Interviews, DEI Task Force, and a Council Meeting

Interview with High School Students

Monday I was interviewed by two students from the Enloe High School newspaper. They asked several questions regarding schools, housing, future retail, development, economic development, and other items. Our talk lasted about 30 minutes

Agenda Review

Monday I attempted to contact each council member to hear of questions or concerns about Thursday regular meeting agenda. Topics of concerns expressed to me included the Terraces proposed rezoning of Highway 55, and questions about the Meridian development in downtown.

Later in the day I met with staff and the Mayor Pro-Tem to go over the agenda items. We discussed the council member’s questions and concerns to help prepare staff’s presentations for the meeting. Our meeting concluded after 15 minutes.

Town Manager One-on-one

After the agenda meeting I met with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. Topics included the South Hills mall purchase, the future Sportsplex, our light ordinance, updates on the tennis center, and the Fenton’s rezoning proposal.

Wake County Mayor’s Association and the University Games

Monday night I met with several Wake County mayors for our monthly gathering. Attending were mayors from Cary, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Morrisville, and Rolesville. The meeting started with a presentation on the University Games. The Triangle venues are in the final location selection with Korea for the 2027 games. Cities involved in this bid include Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, and Greensboro (for swimming). If picked this area will host 19 events over a 13-day period. The economic impact from these games is estimated to be over $153 million. After the presentation the mayors held a roundtable discussion mostly on budgets and projects. Our meeting concluded after about 2 ½ hours.

DEI Task Force Interviews

Tuesday night I joined council members Bush, Liu, and DEI manager Harris in interviews of the final eight applicants for the DEI task force. The mission of the task force is to improve the quality of life for the organization and community by encouraging fair treatment and promoting mutual understanding and respect amongst all people. The task force will consist of seven members appointed by me for two years or until the final report of findings from the Reimagining Policing Project is presented to Council, whichever is later. The candidates we interviewed were very articulate and impressive. The covered a wide range of DEI topics we are trying to assess. I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish.

State of Cary Address

Wednesday I presented the State of Cary address to the Templeton Retirement Community. There were several dozen people in attendance. This was the second time I have given the address and the first time since January. There were a few updates, but it was very similar to the first presentation.

Council meeting

Thursday the council met for its last regularly scheduled meeting of March. The agenda included four consent items, three public hearings, and three discussion items. The consent item for the sublease agreements at the WakeMed Soccer Park was moved to the April 7th meeting to allow more time to finalize documents. The discussion item for The Terraces at West Cary rezoning was removed from the agenda at the request of the applicant. There is currently no date on when a final decision will be made on this proposal.

The public hearing for the Estes rezoning to would allow fifteen detached dwellings, had speakers concerned about traffic directed onto Mills Road. There were also questions about allowing traffic on Emery Gale Lane which is a private road with no plans to be a public road. This proposal will go to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation.

The public hearing for a Chapel Hill Road rezoning that would allow thirty-two townhouses had speakers concerned about additional traffic on Wilson Road. This will also go to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation.

Under discussion the council approved the Meridian project for downtown on East Chatham Street. This development will be a mixed-use residential building with ground floor retail and a parking structure. In a partnership with the town, the development will include extending Hunter Street to Cedar Street as well as water, sewer, and stormwater improvements within East Chatham Street.

The council also unanimously approved the FY 2022 Street Improvements Bid Award and the use of $698,953 of Powell Bill Capital Reserves for projects. The FY 2022 Street Improvements construction bid was awarded to Blythe Construction, Inc. for $8,483,627.90. Cary maintains about 504 miles of streets which are mostly in neighborhoods. Thoroughfares are mostly the maintenance responsibility of NCDOT. Cary continues to have a much high standard for its streets than the NCDOT maintained roads.

Cary Council Candidate

Friday morning, I met virtual with a candidate for Cary Town council. In our forty-five-minute conversation I was able to learn about their passion for Cary and their ideas to make Cary better.

RTA Trip prep

Friday afternoon I participated in a RTA (Regional Transportation Alliance) Tour Prep meeting. Eighty-four people will travel to the Miami area to tour and discuss rail transit.

WRAL Interview at the Fenton

Friday evening I traveled to the Fenton construction site to provide WRAL comments on the impact of the project. The Fenton is the biggest development in Cary history. It is designed not only to provide living, shopping, and dining, but will be an experience like no other in this region. Some of the retail stores will open on April 29th and the grand opening will be on June 3rd and June 4th. To read the WRAL story go here.

Town Manager’s Update

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Danna’s Message

It was great seeing everyone at last night’s Council meeting. We look forward to welcoming a group from Frisco, Texas for an Inner-City visit next week. Staff has worked closely with the Chamber to coordinate a great visit that includes facility tours, panel discussions, and meet and greets.
I hope everyone enjoys the nice weather this weekend.

Cary Youth Leadership Program

Forty Cary students participated in a mock public hearing at the Cary Chamber of Commerce to learn about Cary’s rezoning and development process with Planning staff members, Erin Puckett, Kaley Huston, Jeff Caines and Allen Davis.

Cary Chamber of Commerce Business Expo

Planning and Development staff Tara Adams, Julie Mitchell, and Sue Wall, participated in the Business Expo sponsored by the Cary Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday at Prestonwood County Club.

Fire Attends Railroad Emergency Training

Fire staff attended TRANSCAER (Transportation, Community Awareness, and Emergency Response) train incident training course last week. The training was sponsored by Norfolk-Southern Railways as part of their nationwide program that helps communities, and first responders prepare for and respond to a hazardous materials transportation incident involving a train. This year Nutrien Ag Products co-sponsored the training to share information about new hazardous material railcars that will be traveling through our community going to and from their manufacturing facility on the coast of North Carolina.

