Author: Harold
• Sunday, August 17th, 2014

harold2011_small22It was a busy week for the Mayor’s office with groundbreakings, speaking engagements, and a council meeting.

Monday I attempted to call all council members to hear their concerns or questions about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. While I was only able to get in touch with two on Monday I did hear from the remainder of the council members by late Tuesday. The items on the agenda that was questioned by council members were the Alston Activity rezoning, the lane reduction for the North Harrison Pilot Project proposal, the rezoning on Green Hope School Road, and two of the Land Development Ordinance amendment proposals. Later Monday I met with management, administration, legal, and public information to review the agenda along with Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock. After reviewing the agenda and getting feedback from staff I predicted the council meeting would end around 9:30 PM on Thursday.

Later Monday I met with the town manager and deputy town manager to go over about half a dozen issues. Issues included a wide variety of topics including how to structure out winter retreat.

Tuesday I met with developers along with North Carolina Senator Floyd McKissick to talk about a hotel idea in Cary. What was proposed in concept to me seemed like a good idea for the location. I urged them to go ahead and submit the project for review. The meeting lasted about an hour.

Wednesday started with the groundbreaking of the Mayton Inn in downtown. The process to get to this day took about two and a half years. The groundbreaking was a wonderful event with over 75 people in attendance. Here are excerpts from talking points that I spoke from:

For years, downtown Cary has been a priority for us as both citizens and Town Council members. We’ve invested millions into projects like our Cary Arts Center and The Cary Theater. We completed streetscape improvements to Chatham Street. This winter we’ll begin an $8 million facelift to South Academy Street from Dry Avenue to Chatham Street. This Community Investment Bond project will be under construction at the same time as our signature downtown park, and together will ultimately serve as a setting for street festivals and other activities designed to continue to attract visitors to our downtown. These revitalizing efforts are important and strategic as we remain committed to our downtown.

Our vision and commitment to downtown Cary is what captured the attention of successful hoteliers Colin and Deanna Crossman, who saw the potential and seized the opportunity to develop the Mayton Inn. The only boutique hotel in Wake County, the Mayton Inn brings $12 million of private investment into our downtown, resulting in a 40-plus room hotel, a restaurant, and meeting and event space. Through this project, the Town is able to preserve two of our historic home: the Waldo Rood House, behind me, and the Mayton House, currently located on Academy Street next to Ashworth Village.

Colin, Deanna: Thanks for having me here today, and thank you for helping us make downtown Cary a destination. Public-private partnerships are invaluable to our local economy, as are small business entrepreneurs like you both. As with our other downtown merchants, you could have chosen to do business anywhere, but you chose Cary, and for that we thank you.

I look forward to the ribbon cutting for the Mayton Inn which could be as early as next summer.

Wednesday evening I, along with the entire council, attended the Cary Chamber leadership dinner. This was a time not only to say thank you to leaders representing Cary on all levels of government but also a time to talk with them about issues. In attendance were Congressman Holding, NC State Senators and House members, Wake County commissioners, and Wake County School board members. I was fortunate to have dinner next to Congressman Holding. We talked about many issues. Some were personal in nature but many were not. One issue we talked about was the new guidelines from the United States Postal Service requiring CBUs (Cluster Mailbox Units). I explained the hardship this was creating to some of our residents. He stated that the home builders had brought this issue to Congress about five months ago. He also said that current regulations might prevent much change. He stated that there might be opportunity for some change in hardship cases. Congressman Holding was very personable and I very much enjoyed my time talking with him. I found out that he has three daughters and a young son which keeps him very busy. I also found out that he lived close to former Senator Jessie Helms and worked for him. As is always the case, the Chamber dinner was a great success and a lot of great conversations took place. It is my hope that relationships built at this dinner will carry over to policies that will continue to help Cary thrive and prosper.

Thursday morning I met with representatives of the developer for the Alston proposal along with Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock and council member Bush. They explained that the site they were proposing for their “Inside Wade type project” would prevent that site from being built as all apartments which could be done without council approval. They also went over environmental issues on the site that would limit office from being built there. In addition, they showed how the adjacent site still had great potential for class A office.

Thursday’s council meeting was full of difficult decisions. The first tough decision was whether or not to convert a section of North Harrison Avenue from Maynard to Chapel Hill Road into a three lane cross section with bike lanes. Unfortunately the local newspaper misled their readers by reporting that 70% of people surveyed wanted the bike lanes on North Harrison. What they left out of their story was that the survey didn’t mention that Harrison would go from having two lanes both ways to one lane both ways. I am sure the survey would have had much different results if that crucial fact was included. So much for fair and balanced reporting. Anyway, the majority of the council felt that loosing that much capacity in a congested area on a congested road outweighed the benefits of bike lanes. While I am a big proponent of bike lanes I strongly believe this proposal would have created serious queuing situations possibly resulting in dangerous traffic situations. Therefore I did not support the proposal.

The next tough decision was whether or not to approve a rezoning at Highway 55 and Green Hope School Road. The proposal included 5000 square foot lots with 6 feet of separation between buildings. To me this type of density is ridiculous and I would have not supported it. If there is a proposal with that small of a lot with including that type of separation you might as well have multi-family. During our discussion the developer read the tea leaves and asked to have the item tabled so he could rework the proposal. We will see what the new proposal includes at a future date.

Next was a request of residents to have four way stops along Brookgreen Drive to slow traffic. The town asked residents for their feedback and most said they would not prefer the stop signs. Council agreed and decided not to make this change.

Our toughest decision of the night was the proposal to allow single family residential to the Alston Activity Center Concept Plan. While this land could be developed as apartments today most of the council preferred something better. It was also argued that council should redo the overlay so that office would go there. I love office and I540 and Highway 55 would be a great location for office. However, the developer offered an Inside Wade type product which would still allow office immediately to the south. Inside Wade in Raleigh has a mixture of single family and multi-family and is located next to office and commercial. In the discussion there were passionate arguments on both sides. And everyone’s arguments were right so there was no great answer. I voted to approve the inclusion of single family mostly because I knew there was still room for office.

After a closed session our council meeting ended at 9:35.

Saturday I had the honor of joining Attorney General Roy Cooper and Morrisville Mayor Stohlman at an Independence Day celebration for India. Council members Lori Bush and Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock also joined me in this important day for our Indian American citizens. After a short parade the flags of the United States, North Carolina, and India were raised with national anthems and chants of “long live”. Following the flag ceremony the crowd headed to the fellowship hall for activities and more celebratory events.

Emails this week included several emails about the North Harrison proposal. Most of the emails were against the proposal. Other emails included concerns about construction in the Davis Drive and High House area, comments about cluster mailboxes, concerns about an increase in burglaries, and comments about encrypted police radios.

Next week will include a join meeting of Cary and Morrisville, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Lazy Daze, and several private meetings.

My next post will be on Sunday, August 24th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, August 10th, 2014

harold2011_small21This was a much slower week than previous weeks. Most of my activities were on Monday and Thursday.

