Harold’s Blog: Cary Community Plan, Council Meeting and More

Cary, NC – This was the first full week of the year. With the exception of Monday, this was a busy week.

Tuesday – Cary Community Plan

Monday was a holiday for most people but some of us had to work. I didn’t mind since there was light traffic on the roads and at work.

Tuesday started with calls to council members to hear of their concerns and questions about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was only able to reach three members and there were no big concerns. Later in the day I met with management, public information, legal, and administration to go over the agenda items. Based on our discussion I believed that Thursday’s meeting would last about an hour and a half.

Tuesday evening I, along with Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha met with the town manager and others to go over various issues. Some of the items discussed were quasi-judicial hearings, downtown businesses, and council staff relationships. Our meeting lasted about an hour.

Tuesday night the council held a quasi-judicial hearing for one item. Before addressing the item I had the honor and privilege of swearing in former Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Gale Adcock to her second term as a North Carolina House Representative. Gale is loved by many in Cary and does a fantastic job representing us.

In the quasi-judicial meeting the council accepted a payment-in-lieu for bike lanes that was required of a development located at Highway 55 and Turner Creek Road. Council believed this was the safest thing to do since there are currently no bike lanes on Highway 55. In addition, council discussed sidewalks in the area and right-of-way for future road expansion. The vote to approve the request was unanimous.

The last meeting Tuesday was the work session on the Cary Community Plan called Imagine Cary. The council mostly focused on transportation recommendations. The following were approved by council to be included in the final draft to be voted on at the January 24th council meeting:

  • Council agreed with the recommendation for North Carolina 54/Chapel Hill Road to have an ultimate width of six lanes median divided.
  • Council agreed with the recommendation for Yates Store Road and Batchelor Road to follow existing property lines to the extent feasible.
  • After much debate council agreed to leave Green Level Church Road as a four lane median divided road to handle future traffic. Staff was directed to look at ways to be sensitive to the historic area.
  • Council agreed with the recommendation for Holly Springs and Tryon Road to be six lanes median divided.
  • After much debate council agreed to leave the Cary Parkway Extension on the map to connect to Trinity Road. Staff was directed to do a focused study on future development on Harrison from Cary Parkway to I40 to find out what impacts may occur if the Cary Parkway is extended.

The work session concluded after an hour and a half.

Wednesday – Economic Forecast

Wednesday I attended the Economic Forecast presented by Economics Professor Michael Walden from NC State. The majority of his comments were about impacts of the President-elect on the economy. Other interesting comments included:

  • Cary’s population will double by 2050.
  • The economy is significantly impacted by an aging nationwide population and automation.
  • Cary had a 68% building permit growth rate as compared to 7.1% in North Carolina and less than 2% nationwide.
  • Legislative changes nationwide will be at a rate not seen since the Johnson administration.

His presentation lasted about forty-five minutes.

Thursday – Town Council Meeting

Thursday before the council meeting I met with Webelos troop 152 from Genesis United Methodist Church. I talked about my duties as mayor and then answered a few questions. Then I told them what to expect in the council meeting later that evening. I am glad to see young people involved in their government.

Thursday night was the council’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the year. There were 13 consent agenda items, 3 public hearings, 8 discussion items, and a closed session.

In the public speaks out portion of the meeting several speakers spoke about Chapel Hill Road being widened to 6 lanes. As is sometimes the case, they were misinformed. The Cary Community Plan, which will be voted on at the January 24th meeting, has the ultimate width as 6 lanes. However it is just a plan and councils can and often do change plans. So that road width could change in the future to 4 lanes or 8 lanes depending on the wishes of the council at the time. In addition, there is currently no funding planned for this road. So unless NCDOT changes their priorities this is not likely to be widened for at least 10 years. Who knows it may never be widened to 6 lanes.

Council also discussed a Walnut Street rezoning proposal after the public hearing. This proposal has a fast food at the corner of Tryon Road and Walnut Street adjacent to the Macedonia Methodist Church. The proposal has challenges with egress and ingress. It will be interesting to see the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning board.

Paid parental leave for town employees allowing up to 6 weeks was approved with council and staff stating that this will allow Cary to recruit and retain the best talent in our quest to remain competitive and create the best staff in the country.

The Legislative agenda was also approved with 5 items. Those items were:

  • If legislation changes municipal elections to even years then support it as an option for municipalities they may not desire even year elections.
  • Support legislation that would retain municipal control over the development process and local rights of way for small cell wireless infrastructure.
  • Support the state’s existing Jordan Lake rules.
  • Support preserving Cary’s ability to continue using 100’ stream buffers and to implement and enforce its current riparian buffer ordinance, which applies to riparian buffers in both the Neuse River and Jordan Lake-Cape Fear River Basins.
  • Seek a local bill to authorize Apex police officers to continue to serve the students at Apex High while the school is temporarily located in the Town of Cary.

The legislative items will be presented to the Cary delegation later this month.

Council also approved 3 construction bids, asked staff to look into our Heritage Tree program, and asked staff to investigate information sessions to benefit realtors. The meeting concluded after about 2 hours 20 minutes.

Friday – Geographic Bee

Friday I had the joy of introducing the 10 finalist for the Davis Drive Middle School national geography bee contest. The National Geographic Bee is an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The bee has been held every year since 1989 for students in the fourth through eighth grades. This was the 20th anniversary of Davis Drive’s first geography bee. After I introduced the contestants, Davis Drive’s first principal, Dr. Coley, was introduced as the emcee. He was also the principal at Cary High for many years. Although I was only able to watch one round of questions, I am grateful that Davis Drive included me in this milestone contest.

Left to right: Dr. Coley, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, social studies teacher Clint Allen and current principal Rick Williams

Saturday – Snowy Weather

Starting on Saturday Cary was dealing with about half an inch of sleet and about an inch of snow. This combined with low temperatures, which remained below freezing for several days, made it very hazardous to drive. As usual, the Cary snow team was in high gear trying to clear the main roads on Saturday and Sunday.

Emails From Staff

Emails from staff this week included a response to a citizen about road maintenance. Here is an excerpt which I thought I would share:

“…the Town of Cary is a complex network of streets and roads that are maintained by various institutes.  Below you will find a link to an interactive map that illustrates which streets are maintained by the Town of Cary, NCDOT, & private entities.

http://carync.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Embed/index.html?webmap=66a51252d79847a694dddcf009e3b59f&extent=-78.7918,35.7858,-78.7759,35.7937&home=true&zoom=true&scale=false&search=true&searchextent=true&legend=true&&show_panel=true&basemap_gallery=true&theme=light&logoimage=http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Planning+Department/ArcGIS+Helper+Files/TofC2.png&disable_scroll=false&logolink=http://townofcary.org

The Town of Cary is committed to doing what is necessary to efficiently maintain our infrastructure and works to be cost effective by rehabilitating and resurfacing our streets during the early stages of cracking and deterioration.  There are approximately 466 miles of town maintained roadway within the town’s limits that are surveyed each year.

A private consultant is employed to perform the pavement condition survey work.  They conduct a visual survey of the streets maintained by the Town following the methodology and approach in the latest NCDOT Pavement Condition Survey (PCS) Manual as developed by the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE).  The information gathered includes physical characteristics and pavement distress types. The information collected is used to calculate the Pavement Condition Rating (PCR) for each street segment.  Overall, the Town of Cary maintained street system is in “Good” condition with an overall weighted average PCR value of 82.7 out of 100, with a distribution of condition as shown in the figure below.

This data is then used to determine which Town of Cary maintained streets are eligible for resurfacing.  Also, we use this information to determine the best places to employee preventative maintenance techniques such as crack sealing, patching, and rejuvenator.  Rejuvenator is a penetrating sealer that simply replaces the vital ingredients that have been lost from the asphalt over time due to exposure to the suns UV rays and wet weather.  This application can extend the life expectancy of roads. Extending the life of the roadway helps reduce future costs and tax dollars needed for paving.

I hope that you have found this information regarding Town of Cary streets helpful.  In regards to any roads maintained by the NCDOT, I would suggest contacting the local district office at 919-733-3213.  Thank you again for helping make the Town of Cary a great place to live, work, and raise a family.…”

Town Manager’s Report

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

Winter Weather Preparations

As reported at last night’s Council meeting, brining operations are complete and trucks are switched over to plows and spreaders in anticipation of the winter precipitation likely to begin this evening. In addition to the efforts at Public Works, other actions include:

  • Police will switch to AWD vehicles once the weather begins to materialize.
  • All standby generators at wastewater pump stations have been topped off with fuel and tested.
  • All Fire front-line and reserve apparatus are ready and equipped with chains should they become needed.

All parks, recreation and cultural arts programming after 5 p.m. tonight and continuing through the end of day Sunday are canceled; all facilities are closed through Sunday. The Three Kings Parade is rescheduled for Saturday, January 28. In addition, the Chinese Lantern Festival is closed and is expected to reopen Tuesday, January 10. GoCary will cease operations at 9 p.m. and end all door-to-door pick-ups at 7 p.m. All GoCary services are canceled for tomorrow. The Citizen’s Convenience Center will be closed tomorrow.

We will provide information to Council throughout the event. Stay safe and warm inside!

Duke Energy Grant for EV Charging Stations

Because of your action in December, last week staff received $10,000 from Duke Energy for the installation of one dual-port electric vehicle charging station at Bond Park. Installation is estimated for spring 2017. This charging station is in addition to our existing stations.

Monday at WakeMed Soccer Park

We’ve been given notice that North Carolina FC (formerly the RailHawks) will hold a news conference on Monday at WakeMed Soccer Park to announce the addition of a National Women’s Soccer League team. The team’s permanent home will be WakeMed Soccer Park.

Recognitions

Lots of great work, through the efforts of many, occurred this week. In particular, I’d like to recognize the team that worked on the Paid Parental staff report: Renee Poole, Laura Turk, Danielle Mahoney, Hunter Frank, Allison Hutchins and Carrie Roman.

Also, I’d like to recognize the Imagine Cary/Transportation team for their efforts leading up to and at the Work Session on Tuesday. This includes: Jerry Jensen, Juliet Andes, Jeff Ulma, Tyler Bray and Russ Overton.

Emails From Citizens

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • That I was biased for Muslims (I am biased for diversity)
  • A complaint about an unmaintained state road of Cary Town Boulevard
  • A complaint about state roads and concerts in downtown
  • A complaint about the Cary Community Plan’s draft designating Chapel Hill Road as ultimately being six lanes
  • A complaint about a proposal for townhomes on Trimble Drive

My schedule for next week will be surprisingly light which is extremely unusual for this time of year. I will use that free time preparing the State of Cary address. My only scheduled meetings are with the town manager and a tour of the CiVentiChem facility.

Get In Touch

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 15th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.


From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photos courtesy of Harold Weinbrecht. Gale Adcock photo by Hal Goodtree. CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Joint Chiropractic in Cary.

 

First time commenter? Please read our Comments Policy. Comments are at the discretion of the Publisher.