• Sunday, February 11th, 2018

This week the focus was on the council/staff working retreat. Other than that there wasn’t much going on.

Monday I met with the manager for our weekly one-on-one. We went over the agenda for the retreat. I was also given the Quarter 2 summary.

Tuesday I had dinner with a couple of council members to discuss a variety of items.

Thursday the council headed to the coast for the annual council/staff working retreat. We arrived around 6 PM and gathered for dinner. Since the dinner included a majority of council it was a public meeting and the public was notified earlier in the week. Even though this was a public meeting the council was not allowed to talk about any town business and as always that rule was strictly followed.

Friday before beginning work a group of us did a run on the beach at 7 AM which had about half a dozen participants out of 30 attendees. The working part of the retreat began Friday morning at 9 AM. Our conference room was big enough to have plenty of seating, access to audio-video, and plenty of snacks. As it is with every retreat there is a table setting with your personal favorite snacks at your seat. Mine included everything from a tomato to snickers. Our first day was spent looking at things from a high level or the “balcony” as we called it.

The morning session, “bridging the gap between politics and the profession”, was presented by Dr. Nalbandian from Kansas University who holds a doctorate in philosophy. He is an expert in human resources management and specializes in politics and administration in local government. In addition to his academic work, he served eight years on the Lawrence, Kansas, City Council including two terms as mayor. From this experience he has a perspective from both the council and staff sides of local government. In his presentation he affirmed many of the things Cary is already doing. That is the council addresses difficult policy problems, builds capacity to work effectively together, and has a productive relationship with staff. He stated that the role of governing body is community building and talked about political values:

“Political values influence public policy development as opposed to the lives of the individuals who make policy. The primary political value in our culture is responsiveness of government officials to public wants and needs. The value of responsiveness is reflected in demands for representation, efficiency, individual rights, and social equity.”

The session included case studies which allowed council members to understand how staff is involved in an issue and allowed staff to understand how council is involved in an issue. The result of this understanding and collaboration is a more efficient and productive team. Dr. Nalbandian did say Cary was unique in many ways including how the council works together and how council works with staff.

The afternoon session was spent reflecting on the past year of change including challenges and successes. It started with a 20 minute video made up of retreat participants answering several questions including:

  • What are some of the things that surprised you last year?
  • Have you seen a change in organizational communication or collaboration?
  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • Talk about a situation where you or your group struggled with change.

The video was created and taped several weeks before the retreat. It created a lot of dialog and conversation which lasted a couple of hours. Interjected in the discussion were points made by Dr. Nalbandian earlier in the day.

The second day was spent on more specific topics. It started with second quarter results. Some notable items from the second quarter included:

  • Refinancing will save about $10 million in utility interest savings.
  • Capital project spending included 56% for streets, 14% for parks, 10% for water, 9% for sewer, 6% for general government, 4% for fire, and about 1% for downtown.
  • Several transportation, park, and greenway projects are underway.

Council approved a financial housekeeping motion which included:

  • Recognizing general obligation bond proceeds for the general fund and utility fund.
  • Recognizing revenue bond proceeds
  • And authorizing these new proceeds for the repayment of existing dept in the same respective funds and amounts.

Council also approved a motion regarding transit which included:

  • Reducing expenditures in the Transit Fund in the amount of $49,000.
  • Increasing authorized expenditures for the same amount in the General Fund operations functions
  • Authorizing the related necessary interfund transfers.

The next session was on growing pains related to Imagine Cary and the Planning and Zoning Board. Council asked staff to look into the pros and cons of making several adjustments which included:

  • Currently changes, by a developer, after a public triggers a second public hearing at the Planning and Zoning Board. Consider having the second public hearing at council instead.
  • Consider several options to help the Planning and Zoning Board recommend a citizen’s perspective to council. This may include eliminating their vote on the recommendation and instead having their recommendation provided.
  • Consider whether or not the ETJ member should be involved in actions within corporate limits and instead only have them involved in ETJ matters.

The growing pains session also included feedback on staff reports with the Cary Community Plan as part of the recommendation.