Monday I had a conference call with the NC Metro Mayors to get a legislative update. The staff reported that legislative members are very eager to adjourn since they can’t raise money during session. Some of the legislative bills still being considered include:

  • Remove existing sales tax authority from Wake County.
  • Regulatory reform that would remove protest petitions that require a super majority for approval.
  • Several other Regulatory reforms
  • Removing local authority for aesthetic controls

Some of the bills already enacted include:

  • Counties can only hold special elections in even years.

Both the senate and the house have bills for adjournment and the Governor has signed the budget.

Later Monday I met with the town manager for our weekly get together. We discussed the future of the SK8 Park and potential development by the airport authority. Our meeting lasted only a few minutes.

Monday night I had the privilege of participating in an Eagle Scout ceremony for Hunter MacConnell. For his Eagle Scout project Hunter built a pergola to cover picnic tables. The Eagle Court of honor was a special ceremony and I was honored to be a part of it.

Tuesday consisted mostly of quick conversations. I spoke with Chairman Hunt of the RDU Airport Authority Board about my concerns of the future expansion and building next to the Crabtree Lake Park. We were in agreement that this was a sensitive area and that construction should be avoided. He committed that he would not support this type of construction while he was on the board. Next I talked with NC Senator McKissick and a developer about a future hotel in Cary. The developer agreed to meet with me next week to talk more about the details.  My final conversation on Tuesday was with Wake County Commissioner Caroline Sullivan. I asked about the recent vote not to allow citizens to decide whether or not to have a referendum to increase teacher pay. She was very disappointed with the outcome and will continue to look for ways to move our schools and our county forward.

Wednesday talked briefly with John Burns who is a candidate for Wake County Commissioner. We talked about issues that have impacted Cary especially schools. We both agreed that schools and teachers continue to be underfunded. I will be endorsing Mr. Burns to hopefully turn this around.

Thursday the council held a quasi-judicial hearing for a commercial site plan next to Patel Brothers Grocery at Chatham Street and Maynard Road. During a quasi-judicial hearing, the council holds an evidentiary hearing and makes its decision based on the written and oral evidence presented.  Unlike rezonings, a quasi-judicial decision must be based solely on the evidence presented and cannot be based on opinions of members of the council. At this hearing council members Robinson and Bush were absent. The remainder of the council approved the site plan 4 to 1 after about an hour of deliberation. The development on this site will complement the existing Patel grocery, provide additional parking, provide a safer traffic flow, protect a champion tree, add streetscape, and give the town a payment in lieu of widening Chatham (since there are existing alignment problems with NCDOT). The hearing concluded after about an hour and fifteen minutes.

In tweets this week I found out that the Raleigh-Cary metro area was named @bizjournals #10 best cities for women in business and among the best for raising kids.

Emails from staff this week included projects currently being reviewed. Among them are:

  • 3,624 square foot Bank of America building in Parkside Commons
  • 14,400 square foot building on Chatham Street for Raleigh Chinese Christian Church
  • 19,011 square foot office building on Pinedale Springs Way
  • 18,932 square foot church on White Oak Church Road
  • 152 single family homes and 270 townhomes on Petty Farm Road
  • 96,384 square foot church building at Crosspointe Church on Carpenter Fire Station Road
  • 38 single family homes on Highcroft Drive
  • 100,000 square feet of commercial and over 100 residential units at Alston Town Center Phase 2
  • 73,550 square feet of commercial at Alston Town Center Phase 1 at Highway 55 and 540
  • 100 townhomes on Weston Parkway
  • 50 townhomes on Waldo Rood Boulevard
  • 8,000 square foot Union Bank on Davis Drive
  • 3,624 square foot Bank of America building on O’Kelly Chapel Road
  • 110 townhomes on River Pine Drive
  • 6,000 square foot medical building on Davis Drive

To see all projects under review go to http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Planning+Department/Planning+Department+PDFs/planreview/Active+Projects+in+the+Review+Process+(sorted+by+date).pdf.

In other emails from staff citizens were notified of an online survey for Imagine Cary which is the planning process for the next 25 years in Cary. So if you want to:

  • Provide critical input regarding future housing needs in Cary;
  • Provide valuable input about the types of employment areas needed for our future;
  • Share your opinions about preferred types of shopping and dining areas, or mixed use areas;
  • Offer your suggestions about the future growth of Southwest Cary - the Green Level area.

Go to the online survey at www.imaginecary.org and click on “Take the Surveys”.

Emails from citizens included a complaint about train horn noise, complaints about the staff proposal to narrow Harrison Avenue for bike lanes, a complaint about carpool entrances at Green Hope High School, and a complaint about school reassignment.

Next week will be busy with a regularly scheduled council meeting, the groundbreaking of the Mayton Inn, the Chamber Leadership dinner, and an Indian Independence celebration event.

My next post will be on Sunday, August 17th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, August 03rd, 2014

harold2011_small2This was a busy week that included a couple of historic events: the swearing in of a new town clerk and the recognition of 50 years of service by Cary Rotary clubs.

Monday morning I had the honor and privilege to administer the official oath of office to our newly appointed town clerk Sherry Scoggins. She is replacing Sue Rowland who retired at the end of August. Cary is blessed to have had Sue Rowland serve for 22 years and to find such a great clerk to replace her. I look forward to working with Ms. Scoggins and believe she will do an outstanding job.

Later Monday I contacted council members to get their questions or concerns about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. Council members I contacted expressed concerns mostly about the Harrison Avenue Street conversion and the Pritchet rezoning at Cary Parkway and Holly Springs Road.

Monday afternoon I met with management, directors, legal, and administration to go over the agenda items. We talked about council members concerns as we went over the items. Our agenda review lasted less than thirty minutes. I estimated that Thursday’s meeting would end around 8:30 PM.

My last meeting on Monday was with the town manager. We only had a couple of topics to talk about so our meeting only lasted a few minutes.

Tuesday the council held a work session to discuss the tree preservation ordinance. As a result the council agreed to the following tier one priority list:

  1. Any upper story tree 40 inches and greater and any understory tree 15 inches and greater in prominent locations (i.e., along major roadways).
  2. Any other hardwood champion tree (oaks, poplars, etc) in prominent locations including groupings.
  3. Groups of two or more hardwood champion trees that share the same critical root zone located in non-prominent locations.
  4. Any grouping of a champion tree and a specimen tree less than 18 inches located in non-prominent areas on a site.
  5. Any single upper story tree 40 inches and greater and any single understory tree 15 inches and greater located in non-prominent areas.

Council then reviewed tier two priorities, authority for removal, champion trees in bio-retention streetscape, and the current clear cutting ordinance. Some of the criteria for removal of champion trees include a life expectancy of less than ten years, greater than twenty percent radial trunk dieback, and two or more major dead limbs. The revised tree ordinance will be presented to council on August 28th. The work session concluded after about an hour and a half.

