Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week in Review 10/12/09 - 10/17/09

Monday began with a meeting with Town Manger Ben Shivar. We discussed a number of topics including the upcoming budget worksession and the town’s financial outlook as well as next steps regarding the spray painted house on Maynard Road.

On Monday evening I attended a community meeting with residents of Russell Hills and our town staff to discuss the proposed rezoning of the Russell Hills neighborhood from TCLDR to TCLDR-12. Russell Hills residents have submitted a petition requesting the zoning change as they are concerned that the current zoning (put in place when TCAP was adopted) is in conflict with pre-existing neighborhood covenants and would allow for new construction to be built up to the street and property lines altering the character and charm of the existing Russell Hills community.

On Tuesday I met with a developer and property owner regarding a potential development project at Harrison Ave and Maynard. I encouraged him to include area residents in the design process sooner than later to ensure that what is proposed better meets the expectations and satisfaction of the surrounding community.

Afterwards council held a worksession to discuss next year’s budget. Given the current economy and associated loss of revenue next year’s budget will be even leaner than our last. While maybe good news to some folks, growth in Cary has come to a screeching halt. No new growth means no new revenue to the town, yet the costs associated with maintaining existing levels of services will continue to increase. Just as your cost of living increases each year due to inflation or other factors so does the towns. If your family suddenly experienced a 20% reduction in income could you maintain your current standard of living? Of course not, and neither can the town.

Like it or not, the town needs to maintain a healthy growth rate to continue to provide the high levels of service and amenities that our citizens demand. I believe our Budget Director Scott Fogleman said it best, “If we were still seeing a 4-5% growth rate this worksession would be over”.

On Wednesday Town Manager Ben Shivar, Assistant Manager Mike Bajorek, Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson and I met with a family in the Russell Hills neighborhood to discuss ongoing stormwater problems and future plans to help alleviate these concerns.

Afterwards I attended the Town Center Review Commission’s (TCRC) meeting at town hall. Discussion items included a presentation on the town’s ongoing Historic Preservation Master Plan Project and the appointment of a vice-chair. Congratulations Susan!

Our Planning and Development Committee Meeting was Thursday evening. Our one discussion item was consideration of the next steps towards determining a future intersection design for the Cary Parkway and High House intersection. The town has been working to develop a new intersection plan for this intersection for some time, and after gathering community input and consideration of a number of alternatives our engineers are recommending a single quadrant design; similar to that of “jug handle” intersections like those seen in northern states. While this plan – on paper – makes sense and increases pedestrian safety by not adding asphalt and widening the intersection, I have concerns over how confusing this will be to motorists – especially those traveling this intersection for the first time. We recommended this item go to the full council for discussion and decision.

On Friday I met with representatives of the Amberly – Pittard Sears Road development seeking a comprehensive plan amendment from LDR to MDR. This project is in our town’s Northwest Area Plan. We discussed the existing resident’s concerns and their progress thus far in addressing those concerns. This item comes before council for decision this Thursday.

Well that’s it for this week in review. Thanks for reading!