Don’s Blog: June 28 Council Meeting

From the blog of Don Frantz, District 2 Cary Town Council Member. Photos by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – The first order of business was to recognize retiring councilwoman Julie Robison. Julie and her family are moving to West Virginia as Julie’s husband, Dan has been named the Dean of the college of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University.

We all took turns saying our “goodbyes” and talked about what we would remember most about Julie. I talked about how I first met Julie about 10 years ago during the whole downtown auto issue, and that I and business owners throughout downtown are forever grateful for her efforts to help us fight city hall and save our businesses. We also surprised her by naming the volleyball courts at North Cary Park after her.

Downtown Business Improvement District

The council approved the creation of Cary’s first ever Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown. While BIDs are usually created to generate revenue (special tax district), our purpose for creating the BID is to provide the legal mechanism necessary to allow the town to mitigate impact fees associated with private development. Unlike most cities, Cary’s BID actually reduces fees on businesses, and hopefully will incent additional private investment in our downtown. The BID will exist for three years unless the council chooses to extend it.

Cary 2013 Budget

The council also unanimously approved the FY2013 budget. The budget totals $232 Million and includes:

  • Tax Rate of 33 cents unchanged – lowest in Wake County
  • Garbage fees unchanged at $14.00 month
  • 6% Utility fee increase to pay for the state mandated Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility
  • No New Debt for general capital projects
  • Seven new town employees – 4 related to WWWRF, 1 Detective, 1 Downtown Theater

This was a tough year. The economic recession continues to impact growth and revenues and ultimately, our budget. Their simply wasn’t any extra money to do some of the things we wanted to do.

The adopted budget is responsible as it continues to provide the high levels of services that Cary citizens expect at the lowest possible cost to you, the taxpayer.

During the November Election, Cary citizens will have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not we move forward with a number of transportation, parks, and public safety projects that we could not include in this year’s budget.

Chatham County Agreement

And last but certainly not least, the Town of Cary and Chatham County have approved a joint land use plan and interlocal agreement! Any new development within the Cary/Chatham plan boundaries must conform to this plan, and any changes to the plan must be approved by both the Chatham County Commissioners and the Cary Town Council. The plan strikes a good balance between folk’s rights to develop their properties, the rights of others to not be negatively impacted by that development and protecting our environment. The plan limits densities and utility services as you move closer to Jordan Lake to better protect water quality while also preserving the rural character and charm of Chatham County.

I have to say I never thought I’d see the day when both Cary and Chatham County would agree on a plan. I remember former (thank goodness) Chatham County Commissioners coming to Cary Council meetings to tell Cary to “stay the hell out of Chatham County”. Many thanks to the staffs of both Chatham and Cary for all their hard work, and to the Cary/Chatham Committee members for all their efforts. This was truly a team effort and a great example of cooperation between communities.

Help Wanted

I spent a great deal of time this weekend going over statements of interest and qualifications for the vacant at-large council seat; all 59 of them. This is not going to be an easy decision as there are a lot of extraordinary and highly qualified individuals to choose from.

We have our first council worksession on the vacancy this coming Tuesday where we hope to whittle the list down to a manageable number for interviews. Following the interview process we will meet again to hopefully pick our newest council member.


Don’s Blog: May 24, 2012 Council Meeting

From the blog of Don Frantz, District 2 Cary Town Council Member. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Thursday evening’s council meeting included a number of discussion items to include land development ordinance amendments, a rezoning near Wake Med on Kildaire Farm Road, the Panther Creek ninth grade center request from WCPSS, a report from staff on the proposed Technology Task Force, and chickens – not necessarily in that order. Read more

Don’s Blog: Temporary 9th Grade Center?

