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
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.
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:
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.
Planning and Zoning Board
Monday, March 28
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’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 Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to email@example.com.