Council Meeting Prep
Monday I contacted council members, including council member elect Ryan Eades, to hear of questions or concerns they may have had about the upcoming council agenda for the last regularly scheduled meeting of January. There were very few concerns. Later in the day I met with key staff members to go over the agenda items. We anticipated the council meeting would be relatively short.
Town Manager One-On-One
After the agenda meeting, I met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one. Most of our discussion was on inclusionary zoning. Some municipalities in North Carolina, like Chapel Hill, have created inclusionary zoning ordinances which would require developers to include affordable units in their plans. The problem with this is that our authority comes from the legislature, and they haven’t given authority for inclusionary zoning. As a result, some municipalities’ ordinances are being challenged in court. Years ago, Cary had ordinances without legislative authority. Those ordinances required schools or roads to be built before or with development, called Adequate Public Facilities ordinances. Those types of ordinances were challenged and are now not allowed. I would not be surprised if the inclusionary ordinances were struck down by the courts. Unfortunately, losing a court battle like that will cost the municipalities, and taxpayers, a LOT of money.
State of Cary Address
Wednesday I presented the State of Cary Address at the Cary Eye Opener Breakfast to an audience of 365 at Prestonwood County Club. According to Cary Chamber records, this was the largest crowd ever for this event. My presentation was taken from the 5500-word text version of the State of Cary address I wrote over the last month and half. I spoke from 49 slides which took me around 35 to 40 minutes. To see the text and the slides go here. According to the feedback I received, the address seemed well received.
Public Meeting on The Centre
Wednesday night I attended a public meeting on the Centre which is planned to be built on the South Hills mall site. The purpose of the meeting was to get public input on what they would like to see at the Centre. The overall process is in the concept phase where public input is collected. This will be followed by design and then two years of construction. If the project is funded and remains on schedule it is planned to be open at the end of 2027. I anticipate a bond referendum on the Centre and other projects in 2024.
Ryan Eades Reception
Before the regularly scheduled council meeting on Thursday a reception was held for Ryan Eades who was sworn in later as a Cary Council member representing District D. Friends, family, staff, and elected officials gathered to congratulate Ryan and meet his family.
Thursday night was the last council meeting of January. It began with the oath of office for Ryan Eades followed by eight consent items, five public hearings, and one discussion item.
The consent items included a rezoning and annexation for the rebuilding of Swift Creek Elementary School, a renaming Gracebay Place to Crayton Oak Drive for public safety reasons, a Cary-NCDOT street exchange for maintenance, a call for a public hearing for the Lewter Shop Road annexation, funding to convert field 4 at USA Baseball to artificial turf, and changing the council meeting schedule to add the council-staff retreat on February 24th and 25th.
Public hearings included the approval of an annexation for a hotel on North Harrison associated with rezoning case 16-REZ-15, approved in 2016, and Development Plan 20-DP-6905. There were also two public hearings on land development ordinance amendments, a rezoning public hearing for West Park Street, and a rezoning public hearing for Green Level West Road. These will come back for a vote after being reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Board.
The only discussion item was whether or not to use Construction Manager at Risk (“CMAR”) delivery method for the Centre project. In the discussion it was pointed out that this method was used for the downtown park and other large projects. After questions and comments the council unanimously approved the recommendation.
Council Candidate Meeting
Friday I met with a candidate who is planning to run for Cary Town Council in the fall. It is my practice to endorse incumbents but I am willing to meet with and provide advice to all candidates who wish.
Town Manager’s Report
I was once again blown away by the Mayor’s State of Cary Address at the Chamber Eye Opener on Wednesday. He does an incredible job of summarizing the past year and highlighting what’s to come for Cary in the new year. You know it is an impactful presentation when you leave the room feeling uplifted and reenergized.
On Thursday, Council held a reception honoring incoming Council Member, Ryan Eades. During the meeting, Ryan was sworn in as Council D Representative by NC Senator Gale Adcock, with his family at his side. Staff and I look forward to getting to know Ryan more as we embark on this new relationship.
