Cary, NC — This was a very slow week with just a couple of meetings.
Monday – A Boy Scout’s Tour of Cary’s Traffic Center
I met with a scout working on their merit badge. The scout was particularly interested in round-a-bouts and their benefits. After we talked, I took them to the traffic center to talk with the staff member about all the intersections we monitor. At the traffic center you can see, in real-time, all monitored intersections and have the ability we have to modify traffic signals based on conditions. We explained that all traffic signals in Cary are monitored with software on a fiber network. This system allows multiple programs for each signal in town to make traffic flow more efficiently and to coordinate the signals along major corridors.
Tuesday – Mobile Home Neighborhood Discusses Concerns of Safety and Charges
I talked with representatives from NCCLO (North Carolina Congress of Latino Organizations) which is a nonpartisan broad-based network of grassroots organizations dedicated to building collective power and ensuring the fair treatment and equal opportunities of Latino immigrants in North Carolina. With them were about ten residents from the mobile home neighborhood on the east side of Maynard Road. In the meeting the residents talked about several issues:
- Excessive charges and fees for water service as well as illegal disconnections. (The residents are not connected to the Cary water system directly. It is not clear how the mobile home manager is distributing water or disconnecting service.)
- Excessive charges for sewer and wanted to know if it flowed into the town’s sewer system and if the landlord is allowed to charge more. (The town manager’s office is looking into this.)
- A wide range of safety issues including illegal evictions, potentially illegal contractual business practices, illegal towing with excessive fees, and criminal elements within the neighborhood. As a result, they would like to create a relationship with our fire and police departments. (This we can certainly do.)
- A problem with the USPS resulting from the fact that the mobile home management has not provided mailboxes. The mobile home management has claimed that the town won’t approve permits. (The mobile home management has not completed the applications and has not provided missing information.)
- Residents who have purchased their mobile homes were not provided titles. The management/landlord controls finances for this.
- NCDOT’s bridge over Chatham will displace residents (This is a NCDOT plan that will not happen for about 10 years.)
I along with town staff will continue to work with NCCLO and the residents of the mobile home neighborhood and their concerns.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager, Sean Stegall’s, report for this week included:
Annie Jones Greenway
The last gravel section of Annie Jones Greenway is now paved and open to the public. PGA Construction completed work last week on the 6-foot wide concrete trail from McCloud Court to Annie Jones Park, replacing the steps at McCloud Court with a sloped walk for greater accessibility.
Dr. Baker reports that, as in the past, Cary citizens are very willing to share their thoughts via the 2020 Biennial Survey. The project is on schedule, with about half of the respondents having been interviewed. We will receive the survey report in the spring.
After 16 years, Cary’s citizen academy is piloting a new approach. The program, formerly known as School of Government, will relaunch as Cary 101 on March 24. Applications will be accepted online beginning Monday, February 3 through Friday, February 21. Staff have re-imagined an accelerated course curriculum with an emphasis on content that directly involves citizens, supports organizational goals, and encourages greater community involvement. Visit www.townofcary.org/cary101 to learn more.
MPO Joint Meeting
A joint meeting of the CAMPO and DCHC MPO Executive Boards took place on Thursday at the Town of Apex. Key topics for discussion included a review of joint MPO transportation policy priorities for the Triangle metropolitan area as well as an overview of the regional transportation planning framework.
Updates were provided for several current planning investments including the status and preliminary findings for the current commuter rail feasibility study and ongoing BRT planning for Wake and Orange Counties. Active transportation initiatives, transportation demand management, toll roads and managed motorways plans were also points of discussion. The meeting wrapped up with an update from the Regional Transportation Alliance on their Freeway and Street-based Transit (FAST) network study, which is set to kick off this spring. The next joint meeting of the boards is planned for May 29, 2020.
Triangle Community Coalition
Staff and Council members met with the Triangle Community Coalition (TCC), for their annual coffee chat. Members of the TCC were interested in hearing about the exciting things happening in Cary. We discussed development, transportation, trees, housing and changes in land availability. TCC members shared that even though development in Cary took longer than in other municipalities, they appreciated Cary’s predictability and stability.
Neighborhood Rezoning Meetings
The next rezoning neighborhood meeting will be held at Town Hall on Wednesday, February 5 at 6:30 PM. Neighborhood meetings provide an opportunity for applicants to present information on new rezoning requests and receive feedback from nearby property owners prior to the public hearing. Wednesday’s meeting has six cases on the agenda.