From the blog of Don Frantz, District B Representative on Cary Town Council. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – I need your input. It’s about schools, and development. Read more

Don’s Blog: Back in the Saddle Again

From the blog of Don Frantz, Cary Town Council member representing District B. Photo of Town Hall by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – The last month been rough. I woke up one morning with excruciating pain in my neck. I couldn’t move, well I could, but that made the pain even worse. I went to the doctor to find out what was going on. He sent me for X-Rays – nothing. He then scheduled an MRI. Soon after that, I’m meeting with a neurosurgeon who’s asking me how soon he can get me on the operating table. Read more

Don’s Blog: To Bond, Or Not to Bond

From the blog of Don Frantz. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

To Bond, or not to Bond?

At our council work session this past Tuesday, the council unanimously voted to present $80 million in transportation, parks and recreation and public safety bond referendums to the voters in the upcoming November elections. Some notable projects and their associated costs are as follows: Read more

Don Frantz: What’s All the Buzz About?

From the blog of Town Council member Don Frantz. Photo by Bob Gutowski.

Cary, NC – I love my job on the Cary Town Council. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life – and at times one of the most surprising. This is one of those times. Read more

Don’s Blog: Spring Chickens

Story by Don Frantz, Cary Town Council member, District B. First published on Blogspot. Photo by Max Westby.

Cary, NC – Call me a flip-flopper if you want, but I have changed my mind regarding chickens in Cary. It has nothing to do with “sustainability” or many of the “green” arguments chicken proponents point to – it has everything to do with freedom. Read more

Don’s Blog: Neon

Story by Don Frantz, Cary Town Council member, District B. Republished from Blogspot. Photo by Anita Hart.

Cary, NC – The council has received about a dozen or so emails in opposition to our consideration of a neon theater marquee sign on the soon to be renovated downtown Cary theater.

As much as I would like to take credit for our initiating specific amendments to our town’s sign code to allow for high intensity/neon lighting downtown, I cannot. Read more

Don’s Blog: Retreat! 2012

Story by Don Frantz, Cary Town Council member, District B. Republished from Blogspot. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Thursday afternoon I headed to Wilmington for our annual council/staff retreat. While we have typically stayed in town for our retreats to better encourage citizen attendance and reduce costs, the conveniences of being in town proved too much of a distraction for some. Two years ago one council member actually left our retreat so they could attend another meeting for three hours! We decided the best way to eliminate the distractions was to head out of town. Read more

Don’s Blog: Now on CaryCitizen

Editor’s Note:  Cary Town Council Member Don Frantz has been keeping a blog since 2008. It is with great pleasure that we announce that Don has given us permission to republish his posts and see how it goes.

Don Frantz is a great blogger – you can really hear his voice in what he writes. He’s very informed on the issues, but keeps it simple. He follows an informal publishing schedule – when he’s got something to say, he writes a post.

Don speaks his mind, even if it puts him in the opposition on some issues. But he does it in a way that’s principled and without intentionally ruffling anyone’s feathers. That’s why we respect his blog and asked him to let us republish it here. 

This post is from late December. But it gives some good insight into the intellectual conversation happening right now in Town Council.


Cary, NC, December 18, 2011 – With the holidays, the last couple of weeks have been relatively light in regards to council responsibilities while heavy on the fun and festivities! The only downside is that with so many holiday events, you just can’t make them all. Highlights for me were the Heart of Cary Association’s Ole Time Winter Festival, the town’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade. Congratulations and Thank You to all the volunteers and town employees who worked so hard to make all of these events a huge success! And thanks to the man upstairs for the great weather!

And while we’ve had a lot of fun, we did have some work to do.

Notable items from our December council meeting included the swearing in ceremonies for newly elected council members, a number of public hearings and annexations, specific council initiated requests and ordinance amendments pertaining to telecommunications towers.

The meeting began with the swearing in ceremonies for Mayor Weinbrecht and Council Members Adcock, Bush and I. After we were sworn into office, the first order of business was to elect a Mayor Pro-Tem. Congratulations to Cary’s new Mayor Pro-Tem Gale Adcock! I am confident she will be a great ambassador and represent Cary’s interests well.

