Zoning Officials, CAMPO, and Atria Opening

Cary Safest City

Monday the Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) reported that “Cary is still the safest city in North Carolina, according to the ranking – but it’s no longer in the top 10 in the country.

The locale came in at No. 18 this year, a drop from its 7th spot the year prior.” This was according to SmartAsset. But they did admit that Cary is still the safest city in the country according to GoodHire: “Interestingly enough, Cary was named the safest place in America in September, according to an analysis by GoodHire”.

It depends on what study and what criteria is used. The media can make that confusing by just reporting some of the information. Thanks to TBJ for reporting all the information.

NC Association of Zoning Officials

Monday morning I provided welcoming remarks to zoning officials from across North Carolina attending their Mid-Winter Workshop in Cary. In addition to the welcome, I talked about how important creating effective zoning policies and practices were to municipalities. I invited them, in their off time, to visit our downtown and Fenton which were close by.

Commuter Rail

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board created a subcommittee to participate in the decision-making process related to the Greater Triangle Commuter Rail project being developed by GoTriangle and I am part of that subcommittee. Our first meeting will be on February 28th and will mostly be a foundational meeting. After that we will be discussing funding which is important because we will probably not receive federal funding as anticipated.


Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda had three consent items, two public hearings, and four discussion items. The executive board unanimously approved the CAMPO work plan and the FY 2024 LAPP (Locally Administered Projects Program). LAPP is used by the MPO to prioritize and program local transportation projects in the region that utilize federal funding and are the responsibility of the MPO. LAPP projects are funded using the federal funding sources directly attributed to the region with a minimum 20% local match. The FY2024 LAPP program includes Cary’s proposed Higgins Phase IV greenway which will extend it from Shirley Drive to Walnut Street. Money received for this green will be $1.94 million.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Thursday morning I was contacted by Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church who asked that I share covid vaccine information:

What: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church

When: Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23

Where: Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, 200 High Meadow Drive, Cary

Contact: Hanna Hayden, hhayden@thereisgroup.com, (785) 477-4146

Atria Grand Opening

Thursday night I joined council member Jack Smith, NC Senator Gale Adcock, and NC Representative Julie von Haefen at the ribbon cutting for Atria in Cary a senior living facility with all the amenities. We were all given the opportunity to welcome the 50+ residents, about a third of their capacity, who moved in during December. I am sure Atria will be a huge success in our community.

NC Metro Mayors

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors to hear about legislative actions. Here is a summary of that meeting from consultants KTS Strategies:

Consensus Revenue ForecastThe Legislative Fiscal Research Division and the Office of State Budget and Management issued their consensus revenue forecast. The forecast anticipates a one-time budget surplus of $3.25 billion for FY 2022-23. This brings total state General Fund revenue collections to $33.76 billion. The main drivers for the surplus as detailed in the forecast include:

  • A smaller than expected decline in individual income tax collections, especially due to larger than expected tax payments from pass-through businesses electing to be taxed at the entity level, 
  • Persistently high corporate profits, particularly among large multi-national corporations, 
  • Resilient consumer spending despite longer-lasting inflation in goods and services subject to sales tax, and 
  • Higher than expected investment returns on the General Fund balance. 

Senate President Pro-Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement on the forecast, “While this year’s surplus is welcomed news, we need to be cautious as we prepare the budget. We must continue to prioritize responsible spending, addressing our state’s workforce needs, and providing additional tax relief to our citizens.”

An updated joint revenue forecast will be issued in May following Tax Day in April.

Medicaid ExpansionThe House passed their version of Medicaid expansion this week. H76, Access to Healthcare Options, would provide Medicaid coverage to adults aged 18-64 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level beginning on January 1, 2024. The bill also directs the Secretary of Commerce to create a “seamless, statewide, comprehensive workforce development program” and for the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a method to assist Medicaid enrollees in accessing appropriate workforce development services. 