- 19-REZ-27 Cary Pointe PDD Amendment is a request to amend conditions on approximately 10 acres located at 3301 Morrisville Parkway and 3741 and 3727 NC 55 Highway to allow up to 140 residential dwelling units.
- 19-REZ-28 WakeMed Medical Office Park is a request to amend previously-approved zoning conditions, including the associated preliminary development plan (PDP), on 10.5 acres located at the 200 block of Ashville Avenue to modify vehicular circulation and to allow one existing office building to remain.
- 19-REZ-29 Lilly Atkins Rezoning is a request to rezone approximately 38 acres at Lilly Atkins Road and Holly Springs Road to allow detached dwellings at up to 2 units per acre. Associated Case 19-REZ-33 3012 Holly Springs Road Rezoning is a Town-initiated request to rezone approximately 28 acres of NCDOT property at 3012 Holly Springs Road to preserve open space/watershed if 19-REZ-29 and associated annexation is approved.
- 19-REZ-30 Jones Franklin Residential is a request to rezone approximately 9 acres at 2804, 2808 and 2818 Macedonia Road and 2600 Jones Franklin Road to allow up to 286 multifamily units.
- 19-REZ-31 Cornerstone Mixed-Use Plan Amendment Rezoning is a request to rezone approximately 2 acres at 1744 High House Road to allow a bank with a drive-through.
For more information, visit the Rezoning Cases webpage.
New Face at ZBOA
After more than seven years of service as counsel to the Town Council and Zoning Board of Adjustment during quasi-judicial hearings, John Silverstein has decided that at this stage of his career, he is ready to step away from night meetings. We thank him for guiding the Council, the Board, and staff through the quasi-judicial process and for helping fashion your well-reasoned quasi-judicial decisions.
Mr. Silverstein remains available to the Town Attorney’s office to consult on special projects. Please welcome Kevin Hornik of the Brough Law Firm as the new counsel for the ZBOA. The February 3 ZBOA meeting will be Mr. Silverstein’s last night meeting with us, and Mr. Hornik will attend that meeting to prepare for his new role. Mr. Hornik serves as counsel to several other Boards of Adjustment. Please contact Lisa Glover if you have questions about this transition.
Housing Rehab Program
On Wednesday, ABC11 featured the re-launch of Cary’s Housing Rehabilitation Program. The piece focused on efforts to support senior residents and families with limited means who need critical repairs on their homes. The program officially begins next month, but several residents have already pre-applied in anticipation of the new program.
NC 540 and Morrisville Parkway
On Monday, February 3, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) is planning to open the interchange at NC 540 and Morrisville Parkway. This is planned to be a “soft opening” without a formal public announcement. The opening is in advance of the project reaching 100% completion with outstanding elements including some overhead signage and tolling infrastructure. Special thanks to staff and citizens for reaching out to NCTA and providing input to help them make the decision to open this important regional connection before tolling operations are fully functional. The current project schedule includes completion later this spring.
Walker Street Improvements
The contractor has completed 60% of the project that includes new water lines, storm drainage improvements, temporary signals and underground utilities. The contractor continues to work on the curb and gutter, brick and concrete sidewalks, driveway aprons, decorative traffic signals, sewer rehabilitation and paving.
The project will transform Walker Street at E Chatham Street into an accessible and multi-activity destination that will accommodate future live, work, play as well as civic opportunities in downtown Cary. Staff members continue to reach out to adjacent business owners and citizens with project updates. The project is expected to be complete in summer 2020.
Carpenter Fire Station Road: Bridge and Intersection Improvements
Through collaboration with CSX railroad, NCDOT and the contractor; bridge construction to support the existing CSX railroad tracks over the new east-west connector roadway east of NC 55 began last fall. With the project now about 45% percent complete, the contractor has completed the drilled piers for the new railroad bridge abutments that will support the railroad tracks above the connector roadway.
The east-west roadway connector is under construction west of Louis Stephens Drive and will tunnel under the railroad bridge, linking Carpenter Fire Station Road at NC 55 with Morrisville-Carpenter Road. Ongoing construction operations include storm drainage, earthwork, bridge construction, utility construction and erosion control.