Our last major topic at the retreat was stormwater. Stormwater issues are growing exponentially across the country. In Cary it is estimated that 5% of our residents experience flooding due to storms. In addition, Cary has many people experiencing flooding due to the fact that their home is in a flood plain. Fixing stormwater issues usually causes millions of dollars and lots of times those fixes are temporary. As a result we have decided to take a strategic approach. We started by creating a group of experts and stakeholders including expert Dr. Hunt from NC State and several floodplain residents. The group has met several times and it was decided that a pilot program to model impacts on stormwater should be studied in the Walnut Creek basin. Once the model is calibrated it can be used in basins all over Cary. It is our hope that this approach will allow us to create the best stormwater program in the country. We also want to include citizens in the process. We believe this approach will be successful. In fact Dr. Hunt stated that removing just an inch from stormwater would make us famous.

In the meantime, while this pilot program is ongoing, the council took action to add to the maintenance of stormwater pipes. Staff reported that although it had four jet-vac trucks with cameras for sewer issues (costing over $600,000 apiece) that it had none for stormwater. So council approved the purchase of an additional jet-vac truck with cameras just for stormwater to help keep pipes clean. I believe this is a good first step. BTW, staff showed a picture of one clog. When cleared the clog included 3 basketballs, 2 footballs, a baseball bat, and a tree trunk. Wow!

Our retreat ended Saturday afternoon after final comments were made by the manager, Dr. Nalbandian, and council members.

Emails this week included the following:

  • Complaints about the gas station proposal at Kildaire and Penny Roads.
  • A complaint about junk vehicles.
  • A request for more bus service.
  • A complaint about the alarm going off at Shearon Harris nuclear plant (I believe this is the responsibility of the NRC – Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

Next week’s activities include staff meetings and a public meeting on a water pressure shift.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 18th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, February 04th, 2018

This was a busy week through Thursday.

Monday started with my town manager one-on-one meeting. We went over the council/staff retreat tentative agenda. Our retreat will be on Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th. Friday will be from 8 AM until 5 PM and Saturday will be from 8:30 AM until 3 PM. Some of the topics include Quarter 2 updates, the rolling budget, downtown, community resilience, and stormwater.

Later Monday I attended the Lazy Daze grants reception at the Cary Theater. This year the committee handed out $40,000 from the proceeds of Lazy Daze. Since the program’s inception approximately $680,000 has been returned to the community. Lazy Daze is the largest and longest running cultural arts festival the Town produces each year, and one of the largest in the southeast. Thanks to each of the cultural groups that received grants for their service to our citizens.

Tuesday I attended the public meeting at Crosspointe Church on Carpenter Fire Station Road. The purpose of the meeting was to provide input on the design of two future neighborhood parks in western Cary. The two 20-acre sites are located at the southwest corner of Carpenter Fire Station Road and Highcroft Drive and the southeast corner of Green Level Church Road and McCrimmon Parkway. Staff and consultants were on hand to talk with and gather input from Cary citizens. Now they will take the input they gathered, create a committee of citizens, staff, and consultants to help design concepts for the parks.

Wednesday started with a taping of an abbreviated version of the State of Cary address. The original version presented live to the Cary Chamber of Commerce on January 24th was about 30 minutes. This should be about 10 to 15 minutes long. The taping was divided into 3 segments and it took about half an hour to tape. Afterwards I taped an updated version of our winter weather message that plays on Cary TV when we have a winter storm.

Wednesday evening I joined several council members and invited guests at the reopening of the McDonalds on Harrison. The owner, which has two LEED certified McDonalds in other parts of Cary, refurbished the restaurant but was not able to make this one LEED certified. He did, however, make it more technologically advanced. That is, you can continue to order the way you always did or order from a menu board in the restaurant, or order outside using your phone, or order with Uber Eats. One big surprise of the evening was the Pilot program of one of their sandwiches using fresh instead of frozen meat. And it was really tasty.

Thursday the council held its monthly quasi-judicial meeting which included three cases. Council member Frantz was not present since he was representing Cary at an event.

The first case was to add a Starbucks to the Millpond Village shopping center. This was a quasi-judicial hearing because it had a drive through. The hearing lasted about 15 minutes, had very few questions, and was approved unanimously by council.

