Archive for the Category ◊ Uncategorized ◊

• Sunday, December 10th, 2017

This was a busy week with several long nights.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Employee of the Year Luncheon

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

Preparing for Potential Wintry Mix

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

TJCOG Staff Presentation

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

Cary Named “Rising Star”

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

Finalist Firms Selected for Branding Process

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

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Ribbon Cutting

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

AAA Utility Bond Ratings Confirmed

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

“A Festive Fountain” Float for Christmas Parade

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

Louis Stephens Dr. Extension Update

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

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

Recognitions

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

 

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

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

 

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

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 17th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 03rd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Regional Transportation Conference in Richmond

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

Connected Vehicles Project

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

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

Continuous Wastewater Service Provided After Pipe Damaged

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

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

Easier Process for Adopting Rezoning and LDO Amendments

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

Legacy Gift Donation Installed

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

Harnessing Sewer Science in Fight Against Opioids

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

First Responders Breakfast

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

OneCary Approach to Re-Inspections

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

Median Plantings Continue

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

Academy Street Improvement Projects Receives Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cary Top 10 City for Best Quality of Life

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

Recognitions

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

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

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

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 10th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, November 26th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Review Phase

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

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

Background on the MTP

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

What’s unique about the Draft 2045 MTP?

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

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

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

Submit Comments

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

Follow CAMPO

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 3rd.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, November 19th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Some notable items from the financial update included:

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

According to staff our financial status remains very strong.

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

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

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

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

Historic preservation included the following points in its session:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

First Quarter Takeaways

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

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

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

Lori Cove Sentencing Update

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

Cary TV Offered on Google TV

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

Temporary Cell Towers Installed

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

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

Best-Tasting Water Contest

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

Cary Represented at Water Works Association Meeting

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

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

Charity Golf Tournament

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

Median Plantings Continue

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

Thanksgiving Week Preview

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

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

Recognitions

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 26th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, November 12th, 2017

This was a big week for me as I walked my youngest daughter down the aisle.

Monday I met with Council members Frantz and Bush, the town manager, deputy town managers, and other staff to talk about development in downtown Cary. Years ago Cary approved the Town Center Plan and this year we approved the Cary Community Plan. Both of these plans called for more density in the downtown area. We now have a lot of interest from developers to implement portions of the plan. That was what we spent the meeting discussing.

Tuesday I attended the funeral for Zebulon Mayor Matheny’s wife who recently passed away. She was a very accomplished lady and practiced psychology in Zebulon and Morrisville. My prayers and thoughts continue to be with Mayor Matheny and his family.

Later Tuesday I attended a special meeting of the Economic Development Committee on branding. Cary staff had narrowed the consultant candidates down from 18 to 4. The committee will now review the initial proposals from the final 4 and meet in December to discuss and hopefully come up with a recommendation for the council. For me one of the ultimate goals of this process is to make “Cary” recognizable throughout the United States without the words “town” or “North Carolina”. If we continue to be an excellent community and are successful branding we should be able to continue to recruit major corporations from all over the world to locate in Cary.

Tuesday night elections were held in several Wake County municipalities. Raleigh, Fuquay, Wake Forest, Holly Springs, and others re-elected their mayors. Morrisville elected a new mayor. The Apex, Holly Springs, and Morrisville councils have several new people. It is interesting that Apex and Holly Springs now have new majorities based on what some believe is a backlash from rapid growth. This is exactly what Cary went through in 1999. I offered congratulations, help, and advice to my neighboring elected officials who were interested.

Thursday I had the honor and privilege of being a part of a ceremony to receive a $250,000 grant from the state for the benefit of Western Wake Chambers of Commerce. This money was budgeted in the last legislative session thanks to Senator Barringer. Some examples of how the money could be used included:

  • Development of a youth leadership program in partnership with local public and private high schools.
  • Establishment of a young professional’s network, particularly to work with youth in developing a stronger work ethic and private sector experiences.
  • Facilitate honor a teacher awards.
  • Organization or expansion of member driven Day of Service.
  • Growth of local leadership and Entrepreneurship programs to develop area through leaders.

Cary’s portion of these funds was $130,000 based on population. Upon completion of this fiscal year each organization must provide a detailed analysis including how funds have been allocated and how these funds specifically impacted each Chamber’s program of work for the benefit of youth in our communities. Other municipalities involved included Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville, and Fuquay Varina. Mayors from Apex and Fuquay Varina were also at this event as well as council members from Morrisville, and chamber members from each municipality.

Friday I had the pleasure of talking with Mayor-Elect TJ Cawley from Morrisville. I shared information about experiences I had when I first became mayor and processes I/we put in place so that the council could function in the most efficient and fair way with a goal of being transparent and communicating with our citizens. It was my impression that Mr. Cawley is very interested in making his council and town better through transparency and process. I hope he succeeds and wish him the best.

Most of Friday and Saturday was spent in events for my youngest daughter’s wedding. It was a great time and I wish the best for my daughter and my new son in-law who now embark on the greatest journey of their lives.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Previewing Next Week

On Tuesday, we will gather for our first quarterly meeting under our new way of approaching the budget process. The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. and will be hosted at SAS. For those attending, a parking pass has been added to your calendar entry. We are excited to provide an update of our financial position and have a conversation about Council priorities.

And on Thursday, we will all be back at Town Hall for the Hometown Spirit Award Reception, followed by a Council meeting.

Employee of the Year Reception

On Wednesday, staff gathered at the Cary Arts Center for the new and improved Employee of the Year reception. New this year, we had a catered reception, service award booths, and a photo booth among with props, not to mention the many presents for those employees celebrating their 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years with the Town.

In addition, our Employee of the Year nominees were recognized by our Town management and their fellow employees. We look forward to recognizing all our employees again on Wednesday, December 6 for the luncheon. We would like to thank Mayor Pro Tem Ed Yerha, and Council Members Frantz and George for attending the party.

Fenton Website & Contact Update

At the Council meeting last Thursday, Council requested that staff set-up a process that would make citizen engagement in the Fenton rezoning process as easy as possible. To that end, we have created a webpage that has all the relevant information related to Fenton, including naming Rob Wilson as the primary point of contact for all citizen inquiries.

Speaking at The Cary Rotary

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of visiting and speaking with the Cary Rotary Club. I was in awe of the group, in particular how impactful they have been on creating the Cary we know today. Their service to the history of Cary is significant and all the more reason our work of keeping Cary great is so important.

Phase I – 311 Space Construction

You may notice space changes the next time you’re at Town Hall. As we embark on our unprecedented journey to create the local government that doesn’t exist, creating a central hub for citizen engagement, a 311 Center, is necessary to serve as the backbone to this endeavor. With Town Hall closing on Friday, we are seizing an opportunity to construct this space. Located on the first floor across from the Development Services citizen counter, the space will house about a dozen employees. The few employees who currently work in that space will continue to do so for now, and all operations otherwise across Town will continue per usual come Monday.

In conjunction with construction, the work team leading the creation of Cary’s 311 Center has started engaging our current customer service staff at Public Works and Town Hall to share their invaluable perspective. With no true blue prints to follow, what will drive the creation of this space is the employees who choose to share their vision and dedicate themselves to making it a reality. This is an important milestone and I look forward to this first step in creating a single source of truth for both citizens and employees.

Chambers to Develop Workforce Readiness Programs

Mayor Weinbrecht joined Sen. Tamara Barringer, municipal elected officials from western Wake County and representatives from the western Wake County Chambers of Commerce for a check presentation. The General Assembly appropriated $250,000 to the chambers to develop a program for schools focusing on workforce readiness and entrepreneurship that uses experiential, hands-on learning.

Alston Ridge Groundbreaking

This morning, Mayor Pro Tem Yerha and Council Member George joined county commissioners and Wake County school board representatives at the groundbreaking of Alston Ridge Middle School.

Cary Staff in the News

Reid Serozi took to LinkedIn to talk about how the smart city movement has been focused on core infrastructure like broadband and sensors, but the conversation is beginning to shift to an even more important element – people. You can read about “The Rise of Citizen-Centered Government” here.

And last month, I was interviewed by GovLoop about HR challenges and current workforce issues. I was able to speak about my approach that above all else, everything we do is a human endeavor, as well as the belief that our current employees have untapped resources that can be leveraged for future opportunities. You can read the full GovLoop report here.

Presentation at Fonville Morisey

As a follow-up to the Cary Realtor Tour the Town hosted, I was invited to speak to a Fonville Morisey Team in Raleigh. I presented on the development and redevelopment opportunities in Eastern Cary Gateway (Fenton and Cary Town Mall) and also shared about the revitalization efforts and successes in Downtown. Approximately 30 realtors were in attendance.