Later Tuesday council said their private goodbyes to our long time town clerk Sue Rowland. She not only provided a great service to the town, staff, and council but was a friend to all. She will be greatly missed.

Wednesday I attended Wind Down Wednesday at Waverly Place and talked with several business leaders. Waverly is quickly becoming a destination and businesses are filling up the center. In my conversations I understood that there were very few vacancies remaining.

Thursday’s council meeting had three topics that generated most of the discussion. A public hearing for a townhome proposal with six units to an acre on Holly Springs Road concerned me. That proposal was forwarded to the Planning and Zoning board for their review. I am skeptical and will need more to convince me that the proposed density is the best use of that land. Another topic that generated discussion was staff’s proposal for a pilot program to narrow Harrison Avenue to two lanes with a turn lane and bike lanes between Maynard and Chatham. Council seemed to have concerns with this and asked for a public hearing which will be held at our August 14th meeting. The other major topic of discussion was the Pritchet rezoning of single family homes at Cary Parkway and Holly Springs Road. This proposal has seen several revisions and has been delayed several times. Even though there was a valid protest petition, requiring six of seven votes for approval from the council, it passed. My feeling was that 75% of this proposal was good and the remaining 25% was questionable with its density. However, the applicant made several concessions which I believe will prove that this proposal will blend nicely into what is around it. This was a very tough decision for me for several reasons. One reason was that I live very close to the proposal and literally heard from my neighbors about it.

Friday was a tribute and a dedication of 50 years of service by the Cary Rotary clubs. A monument including a time capsule was unveiled at the Cary Chamber of Commerce to mark this occasion. The ceremony had over a dozen speakers including myself. Here is an excerpt from my comments:

… 50 years ago in 1964 milk was less than a dollar per gallon. It only took a nickel to mail a letter, and $20,000 could get you a new home. I was a living on Waldo Street and walking to Cary Elementary every day by a chicken coup. I didn’t know if but my uncle, Fred Bond, would soon be elected mayor. The population here was about 5,000, and our community proudly found itself with its first Rotary Club.

Today, we’re so fortunate to have five active Rotary Clubs that continuously give time and talents to benefit Cary. … 50 years is a long time. And during that time our five Cary rotary clubs have never deviated from their mission: to provide community service at its best. …

The ceremony lasted about an hour. The rain held off and it was a great event. The Rotary will continue the celebration of 50 years of service at a gala to be held on August 15th.

After the ceremony I traveled to Greenville to help my daughter move into a house for her senior year at East Carolina. I spent the remainder of the weekend catching up on work.

Emails from staff this week included a reminder about the hometown spirit award. The Hometown Spirit Award is given annually to a Cary resident who enhances the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive and quantifiable traditional small-town community values and traits as embodied in the following criteria:

  • Helps out neighbors and fellow Cary residents
  • Demonstrates hospitality
  • Promotes and preserves traditional American past-times
  • Shows a concern for preservation and works to preserve traditions and the small-town atmosphere in the community
  • Promotes entrepreneurship through supporting locally-owned business
  • Promotes a sense of community in their neighborhood and all of Cary
  • Demonstrates patriotism through promotion and preservation of the country’s symbols and dedication to the U.S. military, past and present
  • Serves the community through business

Applications will be accepted from August 1st through September 8th. The winner will be recognized at November 20th council meeting. So if you know of someone that should be considered PLEASE nominate them.

Other emails from staff included the 2nd Quarter report. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Town of Cary is now 36,806 acres or about 57.50 square miles.
  • As of July 1st, 2014 the Town of Cary’s population is estimated to be 149,854, which is a twelve month increase of 3.36%.
  • The average unit size in this quarter was 4,027 square feet, which is a slight increase in home size compared to the previous quarter.
  • The average construction value of new home in this quarter was $219,375.
  • There were 25 permits issued for commercial new construction in this quarter, totaling 337,776 square feet which is an increase of over 13% from last quarter.
  • Cary issued 25% of all new single-family dwelling permits in Wake County for the months of April and May. This was the most of any other jurisdiction in Wake County.
  • Construction for the park on the old Bartley farm should begin this fall and conclude next fall.
  • The downtown park construction should begin next spring.
  • Construction is underway and on schedule for both the expansion at the water plant site and the raw water pumping station on Jordan Lake.
  • 41 apartment communities representing a total of 9,808 apartment units are actively participating in an education and zero crime tolerance program called Project PHOENIX.
  • 3% of all calls answered by our fire department were categorized as fire incidents. Over 60% were EMS and rescue.
  • The Cary Arts Center saw an overall increase in attendance 11.5% during the last 12 months.
  • Aquastar cost savings and benefits were recognized nationally when the Town received an Award for Excellence from the Government Finance Officers at the national annual conference in May 2014.
  • The old Mitchell’s Pharmacy store adjacent to the Cary Theater was leased for a craft beer store.
  • The Cary Downtown Farmer’s Market relocated to the lawn of the Ivey Ellington Waddell House on Chatham Street, which has proved successful to the market and had increased foot traffic for neighboring businesses.
  • The NC Legislature has approved a bill restricting the privilege license tax which will cost Cary $1.7 million in revenue annually.
  • The NC Legislature has approved a bill, the Energy Modernization Act that provides for permits for horizontal drilling to be obtained as soon as the rules are complete.

The report can be read in its entirety at http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Town+Manager$!27s+Office/Quarterly+Report+Documents/Second+Quarter+Report+2014.pdf.

Emails from citizens this week include inquiries about a traffic signal, concerns about our current recycling, several comments about the rezoning at Holly Springs and Cary Parkway, a concern about the police click-it-or-ticket project on Harrison Avenue, and several invitations.

Next week will be a slower week for me. It includes an Eagle Scout ceremony, a quasi-judicial hearing, and a few meetings.

My next post will be on Sunday, August 10th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, July 27th, 2014

harold2011_small23This week was a much slower week with a lot of time spent on non-town related issues.

Monday I met with the town manager, the assistant to the town manager, and one of the assistant town managers. We talked about our annual retreat which is held at the beginning of the year. While it might seem a little ridiculous to talk about that now it is important to plan this event to make sure it is effective. The annual retreat is when direction is set for the year. After that topic I talked with the town manager about other minor issues.

Tuesday I was part of a Cary SAS contingent entertaining a group of SAS workers from Japan. We took them to a Durham Bulls game and had a great time in spite of seeing the Bulls lose 4 to 0.

Wednesday I joined council member Frantz for the taping of the August episode of Cary Matters. Our main topic for August will be the US Postal service and the cluster mail boxes which have been causing a lot of problems in Cary. Our taping was done in a record time of just 18 minutes.

Thursday I talked with a representative of the Pritchet rezoning proposal on Holly Springs Road. They have continued to make concessions to try and accommodate the residents adjacent to the property. I, along with these county residents, am looking for a transition from town to county.  It is my hope that the densities will be lower and that residents will support the proposal. The residents will meet Monday night to decide their next step. Council will vote on this Thursday.