The second case was for a Shelbourne Senior Living on a 13-acre tract in Regency across from Symphony Lake and the Booth Amphitheater. This was a quasi-judicial hearing because it had over 100 units. I raised concerns about the 95 decibel level coming from the amphitheater. Other concerns included storm runoff retention which may impact communities, across from the Lochmere Golf Club, which has houses built in the floodplain. A condition, approved by council, was added to include noise decibel levels in lease agreements.

Our last case was for Channing Park which is a proposed development plan for 189 attached single-family dwelling units (townhomes) and 17 detached single family dwelling units near the intersection of Highcroft Drive and McCrimmon Drive. Council expressed concerns about the private streets and safety risks associated with the location of the development across from Panther Creek High School. After much discussion the council approved the development by a 4-2 vote.

The town manager’s report this week included:

Two Cary Companies Earn SPACE Awards

Each year the Triangle Business Journal recognizes the Triangle’s top commercial real estate deals and developers through their SPACE Awards. The SPACE Awards were presented on Thursday at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. Council Member Don Frantz, joined Ted Boyd and myself attended the event as two Cary companies were recognized at the 2018 SPACE Awards. Trilliant at One Harrison Parkway received the Top Economic Development Award and Northwoods Associates was awarded Best Redevelopment Project for their Mid-Town Square redevelopment in Downtown Cary.

Sharing Rap Session Conversations with TOC Family

On Wednesday, a group of approximately 50 staff gathered for the first monthly Town of Cary Rap Session. As you may recall, our Police Department has been conducting Rap Sessions at barbershops over the past several years to encourage an open and honest dialogue between the black community and Cary Police. This partnership was formed through Jeremy Bergin in our Police Department and Tru Pettigrew, a Cary citizen. The goal of the session was to get to know each other closer to make us stronger. It was an enlightening and revealing two hours, in which we were reminded that real change happens in the heart. Thank you to Chief Godwin for bringing this special partnership to your colleagues!

Town Selected as Finalist for Smart Cities Readiness Challenge

The Town was selected as a finalist out of 125 applications from across the U.S. The competition going forward will be fierce to ultimately select five winning applications. The final announcement is expected in March. Our application focused on the efforts underway with the Garage for Innovation group, as well as the Innovation Analytics Lab and the Simulated Smart City Project.

Public Input Meeting for Neighborhood Parks Planning

Approximately 150 citizens attended the public meeting at Crosspointe Church on Tuesday to hear more about the projects currently under design for western Cary. A team of about 30 staff members, in conjunction with 10 consultants and two artists, shared information and led attendees through several exercises to gain public input into the two neighborhood parks currently being planned. Thank you to Mayor Weinbrecht and the other council members who joined.

I-40/Airport Blvd Interchange Improvements

On Tuesday, NCDOT held a public meeting for the I-40/Airport Blvd Interchange Improvements project, which presented two alternative designs to relieve traffic congestion. One design option is a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) and the other is a Partial Clover Interchange, which is a modification of the existing interchange. NCDOT is receiving comments until February 14. Staff has already submitted initial comments including a request for a pedestrian plan, which illustrates any provided pedestrian facilities throughout the project limits.

Cary Participates in Regional Water Quality Collaborations

The Town’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable water to our growing community includes contributing to regional efforts to protect Jordan Lake. Upcoming events highlight two of these regional initiatives: the Jordan Lake One Water Association and the NC Policy Collaboratory’s Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Study.

The Jordan Lake One Water Association, a collaborative group representing local governments, utilities, conservation groups and industry stakeholders, holds its next meeting on February 15. Council Member Lori Bush is the Town’s liaison to the group.

The NC Policy Collaboratory was created by the Legislature in 2016 to perform research into environmental science and policy issues. The Collaboratory is currently engaged in a study into Jordan Lake nutrient management issues and solutions. An interim report was published in December. On March 22, Town staff will participate in a Collaboratory stakeholder meeting to provide input on project goals and hear from UNC/NC State researchers on their initial findings. The study will be completed in 2022.

Exploring Bikeshares in Cary

Bikeshare programs are continuing to grow nationwide. There are two primary types of systems, the dock-based system and the dockless system. The traditional, dock-based system requires users to pick up and drop off bikes at existing stations located in pre-determined locations. The dockless system differs in that the bikes typically have a rear-wheel locking system which enables riders to bike up and park the bikes anywhere within a geographic region.

