believe there is, or I wouldn't serve on the Planning Board), the public attitude towards government, whether it's local, state or federal, is one of great distrust.
Unfortunately the day-to-day business of governance is, quite frankly, boring as hell. Want proof? Just try and read a proposed tree ordinance and stay awake (I've tried and have yet to succeed). That's why most people don't pay attention to governance issues and leave it up to someone else to do it for them. That's great IF that someone else behaves ethically and in the best interest of the people, but it's trouble when that person puts his personal interests before the interests of the people. Sadly, you can legally do that in some cases, but ethically/morally you tread a very fine line. Let's just say the gray area is huge, and if I were to identify one area that most governing bodies could improve upon it would be in the area of creating a culture of strong and emphatic ethical governance.
I recently came across a blog called Legal Landscapes that is produced by a partner at Smith, Mooore, Leatherwood LLP and the following quote from the post Of Bribery, Extortion and Racketeering sums up the ethical issue as well as anything I've read:
Whether a public official operates on a local, state or federal level, the precepts of ethical conduct remain the same.
In cities, hamlets, counties, congressional districts and states across the country, we entrust average citizens with great power to look after the rest of us. The operative word is “entrust.” An elected or appointed official is a fiduciary of that power just as a bank officer is a fiduciary of customers’ money.
The power to control the levers of government is the most sacred power a democracy bestows. Abuse of that power is not defined by the stupidity of an official’s decisions or the repercussions of his or her actions. Abuse of entrusted power is marked, foremost, by whether the action was intended for self benefit.
I think we have a culture of governing ethically in Lewisville, but I'm certain that there are people in Lewisville who would disagree. That's why I think it's important to be emphatic about ethical governance. It's okay to act ethically, but I think it's better to do it and let the world know loud and clear that's how you roll.
Unfortunately my little 'ol hometown has been in the news a bit lately, and not for good reasons. A couple of days ago an elderly couple was found shot to death in their home, apparently by an elderly Mocksville man who had dated the woman and was upset that she was trying to reconcile with her husband. Then yesterday two teenagers disappeared on the Yadkin River when they decided that it would be a great idea to go kayaking while a flood warning was in effect. Just down the road from where the boys went on their little misadventure a man decided to jump off a bridge into the Yadkin because he thought it would be fun. Despite his best efforts to win the Darwin Award the man was rescued.
That's a lot of action in one week for a little town of 14,000-ish people.
From a Yes! Weekly article about the new North Carolina movie incentives:
Rushtons Crimson Wolf Production released the
multimillion-dollar, sci-fi action thriller Eyeborgs in 2008. Eyeborgs tells
the story of a near future where robotic surveillance cameras keep constant
watch for possible criminal activity, and was shot entirely in Winston-Salem
using local crew.
Crimson Wolf, based in Lewisville, was started in the Triad
because we live here, says Rushton, the we referring to his partner in the
company, Richard Clabaugh.And because there's lots of great cast and crew
people and there's just no reason for Crimson Wolf to move anywhere else. Plus
the new incentives have fired up filmmakers we know to finally get projects
going they've been putting off, which is only going to grow the
community already here.
Eyeborgs stars Adrian Paul, known as The Highlander in the
TV series and recent feature films, and Danny Trejo who played Machete in
Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse. Its CGI, or computer generated graphics, were
described in a review on the film website the Quiet Earth on April 30, 2009 as
being more realistic and effective than mega-budget Hollywood spectaculars like
Lewisville is having a candidate forum at six tomorrow evening (10/21/09) in the Lewisville Library. Local elections provide the greatest opportunity for your vote to have a real impact so if you live in Lewisville you should definitely plan on attending. FYI, here's the slate of Town Council candidates this year:
Also tomorrow evening, West Forsyth High School is hosting a "Meet the Candidate" issues exchange for the six candidates for Clemmons Council from 7-8:30.