2021 Asset Management Report

The 2021 Annual Asset Management Report was recently completed and provides a dashboard view of the current state of Cary’s linear assets. The report tracks assets added through capital and development initiatives and helps verify that key performance targets are being achieved. Over the past year, the focus has remained on GIS improvements, maintaining buried linear infrastructure, and continuing work on risk-based capital planning. One of the highlights of the report is the record low number of sanitary sewer overflows experienced in the past year. Having only five overflows for a system of over 1,000 miles is a testament to Cary’s maintenance and rehabilitation work.

Cary is for the Birds

From now through May 31, Cary is partnering with Wake Audubon Society to prevent bird strikes through the national Lights Out Program. During this time, billions of birds are migrating, and staff members are piloting an initiative to prevent bird window collisions specifically on Town Hall Campus. By reducing bird exposure to non-essential lighting at night, this initiative will help protect migrating birds without compromising public safety. The internal efforts will be complimented by an external public education campaign that invites our community to join us in this important environmental protection program.

CAWTF Ozone Replacement Project Completion

The Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility (CAWTF) Ozone Replacement Project is now complete. Three new ozone generators have been installed, integrated with the existing generator, and are all running smoothly. The collaboration between the CAWTF staff and the contractor contributed heavily to the success of this project. Having a well-functioning ozone system mitigates some of the seasonal variations of lake water and helps ensure that the CAWTF continues to produce high quality, great tasting water now and into the future.

Cary’s First Electric Mower

Cary’s first electric mower can be found at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Gravely Pro-Turn EV will be put to the test this season maintaining the park’s general turf. This electric mower is great for the environment, has lower maintenance and operational cost, and is quieter than a gas mower.

Reclaimed Water Networking

This week, Cary hosted a meeting with area reclaimed water utilities that included staff from Cary, Raleigh, Holly Springs, and Durham County. The networking allowed everyone to share information about the operation and management of their reclaimed water systems and how each jurisdiction promotes the utilization of this sustainable reclaimed water resource. Cary is celebrating its 20-year reclaimed water system anniversary and although we have the oldest residential reclaimed water system in North Carolina, it is valuable to hear from and share information with other utilities so that we can continue to learn and improve our programs.

NC Tech Diversity + Inclusion Tech Summit

On Thursday, Chief Information Officer Nicole Raimundo served on a panel discussion – The Intersection of DE+I and Tech – at the NC Tech Diversity + Inclusion Summit in Durham. The panelists discussed the advances in digital transformation and growth in data and analytics that have led to technology becoming pervasive in helping us to better understand our current state, the gaps that exist in building an inclusive workplace, and how to move the needle towards a culture of diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion.  

Cary Academy and District C

The Marketing, Information and Technology (MIT) Department had the pleasure of working with Cary Academy and District C on a mutually beneficial problem-solving exercise. District C is a nonprofit program that offers training to high school students in navigating “real life” problems. Cary Academy often invites local startups and established businesses to draft problem statements for their students, which help teach them the importance of critical thinking and problem solving. Cary provided this statement to the students to work on over a four-week period: “Recruiting and retaining technical staff against the backdrop of a robust array of household names in the private technology sector is a consistent challenge for the Town.”

In response, students set up an interview with MIT staff to dive deeper into the problem and get a better understanding of how government works, after which they embarked on a two-week sprint to explore solutions. The engagement culminated in a pitch event where two student groups offered up separate solutions on how government could retain technologists during a time of extremely competitive hiring. MIT staff was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the students’ ideas and hopes to partner with Cary Academy and District C again on future educational opportunities.

Upcoming Meetings

Planning and Zoning Board
Monday, March 28
6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Thank you emails from students who attended Youth Leadership
  • A thank you email for all Cary is doing for senior housing
  • A thank you email for interviewing a candidate for our DEI task force
  • A concern about a “hazardous light pole” on the Cary Wake Med property
  • Condolences for the tragic loss of life in a recent apartment fire in Cary
  • A request to have an ordinance to prevent a neighbor’s floodlight from shining in a window
  • A request to have 5% of our budget (about $20 million) for affordable housing
  • An ongoing complaint about the background color of my blog
  • A complaint about town inspectors
  • A complaint about a water bill
  • A request to fix sidewalk issues near the Templeton
  • A complaint about the Meridian proposal causing traffic and pedestrian safety concerns
  • A request to help sale a home to work force employees
  • Several emails to support the town-initiated Laurel Street rezoning which includes affordable housing

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a taping of Cary Matters, a trip to Miami with a RTA (Regional Transportation Alliance) group, welcoming remarks to a group visiting from Texas, and a Cary-RTP Rapid Bus Stakeholder meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Monday, April 4th. 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 and email personal comments to

Meetings, a Memorial, and a New Restaurant

Youth Leadership

Monday morning I spoke with about 40 high school juniors as part of the Youth Leadership Cary. This program began in 1998 and is sponsored by the Cary Chamber of Commerce. Its focus is on developing the potential of future leaders. The students were selected from Athens Drive, Cary, Green Hope, Green Level, Middle Creek, and Panther Creek. In my talk I covered the council-manager form of government, Dillons Rule states compared to Home Rule states, the Cary Council, and current topics. I answered questions until my time expired. It is always a lot of fun for me to speak with students.

Blue Star Memorial

I also spoke with members from the Cary Garden Club Monday morning about installing a Blue Stare memorial plaque in Cary. The Blue Star Program honors all men and women that serve in the United States Armed Services. The Blue Star was adopted because it had become an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war as well as in churches and businesses. While it was an easy decision to agree to have this plaque in Cary, it will take some time to find the right location. They would prefer it be in the downtown area. If all goes well, we might be able to celebrate the installation of a plaque this summer.

a’Verde Cocina and Tequila Library

Monday night my wife and I attended a soft opening of a new restaurant in the Centrum at Crossroads, A’Verde Cocina and Tequila Library, which serves Mexican cuisine. Its claim to fame is the former “Top Chef” competitor Katsuji Tanabe. My experience was a good one. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere had a fun vibe. There were presentations of flaming drinks and entrees.  In addition, patrons could order shots of tequila in glasses of made of ice which, after drinking, could be thrown at a bell. It was a unique experience and one worth trying.


Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included 3 consent items and 4 discussion items. Under consent the committee unanimously approved a modification to the FY 22 Unified Planning Work Program and an additional funding request for LAPP (Locally Administered Projects Program). The discussion items were informational presentations except for the US 401 Corridor Study Update which was also passed unanimously. That study revised the scope and schedule to include an additional corridor alternative along with the 2 existing corridor alternatives.

Thursday I met with staff about the DEI task force’s scope of work, and to gather information about the final nine applicants that will be interviewed for the seven slots. This task force will meet the first Tuesday of each month and will be open to the public. The initial assignments for the Task Force include the Reimagining Policing Pledge Engagement Project, community courageous conversation sessions, and Minority and Women Owned Business program and disparity study. In the next two years the Task Force will assist Town Council and staff by:

  • Recommending effective strategies for public engagement, removing barriers, and increasing access to Town services for citizens, visitors, and businesses
  • Recommending opportunities for community partnerships as a strategy to better understand and address equity impacts throughout Cary
  • Facilitating the building of relationships with under-served and underrepresented citizens, visitors, and businesses
  • Being a community advocate by welcoming, embracing and respecting all differences so all citizens, visitors, employers, and staff feel valued and supported in Cary.
  • Providing updates to Council on work plan progress and planned next steps
  • Performing such other duties that the Mayor or Council Liaison may direct

My meeting with staff concluded after about thirty minutes. The next round of interviews will continue next week.

North Carolina Metro Mayors

Friday was a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. The following is a summary of that meeting from the Executive Director:

10am: Federal Update

  • Federal Government budget passed both the US House and Senate at the end of last week and was signed by the President on Tuesday, March 15.  The federal government has been operating on a Continuing Resolution since the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, 2021.  With the final passage and the President’s signature this week, federal agencies are now funded for the remainder of the year ending on September 30, 2022.  Passage of this Appropriations bill is especially important because it provides full funding to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (also known as Infrastructure and Jobs Act – IIJA), which opens the door to state and local government infrastructure funds and grants. The competitive grant cycle for cities to apply for large number of federal grant programs will be in full swing beginning this month!  See this Local Competitive Funding.pdf for a list of some of the federal funding opportunities for cities.

General Assembly

General Update –

  • Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal to an earlier N.C. State Supreme Court ruling on the NC Congressional map.  This means elections under the current maps will proceed with the May 17 primary date.   Previously, the NC Supreme Court has ruled the Congressional maps unconstitutional and ordered a 3-member special masters to redraw the Congressional districts.  Now, with U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene in the election at this late date, the Congressional district map drawn by the special masters will be utilized for the 2022 elections alongside the Legislatively drawn House and Senate districts.
  • The legislature appears to have concluded their work for the legislative long session (we think).
  • An adjournment resolution was passed that brings them back two more times before the beginning of the short session (April 4-6 and May 4-6), but leadership has indicated there are no plans for votes to be held at that time.
  • The Short session will convene on May 18, the day after the primary elections.
  • We anticipate the short session to last six to eight weeks.
  • Local bills need to be submitted to bill drafting by 4:00 PM on Monday, May 9 and filed by 4:00 PM on Tuesday, May 31.
    • All local bills for the short session must have consensus by each member of the delegation (House and Senate).

Transportation ––

  • We continue to hear that there will be a bill introduced that would add additional funding to the NCDOT budget by dedicating transportation related sales and use tax receipts (such auto repair and parts) to the transportation budget.  Currently, revenue from those transportation related sales taxes go to the General Fund (a General Fund which has run a surplus of well over $4 billion in the last year). 
  • This is an idea that a number of our mayors first heard about as a possible source of funding for a depleted/delayed NCDOT project list, during an NC Chamber of Commerce Destination 2030 Zoom event on February 18.  This “user pay” idea could produce as much as an additional $450 million a year for NC transportation once fully phased in over a four-year period.  Mayors should STRONGLY advocate that these possible NEW FUNDS for transportation go the Highway Trust Fund in order to help alleviate SOME of the delays we are currently facing in transportation projects on the STIP.

Economic Development – nothing new to report.

Local Control/Local Revenues– nothing new to report

Town Manager’s Report

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Sean’s Message

Staff is excited to be able to host the Veterans Benefits Live , coordinated by Cary’s American Legion Post 67, event again this year. The three-day event kicked off Thursday at Herbert C. Young Community Center, with approximately 500 Veterans greeted by American Legion volunteers throughout the day. At this unique event, Veterans are able to meet face-to-face with experts from Veteran Affairs and Veteran Services Officers to receive explanation and assistance facilitating claims. This is the only event of its kind on the east coast, with Veterans traveling to Cary from as far away as Michigan, Arizona, and Florida. The event will conclude on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Take care, 


All Hands

On Wednesday, I was joined by Anna Crollman and Betsy Drake for another All Hands during which we highlighted some of the amazing work happening in and around our utility operations and shared the recently adopted new Cary brand. The event was produced live from the North Cary Water Reclamation Facility – a first! More than 470 employees joined us virtually, and as always for those whose schedules conflicted with the live production, it is recorded and saved for later viewing.

Arbor Day

Cary celebrated its 39th consecutive year as a Tree City USA community with an Arbor Day festival at Bond Park, on March 13. Held in conjunction with the My Tree, Our Tree native tree distribution, this event included 20 educational booths from community organizations that engaged with guests about topics such as waste reduction, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, ecosystem restoration, and urban forest management. Live music, kids activities, and participation from local scouting troops made this a family-friendly event. The North Carolina State Forest Service attended to present Council with two awards from the Arbor Day Foundation for our care and management of Cary’s urban forests.
The My Tree, Our Tree giveaway continues to increase the number of native trees planted across Cary, with six hundred (600) new trees now rooting throughout the community. The trees add economic, aesthetic, and environmental benefits to each home. The tree distribution process would not be possible without the many community volunteers in service to the community and the environment.

