• Sunday, January 21st, 2018

This week was abbreviated by the winter storm.

Monday I attended the Wake County Mayors Association meeting. Eleven of the twelve mayors were in attendance with Mayor Byrne of Fuquay being the only one absent. At the meeting we welcomed newly elected Mayor Cawley of Morrisville, elected Mayor Roberson of Knightdale as the new President, elected Mayor Matheny as the new Vice President and Treasurer, thanked President Mayor Sears and Mayor Olive for serving last year, and tentatively agreed that next year’s Christmas Party would be held in Wake Forest at their new Renaissance Centre. One topic discussed was how much impact CAMPO’s (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)  regional transit projects impacted Durham-Orange’s ability to secure funding for their light rail project. We will continue this discussion at our next CAMPO meeting. We also spent time going around the table and hearing what issues each municipality is dealing with.

Tuesday I joined council member Jack Smith in taping an episode of Cary Matters. Our topic was the latest quarterly report. We did it in two takes. While the first take was good I had a frog in my throat for part of it. So we did the second take.

Later Tuesday I joined council member Yerha, the town manager, and the owner of the TAC (Triangle Aquatic Center) in a meeting to discuss the future of TAC. Their future plans include three phases with the second phase to add outdoor swimming.

Wednesday it started snowing at my house around 10 AM and didn’t stop until that night. In the end I had a little over 7 inches of snow. Other parts of Cary and the region had snow earlier and some reported amounts of close to a foot. Having lived here most of my life I can tell you that in the past this kind of storm would have crippled the region for days. But Cary’s A Team had the roads clear, including secondary roads, within a day and before it got above freezing. That means they plowed 766 linear miles of streets 557 which are in subdivisions. What an amazing job! No other municipality came close to matching our service. To accomplish this task Cary used 77 pieces of equipment including 58 plows of which 23 were incorporate spreaders. They used 650 tons of salt and 990 tons of salt/sand mix. A HUGE thanks to all those men and women who worked around the clock to get the streets clear.

Due to the snow the rest of my meetings and activities for the week were cancelled.

This week’s notifications included one from McDonalds. They announced that by 2025, 100% of their packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. In addition they announced that by 2025, their goal is to have recycle packaging in 100% of their restaurants. Thanks to McDonalds for their continued commitment to protecting our environment.

Other notifications this week included Cary Chamber’s announcement that Evan Stone was hired as Vice President of Cary Economic Development. Stone will coordinate and oversee all economic development efforts for Cary. This includes continued focus on retaining and growing existing industry as well as utilizing his business recruitment experience to grow Cary’s brand on a national level. Additionally, Stone will manage key partnerships with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina as well as other strategic Chamber of Commerce partners. Stone has 12 years of experience in local government and economic development organizations of all levels, most recently working at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as a Business Recruitment Manager. During his time at EDPNC, Stone brought over 3,400 jobs and $1.33 billion in capital expenditure to North Carolina and worked extensively with corporate site location on the state’s behalf. Prior to EDPNC, Stone was a Project Manager in the Mississippi Development Authority’s Global Business Division managing economic development projects of national and international companies on behalf of the State of Mississippi. In addition to orchestrating corporate recruiting events for the state, Stone also worked closely with local economic developers throughout Mississippi on issues including infrastructure strategy and site readiness. Welcome aboard Evan! We look forward to working with you to bring many high paying jobs to Cary.

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

Snapshots of Cary in Snow

The snowfall on Wednesday provided a wonderful opportunity to photograph how beautiful Cary looks in white!  At the same time, Cary’s A-Team hit the streets to help keep all of us safe during the cold temperatures and inches of snow. The A-Team was equipped with 77 pieces of equipment along with 650 tons of salt and 990 tons of salt/sand mix. Thank you all the Public Works crews and our public safety officers for everything they do for our community when winter weather strikes.

Amazon Announces List of 20 Candidates for HQ2

After reviewing 238 applications from cities across North America, Amazon has narrowed its choices to 20 metropolitan areas, including Raleigh. This is great affirmation about the quality of life and availability of talent in our area. We look forward to demonstrating that this area – including Cary – will meet and exceed Amazon’s requirements.

Cary Again Earns Partnership for Safe Water Director’s Award

For the 14th consecutive year, the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility earned the AWWA Partnership for Safe Water Director’s Award. The Partnership is a voluntary effort between six drinking water agencies and over 200 utilities nationwide. The Town is a charter member. The Partnership promotes treatment process optimization and recognizes facilities which have consistently exceeded regulatory requirements to achieve a certain standard of water treatment excellence. The Director’s Award is issued to facilities which have completed an annual assessment report and successfully met performance criteria.

Cary is one of only four facilities in North Carolina that have maintained the Director’s Award for more than a decade.

Seeing & Learning in Kansas City

This week, a delegation of Fire, Police, HR and IT staff visited Kansas City to learn about their smart city deployments and multi-jurisdictional 911 Communications Centers. The Cary team met with Kansas City’s Digital Drive Managing Director to discuss the smart city corridor. The corridor includes a streetcar line, free public Wi-Fi, smart LED streetlights, various sensor technology and digital kiosks that provide citizens access to businesses and municipal services. This opportunity provided valuable insight on how smart city technology can be deployed through redevelopment projects.

Additionally, the Cary team toured Johnson County’s $27 million 911 Communications Center. This center uses a variety of regional technology and procedures to provide emergency dispatch services to multiple jurisdictions in the Kansas City Metro Area. Staff also spent the day gathering various operational, technological and staffing information from the Johnson County employees. This information will be helpful as Cary continues to analyze the feasibility of a possible expansion of Cary’s emergency dispatch services to our neighbors.

Favorable IBT Decision for Cary

In 2015 the City of Fayetteville and its public water commission appealed the Environmental Management Commission’s (‘EMC’) issuance to Cary and Apex of a modified interbasin transfer certificate. Happily, this legal matter is now finally settled by agreeing to a Consent Judgment.  Attorneys with McGuire Woods, who represented Cary and Apex, braved the snow Thursday to appear in Cumberland County to have the ‘Consent Judgment’ entered by a Superior Court Judge. The Consent Judgment, which upholds the 2015 Certificate, will be presented to Council in a council meeting. A return requirement, a condition that Fayetteville believed to be important, will be inserted into the 2015 Certificate requiring a return of a specific quantity of treated water to the Cape Fear and Haw River basins. The effect of the return requirement has been thoroughly evaluated by staff of the Towns and our consultants and all parties believe it to be consistent with the Town’s future planned development and key to settling the matter at hand.

Recognitions

We’d like to recognize Terry Yates who was a guest speaker at a graduate level class in the Civil Engineering School at NC State University. Students in this class will develop Smart City projects around water, energy, transportation, etc. as part of their curriculum. Terry’s presentation included information about Cary’s Smart City Program and various project ideas where students can focus. This speaking engagement was made possible by our continued partnerships with non-profit and educational organizations such as NCROT and NCSU.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about the proposed Crabtree Crossing connection (A Morrisville Council decision)
  • A request to have weekly recycling (I would love this but of course that means more taxpayer dollars)
  • A concern about snow removal (I respectfully disagree. We had the best response by far of any municipality in the region)
  • Several thank you emails for snow removal (You’re welcome! But it is the great staff of Public Works that are the superstars)

Next week will be a very busy week for me and includes a regularly scheduled council meeting, a meeting of CAMPO, several small meetings, an event, and the State of Cary Address.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 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 Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, January 14th, 2018

This was the first full week of the year.

Monday started with calls to all council members to hear of questions and concerns they had about the agenda for the upcoming meeting. I was able to contact all council members except one. Comments focused on the two controversial issues of the Urban Drive rezoning and the White Oak rezoning. Later in the day I met with staff and the Mayor Pro-Tem to go over the items. We expected a significant number of people to speak about the controversial rezoning proposals.

Next I met with the town manager and Mayor Pro-Tem for my weekly one-on-one. We talked about the upcoming controversial proposals and other items.

Tuesday I talked briefly with Wake County Commissioner Hutchinson about CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) actions and how they might compete with Durham light rail.

Tuesday evening I was taped responding to several questions about staff and council relationships. This information will be used at the staff-council working retreat next month.

Thursday I participated in a meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization), DCHC (Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro planning organization), and GoTriangle staff, chairs and vice-chairs. We discussed a potential issue of CAMPO BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) projects competing with DCHC’s light rail in SPOT 5.0 (Strategic Transportation Prioritization) which is a ten year plan. The Strategic Prioritization Process is the methodology that NCDOT uses to develop the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The process involves scoring all roadway, public transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, rail, and aviation projects on a number of criteria. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs), and the NCDOT Division offices also contribute to the final project score by assigning local priority points to projects. CAMPO’s Role in Prioritization is two part: First – the MPO selects which projects from the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) are submitted into the scoring competition.  Currently, CAMPO is permitted to submit twenty (20) new projects for each transportation mode in each prioritization cycle. Second – the MPO assigns local input points which increase the final project score.  In the current prioritization cycle, CAMPO is allotted 2500 local input points for the Regional Impact category and 2500 local input points for the Division Needs category.

Thursday evening I joined the council to hear the work plans of our advisory boards. Here is a summary of those work plans:

Environmental Advisory Board

  • Work group on Tree ordinance and open space
  • Input into the Stormwater Solutions
  • Carbon reduction and input into STAR

Historic Preservation Commission

  • Leverage and maintain Certified Local Government (CLG) status: education/training, recommendations, grant applications
  • Pursue local historic landmark status for at least 2 (private) properties
  • Take initial actions towards consideration of a new local historic district

Information Services Advisory Board

  • Website, townofcary.org: review usage data, make changes, measure improvement
  • Policy: Open Data, Social Media, Town Branding
  • Engagement: Across boards, with citizens, finding ways to improve

Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Advisory Board

  • As specified in Section 8 of the Land Development Ordinance (LDO), the PRCR Advisory Board shall review and make recommendations related to the recreation land dedication/payment in lieu requirement for each residential development plan submittal.
  • Review, comment and make recommendations as necessary related to PRCR policies, initiatives and capital projects brought forward by Staff. Specifically, for 2017/s018 Advisory Board members will serve as liaisons for the following projects: Western Cary Neighborhood Parks Project, Downtown Park Phase II Master Plan Project, and Western Cary Community Center Conceptual Plan Project
  • Collaborate with the three Board committees (Athletics, Cultural Arts and Greenway) relative to current issues, initiatives, and projects.

Planning and Zoning Board

  • To review rezoning and other applications with a more refined focus on their place within the Cary Community Plan.
  • To review rezoning applications involving infill carefully for fit in both time and space.
  • To further develop our understanding of the Cary Community Plan as both a functional board and as individual citizens with diverse concerns.