Have a good weekend.
Downtown Park Neighborhood Meeting
On Wednesday, the Downtown Cary Park hosted its third Neighbor Meeting at the Cary Arts Center. Mayor Pro Tem Don Frantz and Council Members Lori Bush, Carissa Kohn-Johnson, and Ryan Eades joined 67 neighbors and downtown business representatives at the meeting which resulted in an engaging conversation between staff and attendees. The Downtown Cary Park General Manager, Joy Ennis, introduced the other members of the Downtown Cary Park team, followed up on outstanding items from the last meeting, provided an update on construction, and gathered feedback on programming ideas and items the neighbors would like to see at the market.
Green Bike Lane Striping
Dedicated bicycle lanes are being added to Laura Duncan Rd. in an effort to not only improve mobility for cyclists, but also to calm traffic speeds through this area by narrowing the travel lanes. As an added visual enhancement, green markings, similar to those seen at Fenton, have been included to highlight potential conflict zones (intersections) where cyclists and drivers should have a heightened awareness. Inspections and Permits staff are on-hand to coordinate with the project contractor, ensuring the markings are completed as planned. Once completed, Police and Transportation staff will monitor the corridor and collect data to help quantify the impact of the new bike lanes.
Touring New Hanover County’s In-Vessel Composting Operations
Staff toured the New Hanover County landfill to get first-hand experience of a North Carolina government-run composting operation that has been operational since 2017. Being on-site enabled staff to have a rich conversation with county peers who generously offered details about challenges and success with their in-vessel compost system over the past five years. Of particular interest were the site size and design, operational and maintenance recommendations, and organic materials used to create compost for their county residents. It was exciting to see this style of composting and imagine the possibilities of how it may support Cary’s future solid waste management.
Community Center Public Meeting
A public meeting for a proposed new community facility to be located at the South Hills Mall site was held this week. Attendees were provided an overview of current trends with community center design and then given an opportunity to share their preferences. The public engagement for this project is in conjunction with the online survey which to date has been completed by more than 3,000 citizens and will remain open until February 28. An additional public meeting has been scheduled at the Cary Senior Center on February 3 from 1-3 p.m. that will cover this community center and the other one in the Mills Park area.
Prepping for Cary’s NPDES Stormwater Permit Audit
The State audits stormwater program documentation and selected facilities every five years to ensure they comply with EPA requirements to maintain the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Cary’s NPDES Phase II permit cycle is concluding, and in preparation for permit renewal, Stormwater staff has been preparing for the extensive audit for the past year, and staff at each facility have been conducting internal audits in preparation.
Black Creek Sewer Rehab Update
The Black Creek Greenway between Dynasty Drive and North Cary Park is open to the public, following completion of sewer rehabilitation in December 2022. The second phase of sewer rehabilitation along the Black Creek Greenway is now underway, and the Black Creek trail is closed between North Cary Park and the Crabtree Creek Greenway. A detour is in place to route greenway traffic around the work area. This is shown on our webpage at https://carygreenwaydetour.com/.
At the same time, work is beginning on the final leg of the project between the Crabtree Creek Greenway and the trailhead at Old Reedy Creek Road. Citizens may observe that special construction mats are being placed outside of the greenway to facilitate construction access near the trailhead, which will be followed by installation of temporary above-ground piping, sewer cleaning and rehabilitation of sewer lines and manholes. No closures are anticipated along the greenway for the final segment of the project.
Senior Advisory Board
February 1 at 2:00 p.m.
Community Center Public Meeting
February 3 at 1:00 p.m.
- A complaint about safety near Morrisville Carpenter Parkway and Davis Drive.
- A request to create new ordinances for stray cats.
- An email praising our fire department.
- A concern about sidewalks safety in Carpenter Village.
- A congratulations to staff for a successful Dreamfest 2023.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, and a taping of the short version of State of Cary address.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 5th, 2023. 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.