NCDOT Project Updates

US-64 Improvements from Laura Duncan Rd. to US-1

US-64 is a critical corridor for both transportation and economic development for our region, with the project limits spanning both Cary and Apex town limits. NCDOT is partnering with Cary to address congestion, access and safety concerns while improving mobility and aesthetics along the corridor. The corridor experiences double the state average crash rate, significant regional traffic and afternoon peak hours from 2-6 p.m. Traffic studies indicate that grade separations/interchanges are needed at both Laura Duncan and Lake Pine intersections. Anticipated next steps include:

  • NCDOT project website launched November 2017
  • Engaging with focus groups November – March 2018
  • Public Meetings conducted Spring 2018
  • Right of way acquisition beginning in 2020
  • Anticipated construction beginning in 2022

1-440 Improvements from I-40 to Wade Avenue

This section of the beltline is located in Raleigh city limits and does not meet current design standards. The proposed improvements include widening approximately six miles of I-440 from two to three lanes in each direction while improving the interchanges with Jones Franklin Road, Western Blvd, Hillsborough Street and Wade Avenue. Additional improvements include eliminating bottlenecks at both ends of the project, improving site distance, widening shoulders and medians, increased acceleration and deceleration lanes, median barrier with plantings and improved bike/pedestrian access. Anticipated next steps include:

  • Complete environmental document in early 2018
  • Begin Right of Way and Construction in July 2018

Monthly Utility Report

According to the November Utility Report, our wastewater treatment facilities are continuing to operate well and meet their targets for nutrient removal. Staff are advancing a number of important offseason maintenance activities, as well as completing this year’s freeze protection planning and procedures. There is additional data provided including benchmarking information of our utility rate and Jordan Lake water level data.

Staff Engages Ashley Downs HOA

Ashley Downs Home Owners Association invited staff to come to their annual HOA meeting on Monday night. Cassie Schumacher-Georgopoulos, and Scot Berry from Development Services discussed various private developments around their community, including vacant land around the I 540 interchange, and how the Imagine Cary, and specifically the destination center designation in the growth frame work map would help guide future development.  In addition we gave a brief overview of the Green Level West Road widening that the Town is working on. There were about 20 homeowners in attendance, and we shared various ways they can stay involved in what’s happening around their community.

Median Plantings Underway

This week, staff completed median plantings at Ten Ten Road, West Lake Road and Yates Store Road. Below is a below/after photo example of Yates Store Road.

GoCary Food Drive

November 13-17, GoCary will be hosting a week-long food drive to benefit our community. As part of GoCary’ s fifth annual food drive, passengers who bring canned or non-perishable food items to any fixed-route GoCary bus can ride for free all day on November 15. All items collected will be donated to Cary’s Dorcas Ministries Food Pantry to meet the high demand of food assistance during the holiday season.

Citizens can also drop off donated food in bins located in the Town Hall lobby, Police Department lobby and Public Works lobby. The goal is to collect over 1,500 pounds of non-perishable food items.

Recognitions

A huge hand of applause goes to all the staff involved in throwing the Employee of the Year Reception (aka party!). Thanks to the entire HR team, the Cary Arts Center staff, PRCR graphic design guru’s, Amina Shah for her new ideas, and the Public Works Special Events Crew. In particular, thanks go to Kim Berthiaume and Karen Spurlin for orchestrating the party!

 

Emails this week included notification that Cary Top-Rated Amtrak station in the country.

Staff sent out a press release announcing that Cary is one of eleven cities in the U.S. that will receive part of one million dollars to fund environmental efforts. The program is supported by five investor foundations: The JPB Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, The New York Community Trust, The Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation. This grant cycle also includes $127,500 awarded to three green stormwater infrastructure projects, designed to advance water-related sustainability goals, made possible by the support of the Pisces Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and the Turner Foundation.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request to change school schedules (School schedules are a function of the Wake County Public School System).
  • A complaint that Cary is discriminatory. (I disagree. We are a welcoming, diverse community)
  • A concern about the Fenton development.
  • A concern that an individual has a Morrisville address but couldn’t vote in their election. (Addresses are a reflection of the post office that delivers your mail. There are Cary citizens with Morrisville, Raleigh, Apex, etc addresses)

Next week will be very busy for me and includes a mini council-staff retreat, a speaking engagement at Glenaire, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board, a graduation ceremony for the Citizen Police Academy, a reception for the Hometown Spirit Award, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a tree lighting ceremony at Waverly Place, and a tree lighting ceremony at Parkside Commons.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 19th.  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, November 05th, 2017

This week was my last busy week before it slows down next week. The reason for the slowdown next week is that my baby girl is getting married on Veterans Day… gulp.

Monday started with contacting council members to hear of concerns and questions for the regularly scheduled council meeting on Thursday. I was able to contact four of them and there were no major concerns or questions. They were interested in what plans would be shown for the Columbia Development Public Hearing (across Cary Town Boulevard from the mall). Later in the day I met with staff and we went over the agenda items. At the time we estimated that there would not be a lot of speakers and that the meeting would be relatively short.

After the meeting I met briefly with the town manager and Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha. We were updated on several items including the traffic accident involving the little girl at Laurel Park elementary. The manager assured us that safety was our highest priority and that the police chief had this as his highest priority. We will work with NCDOT, Apex, and the WCPSS, who are the decision makers for change, to come up with ideas to make things safer.

My next meeting was with two engineers with Kimley-Horn. One of them I taught in Sunday School several years ago. The purpose of the meeting was to make me aware of the work they were doing in town and to let me know what a good job our staff was doing. In our conversation they let me know that our proactive approach of replacing sewer lines was going very well. They said that much of what they were replacing was still in good shape.

Next I met with Dr. Blake Livingood and his assistant. We talked about ideas and initiatives to help make Cary a fitter community. I offered to join him in a yearlong fitness initiative. I asked him first to meet with our parks director to talk about what the town is already doing and what would be a good fit. I am excited to see what he comes up with.

My last meeting of the day was with the mother of someone who has been working in Japan for a few years and now has the opportunity to work for the ambassador in Japan. Unfortunately, he was having difficulty getting a security clearance. We talked about ways to help with that process which is becoming more and more difficult these days.

Thursday was the first regularly scheduled council meeting of November. On the agenda were one consent item, three public hearings, and a closed session. The first public hearing was on three Land Development ordinances amendments commercial parking maximums, small wireless telecommunications facilities (small cell), and technical changes. While there were no speakers the council was very interested in the small cell changes that are required as result of legislative changes. There remain a lot of unknowns with the legislation. Our second public hearing was on the Fenton mixed use development which is across Cary Town Boulevard from the mall. This hearing had several speakers with most of them being from the neighboring Village Green townhomes. All speakers were in favor of the project and agree that it will transform this area of Cary. We continued this public hearing until our November 16th meeting to provide other opportunities for citizens to speak since this is such a massive project. Our last public hearing was a rezoning proposal at the corner of Davis Drive and Airport Boulevard across from the development that will include a Wegmans. The applicant for this rezoning provided a list of things it would not be but did not list what it could be. So at this point it could be fast food, a gas station, both, or something else. It will be interesting to see how this one might change as it goes through the process. After a closed session the council adjourned after about two and a half hours.

Saturday I had the honor and pleasure of attending the 59th annual Cary Band Day at Cary High School. In addition to Cary High’s great exhibition we were all treated to an exhibition by the UNC band. After the 1A through 3A competition I provided welcome remarks to those in attendance. As usual I really enjoyed my time there. It is my hope that in Cary Band Day’s 60th anniversary that they would bring back the parade. We’ll see.

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

Cary Hosts DHS & Community Partners In Forum About Resiliency, Engagement

On Wednesday, Cary hosted a meeting with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staff as part of their ‘Flood Apex Program – Rethinking Americas Costliest Disaster.’ This event is part of the DHS National conversation on Community Flood Resilience. The meeting championed by Dan Ault, included community stakeholders from SAS, Trilliant, Wake County, and Cary Chamber of Commerce along with Town staff from a broad spectrum of departments. Dr. David Alexander from DHS and G&H International Services led the participants in a productive discussion. This public/private partnership group brainstormed on community resilience to flooding and ideas to bring the community together to rally around this important issue. Looking forward to continuing this conversation and building community involvement.

Laura Duncan Dr. Crosswalk Efforts Update

As an interim solution, Cary Police has set up traffic control measures along the shoulder of Laura Duncan Drive, adjacent to the school, to deter parents from dropping off and picking up children along the street instead of using the carpool line.  Additionally, I have been in communication with Apex Town Manager, Drew Havens, about a comprehensive review and coordinating any improvements identified

Small Business Day Proclaimed in Cary

On Wednesday, Council Members Smith, Robinson and George read a proclamation recognizing Saturday, November 25 as “Small Business Day” in Cary. The proclamation encourages “Cary residents to recognize and support small businesses within our community by shopping at these establishments on the Saturday following Thanksgiving as a way to boost our local economy and strengthen our business community.” This proclamation was presented to the joint Economic Development and Governmental Relations Committee during the Chamber’s Eye Opener. At the Eye Opener, Ted Abernathy also presented on Cary’s growth, economy and future prospects.

Wake Transit Open Houses Seek Feedback From Public

Last fall, Wake County voters approved a half-cent sales tax dedicated to public transit improvements. Now it’s time to decide what happens next. Do we add more frequent service to existing routes, or do we expand coverage to areas without any service? Do we add more bus stops, or do we improve our technology options?

