• Sunday, January 25th, 2015

harold2011_small2This was a busy week with tapings, meetings, and dinners.

Monday I joined Mayor Stohlman of Morrisville in a meeting with about a dozen Sri Venkateswara Temple leaders to discuss a break-in that occurred in their business office the previous day. After answering a few questions we committed to working together to making their facility more secure and to partner in deterring future crimes.

Monday evening I attended the monthly Mayors Association meeting in Cary. Nine of the twelve Wake County mayors were in attendance. Absent from the meeting were the mayors from Garner, Holly Springs, and Raleigh. Topics of discussion included setting up a meeting with the county commissioners and creating a legislative agenda. The biggest legislative concerns expressed by the mayors included the potential loss of revenue from a change in the sales tax formula, transportation issues, and school issues. Our meeting concluded after about two and a half hours.

Tuesday I taped the State of the Town address for Cary TV. The State of the Town address this year is over 3200 words which is my longest address ever. The producer broke the address up into three segments and we did at least two takes on each segment. The entire taping took about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Later Tuesday I headed over to the Page Walker to join council members in hosting the Wake County legislative delegation. We were honored to have Senators Barringer and Stein, Representatives Dollar, Avila, Hall, and Reives (Chatham County), and of course our good friend former Cary council member Representative Adcock. We provided dinner which was followed by a presentation on the town’s efforts related to the Interbasin Transfer process which is ongoing. Afterwards I walked the legislators through Cary’s legislative agenda. Here are my comments on each item:

• Advocacy principles – Our advocacy principles acknowledge that we are accountable to the citizens of Cary. They expect us to maintain our roads, use revenues wisely, be environmental stewards and plan carefully to maintain the ‘look and feel’ of Cary. We can best be accountable when we have the authority to make transportation, land planning, design, spending and development decisions that consider the needs of Cary citizens.
• Holly Brook annexation – we have received a request from homeowners in Holly Brook to annex their subdivision. The Town has been providing sewer services to this community since their on-site system failed many years ago. While the area has become suburban in the intervening years, it does not currently meet the criteria for either voluntary or involuntary annexation. Even though a large majority of homeowners desire it, we can’t move forward without your help. The Town is capable of providing services and we ask for your support by legislatively annexing this area.
• We are also asking for two other local bills – both to make Town government run more efficiently. First, we would like authority to simplify the process of disposing of unneeded easements by allowing Council to delegate approval to the Town Manager. And, second, we would like to be able to sell Town property subject to covenants or restrictions when council deems it in the best interest of the citizens (Ex: historic property must continue to be maintained as an historic property).
• As you know, the General Assembly abolished the privilege license tax effective the end of June. We are not asking you to reinstate this tax, but we do request that, as you consider additional tax reform, you look for ways to make us whole in overall revenues.
• The look and feel of Cary is very important to our citizens and we support legislation that makes it clear that aesthetic-based design standards are authorized for residential dwellings. What’s right for one community may not be right for another community. Developers can build and move on; our citizens have to live with it for decades.
• The Town would support legislation that establishes a revenue source to compensate municipalities for infrastructure damage caused by oil and gas extraction and grants municipalities authority to require that damaged infrastructure be repaired.

We talked about each of the requests and heard their thoughts on where they thought legislation was going. Representative Dollar did state that he felt the aesthetics bill would pass which will harm Cary. We also had a good discussion on the sales tax distribution formula which will take revenue from the urban areas and give it to the rural areas. Representative Avila said she understands the concerns but the rural areas will need to present how they would use the money. Our meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.

Wednesday I attended an executive board meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO). The organization’s members are from governments in Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston and Wake Counties. There were a couple of items that are of interest to Cary. The first was the approval of the Locally Administered Project Program which funded 3 out of 4 Cary submitted projects. Those projects include Green Level West Road widening, Panther Creek greenway and trailhead, and Crabtree Creek greenway phase 2. The second item of interest was the election of CAMPO board members. The Holly Springs mayor was elected chairman and I was elected vice-chairman. The meeting lasted a little over an hour.

Thursday I was joined by council member Robinson as we taped the February episode of Cary Matters. Our main topic was on sustainable initiatives that the town is involved in such as energy projects, recycling, water, wastewater, and local food and community gardens. Our taping session lasted about half an hour.

In accolades this week the Raleigh-Cary area ranked in the top 50 among the world’s leading 300 metropolitan areas, says a new survey from the Brookings Institute. There were only 4 US metropolitan areas listed in the top 50.

There were very few emails from citizens this week and they were all requests for events or requests for proclamations.

Next week will be a busy week for me. It will include a council meeting, a work session, the State of the Town address at the Chamber breakfast, and the annual planning retreat that will start around lunch on Thursday and keep me away from home until last late Saturday night.

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

• Sunday, January 18th, 2015

This week was not that busy but did include a couple of busy days.

Monday started with a call to each council member to hear their questions or concerns about Thursday’s upcoming regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact all five council members and there were very few concerns or questions. Council member Frantz did express concern about an apartment proposal in Weston to convert from office. The most concerns were expressed on the Indian Wells proposal. This was an previously approved proposal that bought an adjacent piece of property and wanted to remove the buffer between the properties.

Later Monday I met with management, directors, legal, public information, and administration to go over all items on the agenda. Our review lasted about 20 to 30 minutes. I predicted that our meeting would end at around 9 PM.

After the agenda meeting with staff I met with the town manager, deputy town manager, assistant town managers, and the assistant to the town manager to go over various issues. Our biggest discussion was on the town’s ordinance that doesn’t allow the painting of brick if the building is older than 1970. I predict that this ordinance will be reviewed in the near future.

Monday night I gave a State of the Town Address (preliminary version) to the residents of the Glenaire Retirement Community. About 50 to 75 people were in attendance and it was broadcast throughout the Glenaire community on closed circuit. My presentation included 30 slides and lasted about 30 minutes. Afterwards I received about a half dozen questions about sidewalks, schools, legislative actions, and school impact fees. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Glenaire and the residents were all very, very kind.

Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting started with a report from the Aging Issues Task Force. The chair of the task force presented their final recommendations that included findings and initiatives for council to consider in the future. The Task Force concluded that the most important issue facing the senior population was “communications.” They discussed many ways to “get the word out” for the many opportunities for seniors to be involved socially, receive help individually, and know where the resources are to enhance their lives. Information and feedback from the task force was also forwarded to the Triangle J Council of Governments to complete a pilot initiative. That feedback included:
• Housing: Rating of 13 out of a possible 18 points and ranking of a Substantial Investment
• Transportation: Rating of 15 out of a possible 18 points and a ranking of a Substantial Investment
• Safety: Rating of 6 out of a possible 6 points and a ranking of a Substantial Investment
• Health Care: Rating of 8 out of a possible 9 points and a ranking of a Substantial Investment
• Supportive Services: Rating of 6 out of a possible 6 points and a ranking of a Substantial Investment
• General Retail and Services: Rating of 6 out of a possible 6 points and a ranking of a Substantial Investment
• Social Integration: Rating of 7 out of a possible 9 points and a ranking of a Substantial Investment
The presentation lasted about 5 minutes and was unanimously accepted by council.

Other council decisions at the meeting included a unanimous approval to continue with naming rights for the Wake Med Soccer Park. However, the naming does not include the stadium itself. In the discussion 3 council members stated that they didn’t like naming rights at all but would support this since it was a continuance.

Another item for discussion was a request to amend a previously approved Indian Wells rezoning to remove a perimeter landscape buffer. The applicant’s reasoning was that they bought the adjacent property and it was to be a part of the neighborhood. Without council approval this property would still be built but would have a buffer in the interior of the neighborhood. The size of the buffer was so narrow that additional houses were unlikely and instead larger lots would be created. Council approved this request unanimously.

Another item of discussion was a resolution recommending the approval of tax-exempt bonds for the financing of Triangle Math and Science Academy. This is an existing charter school that is expanding regardless of the council decision. For them to be eligible for a $7.2 million loan required a local governing body to pass a resolution of support. The town’s attorneys worked with the applicant’s attorneys to remove any town liability in case of a default. As a result I believed the risk was very minimal. And since the school was already in existence it made since to help them get funding to expand and increase their educational programs. The vote was approved by a 4-2 margin.

Council also discussed whether or not to rezone office in Weston to allow apartments. The applicant stated the most employers these days, like MetLife; want a live-work-play atmosphere for their employees. Since Cary has so little class A office space left I felt this was not in the best interest of our town. The rezoning to allow apartments was approved 4-2 with council member Frantz and I voting no.

Other items approved by council was a rezoning to allow 30 homes on 16.41 acres located on the south side of High House Road, an amendment to our legislative agenda to allow residents of Holly Brook subdivision to be annexed, and sidewalk and roadway improvements bid awards. Our meeting concluded just before 9 PM.

Saturday I have the honor and privilege of attending the 2015 Dreamfest event “A Dream of Community” featuring Mrs. Naomi King who was the sister-in-law of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Before the event I met with Mrs. King and pastors from local churches. She was a very warm and kind lady and greeted everyone with hugs and kisses. At the event I had the honor of making a few remarks and reading a proclamation recognizing the 2015 Dreamfest events in Cary. Afterwards we were treated to a documentary film on the civil rights movement of A. D. King who was Dr. Martin Luther King’s little brother and the husband of Naomi King. Based on testimonials he was the one who created the marches and kept everyone involved. Once the documentary was over the audience was treated to a reading from Mrs. King followed by stories and a question and answer time. She talked about her husband’s life with her and the civil rights movement including stories about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was fascinating to hear the stories and how the civil rights movement took place. What a great event for Cary.

Emails from citizens this week included comments from an Again Task Force member who said:

“… between you and me…..I honestly believe Cary is doing a fantastic job with all age groups ~ room for improvement, always, however part of the burden to learn what’s available within the community has to fall on the individual… no town has enough staff to do door-to-door with ‘here’s what we have to offer’ …”

In another email a citizens made a public records request for my emails regarding rate hikes for CTran. BTW, ALL my emails go to the media once a week and are readily available. Other emails included a complaint about the process notifying people that DOT has changed speed limits, a complaint and litter, and a couple of complaints about last week’s blog post.

Next week’s activities will include a meeting of the Mayors’ Association, the taping of the State of the Town address, a meeting with the Wake County legislative delegation, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board, and a taping of Cary Matters.

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

• Sunday, January 11th, 2015

This week was the first full week of the year as my schedule slowly begins ramping up to full speed.

Monday I met with the town manager, deputy town manager, assistant town managers, and the assistant to the town manager to go over several items. The items ranged from information related to potential sports events to upcoming legislative items. Our meeting lasted about an hour.

Wednesday I represented the Cary at a public hearing being held in Apex by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources on Cary’s Interbasin Transfer Certificate Modification request. Since Cary is divided by a ridge line we are in two river basins, the Neuse and the Cape Fear. Our water comes from Jordan Lake which is in the Cape Fear basin but our treatment plants don’t return all to the Cape Fear basin. Therefore, an Interbasin Transfer Certificate is required. Cary received this in 2002 with a promise to put most of the water back in the Cape Fear basin when a new regional wastewater plant was built. The plant, the $300 million Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities opened last fall. In 2013 the law regarding IBTs (Interbasin Transfers) was changed by the General Assembly. We are requesting modifications to our certificate to meet these changes and to ensure environmentally responsible and cost-effective water resources management through 2045. My remarks were as follows:
Good evening. I’m Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, and on behalf of the Cary Town Council and the more than 150,000 people who call Cary home, I want to thank the North Carolina Division of Water Resources for facilitating a comprehensive and inclusive process to ensure that the requested modification to the current interbasin transfer certificate does not adversely impact our region’s environment.

I am pleased to be commenting in favor of our requested modification to the current interbasin transfer certificate. This modification is necessary in order to be consistent with the 2013 changes to IBT law by the General Assembly, and to ensure environmentally responsible and cost-effective water resources management through 2045.

The 2013 changes to the IBT law require updating methodologies and assumptions, with IBT calculated as a daily average of a calendar month instead of as a maximum daily average. The requested IBT certificate modification, like the existing certificate, will be based on a 30-year planning period, which is consistent with the planning period for the Round Four Jordan Lake water supply allocation process currently underway. Additionally, the requested IBT certificate modification is consistent with Cary and Wake County’s 2013 Long Range Water Resources Plan and the Jordan Lake Partnership’s 2014 Triangle Regional Water Supply Plan.