As the bikeshare industry continues to grow and as our neighbors are adopting bikeshare programs, staff is exploring the potential of bikeshares in Cary. We will examine their policies, usage, compliance, accessibility to determine best practices and gain insights that may be beneficial to Cary.

Previewing Next Week

I am incredibly excited about the Council/Staff retreat next week. It’s truly remarkable that the Council is able to set aside the time to focus on strategic, big picture issues facing the community. We will have the agenda and supporting materials available for you on Monday. As we’ll be together, we will not be sending a Weekly Report next week.

Recognitions

This week the 2017 Lazy Daze grants were presented at a ceremony and reception at The Cary. Thirty-one Cary based non-profits were awarded a total of $40,000. Also, Cary High School senior Bevin Neill’s artwork, “Dandy Daze” was unveiled. This is the third year a Cary area high school student was selected to produce the artwork for the Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • An email campaign to vote against a gas station rezoning proposal at Kildaire and Penny Road (While I LOVE feedback filling up my email box with the same message over and over just makes it difficult to address concerns)
  • An email campaign to vote against a rezoning proposal at Weldon Ridge.
  • A request to address zoning violations (an operational issue which staff is handling)
  • A complaint about not being allowed to give an opinion at a quasi-judicial hearing (these requirements are created by the state and US Consitutions)

 

Next week is the council/staff working retreat and other than a few minor meetings that is all that is on my calendar.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 11th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, January 28th, 2018

This was a busy and eventful week.

It started by contacting all council members to hear of questions or concerns they may have had with Thursday’s agenda. The only questions were about the rezoning conditions in the Columbia Development proposal. Later in the day I met with staff to go over the agenda items. We believed the meeting would not have that many speakers and in turn would not be a long meeting.

Afterwards I met with the manager for my weekly one-on-one. We were joined by the Deputy Manager, attorney, and Mayor Pro-Tem. We mostly discussed the Columbia Development proposal and that process.

Tuesday I attended the visitation of Daphne Ashworth along with hundreds of other people from Cary. Daphne and her husband and Ralph founded Ashworth Drugs in 1957 and Lynn’s Hallmark Shops in 1969. She stayed active in local organizations all of her life and was a member of the Cary Woman’s Club, the Cary Jaycettes, a founding member of the Cary Library, a docent at the NC Museum of Art, a founding member of the Heart of Cary Association, Hallmark Cards National Advisory Board, Wake Med Foundation Board, Cary Chamber of Commerce Board, NC Pharmacy Ladies Auxiliary Board president, a founding patron of the Cary Debutante Ball, Cary Visual Arts Board, the Page-Walker committee, and long-time supporter of the Dorcas Shop and the YMCA of the Triangle. Daphne and her husband Ralph have been honored many times by several organizations, including Cary Citizens of the Year, Cary Chamber of Commerce Business People of the Year, and Cary Hometown Spirit Award. She and her beautiful smile will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace Daphne!

Wednesday was a big day for me. It started with my annual State of Cary address as part of the Cary Chamber’s Breakfast which was held at the Prestonwood County Club. This was my 11th address and I believe my biggest crowd ever. Last I heard over 260 were in attendance. My topics (in order) included population and growth rate, accolades, finances, championships returning to our sports venues, jobs, rebranding, downtown, stormwater, the Eastern Gateway, development west of highway 55, transportation projects, parks, fiber installation, the opioid crisis, and resisting divisiveness that is crippling our state and nation. Questions afterwards included how the town could help businesses, what is being done about growth, and the current status of our water. My talk including questions lasted a little over 30 minutes which was a bit longer than I planned. The presentation was well received and I was humbled by the standing ovation.

Wednesday afternoon I attended a meeting of the CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) representing 30 governing bodies. The meeting started with a public hearing on an amendment to the Transportation Improvement Plan. Next I was honored to be elected chairman and took control of running the meeting. The regular portion of the meeting included nine items. All of those items were for information only except two. The board approved the fiscal year 2nd Quarter project amendment list and also approved a compromise recommendation of SPOT (Strategic Transportation Prioritization) projects. This compromise removed some of the CAMPO BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) projects to allow DCHC (Durham Carrboro Chapel Hill Metropolitan Planning Organization) to have less competition and increase their chances of being fully funded for their light rail. The removed BRT projects will be funded by other means. The DCHC Chair and Vice Chair were on hand to make comments and thank the board for helping their efforts. Our meeting concluded after a little over an hour and a half.

