Turner Creek Elementary, EDC, and Council Meeting

Transcript Review for Invest: Raleigh Durham

Monday afternoon I met briefly with the author from Invest: Raleigh Durham about an interview with them last week. The transcript has now been passed on to staff for review.

Council Meeting Prep

Monday I attempted to contact each council member to hear of any questions or concerns about the upcoming agenda. There were a few questions about the Industrial site annexation and the town’s compliance with session law. Later Monday I met with the Mayor Pro-Tem and management to go over and discuss the agenda.

Turner Creek Elementary 3rd Graders

Wednesday morning I met virtually with three 3rd grade classes from Turner Creek Elementary who were studying state and local government. I made a brief PowerPoint presentation and then answered several questions. I had a great time and will do another talk to the 3rd graders at Turner Creek later this month.

Economic Development Committee

Wednesday afternoon I joined council members Jack Smith and Jennifer Bryson Robinson in an Economic Development Committee meeting. The summary of economic activity from the Cary Chamber President included:

  • Visits: Penny Mac, HCL, Xerox, Cotton Inc, Beuhler-Aeroglide, Veloxis Pharma, ABB, Lord Corp, MetLife, Avidex, OnLogic, and ServePro.
  • Expansions: Advanced Manufacturing and a HealthCare Technology firm. The estimated capital investment for this project is about $80M. The number of new jobs is unknown currently.
  • Recruitment potential: 700 jobs / $ 1.4 Billion Capital Investment potential
  • Product Trend: most interest in the Industrial and Life Science space, with consultants and corporations looking for existing or shell buildings, with a few a looking at build to suit opportunities averaging from 40,000 sq ft – 750,000 sq ft. Raw land request on average ranges from 20 – 250 acres.
  • Industrial Space: The chamber continues to work with Ted and Town staff with two separate development firms on (2) large industrial / flex space type of product sets, one in west Cary which is 15 acres, with a planned building size of around 162,000 sq ft, of which can be 2 buildings, or one large building. This parcel is on target to have final site plan approval over the next 30 – 45 days. The other large tract is in northwest Cary near the airport. This tract is 142 acres and is planned to have just over 700,000 sq ft of flex/ industrial space. This project is estimated to have their site plan approved from the Town within the next 6 months. The Press building has now completed their interior demo work and has the inside prepared as “shell” space. Lincoln Harris in Raleigh is the Broker and Developer on this. They are working with the Planning department on their exterior site plan work (building exterior upgrades, new landscaping, and a parking area expansion). This building is formerly known as the old Oxford University Press company on Evans Road. This building is a great space for Life Science, Biotech, advanced manufacturing, and logistics.
  • Class A Office: This product set is still slow, but we have had some smaller opportunities looking from 15,000 – 45,000 sq ft over the last few months. Downtown, Fenton, and Regency Park are the best areas to accommodate those space needs right now. CentreGreen Office Park has (3) areas that can accommodate up to 400,000 total square feet.
  • Land: We are continuing to research potential opportunities for land that can accommodate Industrial type of projects, and areas that would also make good future Class A Office Parks.
  • Redevelopment Opportunities: Weston Parkway corridor for creating more density of Class A Office buildings. MacGregor Park – this area is prime for Industrial and Class A Office redevelopment opportunities. Big Lots shopping center on Kildaire Farm Rd. This could be a nice mixed-use opportunity for Office, retail, restaurants, and apartments. Crossroads area – This could be an opportunity to connect with the South Hills project in the future, with bridges going over US 1 /64. This can be a nice mixed-use opportunity for Office, retail, restaurant, and apartments.

It should be noted that Industrial in Cary does not mean smokestack type of development. Instead, it is more advanced manufacturing, hands on labs, and Research and Development. A 3D printer lab would be an example.

In the development updates, Cary’s Economic Development Director notified the committee that talks continue with the new South Hills owners. We hope to see plans submitted in the next six months or so.

The remainder of the meeting was a discussion on the upcoming changes to the EDC committee. Staff will present a plan in the future that will include what the committee will discuss and make recommendations on. Staff believes that there could be great value added especially in redevelopment projects. We should see staff’s recommendations for this change at our next meeting on December 7th.

Fenton Taping

Thursday morning I joined the Chamber president and representatives from Hines and Columbia development to do a video for YouTube. It mocks the use of “The Fenton” when instead of just “Fenton”

Individual Council Portrait

Thursday afternoon I had my portrait made for the council. These are done after each election. I chose one from about a dozen pictures.

Fictional Book in Cary

Thursday, after my portrait, I met with an author of a fictional book called Bittersweet which was based on the life of a lady from Cary and was based in Cary. I listened to her story and was presented a signed copy. I look forward to reading the book soon.

Council Meeting

Thursday night the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting in September. The meeting started with the swearing in of Jack Smith to council for the 9th time. He has been serving on council since 1989. He was sworn in by a notary who happened to be the son of a friend of his. The notary was in his teens, and we believe it might be the youngest to swear in a council member.