Friday’s meeting of the Metro Mayors was cancelled so that staff could attend the NC House meetings that were in session. Later in the day the Metro Mayors staff reported that the Senate will be in skeleton session Monday at 9:30 AM but is planning to come back later it the afternoon for action. And that House Rules Chair Representative Moore said there was not a budget deal. The House held a non-typical session which is probably a sign the end could be near.

Emails from staff this week included a notification that the Town of Cary and regional transportation partners will present the findings of the Harrison Avenue railroad bridge feasibility study. There has been plenty of research and public input leading to this presentation which will be held at the Cary Chamber of Commerce on August 5th from 4 to 7 PM. Staff also sent out a notification that there will be parking lot resurfacing at Godbold and Bond Parks. The resurfacing at Godbold Park will begin July 28th and finish by August 1st. The Bond Park resurfacing will be from July 28th until August 24th.

Next week’s activities will include the swearing in of our new town clerk Sherry Scoggins, a work session, a council meeting, and the dedication of a tribute in honor of 50 years of Rotary in Cary. The Rotary tribute is a five sided granite piece of art. Each side represents one of the five Rotary clubs in Cary.

My next post will be on Sunday, August 3rd. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, July 20th, 2014

harold2011_small22This week was dominated by a regularly scheduled council meeting and a couple of political meetings.

Monday began with calls to council members to hear of their concerns or questions about the agenda for Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact and have conversations with three members. Most of our discussions centered on the Green Level West Road Widening project, the Howard rezoning on Carpenter Fire Station Road, the public art for Fire Stations #2, and the council initiated school capacity issue. Since the meeting had nine scheduled public hearings and ten discussion items I predicted the meeting would last until 10 PM.

Later Monday I met with the town manager and several staff members to discuss an economic development issue.

Tuesday I had the honor and privilege of meeting and talking with Clay Aiken who is running for the Second Congressional District seat. If you think that Clay is just a singer with a golden ticket then you are sorely mistaken. I was extremely impressed with his knowledge of all the national issues and his district. What I also liked was his eagerness to work with both parties. In fact his logo starts with blue coloring and goes to red symbolizing this bipartisanship. Clay Aiken has a passion for helping people and doing what is right for his district regardless of party affiliation. I think he would represent Cary and his district well and be a breath of fresh air in Washington. I would invite anyone to check out his stance on issues and contact him. His campaign office is in downtown Cary and is staffed by smart, knowledgeable people.

Wednesday I headed down to Pinehurst to give welcoming comments and a mid-year update to the attendees at the Cary Chamber’s Annual Planning Conference. My talk lasted about ten minutes and included about a dozen PowerPoint slides. To see my slides go to http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1113097892257-242/2014+Mid-Year+Review+-+Chamber.pdf.

Later Wednesday I was scheduled to attend the monthly meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization but that meeting was cancelled. So I headed over to former council member Erv Portman’s residence for a Jessica Holmes fundraiser. Jessica is running for Wake County Commissioner. I had the honor of introducing State School Superintendent June Atkinson who made a few comments. Later we heard from Jessica about her passion for education. She told a great story about how education and teachers changed her life. You can find out more about Jessica Holmes at http://www.jessicaforwake.com/.  Also in attendance were about a dozen or so candidates for other offices.  I stayed and talked with folks for about two hours.

Thursday the council held one of three regularly scheduled monthly council meetings. The nine public hearings did not draw many speakers. However there were a few that spoke of the rezoning proposal for a YMCA on the land next to the Crosspointe Church on Carpenter Fire Station Road. Discussion items took much more time. The Howard rezoning was approved and I was the dissenting vote. My objection was the 6000 square foot lots which I believe is too small for a single family house unless it is a cluster home. The next discussion item was public art on the new fire station that is being built. Council wanted integrated art instead of affixed art so it rejected the proposal. One item that was a no brainer was to refurbish the water tower on Maynard across from Cary High School and build an additional tank near Maynard and Kildaire. Months ago information showed that this would be cost prohibitive but after much work by the staff we were able to save the old tower. Other agenda items included the appointment of the aging issues task force, direction to staff to investigate adding minimum lot sizes to the land use plan, and direction to staff to investigate changing the land development ordinance to further discourage mass grading. Our longest discussion of the evening was about school caps in western Cary schools. Even though we are not the decision makers when it comes to schools, it is a very important topic that significantly impacts the town. The capped schools in western Cary will not allow more students even if you move into a home that already had a student going to that school. School board member Fletcher was on hand to provide data and answer questions. At the conclusion of that discussion, council member Robinson agreed to work with school board staff to come up with additional detailed information about the school caps. After two closed session items our meeting adjourned at 10 PM.

Friday morning I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock to talk with a representative from a major publication. More on this at a future date.

In tweets this week the Raleigh-Durham (including #Cary) was ranked the #3 swim-friendly locales in US bit.ly/1wztvpH @WakeGOV @TriangleBIZJrnl @CaryChamber.

In emails from staff this week council was notified that contractors working on behalf of the Town will enlarge existing multi-purpose slabs at White Oak Park to create three permanent pickleball courts. A combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong, pickleball is among the nation’s fastest growing sports.

Emails from citizens this week included a complaint about cluster mailboxes required by the US Postal Service, a complaint about electrical outages, and several invitations to participate in events.

Next week I will be spending time entertaining visitors from Japan that work for SAS. In addition to those meetings and events I will be attending a few meetings including a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. I will also join council member Frantz in the taping of the August episode of Cary Matters.

My next post will be on Sunday, July 27th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, July 13th, 2014

harold2011_small21This week was a typical slow post July 4th week.

Monday was open since the town manager was on vacation so my first meeting was on Tuesday. Tuesday I met with Sean Ingram who is the founder and director of the Sean Ingram Creative Arts Academy. Their mission is to cultivate the imagination of youth to find creative freedom without limitations by creating an expressive environment of learning geared towards training them how to progressively analyze, communicate and write effectively for success. In our meeting we discussed his work with the Wake County public schools. We also discussed how to get each community in Wake County to provide support. Out meeting was less than half an hour.

Wednesday I met with a consultant who is doing a study for the Center for Volunteer Caregiving. He is basically trying to find out if people are aware of the center’s mission and how much people know about the center. The Center for Volunteer Caregiving is a private, nonprofit, faith based organization formed in 1992.  Their mission is to provide volunteer services to help Wake County seniors, family caregivers, and adults with disabilities maintain independence, dignity and quality of life. In my talk with the consultant we talked about the town’s awareness of their mission and how we could partner better. I believe this will be a significant service organization as we move forward since it mostly helps seniors and since 4,000 Cary citizens are turning 65 every year. Our conversation lasted about 30 minutes.