Public Art Advisory Board

  • Public Art Projects – Continue to advise and recommend public art where appropriate to enhance quality of life
  • Education – Work with staff on Public Art education programs.
  • Public Art Master Plan: Work with staff to accomplish the recommendations of the Council adopted Public Art Master Plan.

Zoning Board of Adjustment

  • To conduct quasi-judicial public hearings on requests for variances and appeals based on factual evidence and in accordance with The Town of Cary Policy Statement 167
  • To ensure applicants and public in attendance have a clear understanding of the quasi-judicial process during the public hearing.
  • To further develop our understanding of Cary’s Land Development Ordinance as both a functional board and as individual citizens with diverse professional backgrounds.

The meeting concluded after about 45 minutes.

Thursday night the council held its first regularly scheduled council meeting of the year. There were nine consent items, two public hearings, four discussion items, and a closed session. Several speakers at the Public Speaks Out session spoke against the White Oak rezoning proposal that included affordable and senior housing. The majority of the complaints were that it didn’t fit the character of the community and that it would cause traffic issues. The Public Hearing for extra parking in Regency also drew speakers. They believe that the additional parking will destroy the buffer from US1 and the building. The applicant agreed to work with them further on this.

Under discussion the council approved a water main replacement project for several million dollars. This will actually save money in the long run. The council also approved the bid for the High House and Cary Parkway improvements. In the near future utility relocation will occur in that location.

The council unanimously approved the Urban Drive proposal after strong opposition from the adjacent residents. Opposition will be a common occurrence as redevelopment occurs. That is, council will have the task of balancing the concerns of the residents with the vision in the Cary Community Plan. In this case many residents complained of stormwater issues which are a separate issue from the rezoning. And ironically new development actually helps stormwater issues since new requirements are so stringent. The staff is currently doing an inventory and creating recommendations for stormwater issues.

The council also unanimously approved the White Oak rezoning which included affordable housing and age restricted housing. This was a difficult decision because in the near term it would appear that density is in a rural area and does not fit. But at build out it will make more sense. The housing will be next to a school, church care facilities, and a day care. Since the development has senior housing, door to door GoCary service will be available. These were the justifications used by council members to vote for the project.

Friday I joined CAMPO chairman Mayor Dick Sears of Holly Springs and CAMPO executive staff in a discussion of options to address concerns brought up by DCHC the day before. Mayor Sears and I will meet with the Wake County mayors on Monday and discuss this issue.

Saturday I attended the MLK Dreamfest activities at the Cary Arts Center. I provided welcoming remarks before watching the film The Racial Taboo Initiative. This film was designed to inspire conversation about subjects related to race. It took an honest and entertaining look at America’s racial history and examined how that legacy continues to impact our society today. It was followed by small group discussions. The film is a must see if you get the chance.

Emails from staff this week include notification of rail crossing closures. Weather permitting; CSX Transportation will implement rolling closures of seven railroad crossings in Cary starting at 9 p.m. January 15 through the evening of January 19. CSX crews will begin work near North Academy Street near East Cedar Street, moving four miles west toward Apex and ending at Laura Duncan Road. The continuous closures are necessary to allow CSX to complete railroad maintenance work overnight and asphalt repairs during the day.

The town manager’s weekly report included:

Retreat Preparations Kick Into Higher Gear

As the new year kicks into gear, so too do Council/staff retreat preparations. On Monday, Department Directors engaged a facilitator, Warren Miller from Fountainworks, to reignite our collective memory from last year as well as continuing to flesh out our thoughts for our upcoming retreat.

CSX Railroad Crossing Closings

Weather permitting; CSX Transportation will implement rolling closures of seven railroad crossings in Cary starting at 9 p.m. on Monday, January 15 through the evening of January 19. CSX crews will begin work near North Academy Street near East Cedar Street moving four miles west toward Apex and ending at Laura Duncan Road. The continuous closures are necessary to allow CSX to complete railroad maintenance work overnight and asphalt repairs during the day. Specific railroad closures and local detour information is available on our website. Additionally, all detours and construction updates will be pushed to the Waze app available on smartphones.

Monthly Utilities Report

The December/January Utilities Operating Report is now available. The highlights from this month include:

  • The treatment plants are all operating well and have weathered the cold weather and ice with only a few minor issues.
  • After a brief period of no water transfers over the holidays, the transfers to Durham have resumed.
  • We are expending some additional funds on laboratory testing and added carbon treatment for perflourinated chemicals at the water treatment facility. Additional laboratory testing is continuing to show that our water is below 20 percent of EPA’s health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS.

Analysis Finds Need for Signal at Intersection

Staff has determined that the operations at the intersection of Weston Parkway and Sheldon Drive/Weston Estates Way now do warrant the installation of a traffic signal. As per our usual practice, this intersection was modeled as both a traditional signalized intersection as well as a roundabout to determine feasibility for both treatments. Since both forms of traffic control exhibit similar levels of operations and benefit to drivers, the traffic signal was chosen as the better solution due to cost and feasibility of construction. Staff will commence working with our on-call design consultants to develop a traffic signal design and construction package. We anticipate the traffic signal to be installed and operational in Winter 2018.

Cary Joins NC WaterWARN

This week, the Town joined the North Carolina Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (NC WaterWARN), a statewide mutual-aid alliance of nearly 100 NC utilities who agree to help other utilities respond to and recover from emergencies. Cary regularly extends a helping hand to our neighbors when natural disasters or serious emergencies strike, to ensure reliable, high-quality water and wastewater services remain available to our region’s citizens; likewise, our regional partners are there for Cary if we need assistance. Joining NC WaterWARN enhances this utility assistance with a standard framework and legal protections.

Happenings on Capitol Hill

Last week, Sam Quinones, the author of Dreamland and expert on the nation’s opioid epidemic reached out to us to help prepare for providing testimony to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Sam testified on Tuesday and while the Town of Cary is not mentioned, we were happy to help provide background for his written remarks, which can be read here.

Speaking of Washington, D.C., the Ferguson Group, our federal lobbyist team, provides a weekly summary of activities. We will begin providing these updates now and again to provide more contexts on our legislative agenda efforts.

Previewing Next Week

In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Town offices will be closed on Monday, January 15. As such, garbage, recycling and yard waste collection for all households will move one day later during the week. Our Citizen’s Convenience Center will be open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on January 15.

Additionally, SK-8 Cary and Cary Tennis Park will remain open.

Recognitions

Last Friday evening, I had the pleasure of participating in the Fire Recruits Graduation. I’m particularly thankful I was able to attend so that I could hear Captain Laird Van Gorden give remarks to the graduates. Captain Van Gorden beautifully described how our organization is going through a renaissance. You can read his remarks here.

The record breaking freezing temperatures over the last week have created some challenging conditions for water system operations. The Public Works Operations staff has responded to at least 12 water main break events over the last week, especially last weekend when the temperatures were at their lowest. Thanks to the work of dedicated staff from PW-Ops including Jim Hallowes, Davis Reynolds, Matt Wetherell, Bill Roy, Craig Hollister, Seth Burleson and the entire team, the breaks were managed by working around the clock over nights and weekends to minimize service disruptions to citizens. We are especially thankful for the quick response of the Public Works staff who managed these events so seamlessly and whose work protected the water system from widespread customer outages. 

 

Emails from citizens this week include:

  • Opposition to the Crabtree Crossing Extension (a Morrisville council decision)
  • Opposition to the White Oak rezoning.
  • A request for an update of the Google Fiber installation (they are planning to do about 20 miles a quarter. They are currently working off North Harrison and in West Cary).
  • A request for a downtown grocery (we don’t have authority to specify a type of business)
  • A complaint about leaf pickup.
  • A complaint about an issue with a water outage.
  • Opposition to the Weldon Ridge rezoning proposal.
  • A belief that Gen X is being put in the Cape Fear river in Fayetteville and would it impact our water (I have no knowledge of a dumping but Fayetteville is downstream)
  • Calling me a hypocrite since I am not opposed to fishing in Bond Lake.

Next week’s activities include a Wake County Mayors Association meeting, a taping of Cary Matters, several meetings with special interests, a CAMPO meeting, and an interview with a seventh grader.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 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 Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, January 07th, 2018

This was the second consecutive holiday week and the first week of the new year.

Wednesday I attended the Cary Chamber’s breakfast where the featured speaker was economist Dr. Michael Walden from N.C. State. As usual his presentation was interesting and informative. My big takeaways were that this year the economy will continue to grow and that Cary is continuing to do very well.

Later Wednesday I talked with the Chairman of the DCHC MPO (Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization) who was interested in setting up a meeting with CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) and GoTriangle. The purpose of the meeting will be to talk about CAMPO projects that may compete against DCHC and GoTriangle projects. We set a meeting date for next Thursday.

Wednesday evening I met with Mayor Pro-Tem Bush, council member Frantz, the town manager, and other staff members to talk about an issue in the downtown.

Later Wednesday I joined a couple of council members and staff members to hear concerns from a business owner.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Cold Ushers in the New Year

After a forecast of a trace of snow on Tuesday, and even as late as 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Cary saw 1.5 inches fall on Wednesday night. This hampered our snow removal efforts, but by Thursday morning all main thoroughfares had been plowed. By Thursday afternoon, all primaries within subdivisions had been plowed. We were able to plow residential streets based on garbage collection routes as early as noon on Thursday. As of Friday morning, we were still working on residential streets to support our solid waste collection efforts. In total, we have used 1,800 tons of sand/salt mix and spread 16,000 gallons of brine prior to the first flake. An incredible effort by many across the Town, in particular our folks at Public Works and those in our public safety areas.

And due to the inclement weather, we have moved our leaf collection schedule back one week.

Upcoming Pressure Zone Shift

Next week, we will start a conversation with some of the citizens in the central part of Cary regarding our upcoming pressure zone shift. At this time, the modification is anticipated to occur the week of April 10. Our next opportunity to speak with these citizens will be at a public meeting February 15 at the Cary Senior Center. Please look for it to be added to your calendar in the upcoming week. If you or your constituents have questions, we’ve developed a webpage. This project is necessary to provide greater operational flexibility and efficiency, as well as prepare to bring into service the Good Hope Church Road Water Storage Tank in 2019

Morrisville Parkway Extension Progress Report

Morrisville Parkway Extension and Interchange project hit an important milestone last week with bids received that are in line with the engineer’s estimate and within budget! This is particularly good news since Morrisville Parkway is one of our biggest transportation investments with significance to the town and the region. It is also particularly good news as we may have turned the corner on the recent trend of escalating costs on bids. Morrisville Parkway will provide the Town with another interchange on NC540 and, along with one other interchange, will include connected vehicle technology for an NCDOT evaluation of the impacts of this new technology. Cary has been the lead agency through the right-of-way and utility relocation phases. As we move into the construction phase, NCDOT will be taking the lead. NCDOT anticipates the project being open to traffic in time for Christmas of 2019.