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of January. The agenda included 12 consent items, 2 public hearings, and 3 discussion items. There were no speakers at the Public Speaks Out portion of the meeting which is rare. In addition, the only speakers in the Public Hearings were the applicants. Again, that is rare.

The council made several comments about the Gordon Street and Maynard Rezoning proposal. Most believe the proposal should coordinate with the adjacent shopping center which is starting to redevelop. Other comments included the need for more conditions to ensure this rezoning would protect the neighbors. This rezoning will come back to council for a vote after review and recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Board. 

Under the discussion items council unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Street Improvements Project list and the Wake County Hospitality Tax Funding Application without very much discussion. The last item on the agenda was the Fenton mixed use development. Council spent their time praising staff and developers for bringing this rezoning proposal with one hundred zoning conditions. When this is built it will be the largest development in the history of Cary. Over the next several weeks the developer and staff will work out the details of a Developer Agreement which is a condition of the rezoning. This agreement will help ensure that both parties work together to create the vision approved for this area. The meeting concluded after less than two hours.

Saturday I joined council member Smith at Cary Fire Station #9 for the retiree’s breakfast. Firefighters from as far back as 1967 and as recently as hired last month, joined us, along with members of the Parks and Recreation and Cultural Resource’s administration, the Town, and other Firefighter companies. This was put on by Bradford’s Ordinary Fire Company which is a 501C3 created by Cary Firefighters with a focus on serving those people in our community suffering from hardship whether emergent or chronic. This year, their fundraising efforts included the Town of Cary Fire House Marathon, the Bradford’s and Bond Brothers Beer and BBQ Ball, the Bradford’s Ordinary Golf Classic, and countless other events. This year grants went to three organizations. The first was for $2,500 to an annual scholarship fund for Town of Cary PRCR Camp Experience for underprivileged kids. The second was $6,500 to the Miracle League Baseball of the Triangle. This money goes to uniforms, pictures, and material support to bring the joys of baseball to those cognitively- challenged kids of the Cary area. The final recipient was Project Lifesaver. This is a program that uses radio frequency technology, tactical search and rescue training, Police, Fire, and community partnerships to reduce the search times for at-risk populations from hours to minutes- thereby reducing the chance for injury or worse in this special community. This grant will be used to place radio receivers on four different fire apparatus, give training to a large swath of the fire and police department, start a scholarship program for users, and create a tighter relationship between the caregivers of this population. I am so grateful that the Bradford’s Ordinary Fire Company and all they do to serve our community now and as we move forward in to 2018.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Mayor Delivers State of Cary

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Weinbrecht delivered his annual State of Cary address to the Cary Chamber of Commerce at Prestonwood Country Club. The Mayor highlighted many of Cary’s successes over the past year, including the diversity of accolades that collectively make Cary an amazing place to live work and play, the excitement happening in Cary’s downtown, and the upcoming opportunities in the Eastern Cary Gateway. He also took a moment to remind everyone the importance of working together and finding common ground, regardless of political persuasion, for the betterment of the community.

Chatter 101 Workshops

The Garage group returned to host the last Chatter 101 workshop for all employees. The Garage group is a community of staff interested in challenging convention, exploring new technologies, and aren’t afraid of failure. Over 200 employees attended the series of workshops, which taught users the basics of the Chatter platform. The workshop was also live-streamed so Fire staff could participate from their district locations. Kudos to presenters Jennifer Warner, Reid Serozi, Cailen Waddell, Cara Conner and Lenny Lloyd as well as several others who worked behind the scenes to help make these workshops come to life!

