• Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

This week included a lot of meetings and events.

Monday morning I talked with the Executive Director of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) and the Vice Chair about Wednesday’s agenda. We agreed that the agenda was straight forward and based on the presentations we believed the meeting would take an hour to an hour and a half.

Monday afternoon I met with a high school senior and her parent for an interview about local government. Her questions focused on the impact of growth, governmental relationships, and future changes. We talked about half an hour before I gave her a tour of town hall.

Monday evening I joined a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. This meeting was held in Knightdale and only had half of Wake County’s mayors. Mayors from Cary, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon were in attendance. We heard two presentations before beginning our typical agenda of providing updates to what was going on in a particular town. Most all municipalities reported upcoming civic events outdoors. Our meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.

Tuesday was a fundraiser for former Cary Mayor Pro-Tem and current North Carolina legislator Gale Adcock. I have been fortunate to know Gale and her husband Kevin for a few years. What great people! The fundraiser was a who’s who in Cary and surrounding areas. I had great conversations with investors, downtown developers, elected officials, and Cary citizens. The main speaker of the evening was former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt. You could tell from his comments that he loves this state with all his heart. He spoke of the need for people on the state level to work together to solve issues such as education. He also told stories about how he lived in Cary and how his first vote was cast when he lived in Cary. At the end of his comments he enthusiastically endorsed Gale Adcock. I had a few moments to talk with him and had my picture made with him. There were several hundred people in attendance at a beautiful 11,000 square foot home.

Wednesday I chaired a meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization). On the agenda was one public hearing and five discussion items. During the public hearing two speakers spoke against the acceleration of the I540 project. After the public hearing the executive board approved the fiscal year 2018-2027 Transportation Improvement Program amendment. Discussion items included a presentation on NC Vision Zero. Their mission is to unite engineers, educators, emergency responders, law enforcement, and everyone in a cooperative effort to make North Carolina streets safe for all road users. We also heard about National Bike Month from a GoTriangle representative. The third discussion item was on the SPOT (Strategic Transportation Prioritization) update and target modal mixes that included two Cary rail projects; a Maynard Road bridge and a Trinity Road bridge. The final discussion item was an update on the Wake Transit Implementation. Our meeting concluded after about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Wednesday evening I met with the town clerk for a couple of hours. She meets with each council member at least once or twice a year to find out how things are going and how things can go better. We are blessed to have a fantastic clerk, Ginny Johnson, and it is very hard to find anything she can improve on.

Thursday the council and staff management and directors met with the Cary delegation of the NC legislature. We presented our opioid initiative and gave a presentation on the Eastern Gateway plan. Afterwards I provided remarks about our legislative agenda. It is crucial that we and our legislators partner to protect our local interests and to keep Cary moving forward. Our meeting concluded after a couple of hours.

Saturday I gave welcome remarks to the first annual dodgeball tournament held at Bond Park Community Center. Not only was it a competition to win games but it was a competition for outfits. Council member Ed Yerha was the judge for the outfits. The proceeds from the tournament went to the Parks scholarship fund which helps the underserved by allowing them to join classes, camps, and participate in leagues. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the matches.

Later Saturday I gave remarks at the Children’s Day festival at the Sertoma Amphitheater. Children from many cultural backgrounds entertained the audience of several hundred. It is the hope of the town and of the organizers that this exposure to different cultures will foster understanding and tolerance which in turn makes our community stronger.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Courageous Conversations

This week, the Town hosted two courageous conversations as part of our continued partnership with Tru Pettigrew. On Monday, the Town hosted the kick-off of the Heart and Arts series. This new series will leverage the power of various forms of the Arts to evoke courageous conversations surrounding various social and community issues. Monday’s event featured the 2017 documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro.” The film was based on a book by James Baldwin, a thought leader and contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. About 50 people were in attendance at The Cary, including Mayor Pro Tem Lori Bush and Council Member Ken George.

And on Wednesday, the fourth Rap Session for Town employees was held. Over 70 employees, our largest audience thus far, turned out to discuss the issue of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement. It was incredible experience that was both heart-wrenching and inspiring all at once. Some of our staff were heroic in sharing personal experiences that reminded us that we each have a role to play in creating a great work environment. These difficult and courageous conversations are helping us to grow and become closer, which in turn allows us to better serve our community.

 

Trinity Rd. Stakeholders Meeting

On Monday, staff and our consultant (VHB) conducted stakeholder meetings with various property owners and groups interested in the Trinity Rd. extension between Cary Towne Blvd and E Chatham St. These were information gathering meetings. Our project team educated the stakeholders about the study, but the main focus of each meeting was to listen to each stakeholder’s priorities, needs, and goals for the future.

The stakeholder groups included representatives from the following organizations: Cary High School Cross Country Coach – Jerry Dotson; Columbia Development – Abbitt Goodwin and team ; Fit & Able – Alisa Wright Colopy and Travis Colopy; HS Event Management (Cross Country) – Patrick Helland; Kathy Klein & Bob Klein (5K organizer); Marty Thompson and Travis Thompson (property owner); NCDOT Planning Division; NCDOT Rail Division; NCFC – Steve Malik and Pete Sevandre; NCFC Youth – Bob Harris; NC State Cross Country – Chris Seaton, Couch; State Property Office – Joy Wayman; Trinity Soccer Academy – Sean O’Connor.

One stakeholder property owner declined to meet. A second property owner missed the meeting on Monday and staff will set up a meeting for additional conversations.

Next steps include processing stakeholder comments and identifying road alignment alternatives. These alternatives will be presented to the stakeholders in a second round of meetings for feedback.

Wake Transit Update

Wake Transit activities are ramping up this Spring, beginning with the launch of a new “Go Forward” initiative which provides a single source for updates on the Wake, Durham, and Orange County transit plans. The website and video tell the community investment story of the plans and the regional connectivity they will provide. Over the next 10 years, the plans will bring expanded bus service, five new bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors, 37 miles of commuter rail, 17.7 miles of light rail (Durham and Orange counties), and passenger amenities like enhanced bus stops and shelters to our area. In Wake County, this means transit stops within walking distance to 54% of homes and 80% of jobs. Stay tuned for details on how you can help shape Cary’s investment in transit during public engagement opportunities this Spring.

NE Maynard Grade Separation

Staff met Thursday with the NCDOT Rail Division to get an update on the planned railroad grade separation project at NE Maynard Rd and E Chatham St. NCDOT is currently working on project alternatives and is planning to kick-off public outreach this summer.

Citizens Explore Imagine Cary

On Wednesday, our School of Government class had the opportunity to dive deeper into the Town’s Imagine Cary Community Plan. After hearing from Russ Overton and Debra Grannan about the purpose of a visioning document for the Town, the attendees visited different booths to learn about each plan chapter. Staff from various departments were in attendance to provide background on the initiatives included in the plan. Later, the class prioritized the initiatives into short, medium and long term buckets. The group exercise gave a sense of the challenges faced by staff and elected officials in balancing competing priorities and weighing resources. Next week, the class will explore our development process!

Bloomberg Convenes Communications Professionals

Susan Moran attended the first-ever Communications Directors Convening, part of Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Initiative. The three-day conference was tailored to meet the distinct needs of the invitees’ organization and community. Topics included cutting edge listening, defining problems/increasing support, national debates/local action, digital strategies/ social communities, and storytelling. Sessions were facilitated by thought leaders from Harvard, the NY Times, Politico, Buzzfeed, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Savage Towing Case Update

Last February, the Council adopted new towing regulations designed to address public safety and welfare issues that were arising out of the non-consensual towing of motor vehicles from private parking lots. Savage Towing sued the Town alleging that the ordinance was beyond the Town’s authority to enact and was unconstitutional. Savage requested that the court temporarily block the ordinance from taking effect until their lawsuit was resolved. The trial court refused to block the ordinance from taking effect in May 2017, and Savage Towing appealed the trial court’s decision to the NC Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals heard the oral arguments of the Town’s attorney and Savage’s attorney earlier this month. This week the NC Court of Appeals dismissed Savage’s appeal. This decision by the Court of Appeals does not end the case. The case will now return to the trial court for a hearing and determination of whether the Town’s ordinance is lawful. We will provide updates as the case progresses.

CAMPO Executive Meeting

CAMPO’s Executive Board met on Monday and meeting highlights include:

  • FY2018-2027 Transportation Improvement Program Amendment was approved, which adds FY 2019 LAPP funding for the Town’s Downtown Multimodal Facility and Reedy Creek Rd. Projects.
  • Received information related to National Bike Month
  • Received an update on Wake Transit Implementation Plan, including public engagement and an overview of the FY19 recommended work plan.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 16 in Durham.

40th Annual Cary Road Race

The 40th Annual Cary Road Race was held in downtown Cary on Saturday. The 5-miler and 5k races saw a combined 1,100 runners registered, the highest participation in many years. We also had 131 enthusiastic participants for the 1-mile Fun Run.

It was a beautiful morning, with live music, food trucks, and a great race. Congratulations to Mayor Weinbrecht for completing the 5-mile race!

Pinwheel Garden Planted

Cary was well-represented at the Pinwheel Garden presentation at Cary First Baptist Church. The blue pinwheels serve as a visual representation to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect that occurs in our community. Attendees had the opportunity to plant a pinwheel while learning about protective factors and prevention.

Green Level West Rd. Widening

On Tuesday, we opened the four newly constructed lanes of Green Level West Rd. from Glenmore Rd/Capistrane Dr. to NC-540 ahead of the Fall 2018 estimated completion date. This project opens up a bottleneck for drivers traveling to and from the Triangle Expressway and is a gateway into the Green Level Destination Center. It also includes brick/landscaped median and sidewalks. Another aspect of the project included an important water line connection to further improve the water distribution network in this area. This is a great example of how interdepartmental collaboration is benefiting our citizens.

Chinese Community Outreach

Earlier this month, Police Captain Jerry McCormick traveled to China as a result of outreach to the Chinese community. As a result of leading safety talks around the region for the Chinese community, Jerry was asked to train students from the Beijing Royal School in China. The purpose was to help students that travel to the US and Europe for college be better prepared for the transition from a private school in China to another country.

Meeting with S.V. Temple

Two weeks ago staff met with representatives from the S.V. Temple to discuss the Nancy Jones House. Today, we sent the attached letter to the Temple representatives summarizing what we believe to be the points of consensus from the meeting.

Recognitions

The pilot 311 space is shaping up nicely! Furniture is in, and starting next week, a team of five will work in the space part-time, continuing to serve Cary citizens. A huge thanks goes to staff in Public Works, IT, Finance and DSD for getting us where we are today and setting us up well for the future! Special recognition in particular to Brenda Mann, Brenda Adams, Kelli-LaFrance-Girard, Sierra Singler, Carolyn Roman, Gregory Jenkins, Scot Berry, Allison Hutchins and Dan Ault.

Earlier this week, a mother called PW Customer Service because her son’s Lightning McQueen toy rolled down the street and into a storm drain. Thanks to Michelle Nelson for listening and caring about the mother and her son and Karenga Snowden of PW for taking time out of his day to retrieve and return the toy. The mother remarked, “I can’t believe they did this for us. I will never live in a town greater than the Town of Cary!”