First Walk of the New Year

Members of the Greenway Committee, Cary Teen Council and citizens kicked off the new year with a First Walk on January 1. The group of 35 braved the cold temperatures to hike the Black Creek Greenway from North Cary Park to Reedy Creek Trailhead.

New Traffic Signal Operational in Western Cary

At the end of December, the newly installed and highly anticipated traffic signal at O’Kelly Chapel Road and Yates Store Road was put into full operation. This traffic signal was installed by NCDOT’s contractor through an agreement between NCDOT and a private development which helped to advance the installation of the signal to better assist school traffic. As part of the installation, the signal is connected to the Town’s Advanced Traffic Management System and can be monitored and operated from our Traffic Management Center in Town Hall. A CCTV camera will be installed in the near future to better assist staff with signal timing adjustments and aid in safety for pedestrians and students.

Cary Projects Fare Well for LAPP Funding

It’s a pleasure to announce that CAMPO’s LAPP program is set to award $6.3 million to fund four Cary transportation projects. The LAPP grants still need final approval by CAMPO’s Executive Board at their January 17 meeting. The following street, transit, and greenway projects are recommended for funding:

  • Connected Vehicle Technology ($1,600,000)
  • Reedy Creek Road Phase 2 ($632,029 – this project received partial funding; staff can request additional funds when construction begins.)
  • Higgins Greenway Phase 3 ($2,030,000)
  • Downtown Cary Multimodal Facility ($2,000,000)

Many thanks to the large number of staff that helped pull together the grant submittals, including: Luana Deans, Jerry Jensen, Juliet Andes, Sandi Bailey, Kelly Blazey, Pam Simons, Todd Milam, Danna Widmar, Paul Kuhn, David Spencer, Wesley Vo, Rob Myers, Sammy Wood, and Christine Sondej.

Recognitions

For those of you who don’t follow Ted on Twitter (and if you don’t, you should!), we wanted to share his photo that went viral in a “Twitter Moment.” As of Thursday afternoon, his photo had over 154,138 impressions, 751 likes and 221 retweets.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Requests to try and convince the Morrisville council not to keep the connection of the Crabtree Crossing on their transportation plan (Already done that. They are aware of our position. Time for the citizens to make their wishes know to the Morrisville council.)
  • A concern about the Weldon Ridge proposal.
  • A complaint about leaves not being picked up more frequently than once every four weeks (this would create a significant cost in employees and equipment).
  • A request for a European market in downtown.
  • A complaint based on the WRAL drinking water story (Cary is well within all guidelines and has actually won awards for its water. The particle unfairly reported by the TV station is equivalent to 1 second in 320 centuries. That is, there isn’t the technology to remove all of those particles. Again, we are well within any guidelines and better than most other water systems).
  • A complaint that trash wasn’t picked up on time (after investigation it turns out that the trash in question was the responsibility of Waste Management and not Cary).

Next week will be a typical busy week for me. It includes staff meetings, a meeting with special interests, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a meeting with DCHC, CAMPO, and GoTriangle, and a work session with Board and Commission chairs.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 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 Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Happy New Year!!

This was a very slow week due to the holiday so there isn’t much to report.

Most of my time was spent writing the State of Cary address. And at this point I have an outline, an opening, and a summary. I have also sent questions to staff for data.

On Thursday of this week I talked with someone who has applied to be the Vice President of Economic Development. They were interested in my view of the position. I believe that this position is essential in recruiting and maintaining business in Cary. This person will need to not only recruit corporations but small business in strategic areas such as downtown and the Eastern Gateway. The position is also expanding in a way that will likely require traveling to recruit businesses especially after our branding campaign has been completed.

Saturday I had my second meeting with Morrisville Mayor Cawley to talk about a variety of issues. He has a lot of great ideas of how we can coordinate and work better together. Both the Morrisville and Cary councils will have a joint meeting in the coming weeks. One topic we talked about was the Crabtree Crossing connection. He stated that he is opposed to the connection and is in favor of removing it from the transportation plan. However, he is not sure how the council will vote.

Emails this week included:

  • Concerns about the Weldon Ridge proposal.
  • A complaint about the lack of leaf pickup. (Our schedule has collection about every four weeks. To increase the frequency would require more staff, more equipment, and more money. At this point I don’t believe our citizens are willing to pay more for leaf collection. Some municipalities, such as Morrisville, don’t have curbside leaf collection.)

Next week will also be a very light week for me. In addition to writing the State of Cary address I will have meetings with staff.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 7th.  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.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Since this was considered a holiday week for many there was not a lot going on.

Monday I joined the town clerk and key financing staff to sign bonds that were refinanced. The refinancing of these bonds will save us about $8 million.

Monday night I joined four other council members and several staff members at the Wake County Mayors Association’s Christmas Party. It was a great time to talk and build relationships with mayors and other elected officials from municipalities in Wake County. It was also a good time to be with my council colleagues and their spouses.

Tuesday I attended the Menorah lighting ceremony at the Cary Arts Center. This was the last night of Hanukah. Mayor Pro-Tem Bush led the ceremony which included live entertainment. Several council members were there. We were able to pose and get a picture of the Menorah, the downtown park Christmas tree, and the downtown park fountain which seemed to capture the holiday celebrations going on downtown. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

The rest of the week was spent celebrating with family and friends including joining a Hanukah celebration. My family kept its tradition of attending Christmas Eve service at Cary Presbyterian.

This week a news story reported the presence of non-regulated compounds in Jordan Lake and Cary’s drinking water today. This story was based on personal research, as opposed to EPA commissioned research, being led by a Cary resident, who is also a Duke University scientist. The story implied that Cary’s drinking water might not be safe. IMHO this was not newsworthy and instead was an opportunity for one of our local TV stations to do a little Cary bashing. Shame on them! First and foremost Cary’s water is safe! We continue to meet or exceed all regulatory standards, standards that are set not by the Town of Cary but by the EPA and State of North Carolina. We are in contact with our regulators, the State of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, to ensure we are taking appropriate action with regards to monitoring and treatment as well as to stay abreast of the latest information regarding these non-regulated substances. And the Town has also undertaken our own water testing using an independent third party, the results of which continue to show that we are below the EPA Health Advisory thresholds. For those who are interested in the detail, we have established a web page on the topic:

http://www.townofcary.org/services-publications/water-sewer-stormwater/water/water-treatment/emerging-contaminants. Keeping our water safe is a top priority, and we will continue to work closely with all parties engaged in the water quality of Jordan Lake.

The town manager’s report for the week included:

Previewing Next Week

I hope that everyone can enjoy time with family and friends over the next week! As such, Town Hall and most staffed facilities, including community centers and arts centers, will close at 5 p.m. on December 22 and reopen December 28. Given the closures, we will not be sending out a Weekly Report next week and will resume with a report January 5.

In addition, during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, curbside collection will bump one day later for all citizens and other natural greenery can be disposed of as part of weekly yard waste service. GoCary will not operate and the Citizen’s Convenience Center will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ATT & O’Kelly Chapel Pedestrian Improvements

Town staff has been working with NCDOT, Chatham County, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy on pedestrian and cyclist safety at the ATT crossing on O’Kelly Chapel Road to help identify methods or treatments to improve interactions between drivers and trail users. An officer by the Town to provide a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon system (similar to the installation on Maynard Rd. at Godbold Park) for this crossing was reviewed and approved by all parties. We are currently working with our vendor to procure the equipment and with NCDOT to obtain an encroachment agreement for the construction. Installation is expected to be complete by Spring 2018.

Cary Chosen for 2018 Smart 50 Award

The Town of Cary has been selected to be a recipient of a 2018 Smart 50 Award for our Simulated Smart City, which is our smart campus program. The competition was fierce, and we were up against applicants from around the world in more than a dozen countries. The Smart 50 Awards, in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation and US Ignite, annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work in five categories: governance, mobility, energy, citizen life, and networks. The Simulated Smart City program was selected as a winner in the network category and will be honored at the awards gala in March at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo in Kansas City, MO.

Teaming Up for Scholarships

On Saturday, Bradford’s Ordinary Fire Company and Whole Foods teamed up to support the PRCR Scholarship Fund. Whole Foods shoppers enjoyed visits with Santa and sips of hot chocolate alongside a fun group of Cary firefighters. The enthusiastic bunch brought in donations totaling $1,015 for the fund.

Fire Training Among Partners

On Tuesday, Cary Fire hosted our mutual aid partners from Apex and Morrisville for some technical rescue training at the Public Works Operations Center. It was special having all three agencies work together in training.

Citizen Celebrates Cary Bonds

We have one Cary citizen who is excited to own Town of Cary bonds. Mr. Yoakum stayed in touch with Mary Beth Huber through the recent revenue bond sale and was able to purchase $5,000 of Cary bonds to bring his Cary bond investment portfolio to $10,000. Mary Beth had invited him to come watch the sale, but when we moved it earlier in the week to take advantage of the interest rate markets he couldn’t make it. Nonetheless, he stopped by on Tuesday to meet Mary Beth and brought her some homemade candy.

Wake County Public Schools Meeting

Staff met with representatives from Wake County Public Schools this week to discuss recent legislation which now requires municipalities and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to reimburse schools (including charter and private schools) for construction of required road improvements.  More meetings are planned with WCPSS and NCDOT for further discussion and ways to partner effectively to maximize safety and mobility for school children and the traveling public.

Recognitions

On Tuesday, we finished our last Imagine Cary Deep Dive session offered to all employees. This was an amazing effort to share the goals and vision of the community plan broadly across the organization. These sessions were orchestrated by a large group of folks and special thanks goes to everyone involved for setting up and organizing this great opportunity.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request for an update on the next phase of the downtown park.
  • A request to increase funding for sidewalks.
  • Several invitations to events and ceremonies.
  • A comment about Cary’s diversity of birds on the Black Creek Greenway.

Next week will be another holiday week and will include three meetings. I will spend most of the week on my 2018 State of Cary address.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 31st.  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.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 17th, 2017

This was typical week for a week that included a council meeting.

Monday I attempted to contact all council members for questions or concerns about items on the Thursday council meeting agenda. I was able to contact all but one and there were very few questions. Most of the questions were clarification on the consent agenda items such as operational policy updates on parks and recreation and the Panther Creek Greenway rebid. Later in the day I met with key staff members and went over the agenda items.

Later Monday Mayor Pro-Tem Bush and I met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one. Items included information about downtown contractor interests, the council staff retreat in February, and the Columbia development. We talked a little over an hour.