Afterwards, I recognized retiring Associate Planning Director, Debra Grannan with a proclamation for her 31 years at Cary. We will certainly miss her, but I look forward to watching her perform as part of the Cary Players.

The agenda included 8 consent items and two public hearings. Two of the consent items, the industrial site for rezoning and annexation, were removed to be voted on later in the month while the rest were approved. The first public hearings were Code and Land Development Ordinance Amendments. This item was referred to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation. The second public hearing was an annexation on Carpenter Fire Station Road. This public hearing was continued until the September 22nd meeting.

The council meeting concluded after about 30 minutes.

Town Manager’s Report

The Town Manager’s report for this week included:

Sean’s Message

Similar to last night’s Council meeting agenda, the number of items we have for you this week to report is brief.
I am including Utilities Director Jamie Revel’s response to former Cary Councilmember Nels Roseland’s concerns regarding the Black Creek Greenway sewer rehabilitation project. Jamie did an excellent job in his response and serves as an example of the knowledge and professionalism our staff employs when interacting with our citizens.
Enjoy your weekend.

Swearing-In Ceremony

At the September 8 Council meeting, Council Member Jack Smith took the oath of office with his family by his side. Council Member Smith is Cary’s longest-serving Council Member and took his first oath of office back in 1989. At Thursday’s meeting, he was sworn in for his 9th term by family friend, Brendan Lynch.

PRCR Master Plan Update

This week, staff kicked off meetings to start the process of updating the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Master Plan. Consultants from the firm Agency Landscape + Planning visited Cary this week and will help develop this document and fully integrate it into Imagine Cary. A detailed scope and schedule is being created and will be rolled out before the end of the year.

NC Affordable Housing Conference

The North Carolina Affordable Housing Conference is North Carolina’s largest annual conference focused on housing affordability. This year, Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison Morgan Mansa presented with the NC League of Municipalities to educate municipalities on how to leverage federal funds and develop local partnerships to better preserve and develop affordable housing. The presentation also used Cary as a case study for its use of American Rescue Plan Act funds on housing affordability.

Travel Safely App Demo

Citizens in Cary now have a tool to travel our roads more safely thanks to a multi-year effort with a private app developer. On Wednesday, staff demonstrated the app Travel Safely for members of the media. The demo included a drive through downtown Cary that triggered all of the features of the app, like audible school zone notifications, cyclist alerts, and countdown to green light, and ended with a behind-the-scenes look at our Traffic Management Center. The app is available for download in both Apple and Android stores. You can learn more about this effort and watch a video on the project here.

Fall Environmental Outreach Campaign Launches

The Cary community is invited to “Dig In and Grow Green This Fall” with over 20 different environmentally focused opportunities. There’s a full lineup of celebrations, workshops, volunteer workdays, and giveaways that promise to make it fun and easy to continue building a more resilient and sustainable Cary. The fall campaign includes activities such as free compost and tree giveaways, farm tours, and virtual solar classes for all to enjoy. Staff are encouraged to join in the fun and share the campaign with their friends and neighbors via www.townofcary.org/green.

Transportation GIS Efforts Recognized

Cary was recently featured in this article in ESRI’s ArcUser Magazine. ESRI, a global leader in location intelligence, publishes the ArcUser magazine to provide practical, technical information to help better understand GIS Technology. The article discusses how GIS Technology is used to assist in analysis and decision making within Cary’s street improvement process. 

Portable Camera System

Fire and Police are conducting a trial on a portable camera system. The system is located in the parking lot adjacent to the Fire Administration building and train tracks. It will remain parked in that location for the next 30 days while staff evaluates its capabilities. 

New Hope Disc Golf Course Tree Chimes

Large chimes have been installed at the Diavolo @ New Hope disc golf course to minimize exposed trees from being hit by discs.
The chimes are a more artistic and aesthetically pleasing alternative to the traditional way of protecting trees with welded wire, plastic wrap, or padding.
After a review period to determine if there are any maintenance concerns, additional chimes may be installed to protect more trees.

Upcoming Meetings

Hybrid Park, Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Board
Sept. 12
5:15 p.m. 

Hybrid Information Services Advisory Board
Sept. 12
6:00 p.m.

Zoning Board of Adjustment
Sept. 12 
6:30 p.m.

Hybrid Environmental Advisory Board Meeting
Sept. 13
6:00 p.m.

Hybrid Human Relations, Inclusion, & Diversity
Sept. 13
6:00 p.m.

Hybrid Historic Preservation Commission Meeting
Sept. 14
6:30 p.m.

Hybrid Greenway Committee Meeting
Sept. 15
6:00 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint about overpopulation (Cary has been growing at a rate of 2 to 2 ½ percent for 15 years. Cary has no authority to stop growth nor should it)
  • A complaint about a sewer issue on black creek greenway temporary pipe
  • A concern about the shooting at Motel 6
  • A complaint about fees related to a home improvement project
  • A complaint about trash and abandoned cars on Branniff Drive
  • A complaint about the renaming of White Oak Park

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the Atlantic Tire Championship and trophy presentations, a State of Cary address at Searstone, and the Dragon Boat Festival.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 18th. 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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