 

Email from citizens this week included:

  • Thanks for the downtown farmers market
  • A request for what is coming up in downtown
  • A thanks for the new restaurants and businesses downtown
  • A request for a Western Wake bus route
  • A complaint about dogs off leash in downtown (Cary requires all dogs to be on a leash)

Next week will be slower than normal. Activities include staff meetings, a talk at Leadership Cary, a ribbon cutting, and receptions and dinners with a visiting sister city Irish delegation.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 29th.  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, April 15th, 2018

Spring finally arrived in Cary this week. I participated in a lot of spring related activities in addition to other meetings and events.

Monday I joined council member George in a taping of Cary Matters. Our episode was about the opioid crisis and our pilot program funded by the $100,000 Bloomberg grant. Our first take had several stumbles but we nailed it on our second take.

Later Monday I met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one meeting. We talked about several projects that have been approved and proposed. We also talked about our budget mini-retreat coming up on May 10th. Our meeting lasted about half an hour.

Tuesday evening I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Bush and NC Legislator Adcock in a meeting with Chinese American business people, are representatives from Chinese Commerce and NC Department of Commerce. They expressed thanks for our open business climate and look forward to recruiting more Chinese and Chinese American businesses to Cary.

Wednesday I met with the Consulate General of México and her assistant. We talked about Cary’s diversity and how we can do more to help the Hispanic population. We agreed to consider a meeting with Hispanic residents along with the Mayor, Police Chief, and other key Cary staff members. Our hope is to have this meeting within the next couple of months.

Later Wednesday I joined the entire council in welcoming the 15th class of Cary’s School of Government. Everyone on council made remarks and then attended the reception to mingle and talk with attendees. The class will include nine sessions organized around Town Council goal areas:

  • Attractive, well-planned and livable community
  • Economic vitality and development
  • Effective transportation and mobility
  • Quality recreational, leisure and cultural opportunities
  • Reliable, sustainable infrastructure
  • Safe community
  • Good governance

About two dozen people are enrolled in the class out of over sixty applicants. The class will meet on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. from April 11 through May 23. In addition there will be Saturday morning sessions on April 28 and May 12.

Thursday I presented a State of Cary address to about 40 seniors who are a part of a Prestonwood Senior Golf Group. My topics included finances, tax rate, unemployment rate, jobs, downtown 13 acre site, the Sams Jones house, downtown businesses, downtown residential, downtown stormwater, the mall site redevelopment, the Fenton development across from the mall, development west of Highway 55, transportation projects, fiber installation, the opioid crisis, and the divisiveness that is dividing our nation. My visit lasted a little over two hours.

Saturday I gave welcome remarks at the 40th Cary Road Race. Then I joined over 1000 runners in the race. I did the 5 mile run in 41 minutes 28 seconds which is about an 8 minute 20 second pace – fast for me. What a great event which brought a lot of people to downtown.

After the road race I headed over to the downtown farmers market for their grand opening. Since I was running the race Mayor Pro-Tem Bush made the remarks to officially open the farmers market. I was able to mingle and talk with a few people before leaving.

From the Farmers Market I headed over to the Page Walker to see if I could catch some of the over 200 people doing a town wide litter sweep. I normally would have participated in this sweep but had conflicting events. Council member Yerha and his wife were representing the council in the downtown area sweep. I was able to talk with organizer about how the sweep was going. This was our 10th year of doing the sweep. If you would like to be involved in a litter reduction and beautification contact Sarah.Justice@townofcary.org.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

School of Government Kicks Off

The newest School of Government class of Cary citizens convened on Wednesday at Herb Young Community Center. After hearing and mingling with Council members, the classroom portion of the session began with a Cary history lesson by Council Member Yerha. They later heard from Ginny Johnson and Chris Simpson and me to gain a better understanding about the roles of Town Clerk, Attorney and Manager. Next week, they jump into the Imagine Cary Community Plan!

Annual Chat with the TCC

On Wednesday, Council and staff participated in the annual Triangle Community Coalition (TCC) Coffee Chat at Page-Walker. With roughly 40 TCC members, consisting of residential and commercial developers, realtors, and attorneys in attendance, TCC Chairman, Tom Anhut, stated this was the largest attendance since they started the chats in 2010. The meeting format offered a good way to have a dialogue and discussion on development issues facing Cary and a time to hear input and feedback from the development community. Much of the discussion centered around issues we are facing as a mature community, like running out of greenfield development, the complexities of infill and redevelopment, affordable development, citizen participation, and timing and certainty of the process. The TCC shared the results of their annual survey stating that Cary had scored better in every category this year and overall, the experience was positive and we seem well-poised for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Legislative Dinner Preview

Council’s annual legislative dinner will be next Thursday, April 19. The dinner will be hosted at Maximillian’s Grill, 8314 Chapel Hill Road, beginning at 6:00 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to connect with our state legislators prior to the short session, find out what their priorities are, communicate some great things that are happening in Cary and share your adopted legislative agenda. To help you prepare for the evening, we have put together the following information:

  • Personal and professional background and bios for the elected officials
  • House and Senate District Maps – current maps
  • House and Senate District Maps – for the next election
  • 2018 Candidates that include Cary districts
  • Current list of attendees for the dinner

Site Work Beginning for Library & Parking Deck

In the upcoming weeks, work will begin on site for the Wake County Community Library and adjacent parking deck. Wake County is the lead and we are partnering with them on the project. First signs of work will include a construction trailer on-site and then tree protection fencing and erosion control devices will be installed. Grading and clearing will occur shortly after that with removal of trees and vegetation. A joint groundbreaking with Wake County is expected in late June and we will make sure Council’s calendar’s are updated accordingly.

Pressure Zone Shift Completed

The planned pressure zone shift for area 3 within the Preston Community was completed this week. Approximately 450 properties experienced a pressure increase of 40-psi and are now part of the Central Pressure Zone. The work is part of the Town’s water system management strategy to ensure safety, reliability and resiliency of water system infrastructure. Additional water zone shifts are planned later this year and through spring of 2019 until the entire Central Pressure Zone boundary shift has been completed.

In advance of the shift, the community was notified of the work with mailed notice letters, a public meeting, Nextdoor posts, reverse 911 calls through ReadyWake! and the Finance Department’s Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system. Citizen advocates were able to answer calls and talk with residents throughout the process.

Many thanks to the great work by the entire team, including Davis Reynolds, Craig Hollister, Seth Burleson, Robert Hirt, Brenda Mann, Brenda Adams, Kathryn Trogdon, Carl Hunt, Carolyn Roman, Alexandra Jones, Marie Cefalo and Glen Harrell!

Cary Pkwy & High House Construction Set to Begin

Construction at the intersection of Cary Parkway and High House Road is starting next week, April 16. This week, message boards were installed notifying the traveling public of this upcoming construction. During Phase 1, we will build new dedicated right turn lanes at all four approaches. Construction is expected to be complete by Spring 2019.

Our Adaptive Approach to Stormwater Continues

Leaders from six departments took a few hours to step back from their technical tasks to spend time collaborating on the adaptive elements of our approach to stormwater. They’ve organized their work in teams focusing on the new model, policies and procedures, open space, finance, maintenance, and the downtown pilot, which includes our citizen working group.

Recognitions

In a surprise presentation during the TCC Coffee Chat, the group awarded Matt Flynn with the 2018 Staff Member of the Year award. Congrats, Matt, for all you do to help the citizens of Cary!

Supplemental Information Provided to Council

This week, the Mayor gave his State of Cary address to the Prestonwood Senior Golf Group Monthly Social. At the Mayor’s request, staff updated pieces of information that have changed since January and we wanted to share that updated information so others can use it as well.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request for a basketball court at Walnut Street Park.
  • Complaints about water at Cary High School.
  • A complaint about the town seal and flag.
  • A complaint about bike lanes.
  • A request for diagonal sidewalks.
  • A complaint about the lack of a buffer next to a development.
  • A complaint about dumpster enclosure gates left open.
  • A complaint about litter (I invited them to the litter sweep and didn’t hear from them again).
  • A complaint about geese.
  • A complaint about potholes.
  • A request for more community centers.
  • A complaint about dog poop.
  • A complaint about drivers not using signal indicators.
  • A 50+ page email complaining about a proposed gas station at Kildaire Farm and Penny Roads.

Next week’s activities will include a meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization), an interview for a high school student project, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, a fundraiser for NC Representative Gale Adcock, a dinner with our delegation to the NC legislators, the Cary Dodgeball fundraiser, and the Children’s Day Festival.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 22nd.  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, April 08th, 2018

This week had events or meetings almost every day.

Monday started with attempts to contact all council members to hear of concerns or questions about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting agenda. I was able to contact all council members but one and there were no major concerns. Later in the day I met with management and directors to go over the agenda. Following the meeting about the agenda I met with the deputy managers and public information officer to talk about gas station issues.

Tuesday the Economic Development Committee met to discuss the two consultant firms being considered for our branding initiative. We talked about the pros and cons of each firm. Some of the reoccurring discussion points included process, involving the citizens, creativity, and deliverables. After about half an hour the committee unanimously agreed on a firm to recommend to the council. The next step will be a council vote on the recommendation. That will likely be at our next regularly scheduled council meeting on April 26th.

Wednesday I joined several council members in a social activity for our advisory board members. Citizens that volunteer for our advisory boards are very important in our efforts to represent the wishes of our community. They are an invaluable part of the decision making process and one of the reasons Cary is such a great place. Thanks to all of our advisory board members.

Thursday the council held their first regularly scheduled council meeting of the month. The agenda included 5 consent items, 5 public hearings, and 2 discussion items. The public hearing that had the most speakers was the rezoning at Chapel Hill Road and Maynard. Many speakers stated that density, traffic, and school overcrowding were reasons to deny this request. Council will vote on this probably in June. The Campbell Road rezoning to allow a storage facility generated discussion among council members. While a storage facility is not the ideal development in a gateway area to town, it is one of the few development types that might work with the limited access and traffic. This will also come to council for a decision in June. Under discussion the council unanimously approved our legislative agenda. Most of our agenda focuses will be to ask the legislature not to pass laws that will hurt Cary. It is sad that we are in this position rather than being in a position to ask for things that can help our citizens. Our last discussion item was the consideration to purchase, demolition, and preserve as open space of 113 and 117 Jodhpur Drive because of flooding issues. That is, these properties were built in a flood plain and there are no options that will prevent flooding.  So under the Town Private Drainage Assistance Policy and North Carolina General Statute 143-215.55 we were considering the purchase. After much discussion several council members felt that offering tax value for the properties might not be sufficient. So the item was tabled until staff comes back with more information about potential purchasing options.

Friday I participated in a joint meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) and DCHC (Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization) executive boards and staff directors. We discussed the recently released scoring of SPOT (Strategic Transportation Prioritization). One project of interest in the next five years (2020 – 2024) is the US 1 widening to six lanes from US64 to NC55 which is estimated at $58.3 million. Projects of interest in the six to ten year time frame (2025 – 2029) include a railroad grade separation project for Trinity Road and a railroad grade separation project at Southwest Maynard. Other topics discussed at the meeting included an upcoming joint meeting of CAMPO and DCHC, and a joint legislative agenda. The meeting lasted over one and a half hours.

Sunday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Bush, council members Yerha, Robinson, and George at the New Hope Trail Head Park for the kickoff event for Cary Fit month. This event was originally scheduled for Saturday but was moved due to the rain. As a result the turnout was light. However, the entire group walked two miles. Look for more events throughout the month of April. Next Saturday will be the 40th Cary Road race in downtown Cary. Hope to see you there.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Cary Pilots Financial Sustainability Program

The Town was selected as one of 20 government units from across the country to study fiscal sustainability in a pilot program led by the Government Finance Officers Association. Karen Mills and Stacey Teachey traveled to Chicago to participate in training and planning sessions. The program uses Nobel-prize winning research to look beyond budget numbers and address adaptive issues surrounding decision making behaviors and processes that lead to financial sustainability.

Cary Attends Salesforce World Tour in D.C.

On Wednesday, an interdepartmental group of staff traveled to Washington, DC to attend the Salesforce World Tour. This one day event provided an opportunity for fellow “Trailblazers” to connect and hear the latest announcements. Throughout the day, staff was able to learn how new products can complement our existing efforts on the Salesforce platform. The Town represented one of the largest local government organizations in attendance and was recognized for innovative efforts in using Salesforce for initiatives such as 311, the Public Works work order system, and the Project and Services Catalog. This event marked a huge day of innovation as we continue our journey to become the local government that doesn’t exist.

Wake Co. Hospitality Tax Update

As you recall, in February we submitted our project requests for the next round of hospitality tax funding. The Town submitted for projects at WakeMed Soccer Park and at Koka Booth Amphitheater. Our projects were scored in the second tier, which is a reduced funding amount than was requested. We will be reviewing the information to see how this might affect the projects moving forward and will keep Council informed.

Trinity Road Study Kicks Off

The Trinity Road alignment study, which was kicked off last week, is an implementation item from the Imagine Cary Community Plan ACT Chapter. Located in the Eastern Cary Gateway special planning area, the study will determine a final alignment for the Trinity Rd. extension between E. Chatham St. and the Fenton Development site based on value decisions weighing future development planned for the area and potential impacts to the existing WakeMed Soccer Park site.

Connectivity to the existing roadway network will also be studied, including analysis of two future grade separations along Trinity Rd., one at Chatham St. / CSX and one at Cary Towne Blvd. The overall project is anticipated to conclude in early 2019; however the project tasks will be phased with the Trinity Rd. alignment taking priority due to pending development.

Triangle Community Coalition Annual Survey

A small group of staff met with the TCC (Triangle Community Coalition) to go over the results of their annual member survey. We received a sneak peak of the results and we’re pleased that overall the Town improved in every category measured. We are told the survey had 49 responses. Next week the TCC will be host one of their Coffee Chats to go over the results with Council.

TOC Website Receives Award

We’re pleased to announce that the Town’s 2017 website overhaul project placed silver in the Horizon Interactive Awards in two categories, Towns & Municipalities and Government Agencies. Congratulations to the website overhaul team!

April is Fit Cary Month

We had a great turnout and great weather for our first Wednesday Walk as part of our Fit Cary initiative. A variety of healthy programs are planned during the month of April to coincide with WakeMed employee screenings that take place throughout the month.

Rotation of Downtown Sculptures

Some of our public art sculptures located in downtown Cary are in the process of being removed to make way for new pieces. Look for new sculptures to be coming to Town in early June.

Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge

The Town of Cary is participating in the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge which provides citizens an avenue to pledge their commitment to preserve and protect the environment. It’s a friendly competition between municipalities during the month of April, and many cities across the nation join in on the fun. We’ll be posting about it on social media so that our community can catch the wave and show the nation how Cary conserves.

Recognitions

On Wednesday, The Town celebrated its 147th birthday! The Town was incorporated by the N.C. General Assembly on April 3, 1871. Planning is already underway for the milestone 150th birthday celebration in a few years’ time.

Congratulations to Dan Elliott, in our Purchasing Division, for being recognized as a Certified Lifetime Local Government Purchasing Officer at the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing. This level certification is achieved after successfully passing examinations combined with experience. The Lifetime Certification is granted to individuals that have been in public purchasing for more than 15 years of service. Congrats, Dan!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about the Yates Store tunnel project.
  • Several complaints about the proposed apartments at Maynard and Chapel Hill Road.
  • A complaint about the temporary electrical lines at Cary Parkway and High House Road.
  • A complaint about an approved gas station next to Hortons Creek Elementary.
  • A complaint about our branding initiative and about how Cary is becoming undesirable.

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a taping of Cary Matters, a meeting with the Consulate General of Mexico, a kickoff for the School of Government class, a presentation of the State of Cary address for the Prestonwood CC group, a dinner with realtors, and the 40th annual Cary Road Race.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 15th.  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, April 01st, 2018

This week consisted mostly of meetings.

Monday I facilitated two meetings at Apex town hall. The first meeting was the Cary Apex Water Treatment Advisory Committee which makes decisions on our water treatment. Cary and Apex are the only two voting members. At this meeting we heard about the water treatment expansion to 56 mgd (million gallons a day) which will go online soon. Currently our maximum demand on peak days is around 40 mgd. Per capita usage has been going down for years and has now leveled off. It appears this expansion should last ten years. At this meeting we approved the fiscal year 19 capital and operating budget for water treatment. The total operating budget was $9,661,563 with Cary’s share at 77% or $7,439,404. This includes all treatment plant and finished water pumping operation, maintenance and management costs. The budget was approved unanimously

The second meeting was the Western Wake Partners Policy Advisory Committee which makes decisions on our wastewater.  Cary, Apex, and Morrisville are the voting members. The operating budget was $4,436,800 with Cary’s share at $2,976,888. The budget was approved unanimously.

Tuesday’s first meeting was with a local pastor. He was interested in volunteer opportunities for his congregation. We talked about volunteer opportunities with the town (http://www.townofcary.org/connect-engage/volunteer) and in the community. Some of the community volunteer groups include Dorcas ministries, Center for Volunteer Caregiving, Interact, etc. You can see a good list at Cary Magazine (https://www.carymagazine.com/nonprofits/). Another great non-profit list can be found at https://greatnonprofits.org/city/cary/NC.  

Later Tuesday I met with two students from Cary Academy that wanted to talk about local government as part of their Capstone Project. We had a great discussion that lasted over an hour. We talked about how local government works and why people don’t participate in local elections and local government. I really enjoyed talking with them and wish them the best in their project.

Wednesday I joined Police Chief Godwin in a meeting with two student representatives from Green Hope High School. The focus of the meeting was on gun control and school safety. We spent time talking about how this issue is more than just gun control and includes important issues like mental health. We discussed a possibility of creating a dialog at the school to address the safety fears and concerns of some of the students. We also talked about the decision makers in the gun control debate. They expressed interest in pursuing the political side of this issue and getting involved in supporting candidates that favored gun control. It was a great meeting and I am so proud that these two students, a Freshman and a Sophomore, are involved in their school, government, and their community.

Thursday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Bush, and council members Frantz, Yerha, and George for the Police Awards and Promotion Ceremony. At this ceremony several officers were presented awards for going beyond the call of duty and in some case saving lives as a result. There are no words to express how important all the men and women in our Police Department mean to us. Not only are they committed to keeping us safe but they are dedicating in promoting a partnership with the community. If you see an officer please tell them thank you for their service. On a somewhat bitter-sweet note, K-9 officer Tabor was retired after 7 years of service. In his career he had several major achievements. He will now live out the rest of his life with his handler as part of his family.

The town manager’s report for this week includes:

Taking Steps With Stormwater

As we continue to take a new, more proactive approach to stormwater, this past week Public Works crews addressed an area identified within the Walnut Creek Basin. The crew unclogged storm drains on York Street in the Mobile Estates neighborhood. The photos above show the before and after storm drain.

This proactive maintenance program is part of our comprehensive, adaptive approach to stormwater. This initiative is being led by an interdepartmental team as well as with our citizens. The Downtown Stormwater Working Group will be getting back together in April for a walking tour of downtown to observe cleaning operations and other stormwater related challenges. We are also working on the development of the Walnut Basin pilot area as well as exploring open space concepts as they relate to stormwater.

Working Together on the Budget

Thanks to the leadership of Karen Mills and her budget team, Department Directors are working together to prepare a single group FY 19 budget recommendation for my consideration. I understand that this is a first for the organization, and it speaks to the tremendous effort the Directors are making to create the local government that doesn’t exist. The Journey continues…

Sharing the Retreat Video

To help share the Council-Staff Retreat experience with the rest of the organization, Department Director teams are hosting retreat video viewing sessions with interested staff. The sessions provide not only important context for the video but also an opportunity for a facilitated discussion of how everyone is experiencing the Journey.

Cary Earns Another Smart Award

Council Members Bush and Robinson, as well as Nicole Raimundo, Dan Ault, Paul Kuhn and Terry Yates attended the Smart Cities Connect Conference in Kansas City, MO to learn, present and accept an award around Smart City Technology. This conference is recognized as the largest gathering of Smart City IoT technology leaders in North America. During the conference, Dan served on a panel focusing on Citizen Life and Smart City Governance. Cary was honored at the awards gala as a 2018 Smart 50 Award winner in the network category for our Simulated Smart City, which is our smart campus program. Terry presented details about the program during the conference poster session.

Talking Wastewater & Opioids on NPR

Mike Bajorek was interviewed by NPR’s Meghna Chakrabarti for the program Here and Now on Wednesday at the WUNC studio on the American Tobacco Campus. The interview, about Cary’s pilot testing wastewater for opioids, was aired Thursday afternoon.

Herb Young Roof Replacement

As part of our continual focus on maintenance of our existing facilities, Herb Young Community Center is in the midst of a roof replacement project. Materials are being loaded onto the roof to begin replacement when we return to work on Monday.

Data Collection Complete

Dr. Baker and his team from BKL Research have completed and begun analyzing the 401 surveys that will comprise the 2018 Biennial Citizens Satisfaction Survey Report. Analysis, findings, and report creation will take about six weeks.

Cary Joins RDU For Sky Drill

Several staff from Public Information assembled at RDU Airport on Saturday for a full-scale, live action drill of a two-plane crash. The four-hour drill placed staff in various emergency communications roles to test how local agencies coordinate, respond and support each other in times of a multi-jurisdictional crisis. In addition to the 20 or so regional crisis communicators, about 200 first responders physically simulated an airfield response with live victim actors. The drill is mandated per the FAA to hold airport certification. The staff from both Cary and RDU Airport mutually benefited from participating and both left the day with ideas to improve multi-agency communication and coordination. RDU was incredibly hospitable and we look forward to future exercises.

Green Level Church Road Study Kicks Off

The Green Level Church Rd. feasibility study kicked off this week with an internal steering committee meeting with the Town’s consultant firm, SEPI Engineering. An implementation item of the Imagine Cary Community Plan, the study will develop an overall vision for the corridor and recommend appropriate, context-sensitive transportation solutions that can accommodate future transportation and greenway needs, serve motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, and fit the unique historic context of the area. Next steps in the planning process will include data collection and meeting with study area stakeholders.

Electronic Plan Review for Building Permits Goes Live

On Monday, the Town implemented and made electronic plan review for building permits an option for our design professionals, contractors, and citizens. Electronic plan review for building permits saves our design professionals, contractors, and citizens in the printing costs of plans and reduces travel to town hall since plans can be submitted remotely, 24/7. In addition, the program improves staff efficiency during the review process and allows staff to access approved plans electronically from the field. Since electronic plan review for building permits was an upgrade in service routinely requested by our design professional and contractors, the initiative has been very well received.

Woodlyn on the Green Apartments, LLC v. Town of Cary

Woodlyn on the Green Apartments, LLC v. Town has been settled. This action was brought as the result of a 2016 water line break that resulted in damage to the Apartment Complex’s parking lot. The Complex sought reimbursement from the Town for $60,000. This matter was settled in mediation and the case was dismissed with prejudice on March 26. With this final settlement, the litigation hold imposed on records related to the case has been released and the Town’s normal retention schedule for such records applies.

Recognitions

In preparation for the U.S. Men’s national game against Paraguay on Tuesday, the Town’s turf crew had the chance to spotlight their work for the Sports Turf Managers Association. The game was a success with approximately 10,000 soccer fans in attendance. Great work to everyone – especially, PW, PD, PRCR – who had a hand in making the night successful.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about the proposed gas station at Kildaire and Penny Roads.
  • Complaints about the approved gas station near Hortons Creek Elementary (approved 15 years ago).
  • A question about town inspection of ponds and associated dams.
  • A question about the new developments on Urban Drive.
  • A concern about Green Card status.

Next week will be busy. Activities include staff meetings, a meeting of the Economic Development Committee to choose a contractor to recommend, a social meeting with advisory board members, a town council meeting, a Joint MPO Executive Board meeting, an event for Cary Fit Month, and an event to open the Downtown Farmers Market.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 8th.  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, March 25th, 2018

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

Since there was a CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) meeting on Wednesday I talked with the Director on Monday morning to go over the agenda for the monthly meeting. The CAMPO meeting agenda was straight forward with mostly informational items so our meeting time was short.

Later Monday I attempted to contact all council members to hear of any questions or concerns about Thursday’s council agenda. I was only able to talk with four of the council members and there were very few questions. Later in the day I met with staff and went over the agenda items. We believed at the time that there weren’t any significant concerns.

Following the agenda meeting I met with the town manager, deputy town manager, and Mayor Pro-Tem for my weekly one-on-one. We mostly talked about issues related to downtown developments and businesses. We also talked about the developer agreement for the Fenton proposal.

Monday night I met with the Wake County Mayors Association. In attendance were the Mayors from Raleigh, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Zebulon, Knightdale, and Cary. We talked about the association’s finances, calendar, and upcoming events. We also talked about writing a letter of support for the I540 extension. As is typical in our meetings, we went around the table and provided updates about what was going on in our municipalities. Our meeting concluded after about two and a half hours.

Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. The second of the consultant finalists for Cary’s branding initiative made a presentation to the committee that lasted a little over an hour. Their two representatives were the owners and did a great job in their presentation which had a lot of detailed data on the exercise related to whether or not Cary should be a town or city.

Later Tuesday I joined the entire council, chamber members, and others in a reception with the consultants. This was our opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the consultants to hear their thoughts and ideas. The Economic Development Committee will meet again on April 3rd to decide which of the two consultant companies should be recommended to the council. It should be pointed out that three council members are on the Economic Development Committee.

Wednesday I chaired the March meeting of the Executive Board of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization). Our agenda had 2 public speakers – one against the I540 expansion and one for the I540 expansion, 3 consent items, and 3 discussion items. One discussion item was a presentation about Managed Motorways. This program would control the number of vehicles entering highways. If implemented at entry points to the highways there would be traffic signals which would control the rate of cars entering. This has been shown to improve traffic by 25% in Australia where it is used. It would require legislative approval and so no action will take place unless that happens. The Executive Board also unanimously approved 2 adjustments to the LAPP (Locally Administered Projects Program). One was for Fuquay Varina and the other was for Cary’s Panther Creek Greenway. The adjustments allocated more funding since both project bids came in higher than expected. The last discussion item was on the LAPP mid-year funding availability report. That is, how much of the allocated money has been spent to date. This is important because if the money isn’t spent as planned then it is susceptible to being rescinded by the federal government.

Later Wednesday I attended the kickoff event for Erv Portman campaign for Wake County Commissioner. I have known Erv since appointing him to Cary’s Planning and Zoning Board in 2000. He is honest and open and willing to make the tough decisions. In this election several commissioners, including Portman, are criticized for not providing all the funding requested by the school board. Portman says that they increased spending by $100,000 this year and have been willing to raise taxes to do it. He also said that teachers in Wake County now have salaries that match the national average thanks to Wake County subsidies. He and other county commissioners plan to use a five year budget plan. I have endorsed Erv and will support him in this upcoming election. I normally don’t endorse but will occasionally endorse people I have known and worked with for a long time.

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the month. On the agenda were 12 consent agenda items, 1 public hearing, 6 discussion items, and a closed session. The public hearing was about a subdivision with a condition to provide a pedestrian bridge over the Black Creek Greenway. Unfortunately, that bridge keeps getting washed out and the neighborhood of less than 50 homes can’t afford to keep rebuilding it. So they are asking the town to take over their responsibility. There were several speakers advocating for the town to take over the cost of building and maintaining. This will now go to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation.

Under the discussion items council voted unanimously to approve a Twin Lakes rezoning for senior housing, a bid award for the Panther Creek and Mills Park trailhead, and an agreement to receive just over $1 million dollars from Wake County towards synthetic fields and Wi-Fi at the WakeMed Soccer Park, and court, lighting, and bleacher improvements at the Cary Tennis Park. It should be pointed out that these funds are from the Wake County Occupancy Tax and Prepared Food & Beverage Tax and are much less than Cary contributes. Over the years Cary has given much more than we have received.

After about a 20 minute closed session the council adjourned around 8:30 PM.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Guided By North Star

Our second branding finalist, North Star, provided us with another powerful look at what branding Cary could entail. What stood out to me was their incredible grasp of the often subtle yet significant realities of working with communities and their approach to freelancing the creative work to ensure unique outcomes. The next step is for the EDC to meet on April 3 to determine its recommendation to the full Council, which should occur in late April or early May.

Cary S.T.A.R.T.E.R.S Takes Root

Nearly four years ago, the Cary PD started forming closer ties within the community by attending and engaging in Barbershop Rap Sessions. Taking a section from this playbook, the town added a similar initiative to promote open dialogue and foster greater understanding on a variety of topics that affect all of us. Tru Pettigrew and Winslow Thornton have partnered with us to begin a youth-focused mentoring program. This program, “Students That Are Restoring Trust Empathy Respect and Support” (STARTERS) is initiated by high school resource officers and students as a forum for students to tackle issues important to today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders. This opportunity is available to students, free of charge, with initial training on effectively facilitating dialogue. Panther Creek High School held two sessions, referred to as Catamounts Connect. Over 50 students voluntarily attended each session during their free lunch period. Plans to expand this program to Green Hope and Middle Creek high Schools are underway.

NCDOT Local Projects Update

NCDOT is in various stages of planning and design for several transportation improvement projects in and around Cary, including N.C. 540, I-440 and U.S. 64. These projects represent an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into our local transportation network. On March 28, at the Cary Chamber Eye Opener, NCDOT Division Engineer Joey Hopkins will speak about the current and future Cary projects that will help support growth, increase mobility and reduce congestion.

Citizen Feedback for Neighborhood Park Concepts

On Tuesday at Fire Station 7, the Town held the initial Citizen Resource Team (CRT) meeting to review results from the first public meeting for the two neighborhood parks located at Carpenter Fire Station Road and McCrimmon Parkway. There were approximately 16 citizens of all ages in attendance. The next step is to refine a draft concept plan based on the feedback.

German Students Visit Cary

Council Member Ken George spoke to a group of students from Oberursel, Germany on Thursday. The students are visiting Cary as part of an exchange program with Cary Academy. The student group was very engaged and asked questions about connectivity, pace of development and major initiatives on the horizon for a community of our size.

Sales & Use Tax Seminar

On Thursday, the Finance Department hosted an all-day sales and use tax seminar; thirteen area municipalities attended the seminar. Sales and use tax laws are very complex and it’s important to maximize the refund of taxes paid by the Town and stay compliant with the laws. Thanks to Johnsie Dickerson and Ishani Padmaperuma for recognizing the need for this seminar and including our neighbors in the event. Additional thanks goes to staff in PRCR and PW for assisting with the logistics.

NCDOT Strategic Plan Summit

On Wednesday, staff attended the Transportation Strategic Plan Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center. The workshop highlighted North Carolina’s strategic transit framework – Connecting North Carolinians to Opportunities – building healthy communities; supporting job creation and economic development; and providing equal opportunities so all can thrive. There was discussion around enhancing access for seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities, as well as building quality transit stops and engaging the business community in strengthening job and economic development opportunities.

Women’s Safety Awareness

On March 20, Assistant Chief Toni Dezomits and Sergeant Robin Edwards conducted a Women’s Safety Awareness presentation to over 40 employees from various departments. This presentation has been given to many women’s groups throughout the community and has always received rave reviews. It was valuable to offer this knowledge to our own employees as well as our citizens.

Cary Recognized for Solid Waste Rebalancing Efforts

Bob Holden and Srijana Guilford attended the Carolina Recycling Association’s conference in Cherokee, NC this week to learn, plan and influence issues affecting recycling. Each year, the association honors top performers that advance waste reduction and recycling in the Carolinas. This year, award categories were consolidated to select a set of outstanding people, projects and programs that recognize the new and innovative efforts that are changing the way recycling happens in the Carolinas. Cary was honored as an award recipient this year for our thorough, smooth and successful implementation of our recent solid waste route rebalancing. Congratulations!

Recognitions

Congratulations to Virginia Johnson for achieving her Certified Municipal Clerk designation! We are so lucky to have an amazingly talented Clerk representing Cary.

Last week, Fire Captain Chip Dimmick and Senior Officer Tom Vibert were recognized by the Cary Franklin-Sloan VFW Post 7383 as Firefighter and Police Officer of the year. Captain Dimmick was recognized for his long history of exemplary service to the citizens of Cary. Senior Officer Vibert was recognized for his work in getting assistance for a homeless U.S. Veteran that is suffering from PTSD and addiction. Also at this event, Senior Officer Vibert was recognized as the North Carolina VFW Police Officer of the year for this same work. Congratulations to Captain Dimmick and Senior Officer Vibert for their outstanding service and recognition!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about the proposed gas station at Kildaire and Penny.
  • A proposal to amend the Constitution to stop government corruption.
  • A complaint about raw sewage (on private property).
  • A complaint that there aren’t enough female tennis teachers at the Cary Tennis Park.
  • A complaint about a future gas station near Hortons Creek Elementary (approved 15 years ago).
  • A request for a dog waste dispenser.
  • A complaint about the lack of ridership on Cary’s buses.
  • Support for the Panther Creek Greenway improvements.
  • Opposition to the proposed hotels on Harrison Avenue.

Next week will be a busy week. Activities include staff meetings, water/sewer utility meetings, a meeting with a pastor, a meeting with a high school senior for their project, a meeting with a student on the impact of growth, a meeting with students on gun control, and the police awards and promotion ceremony.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 1st.  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, March 18th, 2018

With a couple of cancellations this week wasn’t as busy as I anticipated.

I started Monday with a visit to Carpenter Elementary to participate in Read Across America. I read the book “The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires. The students were very attentive and comprehended the story well giving several lessons learned from the book. Then I spent about fifteen minutes answering questions. Before I left they presented me with a gift bag of goodies from Carpenter Elementary. Then I did a selfie with those students whose parents had approved of allowing pictures. It was a great time and I hope they invite me back in the future.

Monday evening I attended meeting of the TJCOG (Triangle J Council of Governments) along with several Morrisville officials. The purpose of the meeting was to remind everyone the benefits TJCOG provides to municipalities and to give information about TJCOG. We spent time discussing how TJCOG can help in the future. For example, while municipalities include regional planning in their municipal planning, the focus is on municipal planning. It would be nice to have a government entity that focuses on the region’s planning and its challenges related to growth especially transit and transportation.

After the TJCOG meeting there was a joint meeting of Morrisville and Cary councils. The purpose of this meeting was to spend time with each other and develop relationships. Relationships are extremely important in working on problems together. We are lucky that both the Cary and Morrisville councils know each other and have strong relationships. We work together on many projects and issues and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. One of the consultant finalists for Cary’s branding initiative made a presentation to the committee that lasted a little over an hour. Their four representatives did a great job in their presentation and were very informed on Cary’s past and our future based on the Imagine Cary plan.

Later Tuesday I joined the entire council, chamber members, and others in a reception with the consultants. This was our opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the consultants to hear their thoughts and ideas. We will repeat this process with the other consultant finalist Tuesday.

Wednesday I was scheduled to meet with the Consul General of Mexico, Remedios Gomez-Arnau who wanted to introduce herself and discuss issues that could be interest. She had to cancel that meeting so we will reschedule it for a later date.

Thursday I was scheduled to give the State of Cary address to the Fonville Morrisey realty team. They had to cancel and we have rescheduled it for May 1st.

Saturday I attended the Arbor Day celebration held at our downtown park. There were about 100 people at the event along with several vendors. This was the 35th consecutive year Cary has been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. To commemorate the day the town will plant a tree at Firestation #1 in honor of Ralph and Daphne Ashworth. At this event we presented a small plaque to the Ashworth family that will be placed at the base of the tree.

Sunday I had the honor of giving welcoming remarks at the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon. After giving remarks I joined the runners and ran my first official half marathon ever. I ran it at about a 9 minute mile pace and finished at 1:58:54. It was a great day for me!

 

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

Annual Legislative Dinner & Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

On April 19 we will be hosting our Annual Legislative Dinner at Maximillians in downtown Cary. April 19 is already reserved on your calendar (there are no QJ cases for April). The 2018 Legislative Agenda will be coming to you at the April 5 regular meeting for your consideration.

In addition, we wanted to update you on the locations for the next two quarterly meetings. For the Q3 meeting in May we will be at The Matthews House, and for the Q4 meeting in August, WakeMed Cary Hospital has offered to host. We’re very excited about spending time in our community in conjunction with our quarterly planning meetings. We will continue to update you with more specific information as the dates get closer.

Update on Amberly C-Store

The Amberly C-Store development plan is moving forward in the approval process. It’s important to note the zoning history, plan review update, and staffs engagement with the citizen group.

The property is located at 355 Stonecroft Lane and has been zoned for several uses (including a gas station) for over 15 years. The Office & Institutional/PDD zoning for Hortons Creek Elementary School was approved in 2015.

A development plan for a convenience store (4,800 square feet), gas sales, and a car wash (1,000 square feet) was submitted in March 2017. After seven rounds of development plan review, the final signature plan set is due to be approved this week. This is the final step in the development plan review process. (Before construction, the applicant will need to apply for building permits.)

Staff has met with and maintained regular contact with the Concerned Citizens of Northwest Cary since October 2017. Caren Howley is the citizen group leader and Meredith Gruber is the staff liaison. The citizen group has raised safety and traffic concerns in their neighborhoods. A traffic calming meeting is scheduled with the group on April 13.

“The Cove” Innovation Space

Staff in Transportation and Facilities have decided to turn Lori Cove’s office into an innovation meeting room. The space will have plenty of technology, including USB and plug-ins for laptops. An HD Smart TV/monitor with web cam capabilities, on-screen writing/note, and Skype availability will complement new carpet and a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Best of all, this space will be referred to as “The Cove” and will be a place where all employees can come together and create the local government that doesn’t exist.

Big Ideas from BigFish

I’m glad each of you was able to meet the branding consultants from BigFish on Tuesday. I enjoyed their presentation to the EDC and think they offer a very strong design aesthetic. Thanks to all staff from throughout the organization who worked so well together to make the day a success.

Louis Stephens Drive Extension

NCDOT plans to extend Louis Stephens Drive from O’Kelly Chapel Road in RTP to Poplar Pike Lane in Morrisville. The project includes building half of the future 4-lane median divided road (the 2 northbound lanes) to be utilized as the interim 2-lane roadway. Staff submitted comments to NCDOT in December 2017 and February 2018, primarily focused on bike/ped facilities. Comments were coordinated with the Town of Morrisville staff to ensure consistency between jurisdictions. Since the December 2017 public meeting, the plans have been revised to include a 10-foot wide street-side trail on the east side of the road and pedestrian signals and crosswalks at the Louis Stephens Dr / O’Kelly Chapel Rd intersection have been requested. The Town of Morrisville has asked Cary to consider contributing to the Louis Stephens 10-foot street-side trail. When we receive the cost estimate from NCDOT we will discuss with Council for their consideration. A Town of Cary 12-inch waterline will also be coordinated as part of the project, eliminating the need for a separate construction project.

Additionally, RTP, Cary and Morrisville staff are meeting in early April to discuss the missing pedestrian link on O’Kelly Chapel Rd between Parkside Town Commons and Louis Stephens Dr. The missing link is located in RTP.

In total, the Louis Stephens Drive extension is estimated to cost $3 million. Right of way acquisition will begin the spring and construction is expected to begin in spring of 2019.

Sensory Screenings at The Cary

On Tuesday, The Cary Theater hosted 60 students from the Mariposa School for a sensory film screening. The students, parents and teachers watched two special screenings of Alvin & the Chipmunks. The screenings are part of a pilot that will present films in a sensory-friendly way for children and adults with disabilities. Thanks to Judy Newsome, Laura Morton, Joy Ennis and The Cary staff for making this happen!

WakeMed Soccer Partners

On Wednesday, NC Futbol Club (NCFC) and NC Courage recognized the Town for support at WakeMed Soccer Park at their annual Community Shield Luncheon presented by Summit Hospitality. Media, sponsors and VIP’s were in attendance for the event which recognized the players from NCFC and NC Courage that are making a difference in the community.

Windbrooke Residents Receive Neighborhood Improvement Grant

Residents of Windbrooke recently applied and received a Town improvement grant to plant an entry garden and retaining wall in their community. Over two weekends, 24 neighbors united to plant 80 camellias, azaleas and junipers behind the new retaining wall. In addition to the physical and aesthetic improvements, an added benefit of the project was the new and rekindled neighborhood connections.

The Neighborhood Improvement Grant Program awards up to $5,000 in matching funds for projects that bring neighbors together through shared “sweat equity” to work on physical and/or organizational improvements to their community. The communities can use their volunteer labor, funds, or in-kind donations toward their part of the match. Over the past decade, the program has awarded more than $200,000 in matching funds, resulting in more than $600,000 in total improvements around Cary.

Hearts for Page-Walker

In February the National Trust for Historic Preservation sponsored a special “hearts” initiative and the Friends of the Page-Walker along with other interested citizens participated. We are happy to report that the Page-Walker was selected as the only historic site in North Carolina to be featured on the NTHP webpage (look for #17) and delighted our citizens “heart” us so much!

Recognitions

Thanks to our remarkable Chiefs (Police & Fire) for getting out and about and representing Cary. This week Chief Cain presented at the Professional Credentialing Ceremony at the Excellence Conference for the Center for Public Safety Excellence in Orlando. And Chief Godwin represented the Town closer to home, at the School of Government, talking about our efforts with the Building Bridges initiative.

Additionally, Nicole Raimundo was participating in Women in Technology panel at the CIOSynergy conference in Charlotte on Thursday. The panel discussed the lack of women in technology and not only how to support that effort but also and open and honest discussion around working and promoting women in the workplace.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request for information on the future redevelopment of the old/current library.
  • Thanks from the Windbrooke neighborhood on the improvement grant.
  • Complaints about proposed hotels on Harrison Avenue next to the Arboretum.
  • A complaint about the proposed gas station at Kildaire and Penny Roads.
  • A complaint about a tree in a common area that threatens a house.
  • Complaints about the proposed gas station near Horton’s Creek Elementary (it was approved 15 years ago).
  • A concern that a future pedestrian bridge will destroy the American Tobacco Trail.

Next week will be a busy one for me. Activities include a CAMPO preparation meeting, staff meetings, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, a meeting of the 2nd branding consultant finalist, a meeting of CAMPO, the Erv Portman kickoff event, and the last regularly scheduled council meeting of the month.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 25th.  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, March 11th, 2018

This was a slower than average week for me.

Monday started with my weekly town manager one-on-one meeting. We talked about a variety of topics including having an additional neighborhood meeting to hear concerns from the residents near the Penny Road Kildaire Farm Road gas station proposal. We also talked about an issue with some faulty town’s water meters in town. The cost and replacement of those meters will be covered by the manufacturer. The Green Level Church Road widening was also discussed. NCDOT would like to do the entire set of improvements rather than the ones they have planned. So we will probably enter this as a LAPP (locally administered project program) project. Other topics included the upcoming Cary/Morrisville joint meeting, an update Fenton development agreement process, the Glenaire rezoning proposal, and the approved gas station near Weldon Ridge School sites which is upsetting citizens.

Later I attended the Real Health Experience: Make Fit Happen seminar held at the Cary Arts Center by Dr. Livingood. He and I briefly talked about fitness in the community before the audience.

Tuesday I met with representatives of concerned citizens potentially impacted by the potential connection of Crabtree Crossing in Morrisville. Their first concern was the extension of the Triangle Parkway (highway 147) as part of the connection to Crabtree Crossing. Currently the preferred route is to tee Crabtree Crossing into Davis Drive but they are afraid the preferred route might change. The second and biggest concern was the connection of Morrisville’s Town Hall Drive to Crabtree Crossing. This would create a parallel route to highway 54 and have a significant negative impact on those living along and adjacent to Crabtree Crossing. Arguments for the connection seem to be championed by developers who have said that Morrisville’s ability to create a downtown would be ruined without the connection. In addition, some council members have stated that they are concerned about 911 response times and the connection would help that issue. It is likely the Morrisville council will vote whether or not to put a connection on their transportation plan in the next few months. The good news for those that oppose is that this connection would not score well for state and federal funds and would likely have to be funded by Morrisville. That would include bridging over a sensitive wetland area. So unless there are drastic changes I don’t see the connection in my lifetime. However, that doesn’t mean people won’t suffer if it remains on the plan. We will see how this continues to play out in the coming months. It may turn out to be a campaign issue in the Morrisville municipal elections next year as opposition gets more organized.

Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. Our agenda had two topics. The first topic was about our branding initiative. The final two branding consultants have been invited to Cary to give a presentation to the Economic Development Committee and to talk with town council members. Their presentation will be about their thoughts of Cary as a city or a town. And they are not allowed to talk with Cary residents. This is an exercise that could go in a thousand different directions. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. These presentations will be on Tuesday the 13th and 20th to the Economic Development Committee followed by a reception with council members and staff. A decision on the consultant will be made later this spring.

Our second topic was the first quarterly update presented by the new Vice President of Economic Development, Evan Stone. First he spent time talking to us about his background and his strategy in his new role. This includes visiting current businesses to see if they are happy and if they would be willing to help in our recruitment of other businesses. In his update he mentioned that 78% of companies in our area will be adding jobs in the next three years. He believes this equates to about 35,000 jobs. He spent time talking about the talent pool and the problems some employers are having with millennials not having the necessary soft skills. As a result some companies will be looking at mentoring programs. Our meeting concluded in less than an hour.

Sunday I attend the Basant Bahar celebrations at the Cary Arts Center. It is a celebration of the advent of spring and is one of the signature events that Hum Sub brings to the Triangle. Basant Bahar showcases the best of Indian culture with music and dance that has stood the test of time, holding its own against the buffeting winds of change. We were all treated to extraordinary performances from all age groups.

This week it was announced that Cary was among the five national award winners for the 2018 Readiness Challenge Grants for Smart Cities.  “The five winners had three important things in common,” explained Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst, “including a focus on uncovering synergies and cost-efficiencies between departments. They also fostered coordinated collaboration between internal departments, external stakeholders and nearby regions. Finally, they exhibited a determination to include underserved and vulnerable populations.” The judges were impressed by Cary’s efforts on smart parking, mobility and street lighting, as well as the city’s efforts to create “Destination Centers” in underserved neighborhoods to encourage jobs and housing. Cary will use the Council’s Readiness Workshop to further advance several of its projects, including “One Cary.” This initiative seeks to gain a 360-degree view of the city by creating a single core platform to promote data sharing between departments and with citizens. Congratulations to all those involved in helping Cary get this grant.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Bloomberg Facilitator On-Site for Idea Workshop

Mark Jones, a Bloomberg Philanthropy project facilitator, conducted a workshop on Monday and Tuesday of this week with the core project team and Mayor Pro Tem Bush to help focus and strengthen our project concepts and assumptions associated with measuring opioids in small, geo-localized areas. Much of the discussion centered around the processes necessary to ensure the creation of a repeatable and reliable testing protocol and then the development of sharable, actionable and useful dataset for our public health partners. Another workshop will take place in New York City with the other 34 Champion Cities to begin a small scale six-month testing phase to improve our idea. Final proposals for the grand prizes are due in August with an announcement scheduled for October 2018.

Branding Finalists Visit March 13

This coming Tuesday marks another exciting milestone in our Community Branding Initiative as we host Bigfish Creative Group for their presentation to your Economic Development Committee at 3:30 p.m. The presentation will be followed at 5 p.m. by a reception for the firm at the Mayton for the full Council, the EDC, and members of your Information Services Advisory Board. Our second finalist, North Star Destination Strategies, will be here on March 20th with the same itinerary. Both groups’ RFQ responses are available on the project webpage.

Kite Festival Draws Record Crowd

The annual kite festival was a huge success with the largest attendance ever. An estimated 5,000 people attended the event, up from the expected 1,200. Prizes were awarded in a variety of categories including best crash, smallest kite, highest flying and more. Thanks to the Cary Police, Public Works Special Events Crew and PRCR staff for all their help in making this year’s event a success!

Cary Awarded Readiness Grant

The Smart Cities Council has announced that Cary is a recipient of the 2018 Readiness Challenge Grant and will now receive mentoring for a year as well as tailored products and services to accelerate our smart city initiatives. Cary’s grant focuses on smart parking, mobility and street lighting. Congratulations to the team!

Economic Development Update

Evan Stone, Vice President of Economic Development with the Cary Chamber was introduced to the EDC members at its meeting on Wednesday. Evan presented his economic development philosophy:

  • Focus on existing business: these companies are our best ambassadors and we and we want to make sure they have what they need to continue growing in our community.
  • Recruit new business and industry, including developing relationships with site selection consultants.
  • Product development (and redevelopment)

Since his arrival, Evan has scheduled ongoing meetings with town staff, met with several large companies (and scheduled more) and had discussions with the Sports Alliance.

Utility Development Fee Study

In 2017 new requirements for utility development fees were established by the NC General Assembly in HB 436. Under this new law, to maintain our authority to levy development fees the Town was required to hire a consultant to conduct a new fee study. The new study is in final draft form. The law requires that the study be posted on the Town’s website to solicit comments for at least 45 days. The consultant must consider the public comments for possible adjustments to the calculated fees. Once the study is finalized after the initial public comment period, Council must hold a public hearing before considering adoption of the analysis. Council cannot adopt a fee that is higher than the fee calculated in the study. Staff plans to post the study on the Town’s website on March 19 so that Council may hold the public hearing and consider the study results in concert with the FY19 budget process. This process must be repeated at least every five years.

Cary Speaks Around Town

Emily Barrett spoke at the UNC Clean Tech Summit on March 1st in the Smart and Healthy Cities track. She spoke on a panel on electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and policy providing a municipal perspective on EV infrastructure including the benefits of partnering to install charging stations in public locations through grants and public investment.

Additionally, Terry Yates and Reid Serozi presented at NC Open Pass 2018 at NC State University. Topics covered were Cary’s Open Data and Smart City Efforts.

Town’s Request for County Hospitality Funding

Deputy Town Manager, Russ Overton, along with staff from PRCR and T&F presented to Wake County’s evaluation team regarding the Town’s request for funding to upgrade the stadium lights at WakeMed Soccer Park as well as the lighting and sound system at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The grant request was for the County’s Hospitality Tax Small Projects Grant. With only $3.5 million available, the County received a total of 10 proposals totaling over $11 million.

Follow-Up With Wessex Area Citizens

At last month’s Council meeting, some citizens from Wessex area expressed concerns about their water pressure. Staff observed the pressures and found that the system is operating as expected, with pressure over 100 psi throughout the day and during peak demands. Staff followed up with the property owners and in each case found that the low pressures experienced at the residences were attributed to a pressure reducing valve at the meter.

Wake Tech Community News

The newly christened Martha Mann Smith School of Nursing in Raleigh was announced Wednesday at Wake Tech Ignite. Wake Tech Foundation Executive Director Matt Smith and Wake President Dr. Stephen Scott introduced folks who shared personal stories about the incredible programs at Wake Tech Community College. Danna Widmar attended the lunch, which included moving personal accounts of success despite adversity, as well as accounts from businesses and organizations that depend on the many excellent programs including nursing, culinary arts, information technology and fire service.

Recognitions

We’d like to recognize the efforts of Judy Newsome and Laura Morton for leading ADA training sessions for GoCary drivers and call center staff. A variety of topics were discussed, including effective communication, passenger safety, and accommodations for persons with particular disabilities. This training will better serve our passengers with special needs. Thank you Judy and Laura!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about the proposed gas station at Kildaire and Penny.
  • Request to rescind a building permit for the gas station in Amberly (no authority to rescind permits)
  • Request to pass legislation on gun violence (no authority)
  • Concern about traffic for the Harrison Avenue hotels proposal

Next week’s activities will include a visit to Carpenter Elementary, a joint meeting with the Morrisville council, a meeting with the branding consultant, a meeting with the Consul General of Mexico, a State of the Town address, the town’s Arbor Day event, and my attempt to run my first half marathon.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 18th.  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, March 04th, 2018

This week was a slower week than normal with mostly ceremonial duties.

Monday’s one-on-one meeting with the town manager was cancelled since we really didn’t have much to share.

Tuesday I had the honor and privilege to be one of the speakers at the dedication of the Kay Struffolino Park in downtown. There were about a 100 people in attendance including former Mayor Booth, former Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock who is now a North Carolina legislator, former council member Portman who is now a Wake County commissioner, and the entire Cary town council. An excerpt from my remarks included:

“…This beautiful park has been renamed to honor a beautiful person Ms. Kay Struffolino, a Cary citizen who has shed a positive light on our Town for the past 40 years. Through her passion and drive, she has impacted a variety of Cary’s programs, festivals, and signature events.

Kay demonstrates hospitality to others by volunteering at many events as a greeter, ticket taker, hostess and information resource for the Marvelous Music Series, Sertoma Series, Applause!, senior events, and Guest Services at Koka Booth Amphitheatre events.

She actively seeks out citizen input and has represented them as a Board member of the PRCR Advisory Board, the Cultural Arts Committee, the Friends of Page Walker, the Koka Booth Advisory Committee and the Cary Festivals Committee. 

Kay has received numerous accolades over the years including being named the 2001 Herb Young Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Volunteer of the Year, the 2006 Town of Cary Cultural Arts Volunteer of the Year, the, 2008 Rayburn “Rip” Jackson North Carolina Citizen of the Year and the 2010 Hometown Spirit Award Winner for the Town of Cary.

Kay, you are the ultimate example of someone who selflessly gives back to their community every single day. I always hear people say, “we need more Kay’s in this town.” I couldn’t agree more!

Kay, for all you do, for who you are, Cary is grateful for your endless contributions to this community. …”

Also speaking were council members Frantz and Yerha. After the speeches we gathered around the covered sign, counted down from five, and unveiled it. This was followed by lots of pictures and we all were treated to complimentary ice cream from Goodberry’s. What a great event for a great person.

Wednesday I joined council member Don Frantz in a taping of Cary Matters. In this episode we talked about the council-staff retreat held in early February. In the taping we stated that during the retreat “we talked about everything from Imagine Cary Growing Pains to stormwater. All the topics and discussion during the two days were tied back to an overall theme – what makes us different than other communities, how that is important, and how we prepare and adapt for challenges that lie ahead. The first day was mostly reflection and high level discussions. The second day was more about specific current issues.” I messed up a couple of times so we had to do two takes. Still we were finished within half an hour.

Thursday morning I spoke to over 40 high school students from various schools in Cary as part of the Cary Chamber Youth Leadership Program. I talked about a council-manager form of government and how it was set up like a corporation. That is, the council is like a board and sets policy while the management and staff handle the operations of the town. I explained that most of our decisions were on land use. I talked about how it was important that all decisions be respected and how that this council does that. I stated what I have said many times: “it is only through mutual understanding and respect that we can reach our potential as a community.” I talked about my role as mayor and then answered about a dozen questions.

Thursday evening I attended the 20 year celebration of the Cary Skin Center. This outpatient center handles all kinds of outpatient skin operations such as Mohs surgeries. Over the last two decades they have treated over 40,000 patients. I talked with all the doctors including the founder Dr. Clark. We are so blessed to have them in our community providing such a valuable and lifesaving service.

Friday I talked with the applicant and applicant’s representative for the gas station proposal on Kildaire Farm at Penny Road. The proposal has been in the works for over a year and the applicant noted there have been major concessions. One of the biggest is a condition to install a storm water control device to handle a 100 year storm event. This should really help with the flooding. I talked with him about the opposition to his proposal. He believes most of this started since the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation for approval. Before that there had been several meetings with very little attendance. I asked if he would be willing to hold another meeting if residents were interested and he said yes. It will be interesting to see what happens with this as it moves forward.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Kay Struffolino Park

On Tuesday evening, approximately 150 fans of Kay Struffolino gathered in the space that now has been named in her honor. Through Kay’s passion and dedication, she has impacted a variety of Cary’s programs, festivals, and signature events. Cary is a better place because of Kay. Congratulations to one of Cary’s greatest citizens and volunteers!

2018 Retreat Report Summary

In the last few weeks, we have summarized and documented our experience together at the 2018 Council/Staff retreat. We hope the summary captures the important takeaways and will serve as a reminder of our shared experiences.

Pink Acres Area Receives Town Utilities

Water and sewer lines have been extended to Pink Acres Street area, the last Town- initiated annexation area that petitioned for our utilities. With the successful completion of this project, these citizens can now enjoy the full range of benefits of having safe and reliable water and sewer services. We received a kudos received from a resident: “I want to thank everyone involved.  This has gone very well and the Moffet crew couldn’t have been more accommodating, considerate, and nice.  All concerns were addressed and questions answered. Always available to the residents.  They always cleaned up for the evenings and weekends and their work ethic showed each day.  Working outside is challenging; my father provided for us as a road construction foreman. Thanks again to all. A job well done!”

Articles For Your Reading List

We received an email this week from Dr. Nalbandian sharing a recent article that he has co-authored, alongside ICMA president Robert O’Neill. He shared the article because he thought it would be particularly relevant to Cary staff and Council as it captures the spirit of what he presented at the retreat as well as syncs nicely with the adaptive/approach and culture we are developing.

Another article was published that highlights Cary’s innovative approach to using new technologies. Thanks to Council Member Robinson, Jamie Revels and Dan Ault for contributing to the article and sharing our successes!

Cary Chamber Youth Leadership

On Thursday, a group of 43 high school juniors (from Athens Drive, Cary, Crossroads Flex, Green Hope, Middle Creek and Panther Creek) participated in the Chamber’s Youth Leadership course, which includes an opportunity for students to get an in-depth look at Cary government. The Mayor was on-hand to deliver welcoming remarks and then the group learned about different government functions, such as planning, traffic management, parks and recreation, and emergency response.

U.S. Men’s Soccer Team Comes to Cary

Mayor Pro Tem Bush welcomed U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team coach David Sarachan to Cary. As they overlooked Sahlen’s Stadium, they discussed the 10,000 fans that will pack the stadium on March 27 cheering on the Men’s Team as they take on Paraguay. Sarachan held a press conference during his visit to Cary and talked about how much he enjoys being in the area. He first came to WakeMed Soccer Park in 2002 with the National Team and again for the three years the LA Galaxy played in Cary against the RailHawks.

Connected Vehicles Project

The Connected Vehicles Project, known as the SPaT Challenge, has completed an important stage. All vendor equipment has been installed in the field and is ready for testing. Over the past few months, Town staff has worked with NCDOT and their consultant, Aegis, Inc., to bring in six equipment manufacturers that are working along NC-55 and High House Road corridors to install radio and cellular equipment in an effort to share important signal timing and safety information with drivers to improve safety and efficiency at signalized intersections.

Over the coming weeks, the equipment will be tested to determine effectiveness and readiness for deployment. Town staff will be following the testing closely.

Read Across America Day

As part of National Read Across America Day, Mayor Pro Tem Bush was joined by Cary staff as a guest reader at Reedy Creek Elementary Friday morning. In addition to reading books, the fifth graders were quizzed on the types of services provided by local government.

Recognitions

More than 40 employees from across departments gathered for a follow-up discussion to last week’s screenings of “Resilience.” Using the Advocates for Health in Action’s “results framework” the group looked at current policies, practices, and programs building resiliency in our community and identified gaps. It was a great start to thinking about how Cary can build resilience in ourselves and the citizens we serve. Many thanks to Rachel Baranski and Sam Trogdon for their work organizing these events and for shining a light on this important topic.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about the gas station proposal at Kildaire and Penny.
  • A concern about junk vehicles.
  • A concern about panhandlers.
  • A concern about unleashed dogs at Bond Park.
  • A question about Sunday alcohol laws.
  • A concern about the approved gas station in Amberly.

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, citizen meetings, giving remarks at an event, and an economic development meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 11th.  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  
• Monday, February 26th, 2018

This was a busy week for me.

I started the week Monday morning by giving welcoming remarks to about 150 North Carolina Zoning Code Officials who were in Cary for their mid-winter workshop. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:

… Here in Cary we strive to keep our community at the peak of its performance and maintain the high quality of life that keeps Cary a great place to live, work, and play.  This wouldn’t be possible without our Zoning Officials and I know that your town and city wouldn’t be the same without you. Every day you work to hold the community to the set vision. Thank you for your commitment to your municipality and your citizens. …

These people that enforce zoning conditions which can be a tough job but is essential in protecting our vision and quality of life.

Next I called all council members to hear of questions or concerns they might have had about the agenda for Thursday’s council meeting. There were questions about a couple of the annexations and a question about the recreation programs proposal for Amberly. I met later in the day with Mayor Pro-Tem Bush and key staff members to go over the agenda items. Staff took in the information and adjusted their presentations at Thursday’s council meeting.

Monday afternoon I talked with the Executive Director of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) to go over the CAMPO agenda for Wednesday. This was my first meeting as chairman and it is my duty to understand the agenda prior to the meeting to facilitate as efficiently as possible. Luckily for me, this agenda was straight forward.

Monday evening I met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one. We were joined by Mayor Pro-Tem Bush and talked about various issues in town including the controversial gas station proposal at Kildaire Farm and Penny. IMHO, it is necessary for the applicant to work with the citizens and hear their questions and concerns. They might not always agree but they should understand each other before we make a decision. Based on the feedback I have been getting from the citizens in that area, many are confused and misinformed. It will be interesting to see how this proposal plays out. I am guessing it will be a close vote. My one-on-one meeting with the manager lasted a little over half an hour.

Monday night I attended a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. There were only six out of twelve of us in attendance which is rare. Joining me were Mayor Burns of Fuquay-Varina, Mayor Sears of Holly Springs, Mayor Matheny of Zebulon, Mayor Robertson of Knightdale, and Mayor Cawley of Morrisville. We provided updates about our respective municipalities. One discussion centered around the tragedy in Florida. Some residents are pressuring elected officials to make public statements, resolutions, etc. I have found that while this might make people feel good it is really not productive in making a change and sometimes can be counterproductive. I believe the best way to influence change is to personally contact the decision makers. Our meeting concluded after about two hours.

Wednesday I chaired my first meeting of CAMPO. On the agenda were 5 Public Hearings and 2 discussion items. The board unanimously approved all 7 items. Those items included the Unified Planning Work Plan, an Amendment to the Transportation Improvement Program, LAPP (locally administered project program – included important Cary projects), Safety Performance Measures and Targets, the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, staffing requests for the Wake Transit Plan, and bus plan project prioritization of the Wake Transit Plan. The meeting concluded after about 45 minutes.

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of February. On the agenda were 11 consent agenda items, 6 public hearings, and 2 discussion items. The public hearing that drew the most speakers was the North Harrison Hotels which are proposed behind the Arboretum. 19 speakers talked over an hour mostly stating concerns. The main concern expressed was traffic and how people would enter and exit the proposed development. The applicant has agreed to have another public hearing to meet with the nearby residents and others with concerns.

Under discussion the council unanimously approved spending $120,900 of general fund balance for up-fit construction of program space in western Cary. Of that amount, $93,300 will ultimately be reimbursed to the Town through the lease. As a result we will now have recreational programming in Amberly.

The council also approved an amendment of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Cary Regional library and downtown parking project. The parking deck will now increase from 350 spaces to 600 spaces. In addition, development will be around the parking deck removing the need for art work facing the park. This will save $1.2 million which was appropriated for that purpose. That money will be used toward the $7 million needed for the project. Construction should begin this spring with a goal of completion by the end of next year.

After a long closed session the council meeting ended after about three hours.

Saturday started with a private meeting in the morning. In the afternoon I joined council members Yerha and George at the “Future of Black History” event. The brochure for the event states that this event “explores contributions of black heroes and sheroes of the past and how those individuals have influenced our present day thought leaders of all races and cultures.” The keynote speaker was Baltimore Police Chief Melvin Russell who is also a pastor. He presented a powerful message on the need for Black History now and in the future. The event also included performances and a panel discussion.

Saturday night I attended campaign celebration dinner for Ed Yerha. I have had the pleasure to know Ed for many years and we have participated in each other’s campaigns. He is a great public servant with a passion for historic preservation. I am honored to serve with him.

Sunday I attended a retirement party for a friend that I met in 1997. The significance of this person to this journal is that he was the co-founder, along with me, of Citizens for Balanced Growth. That was really my introduction into Cary’s government.

Sunday evening I attended Realty Appreciation party at the Mayton Inn. I was able to meet and talk with about 100 in attendance about current Cary projects and future projects. Many of these were new residents and business owners from China. I gave a short speech along with Representative Adcock and took pictures with dozens of people.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Cary Finalist City for Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

We are thrilled to have Cary selected as one of 35 Champion Cities that will continue our work with Bloomberg Philanthropies during the next phase in competing for the $5 million grand prize. During this next phase, the Town will receive $100,000 in funding to begin a six month testing phase to build prototypes of our idea. Cary is trying to tackle the opioid crisis by generating opioid consumption data by measuring concentrations of opioid metabolites in sewage. The Town will work and contract with Biobot Analytics, a company that provides opioid testing and data analytics services. The goal for Cary, is that we will be able to use the data, in aggregate, to better inform public health officials and educators so that effective programs can be deployed to those at risk. Congratulations to Mike Bajorek and the entire team for leading this initiative!

 

Rap Session Focuses on Personal Connections

How do we cope? When the world is full of so much negativity, how do we not lose hope?  That was the topic of conversation for the second in our series of Town of Cary rap sessions with Tru Pettigrew and Chief Godwin. Many of the attendees talked about how important it is to establish meaningful, empathetic and personal connections to helping people cope with tragedy.

 

2018 Citizen Survey Begins Next Weekend

Dr. Kevin Baker and his team will begin calling Cary citizens on Saturday, March 3 for our biennial satisfaction survey. Data collection will occur throughout March, with the Survey Report expected in May. A copy of the questionnaire is available for your reference at http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=22655462&msgid=116002&act=1EHX&c=1655857&destination=https%3A%2F%2Ftownofcary.box.com%2Fs%2Fsteefdaeto3hko8pmkz31espjegind3c.

 

Citizen Friendly Public Hearing Notices

As part of our continual effort to rethink how we do business, an interdepartmental group has looked at how we can better communicate our public hearing notice letters. The group recommends sending postcards as a more citizen-friendly approach that still provides our citizens with the information they need to know in a timely manner. If this approach goes well, we will look at revisiting our other notices such as QJ public hearings. If you have any questions, please contact Russ Overton.

 

Cary Awarded LAPP Grants

On Wednesday, CAMPO’s Executive Board approved the FY19 LAPP grants awarding $6.3 million to Cary for four transportation projects. Those projects are:

  • Connected Vehicle Technology
  • Reedy Creek Phase 2
  • Higgins Greenway Phase 3
  • Downtown Cary Multi-Modal Facility

This is great news as we continue to make progress in these project areas!

 

NCDOT Projects in Cary

Ten Ten Road Widening:

NCDOT plans to widen Ten Ten Rd. from the Apex Peakway to Kildaire Farm Rd., to address delay and congestion along the corridor. Ten Ten Rd. will be widened from 2-lanes to 4-lanes with a landscaped median and will include 5′ striped bike lanes, 10′ wide street-side trail and sidewalk. The project will also replace the existing Ten Ten Rd. bridge over US-1. The Town’s planned intersection improvements at Ten Ten/Kildaire Farm will be folded into NCDOT’s project to help minimize construction impacts and leverage Cary funds. A public meeting is scheduled on March 1 from 4-7 p.m. at The Summit Church in Apex. Additional information can be found on the NCDOT project webpage.

US-64 Improvements Project:

NCDOT is exploring design options for alleviating and reducing accidents on US-64 from Laura Duncan Rd. in Apex to US-1 in Cary. Between 2012 and 2016, 800 crashes occurred within the project area. That is nearly double the state average for similar highways. The project will include interchanges at Laura Duncan Rd. and Lake Pine Drive. and a proposed pedestrian bridge adjacent to Apex High School. Meetings with project stakeholders are underway with a local officials meeting tentatively scheduled for May 2018 and a public meeting to follow. Additional information can be found on the NCDOT project webpage.

Lead at Swift Creek Elementary

While the drinking water we’re supplying to Swift Creek Elementary is safe and high quality, Wake County has detected elevated lead levels and deemed the water unsafe. The problem could be linked to the facility’s plumbing. The county is notifying parents, and we have supporting information on our website as a courtesy. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and the State is also involved.

Wake Transit Public Input

We wanted to provide another reminder that the FY19 Draft Wake Transit Work Plan is available for comment until March 12. The Town submitted several projects last October, all of which are included in the draft work plan. Input during this public comment period will inform recommendations moving forward as TPAC sub-committees consider Work Plan revisions.

The Proposed FY19 Wake Transit Work Plan will be presented to the TPAC on April 11, 2018. TPAC is expected to forward a Recommended FY19 Wake Transit Work Plan to the CAMPO Executive Board and GoTriangle Board of Directors for approval by June 30, 2018. Council will be asked to consider all proposed GoCary projects through the Town’s budget process.

Town of Cary requested projects, totaling approximately $14M, which include improvements such as new bus service on Weston Parkway, Cary’s regional operations and maintenance facility, and free fares for riders under 18.

For more details on the draft work plan and to provide comments, please visit the Wake Transit website.

Working with CSX to Address Crossing Repairs

CSX has recently completed upgrades to their tracks in Cary including adjustments to the railroad crossings at:

  • Academy Street
  • Harrison Avenue
  • Dixon Avenue
  • Old Apex Road
  • High House Road
  • Maynard Road
  • Laura Duncan Road

Staff worked to coordinate work with CSX including construction observations, providing timely traffic updates and communicating the importance of high quality work each crossing. After reviewing the work performed, staff is requesting that CSX come back to address areas of poor workmanship.

Staff will continue to monitor conditions at each crossing and work to address any additional repairs needed.  

Water Valve Replacement at Cary Parkway & High House Rd.

From 7 p.m. tonight through 4 a.m. on Saturday, February 24, Town staff will be replacing a water valve in the intersection of Cary Parkway and High House Rd. This is being done in advance of the intersection improvement starting in early spring. There will be lane closures with detours posted, but emergency vehicles will be able to get through any direction needed. This information will be pushed to Waze for our citizens.

Downtown Mural at Trader Joe’s

Our very own Trader Joe’s is showing some love for Downtown Cary! The recently updated murals now include drawings of the Cary Arts Center, The Cary Theater and Page-Walker History Center. Check out the cool depiction of the carrot fountain.

Recognitions

We’d like to recognize the efforts of Judy Newsome and her team for another successful Share & Care event hosted last Friday at Herb Young. The event welcome approximately 200 people and represented 50 different agenecies/organizations around our community.

Ernie Ray, an employee in T&F, acted quickly when he was at Dick’s Sporting Goods and saw a man suddenly slump to the ground unconscious. Ernie acted immediately directly others to call 911 while he checked for heart rate and began chest compressions and continued until EMS arrived. Our EMS contact on site tells us that the man is doing well now and Ernie was likely the main reason for that outcome. Way to go Ernie!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about a gas station proposal at Kildaire and Penny.
  • Complaints about a gas station under site plan review on O’Kelly Chapel Road (this was approved long ago and is under staff site plan review)
  • A complaint about a traffic stop.
  • Concerns about proposed hotels on North Harrison

Next week will be a little slower than this week. Activities include staff meetings, the Kay Struffolino Park dedication, a Cary Matters taping, and a Chamber Youth Leadership program.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 4th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, February 18th, 2018

This week was very rare in that I had very little scheduled.

Thursday I attended a public meeting about an upcoming water pressure zone shift held at the senior center. The modification is expected to occur the week of April 10th. There is a web page that answers most questions at http://www.townofcary.org/services-publications/water-sewer-stormwater/water/water-pressure/pressure-zone-modification. The project is necessary to provide greater operational flexibility and efficiency as well as to bring into service the water tank on Good Hope Church Road. Some residents with lower water pressure might need to have a pressure reducing value installed.

Friday the public information office released a short version of my State of Cary address which I gave to the Chamber of Commerce in January. The video with text can be found at http://www.townofcary.org/mayor-council/town-council/state-of-cary. This version is about twelve minutes as opposed to the full version which is about 25 minutes.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

 2018 Retreat Reflections

Now that the Council/Staff retreat is behind us, I hope we were all able to reflect on our time together, as a team, and everything we accomplished over the past year. It was yet another reminder that Cary is truly a special place with special people. We will be returning to Council shortly with a retreat report summarizing our discussions and next steps.

Plumtree Water Tank Painting

The Plumtree water tank located behind Fire Station #6 on Ten-Ted Road has seen substantial progress over the last few weeks. The painting contractor is complete with the interior and exterior power washing and preparations for painting. The water tank was taken offline and drained in November and approximately three-quarters of the interior tank bowl is sand blasted and primed for painting. A cloth tank containment curtain is being used to prevent power washing and painting activities from impact neighbors or the community.

Painting is expected to be completed within the next 4-6 weeks. The tank color will match the Town’s other blue elevated water tanks.

Nuclear Plant False Alarm

Several of you have received calls and communication from citizens regarding our response to the false alarm from the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant on January 19. This was a very quick moving and constantly evolving situation that started and ended in only 38 minutes. We certainly understand the concern our citizens felt as they looked for reliable information from credible sources as to the danger that they and their loved ones might be in. While Wake County Emergency Management is designated by federal regulatory agencies with the responsibility of notification regarding emergency situations at the plant, we know in stressful times our citizens will look to the Town for guidance and information. I am very confident in our staff’s ability to get information out in the event of an actual emergency, but there is always opportunity to improve. We are currently evaluating our response to this incident and are scheduled to discuss this and other emergency communication capabilities with the ISAB at their next meeting on March 5. In the meantime, if you have specific questions about this incident, please contact me or Chief Godwin.

Weldon Ridge Rezoning

We wanted to let Council know that we are aware and have seen the emails being sent from citizens over the past several days about the Weldon Ridge rezoning case. Please know that we will be reaching out to citizens next week letting them know where the case is in the rezoning process.

HYCC Selected for Early Voting

The Wake County Board of Elections decided on Thursday to use Herb Young Community Center as an early voting site (April 26-May 5). The primary election day is May 8.

Jordan Lake Elevations Return to Normal

Our recent trend of rain has benefited our water supply! Jordan Lake’s water level reached its full pool elevation of 216 feet last week for the first time since July 2017. The lake has risen more than six feet since mid-January to its current elevation of 217.8 feet.

Connecting to Opportunity Summit

Last week, Transit and Planning staff attending the Connecting to Opportunity Summit at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The regional summit highlights major investment in transit and station area neighborhoods that will serve as a catalyst for job creation, economic growth, sustainability, and equity.

Council Member and GoTriangle Board Trustee Chair, Jennifer Robinson, presented opportunities associated with the regional significance of these projects as part of a transit network spanning Wake, Durham and Orange counties. She encouraged those attending to think differently about the way we move around in the region and to pivot together to make a change.

Cary Participates in Career Day

Last week, staff from Finance, Transportation & Facilities, and Public Works participated in St. Michael Middle School’s career day. The group participated in the “Speed Mentoring” sessions and hosted a panel discussion on the wide variety of careers available within the Town. Over 30 students attended the panel discussion. All the students were blown away by how big a traffic signal really is, where our water comes from, and the size of the Town’s budget.

Cary Hosts Regional NC Next Generation Network

On Wednesday, Cary hosted a regional NC Next Generation Network (NCNGN) meeting at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center.  Representatives from Cary, Winston-Salem, Wilson, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, NC State and Duke University attended. Presentations were given around unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and how agencies can collaborate on developing statewide standards and policies around this new technology. Terry Yates provided information about Cary’s Smart City efforts and a tour of the Town Hall Campus Simulated Smart City.

Reclaimed Water Holiday Underway

The 2018 Reclaimed Water Holiday, which is the annual off-season reclaimed water system shut down for maintenance, is progressing very well. The northern, southern and western service areas began the annual system shutdown on Monday, February 12 as planned. All of the planned operations and maintenance jobs are nearing completion. Some of this work included replacing a 12-inch valve at the North Cary Water Reclamation Facility, along with pipeline flushing operations and cleaning the storage tanks at both North Cary Water Reclamation Facility and South Cary Water Reclamation Facility. All reclaimed water distribution systems are planned to be fully restored and operational by February 22.

Recognitions

Congratulations are in order for Nicole Raimundo for being selected as a finalist for the 2018 Women in IT Award! Winners will be announced next week in New York City.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about a proposed gas station at Kildaire and Penny.
  • A question about the closing of a running trail.
  • A complaint about a pothole on Evans Road.
  • A complaint about a proposed rezoning involving a Charter School.
  • A complaint about a Town of Cary employee smoking in a vehicle (not allowed).
  • A complaint about a chlorine odor in the water.
  • A complaint about the process used to select a citizen committee.
  • A request to oppose legislation to split the Wake County School System.
  • A request for contact information for residential developments in downtown.

Next week will by busy for me. My activities include speaking at the Zoning Code Officials meeting, staff meetings, the Mayors Association meeting, my first meeting as chairman of CAMPO, a council meeting, the future of Black History event, the Ed Yerha campaign celebration event, and the Realty Client Appreciation event.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 25th.  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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