I am happy to report that analysis performed by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources for 2060 shows that the requested IBT certificate modification will have no detrimental impact on any downstream communities’ ability to meet their water supply needs.

In addition to Cary’s long history of meeting or exceeding utility regulatory requirements, we’ve joined Apex, Morrisville and Wake County to aggressively minimize future interbasin transfer needs and maintain compliance with the current certificate. In November, these municipalities jointly opened the Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities, a $300 million system of wastewater pump stations with a water reclamation facility to return clean, high-quality wastewater to the Cape Fear basin. This was one of the largest, most successful public works projects in the recent history of our state, and we are very proud of our work and the results.

Throughout the state, Cary is known as a leader in environmental management, with efforts that include: curbside recycling, computer recycling, urban stream restoration, partnership for safe drinking water, mandatory year-round water conservation, 100-foot stream buffers, reclaimed water, sedimentation control, stormwater management, biosolids drying, and tree preservation. Each of these programs either represents firsts in the state, firsts in the region, or award-winning efforts by the Town of Cary, and it is with this history and this culture that we come to you with this certificate modification request.

We are committed to effectively and efficiently serving the region and being good neighbors to those downstream. As Mayor, I give my personal pledge that our organization will continue to be good stewards of our finite natural resources.

In closing, we appreciate being given the opportunity to comment on this project and the fair, full, and science-based consideration we know the agency will give to our request. Thank you.

Other elected officials speaking in favor of the IBT modifications included Mayor Sutton of Apex, Mayor Pro-Tem Johnson of Morrisville, and Wake County Commissioner Hutchinson. There will be another public hearing held in Fayetteville in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday the council held two quasi-judicial public hearings. This first hearing was whether or not to approve a site plan for a bank at the Bradford development at Davis Drive and High House. The council unanimously approved the 8626 square foot bank with no modifications to the town’s development standards. The second hearing was a site plan approval for the Crowne at Cary Park Apartments. This was not a decision of whether or not to approve the apartments. That decision was made in 2006. This was a decision to approve or disapprove five modifications to the development standards. The council unanimously agreed to accept a payment to install a traffic signal at the Cary Glen Boulevard/Carpenter Fire Station Road intersection, to a 9.5% reduction in parking, to the use of retaining walls for stormwater control, to eliminate connection to the Duke Energy substation, and to eliminate the sidewalk that would lead to the Duke Energy substation. The quasi-judicial hearing lasted about 1 ½ hours.

This week lifelong Cary resident Jean Ladd passed away. She and husband Dick Ladd were one of the few couples that were born and raised in this area and experienced Cary growing from a very small community to the 7th largest municipality in the state. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

Cary and Raleigh received another accolade this week. The Milken Institute ranked the Raleigh-Cary area #5 in the nation for “Best-Performing Cities”. In their comments they said: “although this area experienced solid employment growth over the past several years, it was the acceleration in job creation in 2014 that boosted it in our rankings. The area is becoming one of the leading innovation hubs on the East Coast, as witnessed by its 11th-place ranking in the importance of high-tech to its economy.”

Emails from staff this week included a news release about work beginning on Walnut Street from the US 1/64 southbound ramp to Piney Plains Road, and Buck Jones Road from Walnut Street to the Best Motor Imports business. Improvements include new sidewalks from Walnut Street to Buck Jones Road; the addition of a third northbound lane from Meeting Street to Buck Jones Road; improved lane alignment; and the widening of the existing bridge over US 1/64. There will be access to all businesses and citizens who live within or adjacent to the construction area throughout the project. The cost of the project will be about $7 million including right-of-way acquisition. This will be funded by NCDOT and the Town of Cary.

Other emails from staff included the December construction and activity report. Interesting notes included:
• There were 578 Single family permits in 2014 compared to 616 in 2013
• There were 625 townhome permits in 2014 compared to 318 in 2013
• There were no multi-family permits in 2014 compared to 492 in 2014
Based on this information and other information I have received it appears that Cary’s growth boom of 2013 has leveled off and that point is reflected in our 12 month population growth rate of 2.85%.

In other emails I received information about school capping from school board member Bill Fletcher. On January 20th the board will vote on staff recommendations to change capping. If approved the following will be implemented:
• Caps will be removed at Alston Ridge, Books, Cedar Forks, Combs, Forest Pines, Holly Ridge, Holly Springs, Jones Dairy, Lacy, Leesville, North Ridge ES, Apex HS, and Holly Springs HS.
• Caps will remain at Hodge Road, Holly Grove, Hunter, Mills Park ES, Mills Park MS, Walnut Creek ES
• Caps will be added at Cary ES, Davis Drive MS, Enloe MS, Panther Creek HS, and Heritage HS.
In other related information the school board will meet with the county commissioners on January 26th.

Emails from citizens this week included a complaint about noise from Austin Foods, questions about speed limit changes, a request to provide close captioning of council meetings, and a complaint about the operation of heavy equipment in Carolina Preserve during early morning hours.

Next week mayoral activities include a presentation of a preliminary version of the State of the Town, a town council meeting, and the MLK Dreamfest activities.

CORRECTION: In last week’s journal I stated that if the General Assembly changes the sales tax formula the impact to Cary combined with the Privilege License change could result in a loss of about $6 million in revenue. I also stated that this would be about 5 cents to the tax rate. That was not correct. One penny on Cary’s tax rate is equivalent to about $2.2 million so the loss would be 2 3/4 cents to the tax rate.

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

• Sunday, January 04th, 2015

harold2011_small2Happy New Year! This week was another holiday week so there were very few meetings.

On Monday morning I met with two newly elected county commissioners Jessica Holmes and Sig Hutchinson. We spent a great deal of our time talking about the greenway systems in Raleigh and Cary which was the purpose of the meeting. By 2017 there will be a strong chance that greenways could be connected from Falls Lake to Umstead Park, from Umstead Park to the American Tobacco Trail. That would provide one continuous route from Falls Lake to Durham. Commissioner Hutchinson mentioned that the county has open space money that they may consider to help connect gaps in various greenways throughout the county.