Partnership for Safe Water President’s Award

The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility (CAWTF) is proud to announce that Cary has been recognized with the President’s Award for Water Treatment from The Partnership for Safe Water. The Partnership program is a volunteer initiative developed as a collaboration between the United States EPA and several national water industry professional organizations to recognize water suppliers who strive to produce drinking water with quality that exceeds regulatory requirements.  The CAWTF has participated in the Partnership’s  treatment program since 1995 and received the program’s Directors Award in 2003, an honor that has been maintained every year since. The President’s Award has requirements that are substantially more stringent than the Directors Award. The CAWTF joins a small and distinguished group of water treatment facilities who have achieved this exceptional level of performance.

Youth Leadership Cary

On March 14, forty high school juniors participating in the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leadership Cary program spent the day with Cary staff to learn about local government and potential career options. After hearing from Mayor Weinbrecht and staff from the Town Manager’s Office, Information Technology, Police, 911, Traffic Management, Page-Walker Arts & History Center, and Planning, the students concluded the day by watching the Cary 150 documentary at The Cary, followed by a Q&A session with two-time Emmy Award Winner Hal Goodtree, Jennifer Hocken, William Lewis, and Kris Carmichael.

K9 Nitro Visits Peace Preschool

On March 17, Officers Berl, Fox, and K9 Nitro visited with the children of Peace Preschool. Police officers attended the preschool’s annual “Community Helper Day” and spoke to the classes about what it means to them to be a community helper and how their jobs fit into this role. Many of the children attended class dressed up as firefighters and police officers!

WTVD Camera On Cary Arts Center

On March 15, Downtown Cary made its debut as a live feed was shared by Meteorologist Don Schewenneker during WTVD’s weather forecast. ABC 11 reached out to Cary staff at the end of 2021 to gauge interest on our hosting a live camera. There is no set schedule for when downtown Cary will be shown on the channel. Thank you to staff from Public Works, Marketing and Information Technology, Parks and Recreation for coordinating the camera installation. 

Sidewalk Connection Between Fenton and Downtown Cary

Staff led the way today walking the 1.7 mile path from Downtown Cary Park to Fenton, to assess sidewalk connectivity. As seen in the pictures there are sidewalk width and material variations, ADA upgrades needed, and other necessary improvements. Staff will begin meeting and planning soon on how to address the findings. 

GLOW: Evolution Field by Matt McConnell

Just announced this week, artist Matt McConnell’s “Evolution Field” will be featured at Burning Man 2022. Evolution Field is a triple layer moiré wall that blends color and light in visual waves reminiscent of galaxy form, and is currently displayed on the old library site. The display the artist will use at Burning Man 2022 will be three times the size of our current installation. Read about the Burning Man 2022 festival and the artwork selection process, here

Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meetings

Neighborhood meetings will be held virtually on WebEx from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, on April 6. The following cases will be discussed:

  • 22-REZ-03 Batchelor Road and Knotty Oaks Dr
  • 22-REZ-04 Bel Canto at Green Level West Destination Center
  • 22-REZ-07 Green Level Industrial

For more information and to register visit the Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting page.

Upcoming Meetings

Cultural Arts Committee
Wednesday, March 23
6:00 p.m.

Council Meeting
Thursday, March 24
6:30 pm

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Several invitations to events
  • A complaint about a police matter
  • A complaint about grading at a construction site
  • Several complaints about a planned April show at the Cary Arts Center (the event was cancelled)
  • A complaint about overcrowded schools
  • A complaint about a neighbor’s floodlights shining into a bedroom
  • An ongoing complaint about a theft at the Hemlock Bluffs parking lot
  • Thanks, from Green Level students for speaking at Youth Leadership
  • A complaint about a previous blog labeling their “thoughtful and data driven emails” as a complaint (my apologies)

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an interview with high school students, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, DEI interviews, a State of Cary Presentation, and a regularly scheduled council meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Monday, March 28th. 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 and email personal comments to

Meetings, Events, and Arbor Day

This week included the first regularly scheduled council meeting of the month along with several meetings and events.

Meetings with Staff, Council Members, and Atlantic Tire Board

Monday I attempted to contact each council member to hear of any questions or concerns about Thursday’s regularly meeting agenda. Comments were mostly about the Macedonia rezoning proposal to change from a senior multi-unit development to a market rate multi-unit development.

Monday afternoon I met with the Mayor Pro-Tem and key staff members to go over the agenda items. We talked about the Fenton and the Macedonia rezoning proposals. Our meeting lasted about twenty minutes.

After the Agenda meeting, I met with the town manager and chief strategy officer. Our topics included the South Hills Mall redevelopment, the future Sportsplex, the Fenton, the Epic rezoning proposal, and the future 200-acre park in western Cary. Our meeting lasted about twenty minutes.

Later Monday I met with a candidate for Wake County Commissioner. We talked about schools, partnerships, and the hotel/meals occupancy tax.

My last meeting Monday was with the board of the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships. We discussed the Cary Tennis Park improvements, potential tournaments other than the Atlantic Tire Championships, plans for the tournament, and brainstormed on ways to get participation in sponsorships. The meeting concluded after about three hours.

OneWake Meeting

Wednesday I joined Assistant Town Manager Widmar and Housing manager Mansa in a virtual conversation with the members of OneWake. They expressed their concerns and passions about the affordable housing crisis in America. They want Cary to dedicate funding to affordable housing. Several months ago, we passed the Cary Housing Plan which includes strategies and goals to help with the affordable housing. Last year we spent more than what OneWake suggested that we spend. This year, as we continue to follow the plan, we will likely spend as much or more than they suggest we spend. It is important to understand that affordable housing will be an ongoing problem in our town, county, and nation. Cary plans to be very strategic in working on this crisis now and in the future.

