Cary, NC — This was a holiday week but was busy none-the-less.
Monday – Meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association
Eleven of the twelve mayors were in attendance. Only the mayor of Raleigh was not present. New mayors included Mayor Gilbert from Apex, Mayor Mashburn from Garner, and Mayor Currin of Rolesville. Our general discussion included new members to our council, property reevaluation and taxes, and major projects. We also talked about potential outings for the rest of the year. Our meeting lasted almost two and a half hours.
Tuesday – Preparations for Town Council, Rec Center Discussions and Reception
I called council members for any questions or comments about Thursday’s upcoming meeting agenda. This is usually done on the Monday before the meeting, but town hall was closed on Monday. There were concerns expressed on the West Park rezoning. My take on the West Park rezoning was that the proposal might be difficult to approve since there are no restrictions on what can be developed. That is, the developer could build something out of character of Academy Street which is our signature street, and this is highly visible from Academy Street. It will be interesting to see what the developer does with this proposal.
Later Tuesday, Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz and I met with the town manager. We spent most of our time talking about the multi-purpose recreation venue that the town is proposing to the county. We were also able to look at preliminary renderings. If this venue comes to fruition it will be an amazing place that will serve not only Cary citizens but the communities around us.
My last event Tuesday was the Lazy Daze Grants Reception. At this event proceeds from Lazy Daze are given to organizations around the community involved in the cultural arts. This year we handed out $40,000 to various non-profit organizations related to the arts. Since the inception of this program we have reinvested $750,000 back into the community from Lazy Daze proceeds.
Wednesday- The State of Cary Address
I gave my 13th State of Cary address at Prestonwood to about 200 business leaders and citizens. This message of this year’s address is that with the approval of the bonds and several key developments we are fulfilling the vision of Cary citizens laid out in the Cary Community Plan. At the same time, we are keeping the Cary we know and love. I believe this a transition period from being a remarkable community to something beyond remarkable.
I began writing the address several weeks ago. Then I sent the first draft to staff for fact checking, corrections, and suggestions. Then I created a draft of the slides without pictures. Staff created the PowerPoint with pictures from the draft of the slides I provided. I then made edits to those slides. The last edits were made Tuesday and I presented on Wednesday. Staff will now create a much shorter version of this address for taping which will be done sometime in the next week or so. That will be available online. Here is a link to the full address: https://www.townofcary.org/mayor-council/town-council/state-of-cary. My address took about 30 minutes to deliver and didn’t include all that is in this text.
Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included four consent items, two public hearings, and one discussion item. The public hearing for the West Park rezoning was cancelled since the applicant withdrew his proposal earlier in the day. The required one year waiting period was waived which will allow the applicant will present something new in the coming months. The other public hearing was for the proposed amendments to the Land Development Ordinance. It included changes necessary to make all future townhouse streets and alleys publicly owned and maintained. The amendments also include minor technical changes to improve consistency with state law regarding temporary signage, approval criteria for rezonings, and ability to apply for variances, as well as minor technical corrections regarding accessory building setbacks, correction of zoning map errors, and advisory board references. There were two speakers, associated with homebuilding and real estate, who spoke in favor of these proposed changes. We will be voting on these amendments in a couple of months after the Planning and Zoning board has reviewed them and made their recommendations. Our only discussion item was for the 2020 street improvements project. Council unanimously approved $7.7 million for street maintenance planning, design, and construction this year. After a closed session the meeting adjourned with a total meeting time of 65 minutes.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included:
Indoor Sports Complex
On Thursday, we made our formal presentation to the RFP submittal joint evaluation committee for the indoor sports facility. I want to personally thank Doug McRainey, Dan Ault, Karen Mills, William Davis and Dwayne Jones for their contributions in the meeting as well as many other staff who provided help with the presentation and support at the meeting. Our 15- minute presentation was followed by over an hour of questions. My primary message was that supporting our partners is our top priority. The team expects to make its recommendation to Raleigh and Wake County on February 10 and 11.
The only thing I would have changed about the Mayor’s State of Cary address on Wednesday is to have had every staff member present to take it all in. As those who were there can attest, it was an amazing presentation about the incredible things we – Council, staff and the community – accomplished together in 2019. One person described the event as “overflowing with warmth, pride, and optimism for the future.” I thank all of Council for their continued trust and support and can’t wait to see what we do together in 2020.
Cary has once again been tagged as #2 on HomeSnacks’ list of the Best Places to Live in North Carolina. In addition, SmartAsset found that Cary is #11 of the top 15 municipalities in the country where millennials are buying homes.
PD Records Request
We are providing WRAL with copies of all police-related contracts, MOUs, and POs signed or completed in the last six months. WRAL advises to expect this request every six months and that Cary is not the only organization being tapped for this information.