Our conversation also covered the school overcrowding in western Cary. Both commissioners were quick to point out that the capping and overcrowding is not a Cary problem but a county wide problem. They also stated that the earliest bond referendum would be in 2016 due to legislation made by the general assembly. We also discussed Cary’s development fees on schools which are used to cover the impacts any development has on water, sewer, and roads. I also pointed out that Cary does not have the authority to waive development impact fees. But our ordinance does allow different development districts, such as the downtown business improvement district, which has a different fee structure. The commissioners also questioned a past council decision to deny a modular school in Cary. I explained that modular units are allowed in Cary on a temporary basis. And since the school board’s purpose was to have those units for years then that didn’t meet the definition of temporary. To change the ordinance would allow modular units of other types throughout Cary on a more permanent basis.

Our last major conversation was about transit. They mentioned that they would prefer to have a rail component to Cary in phase 1. This is controversial to some people including one of our council members. We will see what the new transit committee does with that part of the plan.

Monday afternoon I met with a gentleman who is creating an Independent film in Cary called “Spices of Liberty”. This movie will show an Indian American immigrant’s perspective that the foundation of US Laws and Constitution have summarized the core of Hindu Scriptures. He also pointed out that spirituality and religion are different and that spirituality is integrated in our government. . For example, the statements “In God We Trust”, “God Bless America” are political but are a reflection of a spiritual mindset. All these interesting points will be part of the movie that is a beautiful love story of second generation Indian Americans. To find out more go to www.facebook.com/tiosia. The movie will be filmed in this area and should be released in 2016.

My last meeting on Monday was with a gentleman that moved here because of his business. He had asked his employers for an opportunity to come to Cary if there were ever a transfer and finally got that opportunity. He said that he has always been impressed with Cary and loves living here. He wanted to meet with me to tell me this and to talk about Cary.

Tuesday I joined Mayor Sears of Holly Springs in a conversation with NC Senator Barringer. We talked about a variety of issues coming up this year in the Legislative long session. The senator believes that the aesthetics bill, limiting municipal authority to control the look and feel of residential developments, will pass. It is currently in negotiation with the League of municipalities. The senator also mentioned that she will do what she can to protect Jordan Lake, our water source, from fracking. She mentioned that Cary may suffer from the sales tax distribution if it passes. This is part of the urban versus rural war that seems to have started in the legislature. She is very concerned about this and will work with all parties to help protect municipalities. The sales tax redistribution conversations in the general assembly could cost Cary about $4 million. This combined with the privilege license revenue loss would equal about $6 million less in revenue or about 5 cents on our tax rate. If Cary raised taxes to match the revenue loss it would be equivalent to about a 15% tax increase. So I, along with council members, staff, and other legislators will do what we can to prevent this from happening. Our meeting with Senator Barringer lasted a little over an hour.

In emails this week staff notified council that Novozymes decided to go to RTP rather than Cary and will give up the $375,000 incentive package that Cary offered with the state package. While this will mean that Cary will lose a $36 million building we should still get the benefits of their residents living and shopping in Cary. So while the news is disappointing there is still a positive in that Cary will benefit from their presence.

I also received email from the Homebuilders Association this week. In the email it reported that Wake County single family permits were down 5% for the past 12 months. Cary’s single family permits were down 6% during that same period.

Next week will be a full week but will remain somewhat slow as we ramp up to full speed. The main item on the calendar is a quasi-judicial hearing in which we will hear three items.

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

• Sunday, December 28th, 2014

harold2011_small2This week was a holiday week so there wasn’t a lot going on.

Monday afternoon I spoke with a reporter who wanted to know if I was concerned about Google fiber’s decision to delay their announcement about cities they will choose. It is important to understand that our staff has been working closely with Google fiber for months and, to my knowledge, have planned and resolved all issues. It is my belief that Cary will be one of the cities they will choose for their expansion. Their presence, in addition to the other fiber in town like AT&T, will improve the quality of life for our citizens and make Cary an even more attractive place to live, work, and play.

Monday I joined council members Bush and Frantz at the third annual Jewish Cultural festival at the Cary Arts Center. There were several speakers before the lighting of the Menorah including the featured speaker council member Bush. I read a proclamation recognizing the day. The lighting of the menorah was a little difficult for the Rabbis. The candle apparatuses would blow out just as fast as they were lit. Finally after about 20 minutes all were lit. The festival included traditional Chanukah food and activities. It appeared that there were at least a couple of hundred people in attendance and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Tuesday the town manager and I met with a couple of people interested in bringing a professional sports team to the region. They talked with us about our interest in supporting this idea. Our meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, after finishing work at my SAS job for the year, I joined my family to usher the 9 PM Christmas Eve service at our church. This is one of our family’s traditions that we started years ago.

The rest of the week was spent with the family enjoying the holiday. I also started work on the state of the town address which is due for proofreading and fact checking on January 5th.

The only emails from citizens this week were holiday greetings and thanks for my service. What a great town I live in! I am honored to be the mayor.
Next week is also a holiday week and will only include small meetings. I am joining a council member to meet with a couple of newly elected county commissioners on Monday. I also have a couple of meetings with citizens about a movie and about starting a business.

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

• Sunday, December 21st, 2014

harold2011_small2This week was a slower week as everything slowed down for the holiday break.

Monday I joined council members Smith, Bush, and Adcock at the annual Mayors Association banquet. It was a great time to meet and talk with elected officials from municipalities throughout Wake County and especially the new county commissioners. Many of the elected officials are looking forward to the new direction from the county commissioners.

Tuesday I spoke with the town manager briefly about a couple of issues. One was regarding working with another municipality on an issue and the other was about a business within the town.

Tuesday afternoon I met with the town attorney for our quarterly update. We went over about ten pending legal issues. It is my opinion that the town is in great legal standing. Our meeting lasted about half an hour.

Tuesday evening I met with several members of Sister Cities of Cary. The Town of Cary has four sister cities: Le Touquet, France, Markham, Ontario, Canada, Hsinchu, Taiwan, and County Meath, Ireland. A delegation from the Sister Cities of Cary visited Le Touquet, France earlier this year. This meeting was a presentation of the gifts sent to the town of Cary from Le Touquet, France and its mayor. One gift was a very nice picture of their entertainment venue (like our Page Walker). We are very fortunate to have such gracious, kind, and generous sister cities.

Wednesday I attended the Cary Economic Development Committee meeting. Here are some of the notable items:
• The technology center is taking over the innovation center. It was also noted that the town is considering providing space for key people in the entrepreneurial startup.
• There is an 8% vacancy rate of class A office space in Cary.
• Charles Duncan is interested in creating a fully accredited college in Cary with about 1400 students. He is current meeting with various people about this proposal.
• A 25,000 square foot retail and office space will be submitted soon for Chatham Street near Walker Street.
• In 1994 the US Government created an area in Cary which is eligible for significant CDFI Fund tax credits. It is bordered on the west by Academy Street, on the east by I40, on the North by the railroad, and on the south by Walnut Street and Cary Town Boulevard.
• The economic impact of the NCAA Division I College Cup held recently was estimated to be $5 million.
• The Regional Transportation Alliance is trying to attract a direct flight to Paris from RDU. If created Dr. Walden of NC State estimates that it would have an economic impact of $1.2 billion and 14,000 jobs.
• Under the McCrory administration Cary has had two of the top three job announcements: Met Life and HCL.
• Cary’s unemployment rate is 3.4% which is at pre-recession levels and is considered fully employed. Wake County is at 4.4% and the state is at 5.5%.
• The Economic Development Partnership of NC has located its headquarters in Weston and created 30 jobs. This is the marketing arm for the Department of Commerce for the entire state.
• The Research Triangle Regional Partnership will be moving their offices to Cary. They promote economic development for the entire Research Triangle Region. Cary now houses both the State and Regional economic development offices.
The committee also welcomed a new member, Laura Demarse, who is the Associate Dean at NC Central for Career Management and Student Professional Development. Our meeting concluded after about an hour.

Thursday I joined council member Bush in a meeting with management staff to discuss the way we name (or not) venues, roads, etc for past council members and staff. We came up with ideas that may recognize all past council members that have served. We will see how this proceeds once we get more information. It was the opinion of staff that things should not be named after former staff members even though we have Bill Coleman field and Annie Jones Park. Again, we will wait and see how that plays out.

Saturday my wife and I had the joy of attending a ballet performance by the Cary Ballet Company. First we were treated to the “Miracle on Madison” jazz performance. Next we enjoyed a wonderful performance of the Nutcracker. Cary is blessed to have so many talented people.

Saturday night my wife and I had the pleasure of attending a Christmas Carol sing-a-long at former Cary Council member Erv Portman’s house. Thanks to the Portman’s for making this a Christmas tradition for many in Cary.

Sunday my wife and I attended the last Christmas party of the year. Then our family joined council member Bush’s family in celebrating Chanukah. Even though we are not Jewish it was very special for us to share that holiday with them. I feel so blessed to live in a diverse community where everyone embraces different ideas, cultures, and religions.

In accolades this week Wake County Economic Development tweeted that Cary ranks as #1 for the nicest housing market in the US.

Emails this week included a correspondence with school board member Fletcher about capped schools. Though it is only preliminary at this point, it appears that the school board will be considering lifting caps for many of the western Cary schools.

Emails from citizens this week included a complaint about drivers in Cary, comments about the Golf Complex written about in the local newspaper (council hasn’t seen this and I don’t think it has been proposed to staff), a complaint about streetlights being out, a complaint about a homeless person in Morrisville begging for money, and a complaint about a sidewalk. There were also numerous invitations to future events and a YouTube of Christmas lights in Cary.

Next week is a holiday week so my duties will be light. Those duties will include the Jewish Cultural festival and a couple of meetings. The rest of the week will be spent enjoying time with my family and writing the state of the town address.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 28th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

• Sunday, December 14th, 2014

harold2011_small2This week was one of the busiest weeks I have had since I have been mayor.

Monday started with phone calls to council members about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting agenda. I was able to contact all council members except council member Frantz. Council members commented about the Herndon rezoning proposal, the land development ordinance amendments round 30 and 28, allowable automobile uses in downtown, and the Triangle Math and Science Academy. But most of the conversations focused on the proposed art in the town square.

Later Monday I met with Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock, management, directors, legal, public information, and administration to go over the entire agenda. We discussed several of the items relating to council members and how staff could prepare to answer questions they might get. I predicted our meeting would last until about 10:00.

After the agenda review meeting I met with the town manager, deputy town manager, and assistant town managers to go over several issues that included Google Fiber and recruitment of businesses in downtown Cary.

Monday night the council held a quasi-judicial hearing to decide on three cases. The first case was the site plan review with modifications for Spring Arbor of Cary which will be an assisted living facility on Kildaire Farm Road next to US 1. After over an hour of discussion the council approved modifications which included improved building aesthetics, a buffer reduction along US 1, removal of some champion trees while saving others, and a payment in lieu of creating a median on Kildaire Farm Road since the median won’t be built for years.

The second case was the site plan for phases one and two of a subdivision which was divided by the Chatham County line. The site is bounded by the American Tobacco Trail to the west and a creek to the east. Given environmental constraints and recreational benefits, the council agreed to the modifications that included the removal of one champion tree and a reduced connectivity index.

The final case was the subdivision plan for Canterbury Downs which is on Davis Drive at Farmpond Road. The proposal requested several modifications which the council rejected. The site plan was also rejected. The applicant now has to wait one year unless the council grants a waiver. The quasi-judicial meeting in its entirety lasted about 3 ½ hours.

On Tuesday the council held a work session on six topics.

The first topic was on street connectivity. Staff proposed a three tier system so that some streets would not be required to be connected. For example, where there is no safety issues that require a connection and where a subdivision was planned before the 1999 connectivity ordinance. In addition, staff proposed emergency connectivity. That is, no vehicular traffic but a space where emergency vehicles could safely cross if needed. Council agreed to move forward with this proposal as long as the stubs don’t have fences.

The second topic was on single-family lot grading and mass grading. The current rules require a permit before grading can occur on lots 3 or less per acre. Developers were getting dozens of permits and mass grading the site. Staff informed council that data shows developers don’t mass grade with larger lot sizes. Council decided to change to a larger minimum lot size to try and address this issue.

The third topic was on land use planned densities and lot sizes. Council directed staff to split medium density from 3 to 8 units an acre to two densities classifications of 3 to 5 units and acre and 6 to 8 units an acre. In addition, council asked that minimum lot sizes be used for the land use plan. For example, low density would now be defined as 12,000 square feet or larger.

The fourth topic was on townhome recreation standards. Currently gathering space and or active community gathering spaces are required for townhome communities. For townhome developments of 15 acres or greater the site includes such things as a central plaza/green, outdoor dining areas, fountains/water features, and/or public art. The staff provided examples of several townhome communities which showed larger communities even did more than what was required. After the discussion council decided that current requirements were working. However, we did ask the staff if it was possible to survey residents of smaller townhome developments to find out if those open areas are useful.

Our fifth topic of the work session was on our Tree Protection and Enforcement ordinance. Staff explained that even though new development sites have protection fences and signs developers sometimes remove trees. In addition, there are some residents who buy homes and remove streetscape buffers which are a violation. Council decided to not fine those residents but make sure they replanted vegetation. Other violations would be subject to fines and revegetation. One interesting note is that all fines collected for this violation go to the Wake County Schools. Last year Cary collected $15,000 in fines for this type of violation.

The last topic of the work session was whether or not to replace Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock who is the District D representative. She will be leaving council to serve in the NC House. I did a quick poll of council members and only two favored replacing Mrs. Adcock. It should be pointed out that it could take a couple of months to appoint someone AND that person can only serve up to the election which is in October. Most council members felt it was not worth the time and expense for that short amount of time. Council does think there is potential to appoint someone who is elected immediately after they are elected. That is, if someone wins the October election we could appoint them in October rather than wait until December.

Wednesday was a busy day for me. It started with a TV spot on ABC11 for the Food Bank’s Heart of Carolina Food Drive. I was at the Kroger off Maynard Road along with volunteers from Cisco and NC Food Bank board members. Just before my spot began a kind gentleman drove up and gave a check for $2000. What a great gift and from someone in our great community. By the end of the day ABC11’s Heart of Carolina Food Drive was able to reach their goals.

At lunch Wednesday I went to the Herb Young Center to greet town employees before the holiday luncheon. I, along with council member Yerha, shook the hands of 697 employees. I was fortunate enough to be able to have short conversations with a few. Later I gave remarks and thanked them for what they do to make Cary the greatest place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

Wednesday afternoon council member Robinson and I met with several staff members to go over Cary’s greenway system and future plans for our greenways. It appears that Cary will be very close in 2017 to having trails connect from Lake Crabtree to the American Tobacco trail. It is also believed that Raleigh will have trails connected to Umstead by that time. So with a few segments we could have trails through Raleigh, Cary to Durham. This was very exciting news to me and Mrs. Robinson and I will continue to work with others to find out more.

Wednesday evening I gave welcoming remarks at a reception for the NCAA Division I College Cup held in Cary over the weekend. This was our 10th time holding this Division I national championship. In attendance at the reception were representatives from the NCAA, the host college Campbell, CASL (Capital Area Soccer League), the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, and the Town of Cary. With this great partnership we were once again able to host another great final four.

Wednesday night I gave remarks at the CAP (Citizens Assisting Police) dinner held in the Carolina Preserve. Our CAP team members assist the Cary Police in numerous ways. It is estimated that this year they have provided 6000 hours of service and have saved the town $145,000. They are one of the reasons Cary is one of the safest places in the nation. God bless them all!

Thursday was the only regularly scheduled council meeting of December and the last meeting for council member Gale Adcock. Not only has Mrs. Adcock helped me be a better leader but we have become good friends. While all of us on council will miss her we know that she will be a very strong advocate for Cary and for municipalities. It is my belief that she will thrive in her new role.

At the first part of the meeting the council passed a resolution commending Mayor Pro-Tem for her seven years of service on the council. The council next held a public hearing on the Herndon property which is proposing three single family units an acre at the corner of Turner Creek and Highway 55. Council discussed several items and approved making several part time employees full time, integrated art concepts for the downtown park, a park and ride agreement with TTA for the town’s parking deck, and a new process for rezoning that includes an information session to be held by staff before a public hearing. Our meeting ended after a little over three hours.

Friday night I attended the opening of Triangle Wine Company. They sell fine wines and craft beers including a lot of the local breweries. I spent time meeting people and talking to the owner and to the owner of Fortnight Brewery of Cary. I believe they will be a big success in their location in the new Waverly Place.

Saturday morning I was supposed to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army at the Walmart. Unfortunately, there must have been a mix-up with the scheduling because there was no kettle or bell to ring. Please do what you can to support their great mission.

Saturday afternoon I joined all council members but Robinson to participate in the Cary Christmas parade. Like last year we were on a float provided by council member Frantz. We had a great time throwing out candy and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Since we were the fourth of ninety groups I was able to see most of the parade with my wife. I spoke with Ralph Ashworth who has seen most of the Christmas parades and he believed this was the largest crowd ever. While the amazing weather played a part in drawing the crowd, I would like to think that interest is growing in downtown and the parade.

Saturday night my wife and I dined at Belle’s restaurant across from the Cary Arts Center. The food was fabulous. If you haven’t tried it then it should definitely be on your places to try.

Afterwards we attended a performance of the Nutcracker by the International Ballet Company. This is their 5th year in existence and they have already produced 6 professional dancers. This original choreographed performance of the Nutcracker was amazing. The choreography combined with the incredible talent made for a wonderful show that was a perfect holiday experience. Needless to say my wife and I had a wonderful time.

Emails from citizens this week included accolades for a police officer, requests for meetings which is true every week, and comments for and against rezonings.

Next week will include a Mayors Association dinner, an Economic Development meeting, several meetings and luncheons, and the Cary Ballet’s version of Nutcracker.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 21st. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

• Sunday, December 07th, 2014

harold2011_small2This week consisted of meetings and events.

Monday I met with the town manager to go over about a dozen issues. Our discussion included a potential meeting of the Cary Town Council and the Wake County Commissioners, issues related to the new Wake County library to be built across from the Cary Arts Center, a potential public-private partnership on turf fields, and a development proposal downtown. Our meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

Tuesday I joined council members Smith, Frantz, and Yerha to break ground for the new firestation #2 on Chatham Street. I joined the town manager and fire chief in making remarks. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:
“…it’s my pleasure to welcome you to downtown Cary and to the site of what will be our newest fire station.
Based on results from our 2014 Biennial Survey, we know Cary citizens are passionate about safety. In fact, 97% of citizens responded that they feel safe or extremely safe in Cary. And when it comes to our Fire Department, citizens gave it the highest marks of any department, awarding our firefighters with an overall A+ for all service areas including: Competence, Courteous, Fairness, Problem solving, Response time
This is a result of the tireless efforts by our fire personnel who will soon have this new station to call home. Let’s give a round of applause for our men and women in red, the folks who see us at our worst and help us get back to our best.
Of course we wouldn’t be here without support from our citizens. In 2012, Cary voters overwhelmingly supported the Fire Station Bonds Referendum. With its passing, we’re able to move forward and give our heroes in red an adequate home away from home and to help meet or exceed response time’s goals. Thank you for investing in Cary. Our community is undoubtedly better for it. …”
The remarks were followed by the traditional turning of the dirt photo op and then a reception. I look forward to the ribbon cutting next year.

Wednesday I was interviewed by Sam Penry who was working on a merit badge. His interview lasted about 30 minutes and most of our conversation centered on growth in western Cary. We had a good time and I hope to attend his Eagle Scout ceremony in the future.

Saturday morning I gave welcoming remarks at the Ole Time Winter Festival in downtown Cary. There are 70 vendors in addition to the great businesses already in downtown Cary. Some of the new businesses that have opened or are almost open this year include Paisley’s Boutique, Belles Restaurant, Crosstown Pub, and Pharmacy Bottle and Beverage. And that is just some of the new businesses. We should have more announcements soon as the momentum in downtown continues.

Saturday night I, along with council members Yerha and Frantz, had the honor and privilege to attend Cary’s 27th Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Due to the rain the event was held in the council chambers. Two to three hundred people were treated to phenomenal entertainment for about an hour. Next we all headed outside where our honorary tree lighters, Beth and Anthony Blackmon, threw the switch after a countdown by the crowd. It was a great time and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it.

In emails this week staff sent out a summary of development and construction activity for November. Here are some of the interesting points:
• In October single family permits were up 1.4% nationally, 6.3% statewide, and down 30% in Cary from the previous month.
• The top 5 subdivisions obtaining permits were Collins Grove, Southerlyn, Laurel Crossings, Village Square at Amberly, and Fryars Gate.
• In November the average single family dwelling was 3,831 square feet compared to November 2010 when it was 3,212 square feet.
• 12 development plans were submitted for review by staff in November that included: 267 single family lots, 18,868 square feet of commercial, and 12,054 square feet of office.
Projects approved in November include:
• 20 single family homes off Penny Road at the Sherwood at Regency
• Cinebistro at Waverly Place modifications to the existing building
• 6200 square foot medical office on Davis Drive
• 1437 square foot clubhouse for Fryars Gate
If you would like to see the entire list of approved projects go to http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Planning+Department/Planning+Department+PDFs/planreview/Current+Year+Approved+Projects+(sorted+by+Date).pdf. The list of projects being reviewed by staff can be found at http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Planning+Department/Planning+Department+PDFs/planreview/Active+Projects+in+the+Review+Process+(sorted+by+date).pdf.

Emails from citizens this week included a complaint about a sidewalk, a complaint about a neighbor’s Christmas display, and a question about a homebuilder’s practices.

Next week will be one of the busiest weeks, if not the busiest week, since I have been mayor. It will include a quasi-judicial hearing, a work session, a long council meeting, several speaking events, other events, and meetings.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 14th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

• Monday, December 01st, 2014

harold2011_small2This week was the Thanksgiving holiday week and so there was very little going on in the mayor’s office.

Monday I met with the town manager. We spent most of our time looking at sketches of a proposed business development on Chatham Street. Slowly but surely interest continues to grow in downtown. This is just one of several proposals that may be coming forward in this coming year.

Tuesday I met with a staff member of the Public Information Office and a person in charge of overhauling the town’s website. They were interested in my opinions on how to improve the website. My biggest concern was the ability to search for items. I also suggested several ways to change the landing page to be more citizen friendly including allowing citizen dashboards. Our town has a wealth of information. It is important that we continue to look for ways to get that information to the people that need it.

Thanksgiving I was blessed to be surrounded by all my immediate family and friends. Included at my dinner table were my wife, daughters & boyfriend, brother, my aunt (wife of the late Mayor Bond), cousins, mother-in-law, and a friend from work. It was a great time filled with laughter and joy. I hope your Thanksgiving brought you happiness and joy.

In the newspaper last week there was a story about the tabling of rezonings west of 55. The story only focused on schools as our reason for not approving. It also implied that we are preventing the property owners from developing their property. Schools were only one of the reasons considered by council in their decision to table these rezonings. It is important to understand that council has a list of criteria to consider for every rezoning. That criterion includes:
• The proposed rezoning corrects an error or meets the challenge of some changing condition, trend or fact;
• The proposed rezoning is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the purposes set forth in Section 1.3 of the Land Development Ordinance;
• The Town and other service providers will be able to provide sufficient public safety, educational, recreational, transportation and utility facilities and services to the subject property while maintaining sufficient levels of service to existing development;
• The proposed rezoning is unlikely to have significant adverse impacts on the natural environment, including air, water, noise, stormwater management, wildlife and vegetation;
• The proposed rezoning will not have significant adverse impacts on other property in the vicinity of the subject tract; and
• The proposed zoning classification is suitable for the subject property.
Notice that schools/education is listed as part of the criteria in #3. It is also important to point out that any property owner can build at any time with their current zoning. A rezoning is a consideration to change the zoning which is how the town regulates the kinds of allowed uses or the way development is configured on the land. It does NOT prevent development.

Emails from citizens were very light this week. There was a complaint from a property owner that our tabling of their rezoning was not fair. I also received a complaint about building practices by Standard Pacific Homes.

Next week will be back to being busy. In addition to meetings there will be the groundbreaking of Fire Station #2, the Ole Time Winter Festival, and the town’s tree lighting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 7th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

• Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

harold2011_small2This was a busy week as we tried to do as much as possible before the holiday week.

Monday started with calls to council members to hear their questions or concerns about the agenda for Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was only able to contact council members Yerha and Bush. Our discussion focused on appointments to the Wake County Transit Investment Strategy Study Advisory Committee and a couple of rezonings. Later Monday I met with staff and Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock to go over the agenda. Since there were only two public hearings and no closed session I predicted that our meeting would conclude by 9:30.