Over the next few weeks, citizens will have an opportunity to provide feedback to these questions, and others like them, during a series of “open house” style public meetings. Ten meetings are scheduled throughout Wake County, with a wide variety of dates, times and locations available (see schedule below). Citizens are encouraged to stop by for a few minutes to learn more about Wake Transit’s 10-year vision, including plans for bus service enhancements, as well as the addition of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Commuter Rail. If citizens are unable to attend the meetings, surveys are available online:  Take a quick survey to let us know what you think we should do first. If you can’t attend a meeting, you can still participate! The survey is also available online.

Cary Public Meetings:

Tuesday, November 14th

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Cary Senior Center at Bond Park (accessible via GoCary Route 4)

Thursday, November 16th

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Cary Arts Center (accessible via GoCary Route 5)

Good Hope Farm Project Receives More Support

We are pleased to announce that western Cary’s new Whole Foods Market has signed on to support our Good Hope Farm project in two exciting ways. First, they are hosting a benefit concert, the evening of November 4, with local band Chatham County Line and all proceeds from ticket sale will be donated to the farm. Second, at their grand opening on November 7, they are donating 5% of their total sales to the farm. We are grateful for their support and are already making plans for future collaborations that support our efforts with local organic farming. Ticket information is available online.

Jordan Lake Levels Below Normal

The lake level is down approximately 3.35 ft. below its normal pool elevation and is currently at 212.65 ft as of November 2. Staff from Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility has two intakes that can be used to access raw water from Jordan Lake, an upper intake and a lower intake. As the lake has been slowly declining for several weeks, staff has proactively prepared the lower intake, which is now in service. In fact, both upper and lower intakes are currently operating. If the lake level declines to 212 ft, plant staff will switch to use only the lower intake, which can fully supply our water demand for the entire system. At this time of year, the lake is completely mixed and there are no treatment impacts resulting from using the lower intake. The lowest lake level experienced during the last 15 years was 209.9 ft. during the 2002 drought.

Solid Waste Rebalancing Begins Monday

This week, Public Works staff placed 26,000 reminder notices on the carts of all homes affected by next week’s solid waste collection schedule change. This is the final leg in our communications to inform households of the new route changes. Other reminders included BUD teasers, a direct mailing and recent inserts in the annual mailer. The largest component of this schedule change is the discontinuance of Friday collections. All solid waste services will now be collected on Monday through Thursday, as opposed to the existing Tuesday through Friday.

Cary Hosts Smart Cities Gathering

On Tuesday, approximately 100 outside agency and staff members gathered at the Cary Art’s Center to learn more about making smart communities a reality. The event focused on how relationships between graphical information systems (GIS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can create more insight into an agency’s citizen base while increasing efficiencies. Terry Yates provided a presentation on Cary’s Smart City efforts as part of the seminar.

Fall Median Plantings Underway

Plants have arrived for our upcoming fall median planting project. Medians to be planted this year include: Green Level Church Road (Phase 2), West Lake Road, Ten-Ten Road, O’Kelly Chapel Road, Louis Stephens Road, Yates Store Road, Kit Creek Road.

Pumpkin Flotilla Returns to Bond Park

For the second year, over 1,000 participants enjoyed the Pumpkin Flotilla and the final Bands, Bites and Boats event of the season at Bond Park on Monday evening. This is the first year of the Bands, Bites and Boats event that has been held on the final Friday between April and October. Throughout the season, over 2,500 visitors enjoyed the series.

Pill Takeback Event Successful

A pill takeback event was held this past weekend. We collected 473.6 pounds of prescription’s pills to push our 2017 total amount to 805.6 pounds. Detective Whitney Hall did an outstanding job coordinating CAP Team members, detectives, pick up locations, and media. This was another very successful operation due to all the hard work and dedication that was displayed.

Recognitions

The 2017 Employee of the Year nominees have been announced! Eleven deserving employees were nominated by either their coworkers or Cary citizens for their outstanding contributions to the Town on a consistent basis. Our 2017 nominees are: Mary Beerman (Planning), Jim Bridges (Utilities), Jarrod Buchanan (Water Resources), Marie Cefalo (Water Resources), Wilson Farrell (IT), Vicki Hayes (IT), Billy Lee (Water Resources), Charles Massey (Police), Rachel Monschein (Utilities), Pamela Simons (T&F), and Rob Wilson (Planning). Congratulations!

 

Emails from citizens this week included the following:

  • A complaint that the town was destroying the American Tobacco Trail (Not true, that is the last thing we would do)
  • Concerns about safety on Laura Duncan Road.
  • A complaint about a proposed rezoning in Regency.
  • A complaint that seniors do not get enough softball games.
  • A complaint about speeding on Walnut Street.
  • A request to mandate restaurant hours (we don’t have that authority).
  • A request to allow more chickens than is currently allowed in our backyard chicken ordinance (you’re asking the wrong person).
  • A request to have recycling weekly (much more capital and operating cost, ie taxpayer dollars. Residents can order multiple recycling bins).
  • A complaint about Cary’s lack of empathy (I disagree).
  • A request to have more food drives (these are private food drives not town initiated food drives)
  • A request to have a mini Carowinds at the mall site (that site is not owned by the town but by CBL).
  • A request to build a recreation center.
  • A request to build more animal shelters (this is currently a county function).
  • A request to have a club for kids (we do! Cary teen council).
  • A request to create a car track for people to race.
  • A request for crossing guards at middle and high schools.
  • A request for more community programs for the elderly.
  • A request to use more school buses (school buses are a function of the WCPSS).
  • A request to build a soccer park in downtown Cary.
  • A request for schools to start an hour earlier (school schedules are a function of the WCPSS).
  • A request to put surveillance cameras in all alleys and streets.
  • A complaint about the intersection at Green Hope School Road and Alamosa Place.

Next week will include staff meetings and an economic development meeting. It will also be a big week for me as my youngest daughter is getting married.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 12th.  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, October 29th, 2017

This week was another busy week with two significant events, the approval of IKEA and the groundbreaking of the third MetLife tower.

Monday I attempted to contact all council members to hear of any questions or concerns about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact council members Yerha, Bush, and Frantz. Most of the comments were on the proposed Singh rezoning at Evans and Cary Parkway. Later in the day I met with key staff to review the agenda items. We believed at the time that the biggest discussion would be on the Singh rezoning.

Wednesday I attended a meeting of the CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) executive board. This is the decision making body for state and federal funds related to roads/highways, transit, rail, pedestrian/bike, etc. This meeting included two public hearings and five discussion items.

One public hearing had about a dozen speakers led by Raleigh’s council member Cox. They wanted the funding for the widening from Falls of the Neuse from Durant to I540 to be removed from the transportation project list mostly because of how it would impact their neighborhood. Raleigh approved a list of projects including this project in 2013 and it is on the Raleigh transportation plan and the CAMPO transportation plan. The project is now a CAMPO and NCDOT project and that is the reason the speakers were speaking to the board members. The board decided to continue with the project but there were two dissenting votes.

Under discussion the executive board heard from the turnpike authority about their efforts to combine the next two pieces of I540 together to help get them built sooner. Like the last section through Cary, these sections will also be toll roads.

The board also heard of federal legislation to rescind $800 million of unallocated funding for projects. Cary currently has one of those projects, at the MacArthur section of the White Oak Greenway. According to staff this section was waiting on approval from NC Rail. That has now been approved so allocation should of those funds should be very soon.

The 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan update was also reviewed by the executive board. The update included a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) from Harrison Avenue to Kildaire Farm to Regency. The Morrisville mayor asked that a Crabtree Crossing project be removed from the plan. This is the Church Street section and not the Town Hall Drive section that would connect to Cary. That section will be voted on by the Morrisville council in January.

The last bit of news from the CAMPO meeting was that Bret Martin has left the CAMPO staff to become the Cary transit project leader. Welcome Bret!

The CAMPO meeting concluded after two hours.

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included 5 consent items, 3 public hearings, 9 discussion items, and a closed session.

Most of the public comments were during the public hearing for the Lewey Drive rezoning. The proposal, if approved, would allow 64 townhomes on about 8 acres between Highway 55 and the Brookstone neighborhood. Speakers complained that the proposal was too dense and would create more traffic through their neighborhood. Council forwarded this to the Planning and Zoning board for their review and recommendation. Council will make a decision on this at a later date.

The first discussion item was the IKEA proposal at the mall. The media and many residents were very excited about this. It was a no-brainer when you think about the current state of the mall. Although IKEA is good for Cary,  I am more excited about the eventual mixed use at the mall and across Cary Town Boulevard. I am not thrilled about non-masonry blue and yellow large building but at least it is not visible from Walnut Street or Cary Town Boulevard. IKEA showed that they are already trying to be a good corporate citizen by making concessions after they knew they had the votes for approval. Good for them!

The next discussion item was for multi-family on Piney Plains near Tryon Road. I believe this area of town is inundated with multi-family and retail. Multi-family was the last thing I really wanted to see. Having said that, the proposal had conditions to ensure it was high end proposal. Hopefully that will set a precedent for quality development for future projects on that road. In addition, staff and council agreed to study the Piney Plains corridor as a special plan which could possibly include a median. If the median comes to fruition it will change the character of that corridor in a positive way.