Housing Rehab Program
We are excited to announce the relaunch of Cary’s Housing Rehabilitation Program! In partnership with Rebuilding Together of the Triangle, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, and Resources for Seniors, the program will provide funding to assist eligible Cary homeowners with critical home repairs and improvements. It has also been expanded to help senior residents age in place through doorway expansions, walk-in showers, and other retrofits to their homes. Updates to the program will provide the opportunity to help more citizens than ever before. In the past, we’ve been able to serve three to five households a year; we expect to at least triple that through the new program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and are available on the Town’s website.
Storm Drainage Improvements
Beginning Monday, January 27, Bayoak Drive between Joel Court and Thensia Court will be closed to through traffic for construction of storm drainage infrastructure to mitigate flooding. The contractor, Narron Construction, will post detours in advance of the road closure. Access to all residences will be maintained throughout the project which is slated to finish in Summer 2020.
We met with the Conservation Fund and Triangle Land Conservancy to discuss their interest in partnering on open space preservation, which continues to be an important part of our effort to reduce flooding, improve water quality and increase tree canopy in Cary. Alongside Town staff, both organizations participate in Jordan Lake One Water (JLOW), which was organized by the Triangle J Council of Government to work toward a collaborative, interdisciplinary and innovative approach to water resource management in the Jordan Lake watershed. Staff has been participating in JLOW since its inception and has staff experts working on each of five committees organized to advance the efforts.
Town of Cary Asset Management Annual Report
The 2019 Asset Management Annual Report is a product of the Town’s asset management program, a collaborative OneCary initiative built with the support of stakeholders across departments. The asset management program, in coordination with GIS, organizes efforts to deliver on Cary’s commitment to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective utility and stormwater services to our citizens and customers. This report provides a dashboard view of the current state of the Town’s assets and helps verify that program implementation is producing the expected results and that level-of-service standards are being met.
Conversations about traffic calming are taking place in some Cary neighborhoods as staff and citizens work together to find solutions and make improvements. Last week, staff met with a group of citizens from The Reserve to discuss holding a neighborhood meeting about the two traffic circles on Edgemore Avenue. The preliminary planning meeting was an opportunity for neighbors with different viewpoints to come together and agree on a path forward. Over the next two months, staff will continue to work with the group with plans to hold a neighborhood meeting in March. This spring, staff also plans to return to the Trappers Run neighborhood to discuss its desire for traffic calming on Castalia Drive. At our initial community conversation in November, we committed to exploring options with them, and staff is finalizing those options, to include better markings/designation, raising the greenway crossing, center-line striping and speed humps. Finally, installation of two speed humps and signage on West Street in downtown Cary is being planned.
GoCary receives federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and as a condition of receiving this assistance, is responsible for complying with the regulations set forth in 49 CFR Part 26: Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Department of Transportation Financial Assistance Programs. This policy statement, expresses a commitment to GoCary’s DBE Program, states our objectives, and outlines responsibilities for implementation.
Holiday Decor Reuse Event
Employees had the opportunity to “shop for free” at a Holiday Décor Reuse Event. Staff donated holiday items (Christmas, winter, fall, Halloween, Easter, and even St. Patrick’s Day) they no longer wanted to create a unique shopping experience that provided a great way to refresh décor without having to buy new, while supporting a culture of reuse. About two-thirds of the décor was re-homed and one-third was donated to Dorcas Ministries and Scrap Exchange.
Cary Police Department Senior Officer Robert Tonietto was one of five recipients of the 2019 American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) Law Enforcement award on January 21 at NC State’s McCrimmon Center. This award recognizes law enforcement officers for their selfless dedication to the communities that they serve and protect. Officer Tonietto received this award for his actions on June 12, 2019 when he saved a citizen from ending her life by jumping from the Kildaire Farm Road bridge onto US 1. Officer Tonietto started a conversation with the goal of developing a rapport and convincing her to step back from the side of the bridge. When he observed that she was slowly releasing her grip from the side of the bridge, Officer Tonietto quickly diverted her attention and secured her in a bear hug, pulling her back over the rail safely. Officer Tonietto’s heroic actions saved her life. He is an incredible asset to our community, and his care and compassion for people is evident every day. Congratulations, and thank you.
Advisory Board Meetings
Planning and Zoning – Mon, Jan 27, 6:30pm in the Council Chambers
150th Task Force – Tue, Jan 28, 6:15pm in Town Hall Conf Rm 10035
Get in Touch
Emails from citizens this week included:
- Several complaints about a multi-family rezoning proposal on Piney Plains.
- A request from a Morrisville resident to “join Cary”
- A complaint about the RDUAA’s plans for development and how it violates the bald eagle’s protection act
- A complaint about the RDUAA’s notification about a special meeting on expansion plans
- Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting with a boy scout, and a meeting with NCCLO Community Organization representatives.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 2nd. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photos courtesy of Hal Goodtree and Facebook.