Tuesday I met with a candidate for a North Carolina Senate seat. He was interested in learning about issues in Cary. Our meeting lasted about half an hour. My personal practice is that I am open to meeting anyone but will rarely endorse unless they are longtime friends like NC Representative Gale Adcock.

Wednesday I attended a meeting of the CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) Executive board. There were two public hearings and four discussion items. There were several speakers for the second public hearing on the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan Update. A couple of interesting things on that plan include:

  • Cary and Morrisville are on record opposing the Crabtree Crossing connection.
  • There is a preferred BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) route in the Kildaire Farm Road and Harrison Avenue corridor.

Under discussion the delegation from Cary (me and a staff member) were opposed to the motion to approve the Wake Transit Implementation Update because of ambiguities in several processes. The CAMPO staff agreed to come back to the board with information on these concerns. As a result of that commitment the motion was passed. Our meeting concluded after an hour and a half.

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the year. Before the meeting started the council took a picture with the outgoing Vice President of Economic Development, Kyle Greer. This was his last council meeting in that position.

The beginning of the meeting included recognition of Employees of the Year Mary Beerman (a Cary native) and Charles Massey. Two of the best employees out of the greatest staff in the state, by far.

Next we heard from our Director of Finance and the auditor, from Cherry Bekaert LLP, that Cary’s finances are excellent. In fact, the finances and the process were so good that there were no comments from the auditor which is unheard of. Thanks to all the great men and women of our Finance Department that make sure our finances remain as strong as they can be.

The rest of the agenda included 11 consent items, 4 public hearings, and 4 discussion items. The public hearing that drew over a dozen speakers and had many more in attendance was the Weldon Ridge proposal for a rezoning. The rezoning included a school which the residents feared would cause traffic, parking, and other issues. This proposal will now go to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation before returning to council for a decision.

Under the discussion items the council approved a ten year lease to Chef Michael Chuong and his team, which makes up VVVC, Incorporated. Chef Chuong served as the Executive Chef for Prestonwood Country Club, opened and operated the popular An restaurant for six years, and then opened his own restaurant, Elements, in 2012 in Chapel Hill.

The council also approved the sidewalk project list that included funding for:

  • Tryon Road within the looped street section of Ashville Avenue
  • Ederlee Drive sidewalk projects from Regency Parkway to Penny Road
  • NW Maynard Road sidewalk design and easement acquisition project from Old Apex Road to the existing sidewalk west of Castalia Drive

When asked staff pointed out that requests have exceeded our ability to provide sidewalks. Council asked staff to investigate increasing sidewalk funding.

The intersection improvement project at Morrisville Parkway and Carpenter Upchurch Road was also approved. The project removes the existing concrete islands that restrict turning movements, installs a new traffic signal with pedestrian amenities, and adds new railroad signal that is coordinated with the new traffic signal. It is anticipated construction of this project will begin winter 2018.

Lastly the council approved Land Development Ordinance (LDO) amendments included changes pertaining to commercial parking maximums, telecommunication facilities, and two minor and technical amendments.

After a short closed session we adjourned with a total meeting time over three and a half hours.

Saturday I participated in the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery. This program is a national program held each December to pay tribute to our fallen service members and those that are currently serving. I, along with others, gave brief remarks. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:

“…Although I did not serve in our armed forces, I along with so many in our community benefit each day from the sacrifices they made for us. For that, please accept my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of all those who aren’t here with us today.

The national website for this wreath laying initiative lists Hillcrest Cemetery along with the likes of Arlington National Cemetery and rightfully so. Veterans represent close to 8 percent of our region’s total population. And it is important to remember our veterans during this time of year, a time that evokes such strong emotions for many of us.

Today, let’s remember the true meaning of those stars and stripes; the idea of democracy, and uniting with citizens to fight for a better future for us all.

This holiday season is a time of celebration but it is also a time of prayer and reflection. Please continue to remember our fallen service members and the military personnel who continue to serve this day.

Thank you, Merry Christmas, and may God Bless America.”

On the Wreaths Across America website it says “A person dies twice: once when they take their final breath, and later, the last time their name is spoken.” So part of this ceremony is to lay a wreath at the grave of the veteran and say his name out loud and give thanks. I laid a wreath on the grave of Robert Pleasants who was a World War II veteran.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Stormwater Working Group Meets with Stakeholders

After the topic was addressed at the November Quarterly meeting, Town staff and a group of downtown stakeholders met at the Cary Arts Center for a discussion on stormwater in the downtown on Tuesday. The community stakeholder group consisted of:

  • Downtown residents Ken and Peggy Taylor, Scott de Deugd, David Shouse, and Tim Devinney
  • Downtown resident and retired NC State professor, Tim Luckadoo
  • Developer Jordan Gussenhoven
  • Professional engineer, Sam Ravenel
  • NC State professor, Dr. Bill Hunt

The focus was to listen to the stakeholder group’s perception of the stormwater issues in downtown. Key issues that emerged were:

  • Identify ways to engage with the community to raise the awareness of stormwater.
  • Explore opportunities to take advantage of new technologies, such as sensors, to enhance our understanding and alerting capabilities.
  • Look for opportunities to beautify the downtown through stormwater management.
  • Increase the awareness and understanding of stormwater regulations to make sure they are promoting the right types of behaviors.

The next meeting is scheduled for January 9, 2018. At this meeting, staff will further engage with stakeholders on the topics that were identified in the first meeting and will provide additional context around each topic. The stakeholder group will continue to explore topics and help prioritize potential solutions. The final meeting is scheduled for January 24, which will allow staff to engage with the stakeholder group in preparation for the second quarter update and the Council retreat.

Artist Selections for Western Cary Parks

The Public Art Advisory Board has selected two artists to join the design team to provide integrated art for the two new parks in western Cary – one in the vicinity of McCrimmon Parkway and the other near Carpenter Fire Station Road. Eric Beerbower and Mary Carter Taub were recommended by the artist selection panel that included representatives from the neighborhoods near the parks, the PRCR Advisory Board, the landscape architect and Town staff. The artists will join in the master-planning phase now to make best use of their artistic perspectives for integrating art into the parks.

Salesforce Training Underway

Salesforce training is going strong all week at the Operations Center. On Monday, our meter technicians will begin using Salesforce in the fields, as well as construction crews and the mason crews which will be phased in beginning next week. Kudos to the entire team who have worked tirelessly for months to make this happen. I know this is only the beginning and there are many great things still to come along our Salesforce journey!

Successful Bond Sale

The Town held a successful bond sale on Wednesday, resulting in over $8.6 million in savings to the utility fund. The sale refinanced over $92 million of utility revenue bonds. The sale occurred a day earlier than planned to take advantage of lower rates in a rising rate environment as well as interest from potential investors to buy early. Due to Cary’s excellent AAA rating, there was demand for the bonds even though the municipal market broke the record for the amount of bonds to be sold this week. Orders of over $373 million were received for $92 million of bonds that were offered, which included 35 institutional investor orders.

Due to the high demand for the bonds, after the ordering period closed, JP Morgan was able to adjust the pricing on the bonds which saved the Town an additional $200,000. The Town received excellent service from the entire financing team which allowed the Town to execute a refinancing in a very short period of time. It’s also noteworthy that the Council’s quick action at the Quarter 1 meeting in November allowed the Town to be nimble and react to the financial conditions.

GRCVB Window Display

As you may know, the Greater Raleigh CVB is conducting a Destination Strategic Plan Study to define the future story of Wake County. In support of this study, a display case at the Raleigh Convention Center was assigned to each municipality in Wake County as an opportunity to showcase what makes it unique and different. Titled “Cary: A Global Community,” our display highlights Cary’s Sister Cities program as well as our defining cultural arts events. Bold image and mixed media complete the display, including a real lantern from our Chinese Lantern Festival and a replica of the Sister Cities sign on Town Hall Campus. The exhibit is on display for the next 12 months. A note of thanks to staff from Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources, the Clerk’s Office and Public Information, who co-created the display.

NC Recreation & Parks Annual Conference

At the NC Recreation & Parks Association’s annual conference in Greensboro this past week, PRCR had three employees present educational sessions at the conference including Keith Jenkins who presented on Changes and Trends in Youth Soccer and Andrew Marsden and Julie Collins presented on Developing Successful Family Events. In addition, the Town received the Arts and Humanities Award which recognized the success of the NC Chinese Lantern Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheater. Lastly, Mary Henderson, the Town’s PRCR Director from 1995-2015, was inducted into the NCRPA Hall of Fame for her contribution to the field of parks and recreation in the state of North Carolina. 

Recognitions

Each year the local chapter of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) sponsors a Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet. This banquet provides an opportunity to enhance public-private partnerships and to recognize law enforcement officers who have made outstanding contributions to both their department and their community.

On December 11, 2017, Officer Artie O’Brien was recognized as the 2017 winner of the ASIS International Legion of Excellence award. Artie was presented with this award at the annual banquet held at the PNC arena. Artie consistently demonstrates “The Cary Way” in everything he does and this award highlighted the amazing work he did to help our military veterans during the Second Annual VFW Veteran’s Experience Action Center held in Cary this past September. Congratulations, Artie!

We’d also like to recognize Detective Kevin West who was recently named a “Hometown Hero” by the NC Automobile Dealers Association. Kevin has trained numerous police in other countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Australia. During his training in Brazil, Kevin trained the police agencies in the area of Internet Crimes Against Children. That training enabled Brazilian police officials to conduct a nationwide sweep. Over 1,100 officers participated, resulting in 120 search warrants being executed throughout the country and 108 arrests to date. This is just one example of the exemplary work Kevin performs every day, not only here in Cary, but literally worldwide. Thank you Kevin!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about the Crabtree Crossing extension (a Morrisville decision).
  • Questions about our council liaison appointment process.
  • A question about the future Wegmans.
  • A request for a port-a-potty in the downtown park (Um… NO!).
  • Comments about a future Louis Stephens Drive extension.
  • Comments about a street light repair at Davis Drive and Lake Grove.
  • Comments against the Weldon Ridge rezoning proposal.
  • A request for a green arrow signal near Bond Park.
  • A request to sign a Mayors list to endorse a carbon neutral goal within the next decades (while this is certainly a goal it is our practice not to engage in matters that can be viewed as political. Like the Climate change mayor signing initiative, this would be viewed by some as political.)

The next two weeks will be very slow due to the approaching holidays. My activities include a meeting with staff and the Mayors Association holiday dinner.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 24th.  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.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 10th, 2017

This was a busy week with several long nights.

Monday I met with the town manager and several key staff members as part of my weekly one-on-one. We talked about the upcoming work session on the Columbia development. In addition, we talked about council relationships.