Our last big discussion item was the Singh proposal at two corners of Cary Parkway and Evans Road. The southeast corner of the proposal was acceptable to council, staff, and the Planning and Zoning board who unanimously recommended denial. The discussion on the northwest corner focused on whether or not it should be saved for office when the proposal was multi-family. The Planning and Zoning board listed that as their main reason for recommending denial. The majority of the council believed that the best office you could get there would be 2 to 3 story medical office type buildings. And since this property has been sitting idle for decades the likelihood of that happening was slim especially since it was bordered by a church and industrial uses. So the decision boiled down to whether or not to keep waiting for office or to allow the proposal to move ahead. It should be pointed out that the multi-family project will be high end with garages, a large club house, a salt water pool, as well as many other amenities. After hearing the Planning and Zoning board recommendation, and staff recommendation (which they said they could have gone either way), the council eventually approved the proposal with a 5 – 2 vote.

After a close session the council meeting ended after a little over two hours.

Friday I had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking for the third MetLife tower in the Weston office park in Cary. In 2015 MetLife opened their first two towers for their technology hub. Over 1,500 highly skilled jobs were created in that initial expansion. The new building will bring an additional 500 jobs to Cary. This huge expansion announcement drew big names to the ceremony including the Governor, both Senators, members of congress, state senators and representatives, and local leaders not to mention the top leaders of MetLife and Highwoods properties. In the speech from the MetLife leaders they said it was a no-brainer to expand in Cary. Keep in mind that this is 50% more than they originally said they would do. This says a great deal about Cary and its business environment. It is my hope that other corporations will take note and consider relocating here. After hearing speeches from the aforementioned VIPs the crowd of about a couple hundred people went outside for the ceremonial shoveling of the dirt. There were several pictures with various groups at the groundbreaking shovel area including the Cary delegation made up of me, Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, council member Frantz, Chamber President Johnson, and others. What a great event for Cary!

Friday night I had the joy of attending the 30th anniversary concert by the Cary Town Band at the Cary Arts Center in front of a capacity crowd. This 50 member band plays at Lazy Daze, the 4th of July, and other celebrations. They put on a performance with a theme of scary music and were joined by dancers from Graceful Expressions Dance Education for two numbers. It was a wonderful show. It should be noted that the Cary Town Band relies on donations. If you would like to help the Cary Town Band or find out more about them see http://www.carytownband.org.

Saturday I had the honor of participating in the 10th anniversary celebration of TAC (Triangle Aquatic Center). TAC is one of the, if not the largest, private aquatic centers in the country. The emcee for this event was Steve Daniels from WTVD. I spoke as well as Wake County Commissioner Portman, Cary Chamber President Johnson, and of course Michael Curran. In Mr. Curran’s remarks he talked about the 3 stage expansion. The last stage of that expansion and will more than double the water. It was a great event and I am excited about the announced expansion.

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

 2017 ICMA Highlights

For the first time, we hosted an essay contest for staff to attend ICMA. We received a lot of great responses. Jeremy Burgin (Police) and Brandon Roberson (Public Works) were selected and joined myself and Council member Jennifer Robinson in San Antonio to experience it all firsthand. For staff at Town Hall Campus, we livestreamed the conference for the second year in a row. I want to thank to Carla Witherington and Dale Naleway for coordinating.

While at ICMA, I participated in a panel alongside Denise Foreman, Assistant to the Wake County Manager, on Monday. The topic, “The Data Driven Manager,” focused on the role of data analytics and how it can improve a community; it was led by Council member Jennifer Robinson.

MetLife’s Third Building Groundbreaking

Lana Hygh, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Council members Don Frantz and Ed Yerha along with the Chamber’s Howard Johnson and Kyle Greer attended the groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the third MetLife building. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, Congressmen David Price and George Holding, and Governor Roy Cooper attended and made remarks. The new building is scheduled to open in 2019.

Steven Kandarian, president, chairman, and chief executive officer of MetLife stated that the company would be investing heavily in technology and was delighted to expand its presence in NC. Ed Fritsch of Highwoods Properties, Inc. stated that in projects of this magnitude, “…every community claims partnership; the Town of Cary delivers.”

CAMPO Executive Board Meeting

CAMPO met on October 25. Public hearings were held on the following agenda items:

  • FY2016-25 TIP Amendment #7 (approved)
  • FY2018-27 TIP (approved)

The Board also received information on several agenda items, including Complete 540, the proposed Federal Rescission Legislation, Wake Transit Plan Implementation Update and Cost Share Agreement for Commuter Rail Study, and the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

VIP Event at Green Hope HS

Our Police and Fire departments participated in a VIP event at Green Hope High School on Tuesday. The goal of the event is to showcase just how fatal distracted driving can be. First responders and parents of those killed in distracted driving crashes shared their experiences, and the day-long event concluded with a very dramatic and realistic simulation of a fatal crash so students could see how emergency responders work through the scene in real-life situations. About 725 GHHS students were in attendance. Other participating agencies included the NC Highway Patrol and NC Wildlife Commission. This program is funded in part by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

Affordable Housing at RRAR Diversity Committee Luncheon

On October 12, Council member Ken George joined Raleigh Council member Cory Branch and Durham Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden at the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors’ Diversity Committee’s monthly Lunch & Learn. The topic was “Helping People Live Where they Work” and was livestreamed via Facebook on the RRAR’s account.

CPD’s International Training Having Big Impact

The efforts by one of our own resulted in sweeping arrests in Brazil. Kevin West of our Police Department traveled several times to Brazil over the last year to train officers as part of his volunteer work with the Child Rescue Coalition. That training culminated last Friday, when over 1,100 officers executed over 100 search warrants in 24 of 26 Brazilian states. Well over 100 people were arrested, and the operation made news worldwide. This is such important work, and I am humbled by the passion Kevin has for his work. We are so fortunate to have him representing Cary.

Recognitions

Chief Tony Godwin appeared in a Facebook Live video on CALEA’s social media account speaking on the topic, “Are Local Barbershops Key to Community Engagement?” He did a great job highlighting our Building Bridges efforts and sharing what is working in Cary. The discussion was part of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Philadelphia.

I’m sad to report ISAB citizen volunteer Terri Udoh, also a graduate of the Town’s School of Government, passed this week.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Comments for and against the Singh rezoning at Cary Parkway and Evans.
  • Criticism of the decision at Cary Parkway and Evans: “decision makes Cary less great”, “terrible decision against unanimous advice”, “you’ve harmed my neighborhood. There is no excuse for this” (Council members spent a LOT of time considering this project over years and years. I honestly believe this is the best use of the land. The only other interest was a grocery store – like we need more of those. I would invite critics to watch our discussion and read all the staff reports)
  • Criticism that we need more senior softball league games
  • Criticism that we are destroying the American Tobacco Trail (Actually we are providing a pedestrian tunnel and think the American Tobacco Trail is a huge asset)
  • A request for an outdoor skating rink
  • A complaint about Cary’s ghost walk
  • A question about the future widening of Holly Springs Road (it is a state road and it is my understanding is there is no funding in the next several years)
  • Comments for and against IKEA
  • A request to investigate driver-less buses.

Next week’s activities will include several meetings with citizens and special interests, a regularly scheduled council meeting, and the 59th Cary Band Day.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 5th.  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, October 22nd, 2017

This week had a much slower pace which I greatly appreciated.

Monday the town manager and I had a virtual meeting with the Research Triangle Foundation’s new CEO Scott Levitan. He provided background information on education, places he had worked, and issues he had faced. We asked him questions about his plans for RTP. Like his predecessor he plans to make it a more live, work, and play area of the region. What he described basically sounded like he was creating a new city. I asked him about infrastructure as he plans to implement the vision and he said it would be a challenge. It should be pointed out that he will need fire and police protection as well as water and sewer services. RTP gets and will be getting services from places like Cary and Durham at high rates. It will be interesting to see how this all works since RTP doesn’t pay taxes. Stay tuned.

Afterwards the manager and I met for our one-on-one meeting. There weren’t many issues so we spent most of our time talking about private matters.

Monday night I met with the Mayors Association in Apex. Nine of the twelve mayors were in attendance except the mayors of Garner, Rolesville, and Wendell who were absent. The beginning of the meeting included a presentation from Wake County Public School System Superintendent Dr. James Merrill. They are concerned about House Bill 704 which would split school systems like Wake County. This would create massive complexities, duplications, and expenses. IMHO it would double Cary’s taxes and would be devastating to our community and region. Hopefully, our legislators will see the obvious and kill this bad idea. The rest of the Mayors Association meeting was spent on discussing finances and whether or not to become an official non-profit organization rather than a social group.

Tuesday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Frantz in a meeting with developer representatives from Singh who are proposing development on two corners at Evans Road and Cary Parkway. The proposal for the southeast corner of that intersection, which has numerous conditions, is for a retirement community. If approved it would be a Waltonwood similar to the one at US1 and Cary Parkway. I have no problem with this proposal and think it would be a good fit to the neighborhood. The second part of the proposal is on the southwest corner of the intersection and is also heavily condition. This is the most controversial corner because the plan calls for a mix of uses and can be used for office. Since Cary doesn’t have a lot of available land for office the proposal is much more difficult to consider. However, the developer representatives would argue that this site is not suitable for office. The conditions for this site include garage apartments and an 8,000 square foot clubhouse complete with a salt water pool. If approved, this will be a very high end apartment complex. The meeting concluded in less than an hour. Our decision on this proposal is scheduled for our October 26th meeting.