H76 passed the Finance and Rules Committees on Tuesday with little debate. The bill passed third reading on Thursday with a vote of 92-22. It remains to be seen if the Senate will file their own expansion bill or take up this plan. The House version does not include any provisions related to Certificate of Need reform which has been a sticking point for the Senate in the past.

House Permanent RulesOn Wednesday, the House adopted their permanent rules for operating the 2023 regular session.  Many of the rules are the same as previous sessions regarding order of business, conduct of debate, and decorum. There will be a new rule related to veto overrides. Previously, a veto override vote could not be taken until 48 hours after being noticed on the calendar. The new rule states a veto override vote can be taken on the same legislative day it is received from the Senate or Governor or any day it is printed on the calendar. The Senate adopted their permanent rules in January. The Senate Rules Chair must give the Senate Minority Leader at least 24 hours’ notice that a vetoed bill may be considered by the Senate.

Medical MarijuanaThe Senate Judiciary Committee heard S3, NC Compassionate Care Act, on Wednesday. This is the same legislation that moved through the Senate last year.  Sponsored by Senate Rules Chair Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) the bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition. It would create an eleven-member advisory board to review petitions to add a new debilitating condition and create a Medical Cannabis Production Commission to oversee medical cannabis supplier licenses. The bill was up for discussion only in Wednesday’s committee meeting, but there may be amendments considered in next week’s meeting. Should the measure pass through the Senate again, it is unclear if there is enough support in the House to pass the legislation.

The meeting concluded after half an hour.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I enjoyed spending time with several Town staff, citizens, and Chamber members during the Business After Hours at Fenton’s PBR Cowboy Bar. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, the answer is no – I didn’t ride the bull.
Outside of last night’s fun, we continue our focus on preparing for an amazing retreat and plan to have the agenda to you early next week.
Have a good weekend, and I hope to see some of you at Monday’s historic house move.

Email Changeover Postponed

Today’s email changeover from @townofcary.org to @carync.gov has been postponed due to unforeseen technical challenges. Additional communication will be released early next week. We are still on track for the URL changeover on Tuesday, February 21. 

Ivey-Ellington is Headed Home

The Ivey-Ellington House is on the move. The house was recently moved through the back of the original site and is staged on the empty lot next to Academy Street Bistro, where it will remain through the weekend. On Monday, the house will move onto Academy Street and travel south to its new location at the former library site. To accommodate the final steps of this historic relocation, South Academy Street and sidewalks will be closed beginning at 7:00 am on Monday, February 20. The street and sidewalks will be reopened following the relocation.

New Cary Businesses

What a great week for Cary citizens as we welcomed three new business to the Cary business community: Sports & Social Cary, Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, and Gigi’s Playhouse. On Thursday, the new Sports & Social/PBR Cary opened in Fenton. There is no way to describe the 42-foot LED media wall – it is impressive to say the least! This is also home of the PBR Cowboy Bar featuring a mechanical bull upstairs. On February 10, Business Services Manager Bryan Hayes attended an opening for Howdy Homemade Ice Cream at The Walker in downtown Cary, which creates jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On February 12, Gigi’s Playhouse opened in The Walker right next door to Howdy Homemade Ice Cream. Gigi’s Playhouse is an achievement center for individuals with down-syndrome. We are so thankful to these businesses that choose Cary to open a business.

South Walker Street Closure

South Walker Street near East Park Street will close one lane on February 28 to remove an existing tree, weather permitting. This work is needed in advance of the new sidewalk installation expected to start in March. The sidewalk will close one of the last remaining sidewalk gaps along South Walker Street, providing a fully ADA-accessible walkway from the First United Methodist Church parking lot to the Downtown Cary Park.

Cary Higgins Phase IV Greenway

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Executive Board approved a $1.9 million grant this week to construct the Higgins Greenway Phase IV project. This phase will bring pedestrians and cyclists to downtown and supports Cary’s goals to create a walkable environment. An earlier phase Higgins Greenway Phase III, also received LAPP funding and will begin construction this year.

