This week included the last regularly scheduled council meeting of the month.
Monday I contacted each of the council members to hear of questions or concerns about Thursday’s agenda. There was a question about an Act 22 item which was a public hearing, and a question about the proposed sister city.
Later Monday I met with staff members to go over the agenda. Our meeting lasted about fifteen minutes.
Monday night I participated in a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. There were seven other mayors in attendance. Absent were the mayors from Apex, Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Wendell. Our discussion topics included the county’s mask mandate, issues with growth, and communicating with citizens. Our meeting lasted about two and a half hours.
Tuesday night I joined council members Smith, Yerha, and Liu in presenting $40,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations with programs and projects in the cultural arts. These grants were from the 45th Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival proceeds. To date the festival committee has given over $800,000 back to the arts in our community.
Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of February. The agenda included 7 consent items, 2 public hearings, and 1 discussion item. Approved with the consent were minutes, the Kilmayne Place Senior Living, Act 21 Land Development Ordinance Amendments, and the Deletion of Outdated Policy Statements.
The first public hearing was on Act 22 Land Development Ordinance Amendments and Town Code Amendments. These would be a series of technicalLDO amendments that would align the LDO with state statutes, make LDO process improvements without changing town policy or regulatory intent, and make minor clarifications and corrections to the LDO and Town Code. There were no speakers for the hearing and it was sent to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation.
The second public hearing was for the 21-A-17 Pleasant Grove Annexation. The owners of the properties petitioned for annexation to relocate their business from Downtown Cary to this site next to the airport. The hearing had no speakers, but several written comments were submitted to the council. Most of them were told, through Nextdoor and other social media, that the council wanted to create a strip club. They expressed disgust with the council and the town. Here are the facts:
- All legitimate businesses, including strip clubs, must be allowed to locate in a municipality, by law.
- Years ago, Cary created a zoning for strip clubs next to the airport and nowhere near residents, schools, churches, and other sensitive businesses to accomplish this requirement.
- What was being voted on at this meeting was not the use (zoning at this site was approved years ago), but whether this business could be annexed into the town, pay taxes, and get water and sewer.
- The applicant wanted to move the strip club from downtown Cary (that had been a non-conforming use for years) to the airport site.
While I am confident that council members are not happy to have this type of business in town, it is a legitimate business that is protected by law. As a result the vote was unanimously approved. I look forward to the strip club in downtown being a thing of the past.
Under discussion the council unanimously approved our fifth sister city, Bandirma, Turkey. Other sister cities include Le Touquet, France; Markham, Canada; Hsinchu, Taiwan; and County Meath, Ireland. Since Spring 2019, Council Member and Liaison to Cary Sister Cities Jack Smith has been in conversation with Turkish representatives about the communities’ interest in formalizing a sister city relationship between Cary and Bandirma, Turkey. I look forward to other sister cities in the future. Personally, I would love to have a sister city in India and Germany.
After a short closed session, the council meeting concluded after about 45 minutes.
The town manager’s report for this week included:
It is hard to believe that February is coming to a close already. Council and staff had a productive month of meetings and action. Personally, I look forward to March – the warmer weather and spring activities.
One spring initiative is a pressure zone modification in the Piper’s Crossing, Piper’s Grove and Pritchett Farms subdivisions on April 6. In preparation of this improvement Council Member Jack Smith joined staff for a virtual neighborhood meeting that was held February 23 to discuss the upcoming water pressure increase in the identified area. A recording of the meeting is available on Cary’s Pressure Zone Modification webpage.
Annual Biosolids Report
Cary’s Water Reclamation Facilities (WRF) utilize thermal drying at both the South Cary and Western Wake Water Reclamation Facilities for managing and treating biosolids, a nutrient rich byproduct of wastewater treatment. Cary produces EPA-Certified, Class A Exceptional Quality biosolids by recycling valuable nutrients from the wastewater for beneficial reuse as a natural fertilizer and soil amendment. In 2021, the North Cary and South Cary WRF together produced 3,665 dry tons and the Western Wake Regional WRF produced 3,087 dry tons of biosolids. Cary’s high-quality dried biosolids, known as Enviro-Gems are marketed to a vendor for use in the agribusiness industry. Read the entire 2021 Annual Biosolids Report here.
Downtown Park E-Newsletter
To keep up with the progress in the Downtown Park consider joining the E-news list. Citizens can add themselves to the Downtown Park E-news list by going to the park’s website, scrolling to the bottom and entering your information. Once the information is submitted a confirmation email will be sent to authorize being added to the email list.
Hybrid Senior Advisory Board
Wednesday, March 2
Economic Development Committee
Wednesday, March 2
Emails from citizens this week included:
- A complaint about Morrisville Carpenter Road should be named by the Carpenter family.
- A complaint about a storm device overflow that the town refuses to fix (the pond and devices are privately owned and maintained by the HOA)
- A complaint about high rents in Cary
- A complaint about a plugged drain on Ralph Drive
- A concern about Cary multi-story buildings might collapse like the one in Florida
- A complaint about an out-of-state vehicle parked at Crescent Commons every day giving the appearance that they are working at Harris Teeter
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a visit to the compost center with Toward Zero Waste in Raleigh, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and a meeting with a citizen on a mission to meet all North Carolina Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Monday, March 7. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.