On Tuesday I responded to questions presented by a high school student working on a project. Here are the questions and the responses:

  • What political cause or perspective do you most strongly identify with? I am really not a political person. I don’t like party politics and believe it has no place in local government. We should always remain non-partisan and apolitical. Having said that, I am a registered Democrat and have been described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
  • What is your favorite thing about the Town of Cary? I really don’t have ONE favorite thing about Cary. There is a lot I like about Cary such as tree lined streets, well planned neighborhoods, and beautiful office parks. I guess one of our unique characteristics is that we are much cleaner and greener than most municipalities.
  • If you could only choose two interesting facts about yourself, what would they be? One thing people might find interesting is that I work out at least one hour a day (mostly tennis and running with about 20 minutes of weights). I hope to run the Tobacco Road half marathon in March if my knees hold up. My doctor at my annual physical said: “Your numbers are incredible but you have a serious addiction to endorphins.” One of the numbers she was referring to was my resting heart rate which is around 40 bpm. The other thing most people don’t realize is that I have full time job where I write software. Most of my meetings are at night and on the weekends. Having said that, during the day I keep in contact with the manager, public information, attorneys, and administration but they are running the town. That is, the town is set up like a corporation. I am the chairman of the board, the council is the board, and the manager is the CEO. You and the rest of the 161,000 people are the stockholders.
  • S. Just a fun question: If you could have anything for shoelaces, what would they be? I don’t really understand the shoelace question (I guess I am too old) but I assume you are asking what would I most like to have. If that assumption is correct it would be time. Most of my time, seven days a week, is programmed. So you can imagine after 10 years as mayor and doing municipal activities since 1997 I have had little time to myself. My last day off (no work and no mayor duties) was in early September.

 

Saturday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Frantz at the first annual Farmers Fall Festival at the downtown Cary farmers market. Most of the vendors there were craftsman or artisans but there were a few farmers providing fresh food. I suspect this farmer’s market will get larger and larger as downtown redevelops and more people move to the area. My role at this event was to provide welcome remarks. Afterwards I visited all the vendors.

This week included a notification that Cary rated #6 for highest quality of life in the United States out of the 177 cities with over 150,000 residents. The data used for the decision used estimates from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey and included the number of hours worked, commute times, percentage of income spent on housing, health insurance coverage, poverty levels and unemployment rate. We are proud to add this to our long list of accolades.

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

Snow Rodeo Successes

Mother Nature cooled things down this week just in time for our annual winter weather exercise on Wednesday, affectionately known as our Snow Rodeo. Several hundred employees benefited from hands on training with chainsaws, plowing and general personal/vehicle safety. We even had several members of the media join us for the exercise to tour our Snow Command and see materials up close. I want to thank the leaders in public works for positioning us for another successful season!

Old Reedy Creek Trailhead Opening Celebration

The weather was perfect Thursday evening for community engagement at our new Old Reedy Creek Trailhead. About 100 outdoor enthusiasts passed through during the three-hour event. If you’ve not been, the trailhead is located at 2139 Old Reedy Creek Road and offers 82 parking spaces, restrooms, a shelter, bike repair station, and drinking fountains for people and pets. It is the starting point for Cary’s seven-mile Black Creek Greenway and provides access to the East Coast Greenway through Umstead State Park as well as the scenic Lake Crabtree overlooks. It’s a great addition to our greenway system.

Champion Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference

The Town of Cary was highlighted at the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo at the Raleigh Convention Center, October 11-13. Terry Yates from IT spoke on Cary’s smart city work and Cary’s Fleet Manager, Brandon Pasinski, received the Town’s “Champion”-level recognition from the NC Smart Fleet Initiative for leading the way to reduced transportation-related emissions and increased efficiency in the Cary fleet. Cary was also nationally recognized, in the Honorable Mention Category, as among the top 70 Green Fleets in the nation, out of a total of 38,000 fleets considered by the 100 Best Fleets organization.

Teen Pop-Up Breakfast

In an effort to connect with teenagers in one of our Project PHOENIX communities, staff joined with partners from Hope Community Church to surprise students at their neighborhood bus stop Wednesday morning. The teens were greeted with donuts and OJ, plus information on upcoming teen events and services offered by the Town. This was a first for us, reaching about 30 middle and high school students through this initiative.

Cary Voter Turnout Data

With elections behind us, please find the following stats as related to our most recent municipal election. A note of thanks to Council member Jack Smith, who made the request for this information earlier this week.

  • Total Voter turnout: 7.67%; 8,386 voters out of 109,278 registered Cary voters
  • District A turnout: 7.3%; 2,178 voters out of 29,834 voters
  • District C turnout: 9.2%; 2,717 voters out of 29,352 voters
  • At-Large turnout: 7.67%; 8,386 voters out of 109,278 voters

Recognitions

Many thanks to Anna Readling for all of her hard work on the Town’s application to be a Certified Local Government (CLG) under the US National Historic Preservation Act. We received word this week of its approval by the US Department of the Interior, as administered by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office.

 

Emails from citizens this week included the following:

  • A complaint about Chapel Hill Road from Maynard to Cary Parkway (FYI, this is a state road)
  • A complaint from a resident about residents blowing leaves in the street
  • A compliment on the Cary TV ad broadcast on the Golf channel during the SAS Championships
  • A complaint about pedestrian safety at Kildaire Farm Road and Lochmere Drive (improvements are already planned and funded)
  • A complaint about the White Oak rezoning proposal

 

Next week will be a busy one for me and will include staff meetings, a CAMPO meeting, a regularly scheduled council meeting, Cary Town Band’s 30th anniversary, and TAC’s 10th anniversary.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 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  
• Monday, October 16th, 2017

This was another busy week highlighted by the re-election of three council members.

Monday I attempted to contact council members about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting agenda. I was only able to get in touch with Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Smith. Part of the reason for lack of response was the short agenda. There were no discussion items and one public hearing. Later I met with staff to go over the agenda. That meeting was very short due to the length of the agenda.

Next I met with the town manager, deputy town manager, and Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha for my weekly one-on-one meeting. One of the issues we discussed was the new cell tower equipment that will soon be installed on light poles throughout the region. The equipment includes an antenna on the top of the pole, the transmitting equipment in a box on the pole, a utility meter, and other small pieces. The good news is that this equipment is much smaller than it was a year or two ago. Hopefully, in time the ugliness won’t be as noticeable.

My last meeting on Monday was with the owner of the TAC (Triangle Aquatics Center). TAC is the largest public aquatics facility ever built in the country without public funding. They serve approximately 450,000 visitors annually. It is estimated that TAC provides about $7 million in economic development each year. Their swim team, the Titans, are ranked 38th annually. We discussed the current aquatic availability in the county. They pointed out that there are 10 public facilities in Wake County, nine in Raleigh and one in Morrisville. We also talked about TAC’s expansion plans for the next few years. Their first expansion will be to create much needed parking especially since IKEA will under development. The second expansion will be to add administrative buildings to the existing building which should cost about $2.5 to $3 million. Their third phase of expansion will create new aquatic facilities which will make it the largest aquatic center in the country. The cost for this final expansion is about $15 million. The last phase of this facility will create a venue that fits nicely with Cary’s three existing world class sports venues.

Tuesday started with a visit to Davis Drive Elementary. Each of the 3rd grade classes had elected a class mayor which I met as a group. I explained my duties as a mayor and they each asked questions. Then we posed for individual pictures before heading into an assembly with all the 3rd grade classes. In the assembly I talked for a few minutes about my role and then answered their questions. I had a great time answering the questions and visiting Davis Drive Elementary and hope they invite me back.

Later Tuesday I joined Don Frantz in the October taping of Cary Matters. This episode was all about Halloween events. We had a blast and did the taping in one take.

Next I went to the SAS Championship’s Pro-Am pairing party. This is where the participants in the Pro-Am are treated to food and drink before playing a trivia contest to determine which pro they will play with. I was able to meet and talk with several people involved in the tournament or involved with businesses in Cary before having to leave for election gatherings.

Tuesday night all three incumbents on the Cary Town Council were re-elected: Jack Smith, Jennifer Robinson, and Ed Yerha. I attended the election party of Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and caught the tail end of Mr. Smith’s election party. Unfortunately, Mrs. Robinson’s party was is Parkside Commons so I couldn’t logistically make all three. I did congratulate her by text though.

While I very much appreciate all those that stepped up to run for office, I am glad that the three members of our current team were re-elected. As we go into an era of more and more redevelopment, it is very important to have the most knowledgeable, experienced, and caring individuals to work with. I believe we have that and believe we will continue to do great things in Cary.

Wednesday I joined council member Jack Smith, Cary Town Manager Sean Stegall, and Cary Chamber President Howard Johnson in the first day of the SAS Pro-Am. Our pro was Skip Kendall. The format was a Texas scramble which means we could take the best score of our group and do no worse than a par on each hole. Our group was 18 under which is about average.