Tuesday I attended a reception held in honor of our three re-elected council members Robinson, Smith, and Yerha. I was able to meet and talk with family members and friends. The council meeting that followed was an organizational meeting with the purpose of swearing in the council members and making appointments. Lori Bush was unanimously elected as Mayor Pro-Tem and I think she will do a great job. Ed Yerha was the outgoing Mayor Pro-Tem and did an amazing job representing the town in several areas in meetings I could not attend. Thanks to Ed for being such a great ambassador for Cary.

Tuesday night the council held a work session on the Columbia Development proposal. The purpose was to address issues brought up by council members and the public including phasing, institutional use, the amount of office, aesthetics, connectivity, bike/ped facilities, traffic, and transit. Staff pointed out that there were currently 100 zoning conditions in the proposal. It should be pointed out that council decides the zoning (type of use) and not site specific issues. So zoning conditions are very important in helping guarantee certain things are the way they are proposed

Next we heard from David Owens from the UNC School of Government on developer agreements. He talked for about twenty minutes on the pros and cons of using developer agreements. While the council has used developer agreements in the past this one is different in that one of the zoning conditions states that there will be a developer agreement. This is important because if the rezoning is approved with all the conditions, it will still require the town and the developer to agree on a developer agreement before construction can begin. In addition, zoning conditions are limited but developer agreements can include specific details not allowed in zoning conditions.

At this work session the only decision made by the council was to give staff the authority to start negotiations on a developer agreement while the rezoning proposal goes through the zoning process. The negotiations will allow staff and the developer to specifically address the issues mentioned previously.

Wednesday was a busy day that started early in the morning with a reception for outgoing Vice President of Economic Development Kyle Greer. Since 2014 Kyle has done an amazing job bringing major corporations to Cary, helping local businesses expand, and bringing business into our downtown. The reception was well attended with over a hundred people. I made remarks including a proclamation. Several others made remarks as well. Kyle will be running a commercial real estate business in Cary and I wish him the very best.

Later in the day I attended the holiday luncheon for town employees. I joined the entire council in greeting and shaking hands with over 600 employees while the management staff served the employees. The men and women that work at the Town of Cary are an amazing talented group. They are the major reason Cary is as great as it is. We are all so very blessed that they are here in Cary. After shaking hands I made a few remarks including thanking them on behalf of all 161,000 citizens of Cary.

Wednesday evening I participated in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. This committee is made up of the mayor, two Cary Town Council members, the Cary town manager, the Cary Chamber’s executive director, the chair of the Cary Chamber’s board of directors and three citizens. The purpose of this meeting was to evaluate the final four branding consultant firms and narrow it down to the final two. After much discussion it was decided that the final two were Bigfish and Northstar which are both outstanding firms. Representatives of these two firms will be brought in to talk with Economic Development Committee members and council members before a final selection is made.

The final part of our Economic Development committee meeting was the Quarterly Report. Here are some notes from that report:

  • Spectrum Properties has broken ground in Regency for Class A office space which is much needed in Cary.
  • Financial Risk Group has begun construction in downtown in the old House of Lights building.
  • Chatham Walk has submitted plans for 33 new condos on East Chatham Street at Urban Drive.
  • We are actively pursuing 10 active projects with a potential of 3,312 new jobs and over $240 million in investment.
  • Class A office space vacancy rate has increased to 8.29% due to the new Center Green Building.
  • As of the September/October time frame the unemployment rate in Cary was 3.2%, Wake County was 3.4%, North Carolina was 4.1%, and the United States was 3.9%.
  • For the year 1600 jobs were added with $176 million in investment.

Wednesday night I joined council member Smith for the CAP (Citizens Assisting Police) annual banquet. This is a banquet put on by the police department to thank all the many hours of service provided by the CAP team members. CAP Team members provide a valuable service to the community by donating thousands of volunteer hours per year; providing assistance at public events, child safety seat installations, performing clerical duties and service center staffing, and promoting Community Watch programs. We are so blessed to live in a community where so many want to help our town and our police department. Bless them all for their service to our community!

Thursday was a scheduled quasi-judicial meeting for four hearings. Earlier in the day two of the four hearings were resolved by staff and were removed from the agenda. In attendance for the meeting were several scouts which I talked with prior to the meeting. The first quasi-judicial hearing was a request to add 101 parking spaces to an existing office parking lot at Regency Lakeview. Staff pointed out that granting this request would not only ease their parking issues but allow for future business expansion. Staff also noted that more and more businesses are requesting more parking and as a result staff will review our requirements. The council voted unanimously to grant this request.

The second request was from Peak Engineering and Design, PLLC who intend to change an existing house at the corner of Chatham Street and South Dixon Avenue to a commercial use. They requested a modification to reduce the parking to four spaces instead of the six parking spaces required by the LDO, and modifications to eliminate the requirement to dedicate any required public right-of-way on South Dixon Avenue and West Chatham Street. Council had no problem with the parking reduction and elimination of right-of-way on West Chatham Street. However, granting the request to eliminate the right-of-way on South Dixon Avenue generated discussion among the council. In the end the council denied that request to eliminate the right-of-way dedication by a 4 to 3 vote. Most of those voting to deny noted that it would not impact the applicant’s project, cost them very little if any money, and it would save the taxpayers money in the future if the town built a sidewalk or widened the road since it would already have the property. Those in opposition thought that right-of-way dedication would come when the property is redeveloped.

After a short closed session the meeting adjourned with a total meeting time of about an hour.

Saturday I joined the rest of the council members in the annual Jaycee Christmas parade. The weather was about 33 degrees with a drizzle of rain, sleet, and snow. Before the parade I took a selfie with a staff replica of the town’s downtown fountain. For the parade I rode in a small MG driven by Steve Zaytoun. Along with me in that small car were council member Yerha, council member Robinson, and her daughter. We had a great time wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and throwing out candy. While the parade attendance wasn’t as big due to the weather it was still well attended.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Employee of the Year Luncheon

More than 600 attended the new and improved Employee Recognition Luncheon on Wednesday. Colleagues were joined by Council Members as well as retirees for a “green” luncheon. All of the food, utensils and napkins were compostable. Amidst many fun and games, the Town unveiled our two Employee of the Year winners – Mary Beerman and Charles Massey. Congratulations to Mary and Charles for their dedication and extra effort on behalf of the Town and our citizens! And I’d like to thank everyone in HR (and Amina Shah) for their tireless work preparing for such a great event. Your effort didn’t go unnoticed!

Preparing for Potential Wintry Mix

Public Works prepared for a wintry mix for Friday and into Saturday. They had eight spreaders mounted with Snow Fighters on-site throughout the night. They closely monitored the street and bridge temperatures. Facilities staff ensured that all facilities were safe and accessible on Saturday and Sunday morning. In addition to all of the preparation activities by Public Works, our Fire and Police Departments prepared for additional service calls if the need arose.

TJCOG Staff Presentation

On Monday, I presented at a TJCOG staff meeting. Executive Director, Lee Worsley, asked that I talk to his staff about what’s happening in the Cary community as well as internally in our organization. There was a great discussion about the important role that the TJCOG plays when it comes to regional partnerships and facilitation.

Cary Named “Rising Star”

Cary was named a “Rising Star” by SmartCities DIVE. The article notes that Cary is “climbing the smart ‘city’ ranks quickly – and is nipping at the heels of the countries’ hottest metropolitan areas from coast to coast.” Dan Ault and Council Member Robinson were quoted in the article.

Finalist Firms Selected for Branding Process

On Wednesday evening at the Economic Development Committee I facilitated a ranking process of the potential branding firms for Cary. Ultimately, the board was unanimous in selecting BigFish and NorthStar as our top two firms moving forward. The board was also unanimous in the process moving forward. Both firms – BigFish and NorthStar – will be invited to Cary early next year for in-person presentations, tours, and meet-and-greets. Each firm will be paid $10,000 as a sign of our commitment to this project and to provide seed money to complete a task/deliverable associated with the project.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Ribbon Cutting

On Monday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the Town’s newest electric vehicle charging station installed near the Bond Park Boat House. This station, provided by a $10,000 Duke Energy grant is the 4th public electric vehicle charging station location on Town property. Attendees included Council Members Bush, George, and Yerha. Also attending were Chamber of Commerce staff Howard Johnson, Kyle Greer, and Allison Wrenn. Comments from Council Member Bush and Duke Energy Government and Community Relations District Manager, Marty Clayton, pointed out the important and long-standing relationship with the utility that enables economic development, innovation, and environmental improvement initiatives. One example is the Town being among the first municipalities in the state to convert to all-LED streetlights.

AAA Utility Bond Ratings Confirmed

We’re very pleased to announce that the Town has received AAA ratings from all three rating agencies for the revenue bond refinancing sale scheduled for the morning of December 14. One of the comments in the Standard and Poors rating report acknowledges the work of staff. One characteristic was reported as: “Strong” Operational Management Assessment, which, in our opinion, implies overall alignment among the system’s operational characteristics and that its management strategies are sufficient and well embedded as well as very comprehensive.” The rating agency press releases are available online.

“A Festive Fountain” Float for Christmas Parade

For the Christmas Parade on Saturday, staff has created a replica of the Downtown Fountain that will include wintry/holiday-themed colors and decorations. Everyone is encouraged to come out to downtown Cary tomorrow to see the completed masterpiece in action!

Louis Stephens Dr. Extension Update

A public meeting for Louis Stephens Dr Extension was held on Thursday. NCDOT proposes to to build a 2-lane road extending Louis Stephens Dr from O’Kelly Chapel Rd in RTP to Poplar Pike Ln in Morrisville. Developers are anticipated to build the ultimate 4-lane cross-section as the remaining greenfield land is developed. NCDOT’s design builds half of the future 4-lane divided road, the 2 northbound lanes, to be utilized as the interim 2 lane roadway. This cross-section includes two 12′ travel lanes, one 4′ bike lane in the northbound direction, and a 5′ sidewalk on the east side of the road. NCDOT was open to striping the road to two 14′ travel lanes if that was preferred over the one 4′ bike lane.

NCDOT is open to receiving comments in January 2018. Comments may be submitted to the project manager, Roger Kluckman, at rkluckman@ncdot.gov or (919)220-4717. Project Schedule: ROW Acquisition Spring FY 2018; Begin Construction Spring FY 2019.

Recognitions

I’d like to recognize everyone who helped prepare for the Fenton work session on Tuesday evening. The time and extra-effort put forward to crafting the presentation and preparing behind the scenes was remarkable. Special thanks goes to: Rob Wilson, Mary Beerman, Russ Overton, Scot Berry, Kelly Blazey, Juliet Andes, Ken Dunn, Jerry Jensen and Priyatham Konda.

