Bermuda Run mayor steps down

Published 10:31 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

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BERMUDA RUN – Ken Rethmeier always has been an advocate of term limits for all elected positions, so it was no surprise that he chose not to seek re-election as the mayor of Bermuda Run this fall.

However, as fate would have it, Rethmeier, who was closing in on completing his second four-year term and had already decided that he and his wife would relocate closer to their children and grandkids, will be leaving office earlier than anticipated.

“After consulting our real estate agent regarding when to put the house on the market given the track record of previous sales in Bermuda Run West, we decided to put our house on the market sooner rather than later so we would have enough lead time for its sale,” he said. “We were not prepared for its sale in just four days and setting a closing date at the end of August. But that’s what happened.“

So, in the Aug. 13 town council meeting, he announced he was stepping aside as mayor, effective Aug. 27.

Town Manager Lee Rollins said that an acting mayor will be appointed until the November election.

Rick Cross, a current member of the council, is running unopposed and, barring anything unforeseen, will be sworn in as the new mayor in December.

Rollins added that the vouncil will operate one member short until after the election but doesn’t expect anyone to be appointed with three candidates running to fill two available spots in the election.

Rollins praised the contributions of Rethmeier, saying his last meeting was bittersweet as the mayor nears the conclusion of his term.

“It will end a little more quickly than anticipated,” Rollins said. “I want to say that your mayor, our mayor, has been a fierce advocate and promoter for the town of Bermuda Run during his tenure.”

He added that the town has much to be proud of in the vision set forth in the Comprehensive Plan in which Rethmeier was intricately involved in working with and promoting it as well as the recent update.

“Whenever there was an opportunity to talk about Bermuda Run’s values and future, he was always there and available,” Rollins said as the council and staff commended him for his exemplary leadership for the town since he was sworn in Dec. 13, 2011.

In his final council meeting, Rethmeier said it was an honor and privilege to serve as mayor for nearly eight years and important to provide a proper transition. He wanted to encourage other residents to consider filling important roles in the town.

“While I believe we have accomplished a great deal, there is much more for the continued development of our wonderful town as we are positioned ideally for the next evolutionary stage of growth and development,” he said. “As my parting wish, I leave you with a call to action … a challenge to take up the banner of our town in a meaningful way and pursue serving on the planning board or to run for elective office on the town council or mayor.”

• In a business item on the agenda, the council voted 3-2 to defer action on a rezoning request from RM (residential mixed) to CM (commercial mixed) by applicant Bob Hodges for a 2.55-acre tract to the north of 169 Yadkin Valley Road – with the request stated for the “highest and best use.” Hodges also owns the adjoining property to the south.

Most of the property to the north is zoned residential mixed while all the other surrounding property is zoned commercial mixed. The staff findings were found to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and the planning board voted in favor 5-0.

During the public hearing, Steve Sexton voiced concerns over what the use might be as he and his wife have a house they have lived in for about 25 years adjacent to the property in question.

“With the right use, we welcome something similar to a bank or another office building, but the problem with commercial mixed is it allows retail, and I’m not even sure about fast food, but we don’t need any other retail,” Sexton said. “Can it possibly be changed to a conditional use where there can be some control there? We need good growth in Bermuda Run, more like Lewisville rather than Clemmons.”

Councilman John Guglielmi asked about restrictions and the “conditional use” aspect. Andrew Meadwell, director of Development and Facilities Services for Davie County who handles planning for the town, said that there are some “grey areas” there.

Jim Snyder, who lives on Yadkin Valley Road north of the property and has an office building south of it, said he is not opposed to commercial but has some concerns about the “commercial mixed” part.

In making the motion to defer, Guglielmi said he wanted the town to “get a little more study and the knowledge of what could possibly go there.”

Council members Mike Ernst and Jerry West voted also in favor while Cross and Chris Fowler were opposed.

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

• Approved a $50,000 commitment to IGNITE Davie to be paid at $10,000 per year over the next five years. Called a “college promise program” to invest in Davie’s young people by recognizing the connection between overall academic achievement and the community’s economic vitality and quality of life, the investment represents one percent of current property tax revenues and one-half percent of current sales tax revenues annually.  “This will be a valuable resource and commitment to the entire county,” Rethmeier said.

• Heard from Kim Shusky, director of Davie County Senior Services, and Brandi Patti, assistant director, on a recap of the Davie County Area Aging Plan, which has been a nine-month effort designed to provide a framework for aging in the county over the next five years with a number of strategies that can make an impact to help seniors – and have a living document going forward.

• Recognized Bleeker Strand, who has been a Planning Board member from 2010 to 2019, with a plaque for meritorious service to the residents of Bermuda Run.

• N.C. Rep. Julia Howard, who was in Raleigh and unable to attend, has represented Davie County for many years and received a key to the town for her many years of service and for being a person who “personally advocated, guided and shepherded the town charter” when Bermuda Run became a town in 1999.