Council Meeting Summary

Thursday the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The meeting included a presentation from our CAP team, no consent items, one public hearing, and three discussion items.

The CAP (Citizens Assisting Police) team presented a savings check of $160,964.36 from 6436 volunteer hours they served the community and our police department. While their work of holding child safety seat checks and other various events might seem trivial to some, their service is invaluable and allows our officers to focus on duties that are critical to their profession. They are one of the reasons Cary is such a great place to live, work, and play.

The only public hearing was a proposal to make an adjustment to the Fenton project. If approved it would create a second development option for the primary anchor store, provide additional flexibility for signage, and make minor revisions to the original PDP. To simplify, it would create a grocery anchor about half the size of the original Wegmans and add other changes to that pod (section of the plan) such as a “jewel box” restaurant/retail in the middle of the main road. Most of the council seemed supportive of the changes but expressed concern about the roof of the anchor which will be visible from the rest of the development since it is a one-story building. Council members suggested the anchor have a green roof. This proposal will now go to the Planning and Zoning board for their review and recommendation and return to council for a decision in the next couple of months.

Under discussion the council unanimously approved Fire Truck Idle Reduction Technology to 9 of 23 large fire trucks. The others do not have the technology to all this and/or will rotate out of service in the coming years. The return on investment is estimated to be 4 to 6 years. The life of a fire truck is usually about 20 years and this technology will extend that life. The reduction in emissions is anticipated to be 8.23 metric tons per vehicle per year. This is equivalent to emissions from 2 passenger vehicles per year or the emissions related to energy consumption from 1 home for a year.

Our second discussion item was the construction bid for two neighborhood parks on McCrimmon Parkway and Carpenter Fire Station Road which was also approved unanimously. Funding for these parks of $15,240,000 was included in the Shaping Cary’s Tomorrow Bond approved by Cary voters in 2019.

Our last discussion item for the Macedonia Place rezoning was removed from the agenda at the applicant’s request.

The council meeting concluded after about an hour.

Legislative Summary

Friday I received a summary of this week’s legislative action from KTS Strategies:

Legislature Concludes Majority of Business for the Long Session
With the 2022 State and Congressional maps finalized, the legislature returned this week to wrap up their work for the legislative long session. Items considered by the legislature included an appointments bill, veto override, budget technical corrections bill, and adjournment resolution.

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Karen M. Kemerait to the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Kemerait was nominated by Governor Cooper in May of 2021 and the House unanimously approved the confirmation in September. The Senate also attempted to override the Governor’s veto of S173, Free the Smiles Act. The bill would have allowed parents to decide whether or not their children wear a mask in schools. The override attempt failed 27-22. (An override requires a three-fifths majority vote.) Governor Cooper has encouraged local school boards to lift mask mandates.

Both chambers passed a 52-page technical corrections bill that makes changes to the 2021 Appropriations Act. Some of the provisions include:

  • Clarifications of rate increases to home and community-based providers;
  • Corrections to State Capital Infrastructure Fund grants;
  • Modifications of reporting dates for multiple programs; and
  • Changes to the business recovery grant program.

The bill passed the House 96-16 and the Senate 44-4. It will now head to Governor Cooper for approval.

The House and Senate also passed a resolution (SJR748) adjourning the legislature to a date certain. The resolution adjourns the legislature today (March 11) at noon and reconvenes the legislature in April (April 4-6) and May (May 4-6). During those three-day sessions only a limited number of issues could be considered such as appointments bills, veto overrides, and conference reports. However, leadership has indicated there are no plans for votes to be held during those sessions at this time. The General Assembly will return on May 18 (the day after the primary) to begin the legislative short session.

2022 Elections
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal to the State Supreme Court ruling on the NC Congressional map. This means elections under the Congressional map drawn by the special masters will continue. Last Friday was the candidate filing deadline for all elections in the State. The full candidate filing list can be found here

The North Carolina General Assembly will look very different in 2023 with a number of retirements and multiple incumbents paired together in the same district, also referred to as “double bunking.” In the Senate, current Senators Bob Steinburg (R – Chowan) and Norman Sanderson (R – Pamlico) are double bunked in Senate District 1 and Senator Ralph Hise (R – Mitchell) and Senator Deanna Ballard (R – Watauga) are double bunked in Senate District 47. In the House, Representatives Jamie Boles (R – Moore) and Ben Moss (R – Richmond) are double bunked in House District 52 and Representatives Jake Johnson (R – Polk) and David Rogers ( R-Rutherford) are double bunked in House District 113. A total of 34 members of the General Assembly are guaranteed to be back in office in 2023. There are 10 Senate members running unopposed (9 Republicans and 1 Democrat) and 24 House members running unopposed (20 Republicans and 4 Democrats). 

Saturday’s events were moved to Sunday due to the inclement weather.

Sunday I participated in the annual Arbor Day Celebration at Bond Park. I was joined by council members Bush, Lu, Smith, and Yerha. For the 39th consecutive year Cary was designated as Tree City USA Community. At this ceremony our Hometown Spirit Award winner, Sarah Martin, was also presented with a tree and plaque in her honor.

After the speakers concluded we all joined together for a picture.

Later Sunday I attended the Basant Bahar ceremony at the Cary Arts Center. Basant Bahar is a celebration of spring. This was the first time in three years that this event was held. The mayor of Apex and Morrisville were in attendance along with a capacity crowd. I was able to see amazing performances and beautiful costumes. We are so lucky to have this event in Cary.

Town Manager’s report

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Sean’s Message

Having seen you only a few hours ago, there’s little new to report on my end. So, I’ll simply wish you a great weekend.