CAMPO Executive Update

Congratulations to Mayor Weinbrecht for being elected Chair of the CAMPO Executive Board at the meeting on Wednesday. The board is comprised of approximately 30 elected officials and stakeholders representing 5 counties and 18 municipal jurisdictions. Other meeting highlights included presenting the FY19 draft Wake Transit work plan, which includes new bus service on Weston Parkway, Cary’s regional operations and maintenance facility, and free fares for riders under 18. The work plan’s public comment period extends through March 12 and can be found here. The FY19 recommended LAPP grants were also presented to the board. The vote to approve the recommendations will occur in February. Four Cary transportation projects are recommended to receive $6.3 million in LAPP grants:

  • Connected Vehicle Technology ($1.6 million)
  • Reedy Creek Rd. Phase 2 ($632,029, which represents partial funding)
  • Higgins Greenway Phase 3 ($2,030,000)
  • Downtown Cary Multimodal Facility ($2 million)

Imagine Cary Turns One!

On Wednesday, Town staff gathered to celebrate the one year milestone of the Imagine Cary Community Plan. Reaching the visions outlined in Imagine Cary will continue to be a journey. To do so will take the continued efforts of the PIT Crew team to prioritize our implementation strategies, aligning our LDO with ACT chapter refinements, and of course, continuing to work as a team to keep Cary great. Thank you to Council for setting us on the course to achieving the vision!

Cary Showcases Regional IoT Efforts at Conference

Terry Yates presented a session titled “Smart Cities of the South” at the IoT Evolution Conference in Orlando, FL. The presentation focused on the Triangle’s smart city change agents, regional smart city initiatives, and showcased a variety of Cary’s efforts. Special thanks goes to Emily Barrett and Sarah Braman for helping with the content of the presentation.

Recognitions

We’d like to congratulate Len Lloyd (Public Works- Facilities) for being elected Vice President of the American Public Works Association’s North Carolina Chapter’s Facilities and Ground Division. Thank you Len for representing the Town of Cary with your great work and contribution to our organization!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Compliments for the snow removal.
  • A complaint about the Crabtree Crossing connection proposal (This is a Morrisville decision not a Cary decision).
  • Concerns about downtown stormwater issues.
  • Interest in helping battle the Opioid crisis.
  • Questions about the downtown library

Next week will continue to be busy. It includes Lazy Daze grant awards, several meetings, western Cary public meeting on park planning, State of Cary taping, Harrison Avenue McDonald’s opening kickoff, Cary/Morrisville council joint meeting, and a quasi-judicial meeting with three cases.

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, January 21st, 2018

This week was abbreviated by the winter storm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snapshots of Cary in Snow

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

Amazon Announces List of 20 Candidates for HQ2

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

Cary Again Earns Partnership for Safe Water Director’s Award

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

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

Seeing & Learning in Kansas City

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

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

Favorable IBT Decision for Cary

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

Recognitions

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, January 14th, 2018

This was the first full week of the year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environmental Advisory Board

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

Historic Preservation Commission

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

Information Services Advisory Board

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

Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Advisory Board

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

Planning and Zoning Board

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

Public Art Advisory Board

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

Zoning Board of Adjustment

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

The meeting concluded after about 45 minutes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s weekly report included:

Retreat Preparations Kick Into Higher Gear

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

CSX Railroad Crossing Closings

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

Monthly Utilities Report

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

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

Analysis Finds Need for Signal at Intersection

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

Cary Joins NC WaterWARN

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

Happenings on Capitol Hill

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

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

Previewing Next Week

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

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

Recognitions

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

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

 

Emails from citizens this week include:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, January 07th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Cold Ushers in the New Year

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

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

Upcoming Pressure Zone Shift

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

Morrisville Parkway Extension Progress Report

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

First Walk of the New Year

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

New Traffic Signal Operational in Western Cary

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

Cary Projects Fare Well for LAPP Funding

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

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

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

Recognitions

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Happy New Year!!

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

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

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

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

Emails this week included:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 24th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for the week included:

Previewing Next Week

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

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

ATT & O’Kelly Chapel Pedestrian Improvements

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

Cary Chosen for 2018 Smart 50 Award

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

Teaming Up for Scholarships

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

Fire Training Among Partners

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

Citizen Celebrates Cary Bonds

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

Wake County Public Schools Meeting

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

Recognitions

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 31st.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, December 17th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Stormwater Working Group Meets with Stakeholders

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Selections for Western Cary Parks

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

Salesforce Training Underway

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

Successful Bond Sale

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

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

GRCVB Window Display

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

NC Recreation & Parks Annual Conference

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

Recognitions

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

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

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 24th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

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• 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.

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