 

Emails this week included notification that Cary received another great award in the SmartCities arena. Cary received the Dive award for a “Rising Star”. Tthese awards recognize the industry’s top disruptors and innovators that are transforming the urban landscapes and shaping the future. Mentioned in the article is both the Cary Community plan as well as Cary’s Smart Cities initiatives. 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A compliment about new plantings in the median.
  • Complaints about the potential Crabtree Crossing connection in Morrisville (this is a Morrisville council decision. I have expressed my concern and dissatisfaction to the Mayor, Mayor-elect, and council members).
  • A complaint about the Waldo Rood and Davis Drive intersection dangers.
  • A question about me meeting with some Holly Springs council members and calling their mayor.

 

Next week’s activities include a regularly scheduled council meeting, several meetings, and the Wreaths Across America ceremony.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 17th.  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.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 03rd, 2017

This week was a light week due since it was the week after Thanksgiving.

Monday I met with town management staff to talk about the upcoming work sessions on the Columbia development off Cary Town Boulevard. We are all in agreement that we must take our time in reviewing this proposal and that it may result in more than one work session. The Columbia development, if approved, will likely be the defining project of this council and the town manager.

Later Monday I joined several key management staff in a meeting with North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik. He gave us an update on what is going on with his proposal. In addition, he stated that he didn’t believe he would get a franchise in this round. That was confirmed later in the week when Raleigh didn’t make the top four. He did state that he believed he was in a strong position to get a franchise in the next round. He is currently working on details of his proposal with state and local agencies.

Saturday I attended a musical luncheon for the Cary and Morrisville police which was hosted by the Dedicated to Our Communities organization. This organization is run by about 75 youth interested in giving back to our community. I provided a few remarks along with Mayor-Elect Cawley of Morrisville. Then we took a few pictures before entertainment began. What a great event and organization!

Saturday night I had the joy of attending the 34th annual Cary Christmas tree lighting ceremony. After several amazing acts I introduced the council and our tree lighter for this year Ralph Ashworth. He was joined by his two great-grandsons and they flipped the switch after a countdown from 10. Then everyone was invited inside town hall for homemade smores. YUM! What a great time.

Emails this week included Cary getting named #6 in Top 10 Cities in US for best quality of life. See http://americancityandcounty.com/bonus-content/10-us-cities-offering-best-quality-ife?PK=UM_ACCBQL1117&utm_rid=CPEQW000008751025&utm_campaign=11750&utm_medium=email&elq2=7b786d8cb8854a6e87f7e168c829d60d#slide-4-field_images-80321 for more information.

We also received notification from Safehome that Cary is the #2 safest city in the US with populations over 150,000. The criteria they used was the FBI’s latest report of how many and what types of crimes occurred in each city over a single year, the city’s crime trends, the number of law enforcement officers compared to the population, and demographic metrics that are correlated to crime have a small impact on Safety Score. These include metrics such as population density, population trends, unemployment rate, median income, education level, etc. To see the complete list of cities go to https://www.safehome.org/safest-cities/.

We also received email notification this week that Boston-based CTI Towers has announced that it is moving its corporate headquarters to Cary and plans to hire 25 employees starting in early 2018. CTI is one of the biggest privately-held tower companies in the country and will move into the Highwoods-owned 5000 CentreGreen Way building in February 2018.

Staff also notified council and the public that the inside lane in each direction of Walnut Street between Piney Plains Road and Buck Jones Road, as well as the inside left turn lane from westbound Buck Jones onto southbound Walnut will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from December 4th to December 8th .

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Regional Transportation Conference in Richmond

Council Member Ken George, Russ Overton, Danna Widmar, Jerry Jensen and Kelly Blazey attended the Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA) conference in Richmond on Wednesday where they toured an in-progress BRT project, discussed multi-modal connectivity, and learned about urban redevelopment in a capital city.

Connected Vehicles Project

Town staff along with NCDOT and their contractor, Aegis, has made significant progress towards the installation of a Connected Vehicle (CV) system on NC 55. With input and oversight from both NCDOT and Cary, Aegis has installed a mock CV network at NCDOT’s Garner Campus and has provided an informational display system to be placed in test vehicles that prove SPaT (Signal Phasing and Timing) information to the driver. With the installation of the full CV system along NC 55 scheduled for December, the success of the mock network shows that we are one step closer to the first CV network installation in North Carolina.

This project is being performed as a part of the SPaT challenge, an industry driven event that challenges every state in the country to install Connected Vehicle technology. Cary was chosen based on our comprehensive network architecture, working relationship with NCDOT and Aegis, as well as our staff resources and abilities.

Continuous Wastewater Service Provided After Pipe Damaged

On Tuesday, a contractor working in an Apex development near White Oak Creek struck one of our 30″ force mains for the West Cary pump station. The contractor, working on behalf of Cary, was installing a boardwalk on a portion of the White Oak Greenway project that connects to Cary’s greenway system. The strike put a hole in the pipe, but because of our quick and effective response, staff was able to manage the event by diverting ongoing wastewater flows to a second pipeline. The spill area was quickly contained onsite and pumped into a nearby sewer system.

Cary staff has been onsite all week, diverting flow to a second pipe, cutting out the damaged section, and installing a new section of the pipe. The entire event was managed to provide continuous wastewater service, while ensuring the spill was quickly and effectively addressed.

Easier Process for Adopting Rezoning and LDO Amendments

The process for adopting rezoning ordinances and LDO amendments is now a little bit easier!  The legislature recently amended the statute regarding the statements of consistency and reasonableness that must be adopted by Council with each rezoning or LDO amendment. Instead of our current practice of (1) voting on the rezoning or amendment; and then (2) voting on a consistency and reasonableness statement, you will now only have to vote one time!  One motion will both approve or deny the requested rezoning or LDO amendment, and adopt the required statement regarding consistency with the Imagine Cary Community Plan and the reasonableness of the request.

Legacy Gift Donation Installed

A memorial bench was donated through the Town’s Legacy Gift Program and recently installed along White Oak Greenway. This bench was donated in memory of Viviane Tsuchiya by her husband Ken Tsuchiya. This bench replaces a much older bench and is now ADA accessible.

Harnessing Sewer Science in Fight Against Opioids

An article published in SmartCitiesDive featured the Town’s continued efforts combatting the opioid epidemic with input from Deputy Town Manager Mike Bajorek. This article talked about the Town’s experimental approach of using drug-detecting robots within the sewer system. It provides detail about Cary’s innovative approach of monitoring sewage for illicit drug abuse as well as the partnerships we’re developing as part of this pilot.

First Responders Breakfast

On Wednesday, the Cary Chamber held its first annual First Responders Breakfast at the Prestonwood Country Club. Brigadier General Anthony “Tony” Tata delivered the keynote address. Mayor Pro Tem Yerha and Council Member Robinson attended the event along with several town staff members.

OneCary Approach to Re-Inspections

In keeping with “One Cary,” the Fire Department and Inspection and Permits are teaming up to address re-inspections. Effective December 1st, the Fire Department will assist I&P by conducting building re-inspections to ensure issues identified in the mandated inspection have been corrected. This is a great example of finding capacity in unexpected places as well as increasing job diversity for some of our employees.

Median Plantings Continue

This week, Town crews continued to plant the medians of O’Kelly Chapel Road and Green Level Church Road.

Academy Street Improvement Projects Receives Award

On November 16 the Town and consultant Clark Nexsen of Raleigh received an “Honors Engineering Excellence Award in the Transportation Category” (EEA) for the Academy Street Improvements Project from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of North Carolina.

This project was chosen by an independent panel of judges in the engineering industry that are members of ACEC. Since 1969, North Carolina engineering firms have entered their most innovative projects and studies in the program.

Joint Meeting of Capital Area MPO & Durham-Chapel Hill MPO

The Executive Boards of Capital Area MPO and Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO held a joint meet on Thursday. Here are a few highlights from the meeting including the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) Update from both MPOs. CAMPO’s DRAFT 2045 MTP is currently open for public comment until December 13, 2017. The MTP is the long-range plan for transportation improvements across the region. It will include roadway, transit, rail, bicycle, pedestrian, and other transportation projects to be implemented through the year 2045. Cary staff has reviewed the Draft 2045 MTP and provided comments to CAMPO. 

Strategic Transportation Investments Update including regional STI goals, funding picture over time, schedule.  One item that will be discussed at the next joint Executive Board meeting (tentatively May 30, 2018) will be the assignment of regional points for SPOT 5.0 projects.

Regional Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Study beginning after New Year. Last plan is 10 years old. In need of major update in particular with Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles on the horizon.

Cary Top 10 City for Best Quality of Life

NerdWallet analyzed 177 U.S. cities with over 150,000 people using data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey to determine which cities offer the best quality of life. Cary ranked #6 on the list.

Recognitions

I’d like to recognize Precious Seabrooks for volunteering her time, expertise and skill to the UNC School of Government training to state representatives on risk management. It’s a great example of The Cary Way.

I also wanted to share an email I received from one of our citizens that captures how amazing our employees are:

“Just wanted to give a shout out to Cary FD along with Cary PD. We had an accident today with kids on the bus, never what you want. BUT, the response was just great. Efficient, professional, and yet very personal and caring. Attached is a picture of the Fire Department on our bus chatting with the kids. Just wanted to give thanks for the town and all the things you all do so well for all of us. Thanks!”

Kudos to Joy and Shane at The Cary Theater for helping to make a memory even more special for one of our employees. Matt Wetherell crafted a unique engagement in downtown Cary that incorporated The Cary Theater as the scene of the event! Congratulations to Matt!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about funding for Dreamfest.
  • A complaint about odors on Green Level Church Road.
  • A complaint about the Goddard School project.

Next week will be very busy. Activities include a meeting with the town manager, an organizational meeting to swear in recently re-elected council members, a work session on the Columbia development, a reception for the outgoing VP of Economic development, the Cary Employee luncheon, an Economic Development meeting, the police department CAP team banquet, a quasi-judicial meeting with four items, and the Cary Christmas parade.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 10th.  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.

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• Sunday, November 26th, 2017

This was Thanksgiving week so most of my time was spent with family.

Monday the town manager and I talked for a few minutes at our one-on-one meeting. We discussed the upcoming work session on the Columbia development, 2018 calendar issues, and a few other items.

Later Monday I had the pleasure to join five other council members at the lighting ceremony for the Chinese lantern festival. Artisans from China have been here for weeks setting up this fantastic display. They ceremony began with a performance which was followed by welcoming remarks from Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha. Then we counted down from five and I flipped the switch. The lantern display is amazing and a must see during this holiday season. All the lanterns are different from last year with the exception of the dragon by the lake. Admission is $10 for seniors and children, $15 for adults, and free for those three and under. The Chinese Lantern festival will run from November 24 through January 14th.