Celebrating 311 Day All Week

March 11 is National 311 Day. In true Cary fashion, we made it a week and took some extra time to celebrate our 311 Citizen Advocates and the critical work they do to connect our citizens with non-emergency information, services, and support.
Our citizen advocates in the 311 Center and at the Hub are the heart and soul of our 311 operation – for many citizens, a citizen advocate is their primary point of contact with their local government.

Kudos To Julie

Recreation Manager Julie Collins demonstrated her self-taught Salesforce abilities to Directors this week. Julie is putting together dashboards for Park’s programs and helping us improve our data-informed decision making. Kudos to Julie for taking this on during the pandemic when her other work had been postponed.

Cary to host NC Lantern Festival through 2028

Cary officials announced this week that Koka Booth Amphitheatre will be home to the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival through 2028. The festival began in 2015 and has grown significantly in scope and attendance each year. In 2021 the event welcomed more than 200,000 visitors, setting a new attendance record.

Annie Jones Playground Update

As part of the 2019 Shaping Cary’s Tomorrow Bond Referendum, funding was approved for playground upgrades which included funding for improvements to Annie Jones Park. The installation of new play equipment at Annie Jones Park was recently completed and is now open to the public. The park still has construction ongoing for the replacement of the restroom building and court renovations, and those areas of the park will remain closed.

Fuel Update

The price of gasoline has increased significantly in recent weeks. Nationally, the average price of unleaded increased by 18.6% and the price of diesel increased 22.7% during the period of February 7 to March 7. During that same period, the price Cary pays has increased by 23.7% for unleaded and 19.9% for diesel. The price increases are largely based on reduced supply, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The current Energy Information Administration forecast indicates prices declining during the second half of 2022 and continuing to decline in 2023. Unfortunately, they note that their forecast is highly uncertain given the situation in Ukraine.
Cary is well positioned to manage price increases, and the Finance Department will work with impacted departments to ensure operations aren’t impacted and will factor the uncertainty related to fuel and energy prices into current and future budget decisions. 

New Member Orientation

Human Resources hosted a successful New Hire Orientation this week for 27 new Cary employees. With so much energy and expertise among the group, it’s clear Cary will continue to remain at the top of the arc. From presentations on our unique culture and the community we serve, our newest colleagues spent a full day meeting peers across the organization while learning what makes our organization so special.

Citizens Like It A Ton!

In the first three weeks, our community dropped off 1,822 pounds of material at the food waste recycling drop-off, diverting nearly a ton of compostable material from the landfill. Citizens are showing their interest and enthusiasm by searching items in the Cary Collects app for proper disposal with “food scraps” being the #5 top searched item in the Waste Wizard. Citizens can register now through the end of International Compost Awareness Week, May 7, to learn more and receive a free kitchen caddy during a second webinar co-hosted with Toward Zero Waste; register at

Upcoming Meetings

Public Art Advisory Board
Wednesday, March 16
5:00 p.m.

Hybrid Greenway Committee
Thursday, March 17
6:00 p.m.

Free Health Fair

This week I received information from a Cary High School student about a free health fair. I promised I would pass along this information in my blog. It will be held on Sunday, March 19th from 12 to 3 at the Life Enrichment Center at 3805 Tarheel Club Road in Raleigh. The fair will include vendors, food demonstrations, food giveaways, music, exercise, blood pressure checks, colon screening kits and more.

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about affordable housing for veterans
  • A complaint about light pollution
  • A request for a nondiscrimination ordinance
  • A complaint about an out-of-state vehicle with expired plates at Crescent Commons Shopping Center
  • A complaint about a smash-and-grab theft at the Hemlock Bluffs parking lot
  • A concern about an invasive species on greenways

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, speaking at a youth leadership event, a meeting with the Blue Memorial Highway Marker group, a VIP dinner at a’Verde, a CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) Executive Board meeting, a podcast taping with a realtor group, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Monday, March 21st. 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 and email personal comments to

Composting, Economic Development, and an Interview

This week included several individual meetings with candidates for office.

Town Manager one-on-one

Monday I had a brief remote meeting with the town manager. Topics included the South Hills Mall site, the Sportsplex center, and the future 200-acre park in western Cary.

Talking with Candidates

Tuesday I talked to candidates and potential candidates for the NC House and for Congress. Almost all want my endorsement. Usually, I reserve endorsements for friends that I have known for a while, like Gale Adcock.

NC State Compost Center

Wednesday I toured the NC State Compost Center with representatives from Toward Zero Waste and Cary staff. This compost facility and research cooperative is located off of Lake Wheeler Road and is focused on organic waste management. It processes up to 1,200 tons of organic waste annually from the NC State campus with an eight-step process. It eliminates the need for taking the organic materials to the land fill. The process:

  1. Students, faculty, staff, & guests dine on campus, utilize paper towels, & manage greenhouse & agriculture waste.
  2. These organic waste & compostable materials are placed into a green compost bin.
  3. Everything collected is taken to a compost dumpster by staff.
  4. The dumpster is picked up by NC State’s Waste Reduction and Recycling team and transported to the NC State Compost Facility & Research Cooperative.
  5. This material is then mixed with wood chips & animal bedding (also from campus) at specific rates to ensure the proper carbon to nitrogen ratio, moisture content, bulk density, & porosity. If animal bedding is not available leaves can be used.
  6. The homogenized mixture is placed into a bay with perforated PVC pipes recessed into the floor. The pipes are hooked up to blowers and keep the piles aerated, eliminating the need for turning.
  7. The piles remain in the bay until they reach at least 131 degrees F for 3 days and have maintained an average temperature of 113 degrees F for 14 days to kill pathogens & weed seeds. Once the organic waste is completely broken down, the resulting compost is full of nutrients and will be used as a rich soil amendment and to grow new plants, flowers, and trees.

It is my hope that we can use this type of process in Cary to reduce our waste in the landfill and our carbon footprint. To find out more details about the NC State Compost Facility go to NC Department of Environmental Quality.

More Candidate Talk

Later Wednesday I met with another candidate for Cary Town council. We talked for about an hour.