Later Wednesday I headed over to see the public information session on options for Maynard Road water storage tank. I was only able to talk with a couple of residents. But staff reported that most people they talked with were pleased at the findings and the recommendation to save the Maynard Road tank. There were also several residents that spoke in favor have the new tank near Kildaire Farm Road and Maynard Road. Council will choose from four options at their July 17th meeting. Staff is recommending the refurbishing of the Maynard Tank and the building of an additional tank at the Kildaire Farm Road and Maynard Road site.

Wednesday afternoon the town did a press release announcing our new town clerk Sherry Scoggins. Although the council interviewed several excellent candidates, we believe that Ms. Scoggins is the best fit for Cary. My comments from the press release were:  “On behalf of the entire Cary Town Council, I want to say how thrilled we are to have Sherry joining us in Cary. Our retiring Town Clerk Sue Rowland has set a tremendously high bar for her successor. The good news is that in addition to being supremely qualified, Sherry’s positive, energetic, and collaborative approach to finding a way to get almost anything done is exactly what we must continue to have in our Town Clerk.  Sherry is truly impressive and certain to be a perfect fit.” Sherry will start July 28th and will hit the ground running. Of course she will have the support of our excellent town clerk staff.

Thursday the council held a quasi-judicial hearing for the Peninsula at Amberly subdivision Plan. This project was originally approved in 2004 with eight phases. The developer and the bank that financed the developer went bankrupt during the recession. As a result only the first four phases were built. Phases five through eight stopped after completing water and sewer lines and some grading. The approval for phases five through eight expired and thus the reason for the quasi-judicial hearing. The new developers were proposing essentially the same site plan as was proposed ten years ago. However, town requirements have changed a little since then and include new water line criteria, new cul-de-sac length limits, and transportation improvements. The developer provided testimony that proved the water lines would be acceptable as is from a certified engineer. In addition, they provided testimony that the cul-de-sac length was necessary because of site boundaries of the American Tobacco Trail and the Corps of Engineers land. The developer also proposed to provide over $55,000 for road improvements since there is no current need for a four lane road in that area. The council agreed with these proposals and the subdivision plan was approved unanimously. The council discussion included the new US Postal Service requirements for cluster mail boxes and the developer has adequately planned for this. Our hearing concluded in a little over half an hour.

Saturday I attended a memorial service for Carroll Ogle at the Methodist Church on Academy Street. Carroll and his wife Sheila are well known in Cary especially for their work in the downtown area. They renovated the “Pink” house on Academy Street which is a town landmark. They also renovated the Matthews House on Chatham Street which is another historic house. Carroll loved Cary and it showed. We are all better off for his love and work in Cary. Rest in Peace Carroll.

In a tweet from the Raleigh Chamber this week the Raleigh-Cary Metro is @NerdWallet’s #8 Best Place for STEM Graduates. Yet another accolade for the great place we call home.

In emails from staff this week council was notified that the town received the signed authorization for the Release of Funds from HUD. This was the last obstacle for the beginning of the Mayton Inn. Demolition of the existing building at 301 S Academy Street is scheduled to start next Thursday, July 17 and will take approximately 7-10 days.

Emails from citizens this week included complaints about the US Postal Service’s cluster mail boxes, a complaint about the town’s email, a concern about safety in refurbishing the water tower on Maynard, a comment about a proposed rezoning on Holly Springs Road at Cary Parkway and comments about other proposed rezonings.

Next week the pace will pick up a little with meetings and events almost every day. They include a regularly scheduled council meeting, staff meetings, a Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting, and a private meeting with Clay Aiken.

My next post will be on Sunday, July 20th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, July 06th, 2014

harold2011_small2This week was a holiday week and therefore was a much slower week. This is one of the few times during the year where council members to take vacations or be with their families.

Monday the council interviewed candidates for the town clerk position. The town clerk is one of three people that report directly to the town council. The others are the town manager and the town attorney. The Town Clerk is responsible for giving notice of Town Council meetings, preparing the council agenda, recording Council proceedings, serving as custodian of all permanent town records, keeping the Town Seal, attesting all Town documents, maintaining the Town Code, managing the various boards and commissions, the administration of Hillcrest Cemetery, and providing support services to the Town Council. The staff in the Clerk’s office includes the town clerk, the deputy town clerk and two administrative assistants.

The interviews for the new town clerk went very well and council is hopeful that there will be a new town clerk named soon. Our outgoing town clerk is retiring as of August 1st. Without a doubt, she is the best town clerk in the state so it is a difficult task to replace her. Fortunately, she has trained a great staff and I am sure they will keep things running smoothly.

Tuesday I was scheduled to meet with both the town manager and the town attorney in separate meetings. Since council spent time with them giving annual reviews last week there wasn’t much else to talk about. So my meetings with both of them were brief and via the phone.

Friday night was perfect weather wise for the town’s annual Fourth of July celebration with low humidity and mild temperatures. I, along with my entire family, attended the symphony and fireworks at the Booth Amphitheater. I gave a few welcoming remarks before the symphony’s fantastic performance. The fireworks show was amazing as usual. In all, it was a great celebration.

Emails this week included a report from the Homebuilders Association. In their report it showed that Cary had twice as many residential permits pulled than any other municipality including Raleigh for the month of June. We also had more remodeling permits pulled than any other municipality. We continue to show slow steady growth and our challenge of providing adequate infrastructure remains.

We also received notification and staff reports this week regarding the Maynard Road water tower. Initially council was told that saving the old tower would be cost prohibitive and could have other issues. This report, which is coming to council for a decision on July 17th, will have four options with two including refurbishing the Maynard water tower. The option recommended by staff will preserve the Maynard Road water tower across from Cary High School and add an additional water tower off Kildaire Farm Road. I suspect council will support this option.

I also received several emails this week from the NC Metro Mayors Association staff about the state budget. They believe that compromises are being made. Here is how they described it:

“In a highly unusual move, the House and Senate gathered together in a committee room and the two head budget chairs made budget compromise offers to one another in a public meeting.  Senator Brown likened the back and forth to selling a car, to which Representative Dollar responded that the House had not bought the car, but liked some of the features.  The public negotiations were limited to specific revenue estimates on the lottery, Medicaid, and reversions.  Once the two chambers agree on revenue numbers the subcommittees can begin negotiating spending plans.”

I am disappointed that our representatives continue to support bills that will strip away authority at a local level including our ability to protect trees and to protect town aesthetics.

Emails from staff this week include several projects under review. Some of the projects submitted since the beginning of May include:

  • 70 single family homes in the Indian Wells subdivision on Indian Wells Road.
  • A 39,420 square foot medical office building on Cary Glen Boulevard.
  • 43 single family homes on White Oak Church Road.
  • A 2,168 square foot auto repair shop on Tryon Road.
  • A 3,624 square foot bank on O’Kelly Chapel Road.
  • 2 modular classrooms at Laurel Park Elementary.
  • 2 modular classrooms at Mills Park Elementary.
  • 53 townhomes on Waldo Rood Boulevard.
  • A 6,200 medical office building on Davis Drive.
  • 110 townhomes on River Pine Drive.
  • An 8,000 square foot bank on Davis Drive.
  • 73,550 square feet of commercial at NC 540 and NC 55.
  • 100 townhomes on Weston Parkway.