Monday night I met with four elected council members from Holly Springs. They were interested in processes and transparency. I talked about the things we do in Cary to help with transparency and about our processes. We spoke for about two hours. Holly Springs is facing a lot of growth related issues which resulted in the election of new council members. This is very similar to what happened to Cary in 1999. My biggest recommendation to them was to try and find a way where all of them can work together because the “us versus them” is unproductive (spoken from my experience on council). For our region to continue to be successful it is imperative that all Wake County municipalities do well. And growth is coming whether we like it or not. By 2040 this region will almost double population. So now is the time for all of Wake County to plan and prepare.

Emails this week included an important update from the CAMPO staff:

The Triangle region’s long-range transportation plan (a.k.a. the 2045 MTP) has entered the final phase of its almost 18-month development process and is now available for public review and comment. The draft plan includes future highway, bus transit, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and other transportation projects to be implemented through the year 2045 across our region. Please help us spread the word to anyone who might be interested. Attached is an information sheet with additional information.

Final Review Phase

Member jurisdictions and members of the public are invited to review the draft project maps and lists and provide comments by December 12th. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Executive Board will consider adoption of the project maps at their meeting on December 13.

  • Both interactive and PDF versions of the draft 2045 Roadways, Transit, and Bicycle/Pedestrian maps are available on the CAMPO website.

Background on the MTP

In order to receive federal funding, transportation projects must be included in the regional Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), which is updated every four years. Also, the MTP may only include projects that the region can afford to build, operate and maintain. State and local governments and transportation agencies all must show that funding for projects is “reasonably anticipated to be available” over the next 25 to 30 years. CAMPO conducts regional transportation planning studies across the region (such as the Southeast Area Study, and U.S. 1 Corridor Study), and participates in transportation planning processes in local towns, cities, and counties, in order to collect information from industry experts, local leaders, and the community on the preferred set of projects for inclusion in the MTP. In addition to the attached info sheet, visit the CAMPO website to learn more about the organization and its Executive Board.

What’s unique about the Draft 2045 MTP?

The vast majority of streets, freeways, and interstates in the Triangle area are managed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), with the bulk of funding for improvements and maintenance traditionally coming from state and federal sources.

Two maps are under consideration by the CAMPO Executive Board, and are available for public comment.

  1. The Traditional Funding Map programs transportation improvements based on the amount of funding that is likely to be available over the next 30 years from traditional state and federal funding resources.
  2. In order to provide more improvements to address the forecasted needs on roadways, additional, new, local and regional funding sources would have to be identified and implemented over time. The Additional Funding Map programs transportation improvements assuming the traditional state and federal resources as well as additional local and regional funding is identified. With additional funding, secondary roads would experience a significant increase in projects (less emphasis placed on high volume or multilane roadways as in the traditional model). Additional local and regional funding can only be approved in the plan by the Executive Board if there is a reasonable expectation of the additional revenue. An example of this would include the ½ cent transit sales tax recent implemented in Wake County.

Submit Comments

  • CAMPO’s website for the Draft 2045 MTP
  • Email Bonnie.Parker@campo-nc.us
  • Call: 919-996-4400
  • In-person at CAMPO’s Administrative Office (421 Fayetteville Street, Suite 203, Raleigh)
  • Speak at the December 13 Public Hearing (421 Fayetteville Street, Suite 203, Raleigh)
  • Maps can also be viewed in hard copy at the CAMPO Administrative Offices at 421 Fayetteville Street, Suite 203, in Raleigh.

Follow CAMPO

Sign up for updates at www.campo-nc.us and follow us on Twitter: @CapitalAreaMPO  Facebook: NCCapitalAreaMPO  LinkedIn: NC Capital Area MPO

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about a street paving on Thanksgiving week (it was completed by the end of the day Tuesday).
  • Several thanks for working on a variety of issues.

Next week will also be very light. It includes a couple of meetings, a musical luncheon for the Cary and Morrisville police departments, and the Cary tree lighting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 3rd.  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.

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• Sunday, November 19th, 2017

This was a busy week for me with several long nights.

Monday I attempted to contact all the council members for questions or concerns they might have on the regular meeting agenda. I was able to contact 4 of the 6 council members. Comments from council members were mostly focused on the Historic Landmarks public hearing and the Silverton rezoning. Later in the day I met with staff and went over the agenda items.

Next I was joined by council member Bush for a meeting with Town Manager Stegall. Most of our time was spent going over the mini retreat agenda that was scheduled for the next day.

Monday night I had the joy and pleasure of talking with about a hundred Glenaire residents on current activities in the town. My topics included the Opioid crisis, downtown developments, eastern gateway developments, and our rebranding efforts. My talk lasted about 35 minutes and then I answered questions another 20 minutes. I really enjoyed my time there and hope that I am invited back in the future.

Tuesday council and staff held a mini-retreat to do a deep dive on several topics. Those topics included a financial update, a catalog of projects and services, a stormwater management update, historic preservation, affordable housing, and the 2018 council meetings schedule.

Some notable items from the financial update included:

  • End of the FY2017 fund balance was $101.3 million.
  • Revenues are 1% higher than last year. Expenditures are on pace with last year.
  • Council approved a motion to refinance $105 million in bonds that will save us $8 million.
  • Council approved a motion to transfer $70,000 for the Ederlee sidewalk project.
  • Council approved a motion to use federal forfeiture funds for police radio batteries, computer tablets, investigative tools and software, and training.
  • Council approved a motion to appropriate $1 million to replace vehicles with Takata air bags which are a known safety risk. Note that all of these vehicles were scheduled for replacement within the next couple of years anyway.
  • Council approved a motion to appropriate $75,000 seed money to get decision points for a private streets study, a retail study, and the Piney Plains corridor study.

According to staff our financial status remains very strong.

The Catalog of projects and services session included the following points:

  • We need to eliminate silos, apply new technology, and continue to improve all while continuing to operate with excellent levels of service.
  • Currently there are 686 active projects including 405 capital projects and 281 non-capital projects.
  • There are 546 services currently being performed.
  • There is a relentless focus on operational integration.
  • With must partner with the citizens so that they understand the cost of services. An analogy would be Amazon allowing you to choose to have free delivery by waiting longer or get it sooner by paying more.

The stormwater management session was an update on the progress being made to create a plan. The complete plan will be presented in February at the annual council-staff retreat. Here are some of the takeaways from that session:

  • It has been said you can’t pave your way out of congestion. Similarly you can’t pipe your way out of stormwater issues.
  • Our future stormwater plan will include a downtown standard, targeted maintenance, and effective partnerships.
  • Stormwater issues belong to all of us whether we have a problem or not.
  • Cary adopted its stringent sediment and erosion controls in 1985.
  • Cary began requiring stormwater management plans for new development in 1990.
  • Cary allowed lots to be plotted in flood plains up until 2001.
  • There are 800 structures in some degree of risk.
  • Half of Cary was built before ordinances were in place to prevent building in the flood plain.

Historic preservation included the following points in its session:

  • The National Historic Preservation Act was created in 1966 and amended in 1971 and 1980.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act requires review when a federal action significantly affects the quality of the human environment including the cultural environment.
  • The State Environment Policy Act requires review when significant state expenditures or actions significantly affect the quality of the environment including historical or cultural elements.
  • The Historic Preservation Commission surveys and identifies, recommends, regulates, advocates and educates, and negotiates for purchase.
  • Cary’s historic inventory was last updated in 2014.
  • 358 properties were surveyed with 294 being residential.
  • The least represented area was pre-1850,
  • The oldest building recorded is the Nancy Jones House built in 1803.
  • The most unusual resource is Heater Alley.
  • There are several opportunities for preservation in Carpenter and Green Level.
  • Preservation tools include demolition delay, incentives, and a revolving fund.

The last session at the mini-retreat was on affordable housing. It was pointed out in the presentation that certain types of housing can help with affordability such as duplexes, triplexes, courtyard apartments, bungalows, townhouses, and multiplexes. In the council discussion I, along with other council members, believed that housing types are not key with affordability because each of those housing types in the particular location would not be affordable. In addition, affordability and subsidized housing are two separate issues. There is also a negative perception of Cary and affordable housing. That is, the belief is that Cary residents don’t want it and that Cary isn’t trying to provide it. A slide presented by staff showed that between 2004 and 2016 Cary has spent over $9 million on affordable housing. And we continue to work to provide affordable housing in Cary. We will talk more about this topic at our retreat in February.

Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board). There were three consent items and three presentations. Presentations included an update on the potential federal rescission, an update on the Wake Transit Plan Implementation, and an update on the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. One interesting point that I noted was that the region’s population is projected to go from 1.2 million to 2.1 million by 2045. This will drastically change the need for transportation and the need for jobs in the area. I am proud to say that Cary is already working on issues related to those projections.

Later Wednesday I attended the graduation ceremony for the 41st Cary Police Academy. Twenty-six Cary residents took twelve sessions to learn about our police department and our town. It is my hope that they will take their knowledge and become ambassadors for the town. And that their message will include that fact that public safety is a partnership between law enforcement and its citizens. There ceremony was wonderful and had a great keynote speaker, Sgt. Katherine Christian, who told her life story of becoming a police officer. Thanks to all the citizens who participated and if you are interested they are taking applications now for the 42nd class.

Thursday I joined council members in a reception for the Hometown Spirit Award nominees. The Hometown Spirit Award is bestowed upon citizens with demonstrated leadership and integrity. In addition, the recipient must exemplify at least one of the following criteria: help out neighbors and fellow Cary residents; demonstration hospitality; promote and preserve traditional American pastimes; show a concern for preservation and work to preserve traditions and the small-town atmosphere in the community; promote entrepreneurship through supporting locally owned businesses; promote a sense of community in their neighborhood and all of Cary; demonstrate patriotism through promotion and preservation of the country’s symbols and dedication to the U.S. military, past and present; and serve the community through business. This year’s slate of nominees included a lot of great Caryites: Ralph and Daphne Ashworth, Caitlin Burke, Lindsey Chester, Al Cohen, Nathaniel Greene, Guy Mendenhall, Tru Pettigrew, Becca Smith, and Mia South. After making a few opening remarks I recognized Ralph Ashworth. Then each council member took turns recognizing the remainder of the nominees who all provided a few remarks. It was a great time of fun and laughter.

Thursday night the council held its last regularly scheduled council meeting of the month. The council meeting included three recognitions and reports, ten consent items, three public hearings, five discussion items, and a closed session.

Under recognitions and reports the council approved the 2018 Management Plan for the Booth amphitheater. This was the second year in a row that the Booth amphitheater returned a surplus to the General fund.