Economic Development Committee

Wednesday evening I participated in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. The agenda included a branding update, a quarterly report from the Cary Chamber, and a development update from our Economic Development Director.

In the branding update, the town manager showed the adopted tagline “live inspired”, the logo, and accepted versions of the logo. He explained that a logo, like art, can be loved and hated by many. The purpose of our branding effort was to position ourselves to compete nationally and internationally for businesses. This the first time Cary has had an update of its logo in decades.

The Cary Chamber President, Mark Lawson, presented his quarterly report to the committee noting visits to 31 existing businesses. Other notable items in his report include:

  • Existing industry expansion:
  • Garmin will expand its class A office by 90,000 square feet and add 100 staff.
  • ProtoLabs will build a new 70,000 square foot manufacturing facility adding 50 to 110 jobs.
  • WakeMed added 475 jobs.
  • UNC Health added 350 jobs.
  • Dude Solutions added 75 jobs.
  • New Company announcements:
    • Sonic Automotive: $5 – $7 million investment, estimated 100 jobs
    • Onlogic: Building 50,000 – 75,000 square foot manufacturing facility over the next 36 months in Weston.
  • Business recruitment pipeline includes 3 active projects worth $85 million in investment and 900 jobs. The types of jobs included advanced manufacturing, Life Science, and Warehouse-Distribution with most interest in the Life Sciences.
  • There are two separate development firms interested in building large flex spaces in west Cary. One is building 170,000 square feet in two buildings or one large building while the other is building 700,000 square feet on a 142-acre tract.
  • While interest in class A office is picking up, it will probably take more time before it comes back and at what extent is still unknown.
  • A delegation from Frisco, Texas will be visiting Cary from March 30th through April 1st.

In the Development Update, Director Ted Boyd announced that the Fenton would probably be fully operational sometime in June. There will be soft openings before then. He also talked about the South Hills mall purchase and development, and downtown development projects.

Under new business the committee discussed the possibility of Social Districts. During the pandemic the legislature gave cities the authority to allow designated outdoor areas for the consumption of alcohol. This would allow individuals to walk around from business to business with alcoholic beverages. While Social Districts could easily be enforced on private property, such as the Fenton, it could be problematic on public streets with officers having to determine when someone should leave due to intoxication. The committee decided to discuss this further at future meetings.

Another item discussed under new business was the need for Cary to do a better job marketing the town’s talent pool. Committee business leaders pointed out that the talent pool is a major factor in relocation decisions.

The meeting concluded after about an hour and scheduled the next meeting for June 8th.

Blog Discussion

Thursday I met with staff about the Mayor’s new blog. We talked about formatting, the look, and how to update the new web page. I will post this week’s blog on Monday myself with staff available for questions.

NC Metro Mayors Meeting

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. The following is the summary from the executive director:

Federal Update

  • Federal Government is still operating under a Continuing Resolution, which expires March 11. Potentially looking at a budget vote next week, which is important for Transportation funding that is currently tied up until a budget is passed.
  • Federal Grants session  – a webinar sponsored by NCLM, next Thursday, March 10 at 3pm, will address how to access grant funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.  Register Here: Federal Infrastructure Grants Session   There are a wide variety of competitive grant programs and these opportunities will be open over he next few years.  This session (jointly organized by Metro Mayors and NCLM) will help with pointers on seeking fund and help to demystify the process of applying for competitive federal grants.

General Assembly

General Update –

  • NCGA is officially in LONG session (now the longest session on record) and is expected to schedule floor votes within a week or two to address “technical changes” to the budget bill they passed in November 2021.
  • Will potentially resume committee meetings next week for budget technical correction.
  • Re-districting Update: Final maps have been approved by NC Courts. The NC Legislative leaders have appealed the NC Congressional Districts to the US Supreme Court – seems unlikely the US Supreme Court will intervene at this point.
  • Based current maps, past elections and polling, all points to Republicans winning a majority in the House and Senate in the 2022 Election, but probably not a supermajority. Deadline for filing for an election for May 17 is today at noon.
  • 2022 Short Session will likely begin after the May 17 primary, late May, or early June. Looking at 6–8-week session with a focus on spending and a few other topics such as medical marijuana and sports betting. Any mayors/cities with local bills they are interested in should begin talking to their delegation now since the session will be short and action will have to well prepared in advance of the NCGA reconvening.

Transportation – NC Chamber of Commerce Destination 2030 Zoom event follow up

  • One item discussed was the prospects for diverting transportation related sales and use taxes (such auto repair and parts).  Currently, revenue from those transportation related sales tax revenues currently go the General Fund and now there is talk of diverting them to the NCDOT budget.  This “user pay” idea could produce as much as an additional $450 million a year for NC transportation.

Public Safety – nothing new to report

Our next Metro Mayors Zoom on Friday, March 18 will include a quick update on federal funds available for municipal cyber-security support.  Reports are that the risk of cyber-attacks is growing, especially as the Russian attack on the Ukrainian continues.  So, competitive grants for cyber-security aid are more important than ever.

Economic Development – nothing new to report.

Local Control/Local Revenues– nothing new to report

Scott Mooneyham, Director of Political Communications/Coordination, NCLM

  • Greensboro article linked above is a part of a larger series of articles that is centered around land use planning and development. The League began an issue campaign last Fall surrounding land use, in an effort to help with the ever-present battles over land use and local control that we have been fighting at the legislature for decades. We have recently seen wins in several areas surrounding land use planning (defeated proposals to strip control of trees, stormwater/flood control, etc.) It does appear we are making some progress in efforts to educate State Legislators on the importance of local control of many land use issues.
  • During the Legislative session this year, the House created a local government committee on land use planning and development that helped advance terrible infringements on local land use control. There are still Legislators that remain hostile to allowing local authority to regulate land use and development.
  • This effort is an attempt to highlight how cities are often working collaboratively with developers, and how they are working cooperatively with neighborhoods, builders and businesses for growth that both grows the economy but protects community values.  A balance that is best addressed at the local level
  • So far, five articles have been published by WRAL, (series is here on WRAL website) the largest visited news website in the state. These articles highlight land use issues currently going on in Raleigh, Wake Forest, Edenton and Greensboro.
  • Another great example of the work Scott is doing can be found  here – this example is related to the unique need to manage Airbnb/short term rentals in ways that addresses unique local circumstances – such as in Asheville.
  • The League is currently exploring how to expand this effort.  Please continue to spread the message that cities are working with developers, and local problems are best addressed at the local level.