Monday night I met with the Mayors Association in Fuquay. Our main topic of discussion was the legislature and the actions they are planning to take. Some mayors disclosed information from inside sources that the assault on municipal revenues would continue. In this session it is predicted that sales tax money (25% of Cary’s revenue) would be distributed to more rural areas rather than the point of sale. That is, even though sales tax is collected for something is sold in Cary some of that revenue would go to rural areas rather than come back to Cary. In addition, it was also disclosed that the state might move maintenance of all roads within municipalities to the towns and cities. In Cary that would mean about 200 miles of state roads would become our responsibility. That would be a HUGE cost. To put it in perspective one lane mile of road is about a million dollars which is about a penny on our tax rate (34 cents per $100). We all agreed that at this point we need to develop better relationships with our Wake County delegation before the session and before we are asking for anything.

Tuesday I joined council member Bush in the taping of the December episode of Cary Matters. Our main segment explained zoning in detail. The Q&A addressed police body armor and discounted taxes for seniors.

Later Tuesday the council held a work session on three topics.

The first topic was to review Legislature Advocacy Conference Goals from the NC League of Municipalities. We took 41 goals, selected the top 25, and categorized them into High, Medium, and Low priorities. That process took about 15 to 20 minutes. The second topic was somewhat related as we reviewed last year’s Cary legislative agenda and provided comments for this year’s legislative agenda. We will vote on that agenda at a later date. This portion of the work session took about 40 minutes.

Our last topic of discussion was the pros and cons of appointing a replacement for Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock who will be serving in the NC Legislature starting in January. Some of the benefits of appointing a replacement included avoiding 3-3 ties and having a representative for district D citizens. Comments related to not appointing included the point that council member Yerha lives in district D, council rarely has 4 to 3 votes on critical issues, and that it takes months to get up to speed and comfortable serving as a council member regardless of experience. The council decided not to make a final decision since council member Frantz was absent recovering from surgery. However, it did appear that the majority of council members were leaning not to appoint a replacement. We will take up the subject again at the December 9th work session.

Wednesday was a very busy day for me which required me to take vacation time from work. Taking vacation for town functions is nothing unusual and I usually use about 2 of my vacation weeks a year for this purpose.

Wednesday afternoon I had the honor of giving remarks at the dedication of the Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility. It took about 10 years and $300 million dollars to get this facility built and it will server our citizens and our region for about 20 to 25 years. This project was on time and under budget. Partners in the building of this facility included Wake and Chatham County, and the Towns of Apex and Morrisville, the New Hill community, a laundry list of state and federal agencies, and private contractors. The Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities is an excellent example of how all the levels of our government can accomplish great things when we have a shared vision and commitment to our community and our county’s future. The ceremony lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by a reception.

After the dedication I hurried to downtown Raleigh to attend the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting. We only had a few items on the agenda and none of them were critical decision items.

Next it was back to Cary Town Hall. I sat in and listened to the Aging issues Task Force. The purpose of the group is to assess the Town’s level of age-friendliness by reviewing the Triangle J Council of Government’s Livability Toolkit and providing recommendations to Town Council to support an aging population.

Next I met with UNC Chapel Hill reporting student Madison Gardner. She was doing a final report on how Cary is still a town even though it is larger in size than some North Carolina cities and how Cary works to keep an intimate, small town atmosphere even though it is continuing to grow and flourish. Her interview lasted about 30 minutes. As a side note, Madison is a cheerleader at UNC.

Thursday evening I attended a reception and gave remarks at the annual Hometown Spirit Award. There were three fantastic nominees this year.

The first nominee Steve Linton served his community by helping with recovering alcoholics, Jobs for Life with Dorcas ministries, and starting a company to assist women getting back on their feet.

The second nominee was Barbara Magee who has been teaching at Green Hope High School ten years. She promoted community service, as a requirement of your curriculum, in order to foster a sense of stewardship in students and build pride and investment in our town. Her students have logged over 42,000 of service by doing things like maintaining trails at Hemlock Bluffs, removing litter from our streets and streams, helping the Town with compost education and outreach goals, supporting the Town’s green events and celebrations such as Reuse Rodeo, Arbor Day, and Earth Day.

The third nominee was David Martin who coined the phrase “The only place you can go that is better than Cary is heaven.” In addition to being a successful businessman Mr. Martin has been a strong advocate for our town and helps preserve our neighbor-helping-neighbor community. Some examples of his kindness include helping a widow repair a leaking roof, giving emergency housing to a family in financial stress; incubating beginning churches with free meeting space are just a few examples of the many acts of kindness and generosity.

Thursday night the council held the only regularly scheduled (non quasi-judicial) meeting of the month. At the beginning of the meeting I was joined by 2013 Hometown Spirit Award winner Jerry Miller. He announced this year’s winner David Martin and we congratulated him and presented him the award. We are blessed to have so many great people serving and helping keep our small town feel.

The remainder of the meeting included three major rezonings west of Highway 55 which were tabled after applicants pre-meeting talks with various council members and after applicants heard our discussion about issues related to growth in western Cary. Council members expressed desire to approve low density single family residential in western Cary but with no relief school overcrowding coming in the near future and major traffic issues they couldn’t approve these requests.

School information provided to me by our school board representative stated that in western Cary additional elementary capacity won’t be available until 2016, high school capacity won’t be available until 2018, and middle school capacity even later.

Other items at our meeting included two public hearings, the Wake County Transit Investment Strategy Study Advisory Committee Appointments, and a request to investigating potential risks supporting a resolution recommending the approval of tax-exempt bonds for the financing of Triangle Math and Science Academy. Our meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.

Friday I had the pleasure of welcoming everyone to the 4th Annual Waverly Place Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. After my remarks I introduced Santa and he lit the tree with his magic after a count down. There was a good crowd on hand and great entertainment. What a great way to start the holiday season.

Emails from citizens this week included a concern about rezonings in west Cary and a concern about homes being built in Fryars Gate. I also received a lot of invitations, dinners, and performances. While I would like to do them all there just aren’t enough free slots on the calendar. But I do look forward to those I can attend.

Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday week and will be very slow for me. It only includes a couple of meetings. I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends and enjoying some down time. My wish to all of you is that you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 30th. 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.