Later Wednesday I visited the delegation of visitors from our sister city County Meath in Ireland. Out of the more than dozen visitors I knew three of them from my visit to Ireland in 2011. This group was made up mostly of business leaders who were looking for knowledge and opportunities in Cary. It is my hope that some of them will expand here.

Thursday I once again joined my Pro-Am golf team. On this day we had Gibby Gilbert as our pro who also had his wife and daughter with him. We had a great time but once again ended up with an average score of 18 under. Thanks to SAS for putting on the Pro-Am and inviting me to be a part of it.

Thursday night the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. There was only one public hearing, no discussion items, and a close session. Several people spoke at the public hearing that is proposing a gas station and convenience store with 20 pumps at the corner of Kildaire Farm Road and Penny Road. The speakers were concerned about several things including compatibility, storm water, traffic, lighting, and safety. I share many of those concerns and hope they will be addressed before it comes back to council for a vote. I am also looking for a compelling reason to have something so large at that site. The proposal at this point seems out of scale.

The council discussed items in closed session which, of course, I cannot disclose. The council meeting ended after about an hour and a half.

After the meeting I tried to catch the Irish delegation at one of the locations they visited but was unsuccessful.

Friday I attended a joint meeting of DCHCMPO (Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization) and CAMPO (Capital Are Metropolitan Planning Organization) in RTP. The purpose of the meeting was to provide direction to the MPO staffs to create preliminary strategic plans that would allow leveraging of dollars allotted for transportation projects to benefit both regions. It was an interesting discussion with DCHC making it clear that their number one priority is light rail. In a region where we are so connected each MPO’s success benefits the others.

Later in the day I had a conversation with county commissioner Portman (former Cary Council member) about the airport authority’s plan to use land for a quarry. While the Cary council is not involved in the decision process I believe it is important for everyone to be informed so that is the reason this is in my journal for this week. Mr. Portman explained that for many years RDU has leased the land near the airport for a dollar but now they want to develop the land. He mentioned that Wake County offered $6 to $7 million to purchase the land which was rejected. He stated that RDU would prefer to develop the property for $25 million with the use being a quarry. He believes the quarry use would permanently destroy any hopes of that land ever being a park. Mr. Portman also sent me a copy of an email sent to Michael Landguth of RDU:

 

Michael

As I told you today I was very concerned over the role of your consultant and your in-house counsel today in advising your board at a key point after reviewing proposals.

Mr. Kirsh is clearly a qualified consultant in this field and in his comments he made clear to the board and the public that parks are considered incompatible uses for non-aeronautic land.

This fact was concerning because you have park uses in land owned by the airport and has been in that use for decades.

I was concerned that neither you nor your board challenged that fact, despite it being contrary to your current practice.

When I had the chance to ask, I was relieved learn that recreational uses are not only allowed but not uncommon.

Is that fact not relevant to the board’s decision?

Should it not have been a part of the legal brief?

Should the board not have been also told the consultant speaks to airports about how to sell land?

And in doing so states that non aerospace use land can be sold. He was quite clear to the board and the public why that rarely happens and should not occur.

You can understand my frustration when I found on Mr. Karsh’s website the following presentation that seems to say the opposite of what was presented to your board and our public today.

See the following link

http://www.kaplankirsch.com/portalresource/lookup/wosid/cp-base-4-22002/overrideFile.name=/06%2008%2017%20Opportunities%20and%20Risks%20in%20Pursuing%20Non-Aeronautical%20Revenue%20Projects%20at%20Airports%20(PJK).pdf

In this training outline airports are shown how to sell /release land, and how to make money by converting excess land to commercial uses.

I hope you can understand that my concerns are over the process of appearing to use your staff to sell one solution to your board, rather that presenting your board all of its options so it can make an informed decision.

In fact if one follows the logic presented it would cause one to think a quarry is the only approved and legal use for all of your land not needed by the airport and in the periphery the airport. Clearly that is not a truthful or correct conclusion.

On a lease vs sale the board was told it’s essential to lease vs sell to preserve future use possibilities that may not be known today. That makes sense to me unless your lease destroys the land and trucks it away one truckload after another. How could that use possibly preserve future airport use? In reviewing that option how do you value the cost of returning the land to its original condition so future use can be retained? Do you assign a loss for the finished value to the land after the income is gone? Do you attribute the required restoration costs or reuse costs once the hole is dug and the value removed? If you don’t is there not a flaw in your logic? It will still be airport land and a part of our community.

I was equally confounded by the use to authority legal counsel to present the tale of Santa Monica vs RDU. This was a clear example of a “bogey man” argument. It seems to say Santa Monica’s issues were all park related, and RDU should not make the same mistake. I’m sure you know, as does your counsel that none of the proposals before your board were proposing incomparable land uses like housing and commercial development as shown in Santa Monica, except the one you seem to advocate, the quarry. We also know Santa Monica’s close proximity to lax and the dense la basin. Surely there is more to its troubles that your board and the public was led to believe today.

Were you aware of that presentation and its content before it was presented? What was the purpose of that presentation? Was it of a legal nature consistent with the authority’s counsel’s role and duty to the board? Was it a fair and accurate comparison to share with the board at this pre decision moment?

I hope you understand why your authorizing governing bodies have concerns over this process, and that my comments are offered not to be critical but to be clear and share with you real concerns I see as to the role and direction of the authority.

The league of women voters raised by eyebrows to the role of public input at the airport in their letter to you on vision 2040 last summer.

Your presentation of the consultant and staff attorney has done the same. I hope you will re-evaluate this selling that the authority seems to be doing on the quarry proposal and be sure the board is fully informed of all its possible legal and stewardship options.

Was the same proposal not turned down a decade ago? Was it really unsolicited?

I don’t think your board made a mistake in 1985 leasing land to wake county for $1 for Lake Crabtree Park.  I do think they were carefully evaluating options and roles for the long term. That’s what both RDU and the triangle has been so successful.  I hope we don’t change that process due to a new consultant’s strategy to make more money alone in short term destructive ways.

Sincerely

Erv Portman

 

Saturday I attended the 17th annual Cary Diwali held at Koka Booth. Attendance numbers showed over 13,500 people attended. At noon I gave welcoming remarks and introduced elected officials. Those in attendance included Congressman Price, NC Legislator Adcock, Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, Cary council member George, Morrisville Mayor Pro-Tem Rao, Morrisville council member Garimella, and Morrisville council member Cawley. We were all given a tour of the exhibition tent which was focused on different food of India. It was part of this year’s theme of Anubhuti which means a Sensory Experience.

Saturday evening I returned to the Diwali celebration and provided brief remarks, I also handed out awards to youth who made an outstanding contribution to our community. Then I was joined by my wife to watch the main event of the evening which was Mayuri, an Indian dance group from Russia. At the end of the evening we were treated to a fireworks display.

Sunday I attended the final round of the SAS Championship held at Prestonwood Country Club. I was joined by my wife, the Chamber President, his wife, and council member Smith. We enjoyed beautiful weather and a fantastic final round of the SAS Championship. Congratulations to Colin Montgomery on his three stroke victory.

The town manager’s report included the following:

 

SAS Championships in Cary

An exciting and unexpected opportunity presented itself and I took advantage of it. The Town produced a 60-second commercial to be played on the Golf Channel during the SAS Championship. The commercial will play one time each day, for a total of six times, since the Championship is recorded and played back; it will air internationally to over 3 million viewers.

Producing this commercial was an experiment. It was important for the commercial to have staying power so we have options of using it in the future. I can also see our branding consultants learning from it. I hope you enjoy watching!

Women’s Day Event

Twenty Town of Cary women enjoyed a day of networking and inspiration on Tuesday at the Executive Women’s Day event held at Prestonwood Country Club. Entitled Fearless Together, the event featured WRAL Anchor Debra Morgan hosting a morning “power panel” of local female business executives who shared their experiences in building and utilizing a personal advisory board to guide and mentor their business and personal lives. There were plenty of insights shared by those in attendance regarding “Best Advice Given” and “Best Advice Received,” which were posted throughout the day on giant boards flanking the presentation stage. The afternoon keynote speaker, World Health COO Yvonne Camus, held the 300-person audience rapt recalling her experiences of grit, resilience and perseverance as a competitor in Eco-Challenge, a world championship race produced for TV by Survivor creator Mark Burnett. The day produced new ideas and friendships among colleagues and was an opportunity enjoyed by all.

Cary Showcased at BoxWorks

Dan Ault and Hunter Frank attended the BoxWorks conference, The Blueprint for the Future of Work, in San Francisco this week. Dan represented the Town by participating in a panel discussion on new and emerging cloud enterprise content strategies. Dan spoke of the important role culture plays in the ultimate adoption success of any technology. Without changing behavior and the culture of an organization, the best system in the world will ultimately fail.

Water Production Setting Record Levels

This summer’s water production at Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility has set new records on three separate occasions. These records are in part due to several water transfers to Durham in addition to peak season water system demand in Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Wake RTP and RDU.