Wake County Small Project Funding

On Wednesday, staff presented a Cary Action Sports facility funding request to the Wake County Hospitality Tax Small Projects Review Team. If awarded, Cary’s $950,000 request would provide for an increase in upgrades to the Action Sports project included in the 2019 bond, such as, installation of a roof structure, seating, ramps, and an additional 1,500 square feet of indoor support facilities. These amenities would allow Cary Action Sports to host larger national and regional tournaments and events as well as elite camps and increased programming. Wednesday’s presentation was round two of the process and Cary’s Action Sports project is among the final six in consideration. 

RFQ Consultant Interviews: Wake BRT Western Corridor Station Area Planning

Cary and Raleigh are actively preparing for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor that will connect the two downtown areas. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded a grant to support Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning work in the station areas along this corridor. A request for qualifications (RFQ) to select a consultant to lead this effort closed February 1. Cary hosted consultant interviews at the Urban Design Studio with City of Raleigh staff on Thursday and Friday. If you have any questions direct them to transit Director, Kelly Blazey

Valentines Day at Cary Senior Center

Marie Martin of the Garden Club has a non-profit organization called Moms Wishing Widows Well that provides Valentine’s Day flowers to over 200 widows in the area. Ms. Martin and her group of volunteers arrived early at the Cary Senior Center to assemble fresh bouquets for Valentine’s Day delivery.

Western Chatham Street Corridor Study Kicks Off

This week, the Urban Design Studio kicked off an urban design corridor study for West Chatham Street. The scope of the project extends along West Chatham Street from Academy Street to just west of the Old Apex/West Chatham Street roundabout. Topics of exploration include streetscape, traffic management, parking, stormwater, redevelopment potential, and utilities. Initial input was gathered from conversations with members of various Cary departments and a walking site tour with the consultant team. Sasaki Associates is the consultant for the project, and the corridor study is expected to take approximately six months.

Fire Graduates 25 Recruits

Fire held a graduation ceremony for the 25 recruits of Academy 26 on Feb. 10 at The Shepherd’s Church in Cary. It marked the end of an intensive eight-month academy during which the recruits earned all their required fire, rescue, hazardous materials, and rescue certifications. The 21 members of Academy 25 were also honored, as COVID-19 prevented them from having their ceremony when they completed their training in January 2022. Graduates had their badges pinned and received their shift assignments at the celebration. Both classes presented a leadership award to a deserving classmate, and family and friends enjoyed a screening of the class videos, produced by one of the Academy 26 graduates, with a reception following the event.

Evans Road / West Cary Middle School Pedestrian Crossing Enhancements

Public Works staff completed the installation of in-street warning signs at two pedestrian crosswalks on Evans Road, one near West Cary Middle School and one just north, near Evans Estates Drive. These signs are the latest in a series of enhancements to the two crossings of an NCDOT-maintained roadway in response to concerns regarding their visibility, particularly in the early morning hours. Traffic engineering staff coordinated with NCDOT personnel in a joint effort to add new pavement markings as well as additional signs and reflective devices to improve safety at the crossings. The in-street warning signs are anticipated to increase the consistency of drivers yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Upcoming Meetings

Athletic Committee
Feb. 20
6:00 p.m.

Cultural Arts Committee
Feb. 22
6:00 p.m.

Council-Staff Retreat

Feb. 24-25

Planning and Zoning Board

Feb. 27
6:30 p.m.

Senior Advisory Board
March 1
2:00 p.m.

Economic Development Committee
March 1
5:15 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint about the proposed Kanoy rezoning in Chatham County
  • A request to speak out against persecution of the Ethiopian Church in Ethiopia
  • A complaint from an unincorporated area wanting Cary water

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the moving of the Ivey-Ellington House, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, the annual NC League of Municipalities Town & State Dinner, being a panelist at the Triangle Community Coalition Mayor’s Panel, a council dinner in Wilmington, and the annual council-staff working retreat in Wilmington.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 26th, 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 augustanat@mindspring.com.

%d bloggers like this: