Sunday, May 11, 2008

Week in Review 5/5/08 - 5/11/08

Now I don't watch much TV - but one thing I noticed on Monday - Cinco de Mayo - was there weren't hardly any commercials or online advertisements hyping Mexico's national holiday commemorating the Mexican Army’s defeat of French forces on May 5, 1862, like in previous years. Interesting...

Monday afternoon I met with downtown business owners and key members of town staff regarding the downtown streetscape project and it's potential impact on their business's parking. Parking is already a huge problem downtown, and staff has been working diligently to address the issue. Staff has also been working with a parking consultant over the last 4-5 months to see what solutions they might be able to come up with. The biggest problem relating to parking we face - in my opinion - is that employees are taking up most of the parking nearest their business, and not leaving much, if any, available for customers. Businesses and employees must realize they need to keep "front door parking" available for customers. There are numerous parking spaces available behind businesses or a short walk away that employees can utilize. The Methodist Church for example, has agreed to allow the public to use their new parking lot during the week. The Town of Cary has agreed to let business employees park in the train depot's parking lot and town hall's parking deck. Town staff is also looking into how many parking spaces could be created by reconfiguring parking behind businesses.

Businesses must also be willing to share parking with one another. A great example of this is my business, Frantz Automotive Center - had to get a plug in! ;-) and Havana Grill next door. Havana Grill needs a lot of parking at night and on weekends. Our business needs parking during the day Monday through Friday. We use a few of their spaces during the day, and they will use some of ours at night or on weekends. They scratch our back, we scratch theirs.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty light in regards to meetings. I used this time to answer email and read through documents in preparation for Thursday's council meeting.

Thursday morning council had a breakfast meeting at 7:30 (way too early for me btw). We discussed state owned roads in Cary that are falling below our standards, and what the financial impact would be should Cary decide to address this issue. We had asked staff to look into this at a previous meeting. Their answer? $45 million to $202 million dollars. Ouch!!! Council decided we must do better at lobbying our state officials to get them to handle their responsibility.

We also discussed the animal shelter issue regarding the SPCA and the county shelter. Council agreed that the SPCA is the most humane and best option for Cary. It was determined it would cost around $25,000 to continue to use the SPCA. Council discussed having Cary sign a long term contract with the SPCA to help keep costs down. Staff does have concerns however that the SPCA could possibly increase costs in the future - regardless of contract.

And last but not least we discussed the schools issue. I could write a novel on this one, but in a nutshell we will be meeting with other municipalities in the next week or two. Council has already had three meetings with WCPSS (2 small group meetings and 1 with the entire council and representatives from Morrisville and Fuquay-Varina).

Thursday afternoon Council members Jennifer Robinson, Julie Robison (No, no one ever gets those two confused right?) :-) and myself attended the Regional Transportation Alliance's "Regional Transportation Solutions Forum" It was a good presentation on solutions to help alleviate traffic without just adding lanes.

Thursday night was our council meeting. Good meeting in my opinion but not exciting enough for it's own post. The only real "issue" was a townhome proposal near the Davis Dr. and High House Rd. intersection. In the end it passed by a vote of 4-3. The majority of council felt this development would create LESS traffic in an already congested area than an office/retail development would. It also conformed to the town's land use plan.

Council also postponed approving Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) until we can discuss the issue further at our work session coming up this Tuesday evening.

Friday Mayor Weinbrecht and myself were interviewed by WRAL regarding the schools issue. It continues to amaze me what sound bites the media chooses to air, and what gets left out. The "sensational" story intro they chose was a bit over the top also. I was also interviewed by NBC17 regarding the town's FY2009 budget.

Saturday was spent sheet rocking a basement and watching the NASCAR race...what I could stay awake for anyways. And Today is Mother's call your mom now!!!! :-)