Duke Energy will conduct maintenance and testing of the siren system around Shearon Harris beginning early next week. Short-duration, full volume testing of the sirens will occur periodically between 8 AM and 5 PM. A test of the entire Harris Siren System is scheduled for April 8. Wake County Emergency Management will remain in contact with Duke Energy throughout the testing, which is expected to last eight to ten weeks.
AARP Tax-Aide, which provides tax assistance to low and moderate-income people, will be at Bond Park Community Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from January 29 through April 15. Guests are encouraged to bring all tax-related documents, including last year’s tax return, ID, and Social Security Card. Last year, volunteers filed more than 1,300 returns.
Share & Care
Share & Care 2020 will be held on Wednesday, February 5 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Herb Young Community Center. We are very excited to have several new agencies joining us this year as well as Town representatives from GoCary, the Fire Department, Housing Rehabilitation Program, Specialized Recreation and Inclusion Services, and the Police Department. To get a full list of participating agencies, please go to Share & Care 2020. This is Cary’s 6th year of offering Share & Care, which has grown from 19 agencies in Room A of HYCC to utilizing the entire gym with close to 50 agencies. Share & Care is an opportunity for citizens and staff to learn about services for persons with disabilities as well as their family members and care providers.
Mark Robertson, a certified executive coach and organizational speaker, returned to Cary this week to facilitate conversations that create a culture of learning. Recognizing that learning results from time and practice, workshop participants explored more deeply the concepts of how our habits of seeing and thinking have evolved over our lifetime, which influences the observers we all are. Change requires learning new habits – new ways of being – that start at the individual level. Approximately 80 people from across the organization set aside time to be open, curious, and engaged with the goal of taking a more powerful look at ourselves and the choices we make.
GoCary bus stops are getting a facelift! Beginning next week, bus shelters will get a fresh coat of paint, matching the color scheme of the shelter on High House Road at Cary Parkway. New solar lights with improved charging capabilities will be installed next month, along with updated GoCary signage. Construction of new bus stops will begin later this spring in preparation for the new Route 7 serving Weston Parkway and other fixed route service changes.
Funding Opportunities for Non-Profits
Applications are now available for the FY21 General Non-Profit and Cultural Arts Non-Profit Grant Programs. General funding assistance is made available through Cary’s policies for support and sponsorship of general non-profit organizations and cultural groups and activities. Applications for both grants are due by February 28, 2020. Review of the requests takes place in the spring, and funding awards are announced along with the FY21 Budget. Applications and policies regarding each type of funding are available on Cary’s website.
The US Veterans Corps presented Officer Ken Collins with their Community Warrior Award for partnering with them to bring toys to 41 children as part of the Cary Police Department’s Winter Wonderland event.
In praise of the unique talent expressed through his colorful renderings, we recognize Russ Hughes, HR Consultant, on his art exhibit that is on display through April 17 in Town Hall. Preparing the exhibit’s 28 pieces took Russ more than a year, and his hard work and talent is evident. As the Town’s culture continues to evolve, bringing our whole selves to work and celebrating unique strengths are key. Russ is a shining example of that – not only showing a passion for helping employees every day in the workplace, but also expressing his passion for art through painting. We are grateful that he is willing to share his talent with us.
The Fire Department received this feedback from a citizen via the Town website regarding a structure fire Friday morning: “Recently, there was a small fire down the street from us. I was outside for a walk prior to the FD arrival. I was extremely impressed with the FD response: very well-coordinated and efficient. E3 is the best!
Advisory Board Meetings
Mon, 2/3, 5:15 p.m.
Town Hall, Conf. Room 11130
Mon, 2/3, 6:00 p.m.
Town Hall, Conf. Room 10035
Mon, 2/3, 6:30 p.m.
Town Hall, Council Chambers
Get in Touch
Emails from citizens this week included:
- Kudos to staff for quickly removing graffiti
- An email campaign for a skate park in West Cary (The current skate park will be getting upgrades thanks to the passage of the Parks bond. There are currently no plans for a second skate park)
- A concern about people running red lights in Cary
- Kudos for my State of Cary address
- A complaint about AT&T contractors causing damage multiple times in someone’s yard (staff is working with the homeowner and contractor).
Next week’s activities include staff meetings and a regularly scheduled council meeting.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 9th. 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 Weinbrecht and Town of Cary staff.