  • 8-MGD on July 21 (included 0.81-MG to Durham)
  • 2-MGD on September 29 (included 3.80-MG to Durham)
  • 8-MGD on October 4 (included 3.89-MG to Durham)

Cary Towne Center Mall Update

Mall property owners appealed the property’s assessed value for January 1, 2016 established by Wake County as the basis for property taxes levied beginning in fiscal year 2017. Mall management hired an independent appraiser to develop evidence for the appeal to reduce the value 67% from $92 million to $30 million. After months of work and negotiation, this week Wake County settled on a $54.7 million reduction in value from $92 million to $37.3 million, approximately 59% less.

The adjustment is retroactive to taxes billed for fiscal year 2017. In accordance with our contract with Wake County to administer tax billing and collection on our behalf, Wake County refunded approximately $195,000 of Cary tax revenue to the mall owners for FY17 and reduced the FY 2018 tax bill by about the same amount. Wake County also incurred a revenue reduction for FY17 and FY18 of approximately $345,000 per year. The tax reduction for Cary represents about 0.23% of our FY17 real estate property tax revenue. This revenue loss highlights the critical importance of redevelopment in our strategic vision in the Imagine Cary Community plan.

NC Courage to Championships

Cary’s professional women’s soccer team, the Courage beat Chicago Red Stars on Sunday to punch their ticket to the NWSL Championship game in Orlando. The Courage will take on Portland Thorns on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Orlando City Stadium. The game will be broadcast on Lifetime network.

Carpenter Park Fun Day

Carpenter Park and western Cary neighbors enjoyed a great afternoon last Saturday for an “Out of the Gourdinary” family fun day at Carpenter Park. Citizens got to try their skills at pickleball, gourd arts and crafts activities and games, sampled treats from Andia’s Homemade ice cream and Philly cheesesteaks food truck, enjoyed live music from Lucy Daley, learned about public art from Cary Visual Arts and toured the community garden. Council Member Jennifer Robinson unveiled the Adopt-A-Spot sign for Zeta Phi Beta sorority, while Council Members Ed Yerha and Ken George and other Town staff celebrated this occasion!

Irish Delegation Visits Cary

The Irish arrived on Tuesday, October 10 and will be in town until Sunday, October 15. The group is made of South Meath Chamber of Commerce Members and are from our Sister City, County Meath. The tour of our community started off with a visit to the Startup Grind Triangle First Annual Technology Conference at Cary Arts Center, followed by a tour of downtown and then Town Hall. Other activities this past week include meeting Council Members, attending the Chamber of Commerce events and spending time with Board members of Sister Cities. Thanks to all the staff involved for making this a remarkable trip for our visitors.

Small Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (“Small Cells”)

With mobile data traffic projected to increase six-fold by 2020, wireless telecommunications providers are introducing small cell wireless installations to supply increased data speed and signals for cell phone users. This past legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill, House Bill 310 that significantly limits municipal authority regarding small cell installations. LDO amendments to address HB310 will be presented at an upcoming Council meeting.

Even with the legislation, Cary retains authority to regulate small cell installations associated with streetlight replacement. Duke Energy has designed a “dual-use” streetlight that contains “concealed” small cell equipment. Attached is a photo of a small cell installation in Charlotte of the type that an applicant has proposed in Cary (they can be black or gray). Duke requires municipal consent to replace existing streetlights with the new “dual-use” pole.

In addition to the LDO changes that are necessary because of HB310, the Manager’s Office will propose a revised Delegation Of Authority document for your consideration at an upcoming meeting that would permit Town staff to consent to these streetlight replacements. Town staff would evaluate each request, determine if there are any public safety issues associated with the replacement, and consent to replacement if appropriate.

Wake Co. Affordable Housing Plan

The Wake County Board of Commissioners is expected to consider the draft Affordable Housing Plan that resulted from the steering committee process on October 16. Thanks to Council Member Lori Bush for participating on the task force. We look forward to having conversations with the Council about the County’s plan and the potential for future policy decisions and/or action plans by the Town Council at an upcoming work session.

Recognitions

Tour de Cove was a day we won’t soon forget. In total, 675 riders and 378 walkers participated in the events. And over 1,300 were in attendance to honor Lori. The event raised a total of $120,000 for Lori – truly unbelievable. While this was very much a Town and community effort, it never would have been possible without the dream and dedication of Scott Hecht. Scott reminds all of us what it means to be a true friend.

We received the following kudos from a citizen and wanted to pass along to everyone working to make the solid waste reroute as smooth as possible for our citizens: “I received your letter regarding the collection change to Monday. I just wanted to say I appreciate the tone of the letter. It was friendly, personable, and shows the exceptional care that the town of Cary takes to its citizens. Thank you. Brian”

Congratulations to Detective Rebecca Platz, who was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Service Award from Interact Thursday morning.  Rebecca was unaware of this award until it was presented for her performance, dedication, and excellence she has demonstrated this year for domestic violence victims of Cary. Rebecca is a great representative of the Town and does a tremendous work job for our citizens.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Questions about flags for Veterans Day
  • Concerns about a road project which is half way done and an eye sore (NCDOT project)
  • A concern about school reassignment (Wake County Public School Board Member Fletcher responded)
  • A request to make Cary a sanctuary city (It is the practice of the council not to get involved in state and national issues that are political and outside our authority and instead focus on the matters of the town. In addition it would take a majority vote to get involved.)
  • A complaint about street lights not working on Davis Drive (Duke Energy problem – they were notified)

 

Next week’s activities include a conference call with the Research Triangle Foundation, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, a meeting with a developer, private meetings, and providing remarks at the Farmers Market fall festival.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 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, October 08th, 2017

This was another busy week for me.

Monday I signed Cary General Obligation bonds. The bonds I signed were bonds sold as part of the 2012 bond referendum and bonds that have been refinanced. The refinancing saved Cary over a million dollars. In total I signed about fifty-nine million dollars in bonds. The bond signing process includes signatures from the finance officer, the mayor, and the town clerk who also certifies the signatures are legitimate. The bonds themselves are on paper similar to a check. In addition, the bonds come with an information packet to the purchaser from the town which also has to be signed by the mayor, town clerk, and the town manager to attest that what is said is true. The entire signing process took about fifteen minutes.

Wednesday started with not one but two “Walk to School” day events. First I met the students and administration from Cary Elementary at the downtown fountain. I was joined by Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Frantz. There were over 100 participating in the walk that went from the downtown fountain across Dry Avenue to the front door of Cary Elementary.

Next I went to Godbold Park where I was joined by council member Bush and Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha in their “Walk to School” event. There were between 50 and 100 in attendance but their walk was much longer at over two miles. And for the parents and others that had to return to their cars at Godbold Park the walk was over four miles. Since I had to go to work I only was able to walk a little over a mile. Good for the rest of them though!

Wednesday evening my wife and I headed to Ruckus in the Arboretum for a fundraising event benefiting those in Puerto Rico suffering from the devastation created by Hurricane Maria. I talked with the volunteers and the owner of that Ruckus about the event and supporting the effort to help those in living in devastation. If you would like to help with a donation please contact NC4PR. They not only have direct access to Puerto Rico but have people on the ground in Puerto Rico to distribute the items.

Thursday morning I spoke to the Heart of Cary Association at the Matthews House in Cary. I talked for about twenty minutes and then answered questions for about ten minutes. My talk included the opioid epidemic, downtown updates, the CBL development at the mall, the Columbia development across from the mall, competition between CBL and Columbia, property values between downtown and the Eastern Gateway, rebranding Cary, and technology. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to finish my talk on technology. Here are some points of interest from my notes on technology:

Smart Cities – The Simulated Smart Campus is like a sandbox that lets us “try before we buy.” It’s a way for the town to trial a number of different IoT (Internet of Things) technologies by a number of different companies – so that we can choose what will work best in Cary.  The Technologies range from ways to improve parking accessibility, to having Smart Lighting (to improve our energy use and improve safety), to using technology to count people at events, so we can ensure we have the right services for trash, public safety, and more.

What Works Cities – This program is a real coup for the Town.  With the Bloomberg Philanthropies support we will be able to create a strong plan for a single citizen contact center – think 311, to support our citizen services in the most efficient way possible.  The grant also helps us to create an Open Data policy with our Citizens’ involvement.

Waze: The Town shares road closure data with Waze, one of the popular navigation apps out there.  This is a great way for folks to not get caught surprised with a road is closed – as the app will re-direct you, proactively, around known closures.

Amazon Alexa: This is one of the truly innovative activities out there by the Town of Cary.  So many folks have these devices – and the goal is to provide information to our citizens where they are.  The Beta testing of a Town of Cary skill that can do the following:

  • Find Open Gym or Open Studio times today or on given date.

  • Find next open studio date

  • Find who my council member is based on my home address.

  • Tell me who is the Mayor and on the Town Council.

  • Find nearby parks based on home address

  • Tell me when my Trash/Recycling day is

  • Tell me when I can water my yard

  • Let the town know if we Missed Trash/Recycling

  • Schedule a leaf, oil or cardboard collection

  • Find upcoming Events in Cary

  • Find the status of a field for sporting events based on location

  • Get the town hall hours.

 

Thanks to the Heart of Cary for inviting me to speak.