To view the entire list of projects under review go to http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Planning+Department/Planning+Department+PDFs/planreview/Active+Projects+in+the+Review+Process+%28sorted+by+date%29.pdf.

The town manager also sent an email to council members updating them on several high profile issues:

  • Morrisville Parkway/Triangle Expressway Interchange: staff met with the new Turnpike Authority Director and other staff. They are interested in providing some funding for the interchange from unspent bond proceeds but they did not have specific numbers. It is likely we will need some additional funds to partner on the project. We are working on a revised cost estimate and have a follow up meeting on July 17. Their goal is to present to the Board on September 4. Nothing definitive yet, but staff is hopeful something will work out.
  • Waldo Street Drainage Improvements: staff will begin this stormwater improvement project soon. Some minor traffic impacts and Waldo Street closings will occur during construction. The Methodist Church and Waldo Street has a flooding problem this new pipe installation should relieve. Work is planned to start July 14 and be complete before spring. Notices are being mailed to adjacent property owners.
  • Jones House: We are nearing the completion of the Jones House and the opening of “Belle at the Jones House” which is the name of the farm to table restaurant and bakery of our tenant. We had two additional repairs to the house not originally budgeted as part of the renovations: replacing the roof and repainting the front of the house. After assessing the current state of the roof, it was determined that patching areas of the roof would not be a sufficient solution because the points where the metal was attached to the roof were so warn that wind from a storm would continue creating holes, which would lead to constant patching and continued damage. The roof will need to be replaced and staff believes replacing now rather than in a year or so as to avoid disrupting the operation of the tenant and potentially incurring higher costs. The repainting portion of the house will be focused on the front (porch area of the house). Much of this area is pitted and worn and the repainting will include smoothing those areas and then painting. The funds for additional work will come from the fiscal year 2014 Downtown Budget that has already been approved for capital project work downtown and requires no additional council action. Some have inquired about the wood stacked on the front of the house and I wanted to share that this reclaimed wood is being incorporated into portions of the interior design (bar and cabinet display areas). The wood pile will be gone by the end of next week and you will start to see new landscaping going in around the house. The tenant is working towards an August open date and all the work the town is responsible for will be completed in time to accommodate the tenant’s schedule.
  • Mayton Inn: Staff believes that the HUD Release of Funds for the Mayton Inn project likely will be transmitted around July 10 (that is probably the earliest date). Demolition of the existing Thompson building on the hotel site should commence shortly after that.

The town manager also notified council of a brief vacation which is well deserved.

Emails from citizens this week included a complaint about cluster mail boxes required by the United States Postal Service, a thank you for helping with a burned out street light, and a request to investigate smart benches.

Next week will be another relatively slow week. Activities will include a couple of meetings and a quasi-judicial hearing.

My next post will be on Sunday, July 13th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, June 29th, 2014

harold2011_small22This was a busy week with a lot of long nights. That makes for a tough week when working full time.

The week started with calls to council members on Monday to hear of concerns or questions about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting agenda. I was able to contact all council members but two. None of them had any major questions or concerns. In my individual calls a couple of council members did relay their thoughts about the Pritchett rezoning on Holly Springs Road at Cary Parkway. Later in the day I met with management, administration, legal, and others to step through the agenda. I was also informed by legal that we will have three items for closed session on Thursday. With 10 public hearings, 7 discussion items, and 3 closed session items I predicted it would be a long meeting and last at least until 11:30.

Later Monday I met with the town manager and the deputy town manager for my weekly one on one session. There weren’t a lot of items to talk about so we discussed the current legislature makeup and their decisions. It is my hope that there is enough change this fall to stop the assault on municipalities. Cary citizens ask more and more from their council yet the legislature continues to strip away our authority to govern ourselves.

Tuesday the council met in closed session for five hours to give annual performance reviews for our three direct reports: the town manager, the town attorney, and the town clerk. First we met with each employee and discussed the past year. After meeting with all employees the council discussed issues, completed the evaluation forms, and determined their change in salary. The salary changes will begin on July 1st with the new budget.

Wednesday I taped the July episode of Cary Matters with council member Lori Bush. We did one take for each of the three segments and completed the taping in about half an hour. The main topic for the July episode is roads and the maintenance of them. Since we have about 670 miles of roads in Cary I think it is an interesting topic and worth a view.

Later Wednesday council member Bush and I joined council members Smith and Yerha for a trip to the newly constructed Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities. The site is located on over 200 acres and is in Apex’s jurisdiction near New Hill. It will serve Cary, Apex and Morrisville’s waste water needs for decades to come. This project started over ten years ago and was projected to cost about $330 million. I am happy to report that the project will be completed about $30 million under budget and on schedule. This savings is reflected in our utility bills for this upcoming fiscal year. The facility is state of the art in every way. It uses very few chemicals and runs mostly on natural organisms. In addition, biosolids are created from the solids and will be sold as fertilizer generating revenue for the town. A future capital project will allow equipment to be added that will use the biosolids to fuel the biosolids dryer which will also save money. Staff is investigating the return on investment for this feature. The facility will begin taking wastewater in about a week and should be fully operational within a few weeks. The ribbon cutting for the facility is planned for mid-November. During our visit we were presented an overview of the site via a PowerPoint and then walked around to see the various parts of the facility. Our trip to the site concluded after about three hours.

Thursday night was a regularly scheduled council meeting night. The meeting started with recognitions and presentations. I read a proclamation recognizing the robotics team from Green Hope High School. The Public Speaks Out portion of the meeting followed. Most of these speakers talked about the rezoning at Holly Springs Road and Cary Parkway to be voted on later in the meeting.  Ten items were approved on the consent agenda but the Green Level West Road Widening Project was pulled for discussion at the request of a citizen. Our first public hearing was on the purchase and development agreement for the Mayton Inn which is proposed for downtown. The town’s tea party group, which in the past has advocated for things like shutting down all sports venues, was present and spoke against the Mayton Inn and the Cary Theater. The town approved the amendment to the purchase and development agreement and construction should hopefully begin soon. Seven other public hearings were held including rezonings and annexations. Annexations on Penny Road and Carpenter Fire Station Road were approved and the rezonings were sent to the Planning and Zoning Board for their recommendation. The council had eight items for discussion including the $261 million budget which was approved unanimously. We also approved the creation of the Historic Preservation Commission, the creation of the Aging Issues Task Force, and additional funding for the Symphony. The town tabled the rezoning at Holly Springs Road and Cary Parkway to give the developer one last chance to work with residents. The Green Level West Road widening project was tabled so that a citizen could get more information even though staff stated that they had talked with this individual. The council meeting concluded after three closed session items around 10:30.

