CAMPO Commuter Rail Subcommittee
Tuesday I participated in a subcommittee meeting of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board to discuss the future commuter rail in this area. Three phases of commuter rail were presented to the committee with the Central phase, Garner to RTP, being the highest priority.
Due to the lack of density and other criteria, the commuter rail project didn’t qualify for federal funds. Part of the job of the committee is to make recommendations on how to proceed without those funds. It is believed that by the time the second phase is ready to be implemented we will qualify for federal funding.
The committee expressed interest in meeting with a similar subcommittee from the Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC) before the end of the month to discuss their possible participation.
A recommendation on how to proceed will be made to CAMPO by GoTriangle on March 29th.
Economic Development Committee
Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. The meeting started with a quarterly summary of activity from the President of the Cary Chamber. Here are a few points from that report:
- Deutsche Bank will be adding 100 jobs with more to come.
- Greenberg Gibbons Properties is targeting June of this year to begin grading on a 15-acre site for industrial/flex space in west Cary.
- Another large tract of 142 acres, which will have 700,000 square feet of flex/industrial space is expected to have approvals by late summer.
- Class A office is slow. There has been interest in the 15,000 to 25,000 square foot range. Downtown, Fenton, and Regency can accommodate those space needs.
The town’s report was presented by the Chief Strategy Officer. She noted that new EPA requirements for water will include new rules and standards which Cary already meets.
The Economic Development Director and a consultant representative gave a preview of the half day workshop to be held on March 21st.
This was followed by a concept presentation of what town hall campus could look like if redeveloped. An RFQ (Request for Quote) will go out in about a month for the town hall campus.
The next Economic Development Committee, outside the upcoming workshop, will be on June 7th.
Heart of Cary Presentation
On Thursday morning I presented a slightly modified version of the State of Cary address. I added slides about the potential redevelopment of town hall campus, the Walnut Creek greenway, the Ivey Ellington House, and the Kildaire Farm Road visioning. The event was held at the Cary Chamber offices and there were about three dozen in attendance including NC State Senator Gale Adcock, Mayor Pro-Tem Don Frantz, and council member Ryan Eades. The presentation took about 40 minutes.
North Carolina Metro Mayors
Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. The following is a legislative summary for this week from KTS Strategies:
State of the State
Governor Cooper will deliver his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Monday, March 6 at 7:00 PM. This speech is delivered every two years and has historically been a time for the Governor to express the types of legislation he would like to see passed and give insight to some of his potential budget proposals. There will be a Republican rebuttal following the speech. This year, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson will give the Republican response.
On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) held a joint press conference announcing an agreement on Medicaid expansion. Specific language has not been released, but legislation is expected to be filed soon. Senator Berger said the legislature “will move with all deliberate speed to move this forward.” The compromise will include a partial repeal of the Certificate of Need laws. While Governor Cooper was not included in the House and Senate negotiations, he issued a statement commending the hard work, but would like the plan to start immediately. Legislative leadership’s implementation timeline would be contingent on passage of the state budget. The goal is for a budget to passed by June 30.
S3, NC Compassionate Care Act, received final approval from the Senate this week. The bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition and create a Medical Cannabis Production Commission to oversee medical cannabis supplier licenses. Each supplier would be required to operate at least one medical cannabis center in a Tier 1 County. S3 passed third reading on the Senate floor with a vote of 36-10. It is unclear if there is enough support in the House to pass the legislation.
Official State Cookie
North Carolina may soon have an official state cookie. H89 would adopt the Moravian cookie as the official state cookie. The bill would also adopt the Moravian star as the official state star. The bill passed unanimously on the House floor Wednesday. It will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Town Manager’s Report
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Frederick R. Barnard
Enjoy your weekend.
Annual Change in Water Disinfection is Underway
The Cary/Apex Water Treatment facility began its annual disinfection process change on Wednesday. During this period, the facility switches from the standard mixture of chlorine and ammonia for disinfection to free chlorine. Water line flushing to cleanse the system has also begun. During this time, you may see Cary staff flushing hydrants, which is a normal part of the process. This change, which will continue until April 15, is in accordance with state and federal recommendations and is part of our normal water system maintenance process. During the switchover period, residents and customers may notice a minor increase in chlorine odor and temporary discoloration of water due to nearby hydrant flushing. These changes will be temporary and are a normal part of the process.
EPA Expected to Announce Proposed PFAS Regulations
As first reported at the November Quarterly Meeting, staff is closely following updates and information expected from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce proposed per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations for drinking water. PFAS are a class of man-made chemicals used for consumer product applications such as waterproof and stainproof fabrics, nonstick cookware, some food packaging materials, and fire suppression foams. PFAS related substances are quite prevalent in a wide range of consumer products and have been detected in our water supply from Jordan Lake. The announcement from EPA to set targets for a maximum contaminant level or MCL is expected soon. The process of establishing an effective regulation for PFAS is expected to take 3 to 5 years.
Cary and Apex have invested in PFAS removal systems and technology at our Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility and we are continuing to study and pilot test even more sophisticated water treatment technologies with our partners. While the anticipated regulations are expected to be very restrictive, Cary’s water system is well prepared to meet this challenge and has been successfully treating for the reduction of PFAS from our drinking water for several years. More detailed information is available at our web page by following key word search, “PFAS.”
In addition, this email from Utilities Director Jamie Revels, provides additional context.
2023 Cary 101 Applications Open
Cary 101 will return for another year of engaging presentations and hands-on activities this spring. The six-week long program serves as an opportunity for citizens to increase their understanding of local government and spur even greater community involvement. Selected participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at Cary’s culture, departments, and operations before graduation in May. Applications are open now through March 15. For more information and to apply, visit www.carync.gov/cary101.