Our first recognition of the evening was the renaming the Meeting Place park located a Kildaire Farm Road and Pleasant Drive. We named it after Kay Struffolino who has been a citizen of Cary for 45 years and a Cary Hometown Spirit winner. She has dedicated her life to the improvement of Cary including adopting two parks to maintain. She has donated thousands of dollars to beautify Cary’s parks and greenways, and has served on numerous boards, committees, and task forces, all for the betterment of Cary. Simply put, Kay is a citizen in the truest sense of the word. It is due to this selfless commitment that Meeting Place Park was renamed in her honor. We love you Kay!

Our second recognition was the Hometown Spirit Award winner. Last year’s winner, Sheila Ogle, did the honors of opening the envelope and announcing that Ralph and Daphne Ashworth were the winners. Ralph & Daphne have been supporting local businesses in Cary since 1957 when they began Ashworth Drugs in downtown Cary. Since then they have been very active in both the business and philanthropic community. Not only have the Ashworths grown their own business, they’ve helped bring other businesses to downtown Cary to thrive in Ashworth Village. In addition, the Ashworths are among the greatest supporters of the North Carolina Veterans Freedom Park on North Harrison Avenue and they have been hosting a 4th of July ice cream social for seniors and veterans at the Cary Senior Center at Bond Park for more than 30 years. Congratulations Ralph and Daphne!

The Public Speaks Out portion there were several speakers against a proposed rezoning that would allow townhomes in Silverton at the northeast quadrant of the northwest Cary Parkway and Evans Road intersection. The applicant also spoke and asked that this item be tabled so that he could have more time to work with the neighbors. That request was granted later in the meeting.

The Fenton public hearing had several speakers say they were in favor of the development. Some pointed out that they go to Park West or North Hills and would prefer to stay in Cary. The council will have a work session on the Fenton proposal on December 5th.

There were also several speakers who spoke in favor of the staff recommended historic landmarks. Those landmarks included the White Plains Cemetery in the Maynard Oaks Subdivision, the Cary Arts Center, and the Jones House. After the public hearing and a few comments by council members this was unanimously approved.

Because of the Silverton rezoning being table there was really only one discussion item which was a rezoning request at Old White Oak Church Road. The proposal was conditioned to only allow detached residential and neighborhood recreation. Addition restrictions limited the density to 2.25 dwelling units per acre, provided a minimum community gathering space of 5,000 square feet, and provided a ten-foot wide strip of common open space adjacent to the eastern property line. After hearing from staff and the Planning and Zoning board’s chairman about their recommendation for approval, the council unanimously approved the request.

After a closed session the council meeting was adjourned after about two and a half hours.

Friday I had the joy of participating in the 6th annual tree lighting at Waverly Place. I have been fortunate to be a part of each of their tree lightings. After arriving I joined Santa Claus and Santa’s dancers in a staging area. Once they were ready for me I was placed behind the big tree. Then I was introduced and gave remarks which included thanking sponsors and businesses. Finally I introduced Santa. Santa made a few remarks and then I joined him in a countdown to light the tree. Santa threw magic dust on the tree at zero and the tree was lit. What a great time and a lot of fun.

Saturday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member George for the Parkside Commons tree lighting. The event was geared towards families and it was packed. They also announced their outdoor skating rink which will be open until January 7th. At the event I welcomed everyone and then invited “three or four” children to help me flip the switch. We ended up with about two dozen children to flip the switch. It was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Emails this week included notification that Cary was highlighted in video by Cisco showing smart cities. You can see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqLOSiXh5WY.

 Council was also presented a quarterly report this week at the mini-retreat on Tuesday. Some notable items include:

  • Our budgeting process is now ongoing rather than a onetime year event.
  • In FY 2017 (fiscal year 2017), ending in June, we budgeted a decrease in the General Fund of $20.9 million but actual decrease was $1.4 million.
  • In FY2017 revenues exceeded expenses by $19.5 million.
  • In FY2017 the utility fund exceed expenses by $6,9 million.
  • A space in the Village Square shopping center of Amberly will be the home of PRCR activities in western Cary.
  • Panther Creek greenway bid went out in October and should be completed in the spring of 2019.
  • White Oak greenway construction is underway and should be completed in the winter of 2019.
  • Cary Teen council provided over 7,300 hours of volunteer time equaling about $158,000 in cost savings.
  • 85,000 people attended this year’s Lazy Daze.
  • Cary’s population was estimated to be 161,078 as of October 1st. This is a 1.67% increase from the same quarter last year. The lowest since 2005.
  • Preliminary construction is underway for Morrisville Parkway extension and NC540 interchange. This project cost $21.4 million and is expected to be completed in the winter of 2020.
  • A thermal imaging sensor was installed at the intersection of Dry Avenue and Academy Street in July to detect pedestrians crossing.
  • NCDOT Rail is discussing the Harrison Bridge project over the rails. The tunnel at Walker was eliminated from consideration. Southeast Maynard grade separated rail crossing is being evaluated.
  • The Green Level West Road widening is ongoing. The project costs $14 million and will be completed in the winter of 2019.
  • The Cary Parkway and High House Intersection project has completed design. This $3.9 million project is projected to be completed in the winter of 2019.
  • The Carpenter Fire Station Road Bridge and Intersection project is nearing design completion. This $18.2 million project is projected to be completed in the spring of 2021.
  • There have been 100 overdoses in Cary since January resulting in 4 fatalities.
  • Both the North and South Cary Wastewater Treatment Facilities have been designated as Exceptional Performing Facilities.
  • Fire frequency increased 23% during the last quarter compared to last year.
  • EMS calls increased 3.26% during the last quarter compared to last year.
  • There is a new police substation in Wellington Park Shopping Center off Tryon Road.

You can read the entire quarterly report at http://www.townofcary.org/mayor-council/town-council/quarterly-reports/q1-fy-2018.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

First Quarter Takeaways

I hope you’ve had an opportunity to read the new quarterly report as a supplement to our discussion on Tuesday. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to have a productive discussion with staff on a variety of important issues facing our community now and in the future. We know that there are many next steps for our February Council/Staff retreat and we look forward to those conversations.

Council Member Robinson asked about specifics related to budget adjustments. Those are listed in the quarterly report and are online here under the section Q1 Delegated Authority Financial Actions.

Once again, thank you to SAS for their hospitality. The meeting room space was first-class and provided a great setting for our first quarterly meeting.

Lori Cove Sentencing Update

Earlier today, Superior Court Judge Shirley sentenced Christopher Moore to 182-231 months in prison, which is consistent with what was asked for by the District Attorney and Lori’s family. Please keep Lori and her family in your thoughts.

Cary TV Offered on Google TV

Google was onsite to connect our PEG channel, Cary TV, to its television service. The connection is now in testing mode, and at Google’s discretion, at some point over the next few weeks those in Cary with Google TV service will be able to watch our channel. We anticipate being the first PEG channel in the Triangle to be offered on Google TV. Kudos to Dale Naleway for his efforts and coordination with Google.

Temporary Cell Towers Installed

AT&T and T-Mobile received approved this week to install their 100′ temporary cellular tower on the Plumtree Water Tank property. Verizon has also submitted plans for a second temporary tower for their equipment, which will be approximately 90′ tall. AT&T and T-Mobile will begin their temporary tower installation today and antennas will be moved to the temporary tower the wek of November 27.

Both temporary towers are required to be no higher than 100′ and must reside within the Town’s property line so that if laid down, the tower would not cross into any adjacent properties. The temporary towers will be in place during the duration of the tank painting project and must be removed within 60 days from notice by the Town at the completion of the painting project. The completion of the painting project and the relocation of the cellular antennas back on the tank column is expected in the summer of 2018.

Best-Tasting Water Contest

The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility earned second place honors in annual state-wide best tasting water contest. Each year at the American Water Works Association North Carolina annual conference, water samples submitted by utilities across the state are judged by a volunteer panel for relative good taste. The water samples are ranked in order of the panel’s preferences. Since 2003, the Town of Cary has placed first or second eight times.

Cary Represented at Water Works Association Meeting

With over 1,400 attendees, this year’s NC American Water Works Association conference was one of the biggest water events in the state of NC and the technical expertise of Town Cary staff was on full display. Experts from around the state and across the country gave presentations during the conference, providing continuing education and sharing ideas with other water professionals. This year, Cary staff presented at five of technical sessions. Presenters included Emily Barrett (Energy Optimization), Jeff Adkins & Sarah Braman (Water Use Analytics), Kelly Spainhour (Partnership with Winston-Salem to Improve Biosolids Analytical Standards), Rachel Monschein & Erin Lee (Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility Powder Activated Carbon Optimization), and Matt Wetherell (Improved Locating of Critical Water Lines).

In addition to the technical presentations, Damon Forney, our Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility manager, had the opportunity to show off the facility. The tour gave conference attendees a chance to see the great work he and his staff do every day to protect our water resources. Great job, team!

Charity Golf Tournament

The Bradford’s Ordinary Fire Company held its inaugural charity golf tournament on Monday at Prestonwood Country Club. The event raised more than $30,000 to support Operation Lifesaver, a service that helps locate missing people who are cognitively challenged and the Miracle League of the Triangle, which creates positive life experiences for children and adults with special needs.

Median Plantings Continue

Continuing with the fall median plantings, this week staff from Public Works spruced up Morrisville Parkway with some trees and plantings.

Thanksgiving Week Preview

We hope everyone, Council and staff, can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Due to the holiday, citizens with Thursday collection for trash, recycling and yard waste will have their items collected on Friday. GoCary will not be in service on Thanksgiving but will resume normal operations on Friday.

Also, we will not be sending out a Weekly Report next week. However, we would like to recognize all of the staff that will be serving our public over the Thanksgiving holiday while town offices are closed. Thank you!

Recognitions

Paul Ray, Manager of the North Cary Water Reclamation Facility, was awarded the William D. Hatfield Award for outstanding performance and professionalism in wastewater treatment operations. The William D. Hatfield award was presented to Paul at the NC AWWA-WEA conference held in Raleigh earlier this week. This is the highest state level award for wastewater treatment operators offered through NC AWWA-WEA. Paul has been with the Town of Cary for 29 years and has been the Manager of NCWRF since 2012.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about the Goddard School project on Kildaire Farm Road (not a council decision)
  • Several complaints about the potential Crabtree Crossing connection from Morrisville (This is not a Cary decision but a Morrisville decision. I have made it clear to the Mayor, Mayor-Elect, and several council members that we are opposed to this connection)
  • A question about the Panther Creek Greenway bid.
  • A complaint about a street preacher in front of Cary High School.

Next week is a holiday week and only includes a meeting with the town manager and meetings with elected officials from other municipalities.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 26th.  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.

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