Following the election of Mayor Pro-Tem, Mayor Weinbrecht announced the new committee assignments for council members. The list is long and boring so I will let the Mayor post it on his blog. ;-) I will say that I (finally) get to Chair the Planning and Development Committee and I remain the liaison for the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (PRCR) advisory board and the Town Center Review Commission (TCRC).

Notable public hearings included:

• C-Tran fare increases and changes. Changes include the elimination of free transfers – this is consistent with both CAT and DATA, modifying the current bus pass structure, and allows for seniors and children to now ride fixed route for free, but remember, ID is required (just not to vote). You can view a complete list of changeshere. The council unanimously approved the amendments.

• Land Development Ordinance Amendments regarding telecommunications towers (cell towers). Proposed amendments provide incentives to telecommunications providers to utilize stealth technology – hopefully resulting in fewer ugly cell towers throughout Cary. The incentive is basically an administrative review and approval process vs. the current costly, time consuming council approval process. If a proposed cell tower is NOT of stealth design, it must still come through the council…and considering previous council decisions…well…good luck with that. The proposed amendments now go to our Planning and Zoning Board for review.

• Site Plan for the old Austin Foods site in Downtown (at the E. Durham Road/E. Chatham Street Intersection) Basically the applicant wants to take an old, ugly, environmentally contaminated site and make improvements that will not only allow for re-use of the existing structures and improve aesthetics downtown, but also better protects our environment and reduce stormwater runoff. The council unanimously approved the request.

Council initiated requests included:

• A request from Councilmember Adcock and Mayor Weinbrecht to direct staff to investigate and report back to council the pros and cons of amending our ordinances to restrict or eliminate the tethering of dogs in Cary. This request passed unanimously.

• A request from Mayor Weinbrecht and I to direct staff to investigate the pros and cons of implementing a trap, neuter and release (TNR) program in Cary to reduce the number of feral cats in Cary. This request also passed unanimously.

• A request from Council member Bush and Mayor Weinbrecht to direct staff to investigate suggested actions the town may take in regards to hydraulic fracturing (AKA fracking) in town limits or Cary’s extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ). This request passed 5-2. Both I and Councilman Smith voted “no”.

I opposed the request because:

  • Fracking is currently illegal in NC – what problem are we trying to solve?
  • I would prefer to work on real issues facing Cary today and not waste time and resources making a political statement.
  • Would a ban on fracking in Cary – the intent of this request – even address our concerns?

From the discussion at our meeting it is obvious that no one has a clear understanding of what fracking really is, or what the impacts to our community may or may not be; and given the amount of media sensationalism and special interest spin on both sides of this topic, I don’t know that we could ever get the truth.

But the reality is that even if state law is changed to allow fracking, it’s probably not going to occur in Cary (zoning, property values etc..), so trying to ban it really doesn’t do anything to address any concerns we might have. If anything we should be more concerned with what might occur in neighboring jurisdictions – especially those near Jordan Lake – our water source.

If the state legislature is going to allow fracking in NC, then it makes more sense that we work with our law makers to ensure that whatever legislation is passed provides for the highest environmental protections, best management practices and transparency as possible so that regardless of where any drilling/fracking occurs, all of NC is protected.

We cannot ignore the potential economic impact of drilling in North Carolina, nor can we ignore the potential environmental impacts. Fracking has worked well for many communities across America while others have concerns. Let’s learn from the success and failure of others and see if we can find something that works for us.

Following our council meeting we held a closed session to discuss a number of legal matters, none of which I can tell you about. Confidential, sorry.

Our December Planning and Development Committee meeting lasted a whopping three minutes. We had only one agenda item for discussion that was a no-brainer. I also met with Town Manager, Ben Shivar to discuss a few items.

That’s about it for this post. I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season and have a Happy and Safe New Year!


Photo of Town Hall by Hal Goodtree.