Friday I participated in meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition. The executive director gave a summary of current actions at the North Carolina legislature. Here are some of the items mentioned:

  • The Senate and the House continue to disagree on the budget. It is believed the Senate will not pass the budget without significant Medicaid changes. The House is focusing now on teacher pay without using the lottery. Both bodies seem to be engaging in a lot of gamesmanship.
  • Provisions are being shoved into bills at the last minute. These include removal of protest petition super majority requirements (developers have been pushing this for years). Design and aesthetic controls which was added by Wake County’s and Cary’s Representative Dollar (also strongly advocated by developers and would allow shacks with one window to be built). Ethics reform which would require all elected officials to fill out a multi-page form about financial holdings (I along with the Mayor Pro-Tem already have to do this because we are voting members of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization).
  • A bill to change political sign rules will allow cities to enforce their rules on all streets regardless if they are state or town maintained.

Our meeting concluded after about half an hour.

Saturday night my wife and I had the pleasure of traveling to Holly Springs to have dinner with the mayor and his wife. Mayor Sears is a good friend and it is great to spend time with him.

Emails from citizens this week included concerns about rezonings, concerns about a potential trail along Chapel Hill Road, a request for additional action on being a bike friendly community, a request for auditory pedestrian crossings, and kudos for the budget.

Next week’s activities include meetings with the town manager and the town attorney, interviews of town clerk candidates, and the July 4th celebration.

My next post will be on Sunday, July 6th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

harold2011_small21This week’s activities consisted mostly of meetings and events.

Monday I met with the town manager for our weekly one on one meeting. We discussed and ongoing development issue downtown and an annexation issue.

Monday night I attended the monthly meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. The mayors unanimously approved a resolution calling for the Wake County Commissioners to add a referendum on the fall ballot that would put a ¼ cent sales tax for teacher salary increases. The mayors also discussed their fiscal year 2015 budgets which go into effect on July 1st. A few mayors stated that their budgets would include a tax increase for this coming fiscal year and some reported plans to increase taxes next year. Based on this information it appears that Cary will remain with the lowest tax rate in Wake County this year and next year even after next year’s increase to cover the 2012 bonds. The General Assembly’s removal of the Privilege License was also discussed at length. Municipalities significantly impacted by this action of the General Assembly include Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, and Knightdale. Most of the other municipalities reported impacts but it was not significant. Our meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.

Tuesday I presented a mid-year State of the Town address at Searstone to about 100 people in attendance. My address was based on the initial one at the beginning of the year with several updates. Some of the updated information included:

  • The legislative removal of our privilege license will cost the town of Cary and its citizens $1.7 million dollars next year (about 1 ½ cents on the tax rate).
  • The legislature has introduced a bill that would prevent Cary from protecting trees with a tree ordinance.
  • The legislature has introduced a bill that would prevent Cary from aesthetic controls (someone could build a shack with an orange tin roof and paint it with pink and purple polka-dots with one window… just sayin).
  • While our population has increased by 20,000 the last five years our operating budget as not kept up to keep taxes low.
  • Fiscal year 2015 budget has no tax increase with a 3.7% increase in utility bills (to pay for wastewater plant expansion and water plant expansion).
  • Cary’s unemployment rate is at 3.6%
  • The Cary Arts Center has more than 450,000 visitors since it opened and has generated close to $2 million dollars in revenue.
  • Cary’s downtown theater, The Cary, has already had about 6500 visitors and has generated about $60,000 in revenue.

My presentation along with questions and answers lasted about an hour. I look forward to visiting Searstone again someone in the near future.

Wednesday afternoon I attended a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO). There were only a couple items of significance to Cary. CAMPO approved an amendment to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) which will allow the Town’s Green Level West Road widening bond project to proceed without delay.  A large part of the CAMPO meeting was focused on looking at the Strategic Prioritization Process (SPOT) scores for future NCDOT projects in the Triangle region.  Last year’s new transportation funding law and an updated scoring process will likely mean that Cary and the Triangle region will see a lot more NCDOT projects to improve interstate, US and NC routes but fewer projects for state and local roads.  Based the preliminary scores, Cary could benefit from regional and local projects in 2015-2025 like new interchanges for US 64 at Laura Duncan Road and Lake Pine Drive, downtown railroad separations at Walker Street and Harrison Avenue, and road widenings along segments of Aviation Parkway, Ten Ten Road, and Jones Franklin Road. The final scores for these projects will be submitted in August.  Any projects that are successful will likely be scheduled after 2020. The meeting concluded in about an hour.

Later Wednesday I attended the Economic Development Committee quarterly meeting. Some of the highlights from this meeting include:

  • The Cary Town Center is working on plans to update and change their facility.
  • There is a potential for expansion of a company in the area that would move their regional headquarters to Cary along with 1237 additional jobs.
  • Cary is under consideration for a major retailer that would bring a $30 million investment and 300 jobs.
  • The Mayton Inn’s HUD loan is approved. Once the release of funds notification is made the construction process will start. This is anticipated to take place by the end of June.
  • A local restaurant and bar is looking to locate in downtown Cary.
  • There are several residential and retail projects that are close to deals in downtown.
  • The town’s class A office space vacancy rate remains about 8%.
  • Cary’s unemployment rate is 3.6% as of the end of April. The County is a 4.7%, the state 6.0%, and the country 5.9%.
  • The Chamber has updated its economic development website at http://www.CaryED.com.
  • There is an application that will allow you to see all development around any part of Cary at http://www.codeforcary.org/dev.html.

Our meeting concluded after about half an hour.

Thursday I had the privilege of reading a proclamation recognizing June 20th as Cary Magazine Day honoring their 10th anniversary. Unlike some of the other printed media, Cary Magazine focuses on capturing the Cary lifestyle and our quality of life. In addition, they do a fantastic job covering our small businesses which they will tell you is the backbone of our town. The event was well attended and a lot of fun.

Friday I participated in a meeting of NC Metropolitan of Mayors. It was reported that the budget differences between the NC Senate and House seem to be getting bigger. Rumors have an adjournment date of July 3rd but others believe that is unlikely. Teacher raises are a big issue and difference between bodies. Most of our meeting was spent discussing regulatory reform bills. Our meeting lasted about half an hour.

Cary received another accolade this week. The Raleigh-Cary metro is No. 7 on list of ‘American Dream’ cities according to information provided by the Cary Chamber.

This week the Town and AT&T announced an agreement that will provide ultra-fast internet to Cary. AT&T will provide their U-verse product over a fiber network to various parts of Cary. This will give speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. With that kind of speed Cary residents will be able to download 25 songs in one second, or a TV show in three seconds, or a movie in about 36 seconds. Our community is hungry for ultra-high speed internet, and signing the agreement moves us one step closer to ensuring we continue to keep Cary one of the best places in the country to live, work and raise our families. We are still working with Google about their fiber network. Google will make their announcement at the end of the year.