Thursday evening the council held a quasi-judicial hearing for one item. The First United Methodist Church asked that the council approve a special use and development plan to construct a 17,500-square foot addition to an existing church for additional classroom space and a multipurpose room associated with its youth ministry. The expansion footprint would be between the existing building and Walker Street and would preserve the log cabin that has been on site since the 1930s. The council deliberation was very limited and the request was approved unanimously.

Friday I met with two people from MIT that are partnering with us to write a proposal for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge grant program on the opioid epidemic. If we are successful and get a grant then we would be able to use that money to gather a tremendous amount of data. Why is that important? In tackling an issue you must first identify the problem and then gather data before creating solutions. I believe we can be a leader in the region, if not the country, in providing solutions to the opioid epidemic. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Friday night I had the honor of joining Mayor Olive from Apex in tapping the keg for the 4th Triangle Oktoberfest which was held in Cary. This was a fundraising event focused on great beer and family fun to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There was live entertainment from Peak City Sound and The Polka Brothers, Wiener Dog Races, traditional Bavarian food and fare, entertaining events, contests and, of course, plenty of local and authentic German beer! To fully appreciate the event I was wearing authentic lederhosen and had the pleasure of dancing the polka with my wife and both daughters. I also made sure to eat bratwurst and drink a German beer. What a fun time.

Saturday I had the honor of speaking at the Tour De Cove event. Lori Cove is Cary’s transportation director who was struck in a hit-and-run collision with a car while riding her bike last October 17 and suffered devastating injuries. This event’s goal was to raise $50,000 to help cover costs for the long-term nursing facility where Cove is being treated. Here is an excerpt from the remarks I made:

… The strength of a community is tested in its darkest hour. And on October 17—almost a year ago today— our community was tested. Joined with friends, Lori was doing something that many of us get to do daily in this great town: enjoying our network of streets by way of bike. The difference is that this group of cyclists happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, forever changing their lives in a matter of minutes. As we all know, Lori suffered devastating injuries despite doing everything right: she was riding in a group, wearing a helmet, going with the flow of traffic. Since that tragic moment, she has refused to give up, and based on today’s crowd, clearly our community will not either.

Lori is a very special member of our Town of Cary family. In the ten years I’ve been blessed to work with Lori, I have found her to be one of the most tenacious, life-loving people I have ever met.

[I inserted a personal story here]

She is a superstar, and she’s made a tremendous impact to our transportation network. She’s also made a huge impact to all who have had the pleasure to know her: she’s a compassionate, caring individual, always with a smile on her face. She represents everything that is great about Cary in her attitude, work ethic, and approach. I would ask that each of you join me in channeling some of Lori’s strength and sending it back to her. On her path to recovery, she needs her biggest champions cheering her on now more than ever.

As evidence in today’s turnout, we know our citizens care about others in their community, and that’s one of the many reasons why I’m proud to call Cary home. I challenge you all to continue making your caring as apparent as it is right now. Check in on your neighbor. Say hello to each other when passing on greenways. Hug your child a few seconds longer. Smile. Call a friend or family member instead of sending a text. With a seemingly endless supply of tragedy in the news, we need each other and these small acts of care now more than ever. …

The event was a huge success with over 700 participants in the ride and over a 1000 people attending. Estimates had the fundraising at over $100,000. Thanks so much to everyone who help make this possible.

Saturday afternoon I had the joy and privilege to be a part of the celebration of Swift Creek Elementary’s anniversary. I gave a brief welcome but the star of the celebration was the school chorus which sang several songs, one of which they wrote. In addition, the school unveiled a new mascot. This is believed to be the location of one of the oldest schools in the region. Their oldest gym building was built in 1956.

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

A Ride For Lori

We’re expecting a big day for Lori with approximately 500 riders and 300 walkers preregistered to participate. The event is at Inside-Out Sports (2002 Grisdale Lane, Cary) from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., with Mayor Weinbrecht speaking during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. In addition, there is a silent auction that includes weekend giveaways, sporting event tickets, golf and spa certificates, plus Cary PD will host a bike rodeo for children to brush up on their bike safety skills and have their helmet checked for proper fit and wear.

It is truly amazing to see Lori’s work family come together in support of this day, which would not have been possible without the tireless effort and dedication from Scott Hecht. Please, don your favorite pink clothing on Saturday and come out to support Lori!

Solid Waste Rebalancing

Last Friday, 27,000 letters were mailed to households that will be affected by the upcoming November solid waste reroute. This reroute is necessary as we realign our collection routes in order to continue our reliable and exemplary level of service. Public Works received about 100 calls this week, primarily regarding clarification of blue and yellow recycling cycles. This represents less than .05% of the total homes that received letters. Homeowners will receive another notification in about 10 days with their annual mailer, as well as a cart hanger the week before collections are scheduled to change. You can learn more about the rebalancing efforts in this month’s edition of Bud TV, just one of the many ways we are communicating the change to our citizens between now and November.

Cary Showcased at Smart Cities Week

Council Members Robinson and George along with Terry Yates attended the Smart Cities Week Conference in Washington DC. This event brought together international, state and local government officials, industry, and academic leaders for an engaged discussion on identifying tough urban challenges and using smart infrastructure and applications to solve them. 

As part of this event, Council Member Robinson and Terry participated on a panel titled, “The Next Generation of Small and Smart Cities.” The panel provided attendees with best practice examples around smart city deployments for small and medium sized cities.

Plumtree Elevated Water Tank Repainting Project Schedule

We received bids this summer on the Plumtree Elevated Water Tank Coatings improvement project. Constructed in 2001, the 141-foot tank holds 1 million gallons of drinking water and continues to operate with the original coating. Painting activities are expected to begin this winter and last for about three months. The tank color will match the other elevated water storage tanks in town (Hidden Lake Blue). The timing of this project is very important as it allows the surface of the tank to be cleaned and a new overcoat applied, without having to remove all existing coatings. The new protective coating will continue to protect the tank from corrosion for the next 15 to 20 years.

Citizens and businesses will be notified of the project prior to the tank being enclosed in a cloth shroud. Planned outreach includes letters to citizens in the immediate area and a community meeting in November at Fire Station #6, which is adjacent to the tank.

Research Network for Water Management Infrastructure

The Town of Cary and City of Raleigh recently partnered to kick-off a grant-funded project led by four NC universities.  The goal of this project, “Smart Management of Water Resources and Infrastructure with the Internet of Things (IoT),” is to create a new research coordination network and establish North Carolina as a hub for research activities in water smart cities. Research activities will explore the use of the IoT and smart water meters for improving municipal management of water resources and infrastructure. Research will develop a socio-technical model and a cyber-physical model, which will be used to engage utilities and create collaborative relationships with an industry partner and an IoT non-profit organization. These activities will build the foundation for follow-on proposals that will be submitted to the National Science Foundation. The Town was represented by Gregory Jenkins II (Finance) and Sarah Braman (Water Resources).

PD Assists with International Walk to School Day

Lots of little feet were out and about early Wednesday morning to mark International Walk to School Day. In Cary, ten schools hosted walks. The Mayor and Council Members Frantz and Yerha walked to Cary Elementary and Council Member Bush walked with students to Northwoods Elementary. I want to thank the dozens of officers who ensured our youth arrived safely to school and the staff who were asked to supply materials like bike maps, bus schedules and water bottles to round out these walks in an effort to showcase all we do as an organization to support safe multi-modal transportation.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

At Thursday’s Council meeting, Council Member Bush declared October Cybersecurity Awareness Month. To raise awareness, the Town will execute a social media campaign throughout the month focusing on different aspects of online security, such as tips for staying cyber healthy. In November, we intend to continue the conversation with citizens as we see an uptick in online shopping for the holidays.

Online Safety Training

Human Resources has started an online on-demand safety training program by partnering with Training Network, a North Carolina company. This new online offering allows supervisors to easily provide relevant training to their employees, enabling them to have discussions about safety issues they may encounter during their job and the precautions to take both at work and home. Providing this safety training in a new format allows us to think about more uses in the future.

In emails this week it was reported that Cary is once again one of the safest, if not the safest, towns in the United States. The data, based on last year’s crime statistics, showed a decrease in property crime. But the news wasn’t all good because it showed an increase in violent crime.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about the White Oak Church proposal
  • Questions about rail crossings in downtown
  • A concern that a retirement community expansion is being held up by the town (this is a typical excuse used some developers – that it is the town’s fault for their delays which is 99% not the case)
  • An email campaign to lobby council to vote for IKEA (totally unnecessary since there is no opposition to IKEA and filling up council member’s mailboxes is a poor strategy)
  • A concern about school reassignment (not a function of Cary but a function of the Wake County School Board)
  • A request for a plastic bag ban (don’t think we have authority for this)
  • Concerns about a proposed development at Cary Parkway and Evans
  • Concerns that Morrisville will connect town hall drive to Crabtree Crossing (this is a consultant recommendation not a Morrisville council recommendation)

Next week’s activities include several meetings, a Cary Matters taping, the SAS Championships, meeting a delegation of sister city County Meath in Ireland, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a Joint MPO Executive Committee meeting, and Diwali.

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

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