Wake Transit Plan Updates Available for Comment
Wake Transit has two new draft plans ready for public review and comment. The FY24 Draft Work Plan covers investments for the next fiscal year, including:
- Continued funding for GoCary Route 7, and Sunday service, and expanded midday service on all GoCary routes
- Capital funding for bus stop improvements
- Funding for the construction of GoCary’s new Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility (BOMF)
- The FY2025-30 Draft Bus Plan Update includes new investments in fixed route services through the end of the decade, including:
- All-day local service between Apex and Cary starting in FY25
- A new GoCary route serving Maynard Rd., Chapel Hill Rd., and parts of Eastern Cary, with connecting service to GoRaleigh, GoTriangle, and the NC State Wolfline near the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh
- Additional funding for bus stop improvements and enhanced transfer points between services
Review and comment on both plans here. Comments are accepted through March 22.
Community Centers Information Gathering Update
In December, Cary kicked off an online convenience survey that closed on February 28. During this time, approximately 3,800 participants responded, weighing in on programming and other desires for both proposed community centers. Our consultant teams will review and report findings in the coming months. To wrap up this phase, staff attended the recent Teen Council Meeting with 250 teens in attendance who took the survey and participated in a dot exercise. The next step includes developing scenarios based on the feedback provided.
Spring My Tree, Our Tree Registration Sparks a Burst of Activity
Citizen enthusiasm for the My Tree, Our Tree campaign continues to grow. Within an hour of registration opening Tuesday morning, eager citizens reserved all 500 trees. Staff identified issues that overwhelmed the registration system and are working to resolve them by the fall giveaway. We look forward to March 18, when participants will pick up their American Elm, Little Gem Magnolia, Dogwood, or Beautyberry to enhance the beauty of their yard and contribute to the community’s tree canopy and environmental health.
9-1-1 Goes to Washington
Emergency Communications Shift Supervisor Jeremy Schwartzman joined hundreds of 9-1-1 professionals and other government leaders in our nation’s capital to address today’s most pressing 9-1-1 and emergency communications issues. This annual event through the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is the only event that addresses policy challenges facing 9-1-1 centers nationwide through dialogue with elected and appointed officials in Washington, DC.
Fire Personnel Attend CPSE Excellence Conference
At the 2023 Excellence conference, sponsored by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), Assistant Fire Chief Matt Jacoby presented a talk titled, Credentialing Process Explained. This presentation walked interested fire service personnel through preparing their application for professional credentialing. Battalion Chief Alicia Dismuke, Assistant Fire Marshal Michael Tatum, and Business Specialist Bonnie McDonald also attended, where they participated in sessions on accreditation, credentialing, leadership, and changes and opportunities in the fire service.
Black History Month Recap
The month of February was filled with programs highlighting the varied contributions of African Americans to the culture and intellectual vibrancy of our community and nation. Adopting the theme of “Unsung Titans of the ’70s & ’80s”; programs took a fun trip back in time to see how some of these artists influenced our culture. A series of films at The Cary Theater highlighted the work of black artists in cinema, and the Page-Walker hosted an exhibition of celebrated African American artist Eric McRay. The Cary Youth Theater created a student-authored show entitled “Celebrating Our Heroes”; and Pure Life Theater Company introduced their upcoming production of “The Face of Emmet Till”. The contributions of Black athletes were highlighted in the final weekend with a focus on martial arts. The Cary Theater hosted a premiere screening of the documentary “Grandmaster: The Vic Moore Story” with a Q&A with the filmmaker and 4x Karate Champion and subject of the film Victor Moore.
On February 22, the Cary Senior Center hosted “Taste of Black History” luncheon. “A Taste of Black History” merged pieces of African American history along with some African American inspired cuisine and staple menu items. With over 60 people in attendance, we discussed the background of some of our favorite foods and enjoyed some traditional soul food items while also being challenged with trivia that focused on modern day contributions of African Americans.
Parks, Rec, & Cultural Resources
Monday March 6
at 5:15 p.m.
Information Services Advisory Board
Monday, March 6
at 6:00 p.m.
Human Relations, Inclusion & Diversity
Tuesday, March 7
at 6:00 p.m.
Historic Preservation Commission
Wednesday, March 8
at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday March 9
at 6:30 p.m.
Soliciting in Cary
This week I received a complaint about soliciting in Cary. The request was to create ordinances to prevent soliciting. Here is the response from the town attorney:
“… Cary does have an ordinance regulating soliciting. You can find it here: https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/cary/latest/cary_nc/0-0-0-62603#JD_20-3; and the Police Department has some information on this on the Town’s website: https://www.carync.gov/services-publications/police/faq-5367
As a brief summary, people who are selling things door-to-door in Cary should obtain a permit from the Town through the Police Department. Cary does not regulate the circulation of petitions, expression of political or religious views, or solicitations by charitable or nonprofit organizations, and does not require a permit for those activities.
If you or your neighbors have concerns about solicitors, I would suggest calling the Police Department non-emergency number (unless there is a true emergency where immediate response is needed). The non-emergency number is (919) 469-4012. They would be happy to talk to you.
Citizens who have concerns or ideas for the Town are always welcome to email the Mayor and council, as you did, and also to come to a Council meeting and provide public comments. Instructions for that are here: https://www.carync.gov/connect-engage/transparency/public-hearings/public-speaks-out …”
- A complaint soliciting in Cary
- A complaint about not being able to get a tree on line with My Tree, Our Tree program
- A complaint about the Kanoy Property proposal
- A complaint about police and the need for police reform
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force meeting, a meeting with the Sheriff, the first regularly scheduled council meeting of March, a meeting about the White Oak Community Center, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and speaking at Basant Bahar.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 12th, 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 email@example.com.