Emails from citizens this week included a complaint about the town’s first food truck event, a complaint about a future closing on Cary Parkway at the railroad tracks at Old Apex Road, opposition against several rezonings, a request for a traffic signal, a complaint that sound at Booth Amphitheater was too low, a concern about fracking, a complaint about an apartment owner, a complaint about a proposed multi-use trail on Chapel Hill Road, and a request to have American Flags on Academy Street.

Next week’s activities include a work session on staff evaluations (town manager, town attorney, and town clerk), a council meeting, a taping of Cary Matters, a tour of the Western Wake Regional Wastewater Facility, and dinner with a Wake County Mayor and his wife.

My next post will be on Sunday, June 29th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: 2010 Blogs  | Comments off
Author: Harold
• Sunday, June 15th, 2014

harold2011_small2This week was my first week back after a two week vacation.

I started Monday with phone calls to council members to hear their concerns or questions about the agenda for Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact all but two council members. The agenda had 18 consent items, two public hearings, and two discussion items. There was very little that council members had to say about the agenda. Later in the day I met with management, administration, legal, and other staff members to go over the agenda. Our meeting lasted about 15 minutes. I was informed that there were two items for closed session and so I predicted that our meeting would end around 8 PM.

Later Monday I met with the town manager to go over several items. Most of our discussion focused on economic development and downtown projects.

Tuesday I met with members of the Sigma Tau Omega Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. This great group of ladies spent a lot of time in our community helping others and making it a better place. God bless them! In our meeting we took photos of me presenting a proclamation to them.

Tuesday evening the council held a quasi-judicial meeting to hear a site plan proposal for a Freddy’s Restaurant on the Searstone site. Quasi-judicial hearings are different than regular public hearings in that they resemble a court hearing where testimony is presented. This also means that council is very restricted on what they can consider or not consider in making their decision. While almost all council members expressed disappointment with the way the Searstone corner turned out (with tire store, drug store, fast food, etc) we felt that we had no choice but to approve the site plan because it met all criteria. Our meeting lasted less than an hour.

Thursday started with two work sessions. The first work session was on the 2015 recommended budget. Our only talking point was about the loss of revenues from the Privilege License Tax that is being eliminated by the NC Legislature. It will cost the town $152,000 this year which the budget director believed can be absorbed without changing the budget. However the revenue loss is projected to be a $1.7 million next year which will require significant action from the council to make up the loss.

Our second work session was on tree protection regulations. The town has had a tree protection ordinance for about a decade. There have been complaints by developers that the ordinance prevented development and complaints by others that the ordinance didn’t protect trees. The staff, Planning and Zoning Board, and several stakeholders worked for several months to create changes in regulations for the town’s tree ordinance. These included the definition of a “Champion tree” which was defined as 40 inches or greater for pines, 32 inches for upper story trees, and 12 inches for understory trees. Council agreed to proceed with these definitions. Then a priority list of what to protect was presented. Council stated that streetscapes and prominent locations should be the highest priority. Council also provided recommendations on modifications and reductions of requirements for design flexibility. This list would impact what could be negotiated by staff and what would have to come to council for a decision. Council eliminated several of these staff approval modifications preferring that most come to council for a decision. Staff will now take council’s feedback and create a proposal for council’s review in about a couple of months. Then it will go to the public for feedback.

Thursday night the council held a regularly scheduled council meeting. The council heard from several citizens during the budget public hearing about supporting a vert ramp in the SK8 park. Under the discussion portion of the meeting council discussed a proposed rezoning next on Highway 55 next to I540. What is being proposed is a development similar to Inside Wade. While the product is excellent council will have to decide if it is worth replacing a primary location for future office. Most of our meeting time was spent in closed session going over 7 items. Our meeting lasted until about 10:15.

Friday I participated in the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition meeting. The Asheville mayor talked about a recent lawsuit which allowed the city to keep the water plant. The Chapel Hill mayor talked about the recent lawsuit decision which prohibits them from banning cellphone use. The North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition staff reviewed current legislative bills that could impact all municipalities and the NC House budget.

Saturday I attended a Health Fair put on by the triangle Hindu Temples (SV Temple, HSNC and BAPS). Each year they provide fee medical services for any and all that seek it. This year over 60 doctors donated their time and talents to help over 700 people including blood analysis. This great event gives back to the community and makes us a better place. God bless each and every one that participated.

Saturday afternoon my wife and I were guests of SAS Institute at the US Open. What a treat. Since the SAS tent was close to the NC tent I was able to see the Governor and Secretary of State talking with folks. I was unable to get over to say a few words. The weather was perfect and the golf was great. What a great event for our state to host and what an economic boost. I hope you were able to see some of the tournament.

In emails from the last two weeks the N.C. Department of Transportation will make improvements on 23 miles over 13 Wake County roads. The work for this contract can start as early as July 8, with a portion of the project completed before mid-August, and all roads will be done by the end of June 2015. Among the roads set to be resurfaced are:

  • 3.8 miles of Main Street between the junction with Technology Drive and GB Alford Highway;
  • 0.3 miles of Barefoot Road between W. Academy Street and the county line;
  • 1.7 miles of Blaney Franks Road between Penny Road and Ten-Ten Road;
  • 1.2 miles of Carpenter Upchurch Road between the junction with Cornerstone Drive and the junction with Morrisville Parkway;
  • 0.6 miles of Dillard Drive between Walnut Street and Jones Franklin Road;
  • 3.1 miles of Fanny Brown Road between Ten-Ten Road and Old Stage Road;
  • 0.7 miles of N. Harrison Road between N.E. Maynard Road and Chapel Hill Road;
  • 1.2 miles of Holly Springs-New Hill Road between the junction with Ancient Oaks Drive and 0.2 miles south of Cateswood Court;
  • 0.2 miles of Old Apex Road between the intersection of N.W. and S.W. Maynard Road and the junction with Brentwood Drive;
  • 1.6 miles of Old Holly Springs-Apex Road between Woods Creek Road and New Hill Road;
  • 3.1 miles of Olive Chapel Road between New Hill Olive Chapel Road and Kelly Road;
  • 3.1 miles of Wagstaff Road between S. Main Street and the county line;
  • 0.8 miles of Woodland Road between Old Stage Road and Timber Drive; and
  • 2 miles of Ebenezer Church Road between Westgate Road and 50 ft. into Graylyn Drive.

Because several of these roads are busy commuter and commercial routes, work on those sections will be done at night, with no lane closures or restrictions allowed between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In emails from staff this week we were notified that the repaving of Walnut Street from Kildaire Farm Road to Cary Town Boulevard will begin this week. This is the section that was previously considered for a median which was strongly opposed by residents in the area.

Emails from citizens this week included support for expanded CTran hours, a concern about a rezoning, a concern about Forest Green Drive, and a concern about the location of a multi-use trail.

Next week’s activities include a mid-year state of the town address at Searstone, a Wake County Mayors Association meeting, a Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting, and the 10th anniversary party for Cary Magazine.

My next post will be on Sunday, June 22nd. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

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