The meeting concluded after about 45 minutes.

Interviewing of All NC Mayors

Saturday I was interviewed by Mitchell Whitley who is in the process of interviewing all 552 North Carolina mayors. We talked for about an hour and fifteen minutes and then took a picture in front of the Cary Arts Center. He plans to publish a book once he finishes his interviews.

Town Manager’s Report

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Dan’s Message

We had another wonderful week that included routine work items as well as a few bigger picture items. Interdepartmental teams collaborated with consultants on project frameworks and quarterly milestones. This type of work doesn’t produce huge headlines. However, it does bring clarity of purpose and most importantly strategy around work that happens at the microlevel in support of larger projects and services. Next week looks to be a largely routine week and we’re excited to hold our first regular council meeting of the month. I look forward to seeing each of you there.
Happy Friday!

Development Pulse Report

The February 2022 Development Pulse Report is now available.


  • Lee & Associates Headquarters,413 Kildaire Farm Road: The building permit has been approved for a new 19,700 square-foot, 3-story mixed-use building with offices and ground floor retail. Site work began in January 2022.
  • Rogers Building –Mixed-use Office and Retail, 167 East Chatham Street: The building permit has been issued for a new 60,500 square-foot, 3-story mixed-use building with office, assembly and retail spaces. Site work began in January 2022.
  • Waste Management MRF Building, 10415 Globe Road: The Certificate of Occupancy has been issued for a new recycling facility at the existing Waste Management campus.
  • Urban Place, 400 E Chatham Street: The Certificate of Occupancy has been issued for the new 28-unit apartment building, Urban Place.

Rolling out the Qcard

Marketing and Information Technology recently rolled out the QCard QR project as part of the Crabtree Creek/Black Creek Greenway detour. This pilot technology tool combines the power of video with QR codes, allowing us to upload informational videos and turn them into QR code stickers to place right where citizens want to access information. They’ve been deployed at Crabtree Creek Greenway trailheads to inform greenway goers about the ongoing sewer rehabilitation project. Qcard is a product of the RIoT accelerator program in which Cary is a partner. Scan the QR code above to see it in action, or tap the image, if you’re reading this on a mobile device.

Lunch and Learn: Food Waste, the Pilot, and You

Nearly 50 residents joined a free lunch and learn focused on food waste and the pilot drop-off service. During the virtual event, staff along with members of Toward Zero Waste Cary, shared what’s in and out for composting and tips to support our community’s participation in collecting food scraps for drop-off. Attendees shared their excitement for this new service and are receiving a free kitchen caddy to help collect food scraps to be turned into compost. More opportunities to learn with us and receive a caddy will be advertised throughout the year, here.

Camp Registration

Summer Camp registration for 2022 kicked off Monday with 3,103 registrations –  94% of the transactions were via myCary. Revenue generated from these programs totaled $468,000 in just one day.
Facility staff and 311 advocates handled 33 citizen inquiries regarding registration procedures. At the end of the day, camp programs were 43% full. Half-day specialty (Arts, Outdoor Recreation, STEM, Sports) camp options are back in 2022 and saw an overwhelming response and interest from citizens. Half-day camps accounted for approximately 60% of the registrations.

Council Member Jack Smith Visits Blush

Council member Jack Smith joined Blush owners during their grand opening week. Blush is a women-focused coworking space that provides dedicated desks, conference room, and childcare. This business marks the first coworking community for women with childcare in North Carolina.

Public Records Overview Webinar

On Thursday, the Clerk’s Office, 311, and Legal team welcomed over 50 employees to a virtual Public Records Overview and Q&A with Kristina Wilson, Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government with the UNC School of Government. Attendees learned about public records law and the importance of producing public records.

Watershed Protection

Cary and Apex are now the proud co-owners of the Williams Property, having jointly acquired our first watershed protection property in the Jordan Lake watershed. The property is approximately 9.82-acres located near the American Tobacco Trail, the White Oak Greenway, and the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility. The Williams property was identified for watershed protection by the Triangle Land Conservancy. This marks Cary’s first watershed protection property purchase since watershed protection funding was established in FY 2021.

Upcoming Meetings

Hybrid Parks, Rec and Cultural Resources Advisory Board
Monday, March 7
5:15 p.m.

Hybrid Information Services Advisory Board
Monday, March 7
6:00 p.m.

Zoning Board of Adjustment
Monday, March 7
6:30 p.m.

Hybrid Environmental Advisory Board
Tuesday, March 8
6:00 p.m.

Historic Preservation Commission
Wednesday, March 9
6:30 p.m.

Council Meeting
Thursday, March 10
6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about light pollution
  • Comments for and against the affordable housing proposal on SE Maynard
  • A complaint about not having enough affordable housing for veterans
  • A concern that people are buying houses to set up Airbnb businesses
  • A complaint about the mayor’s new blog background not being white
  • A complaint about a plugged drain on Ralph Drive
  • Requests from several candidates to meet
  • A complaint about the Epic Games rezoning proposal

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, candidate meetings, a meeting of the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships board, a meeting with OneWake, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a North Carolina Metro Mayors meeting, the Arbor Day ceremony, the Patrick Daugherty Art construction project, and a Basant Bahar event.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Monday, March 14th. 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 and email personal comments to