Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week in Review 12/7/09 - 12/12/09

I hate to sound like a broken record but this was a very busy week – a council meeting that lasted until almost midnight, meetings with citizens, staff and a neighborhood, and a couple ceremonial events. There is no way I can cover everything that occurred this week without putting ya’ll to sleep so I’ll just hit the highlights.

On Tuesday I had the honor and privilege of attending the swearing in ceremonies for the newly elected Morrisville Town Council members as a guest of Councilman Tom Murry. Tom and I have been friends for some time now and I wouldn’t have missed his swearing in for anything...well ok, almost anything. ;-) This was a lot of fun and the comments from outgoing council members were especially entertaining. I hope the new board members have similar senses of humor - given the long meetings and contentious items that council members often deal with a little laughter goes a long way towards helping to maintain one’s sanity. I wish the new council members and Mayor the very best and look forward to working with them over the years to come.

Wednesday evening Councilwoman Julie Robison and I along with representatives from our town staff participated in a neighborhood meeting with residents of the Evans Estates Subdivision and the applicants of a proposed 30 home subdivision adjacent to Evans Estates. The applicants are requesting a waiver from the town’s connectivity ordinance which would require them to construct a road stub for a future road connection and bridge to Evans Road. For those reading who may be unaware, the town’s connectivity ordinance requires that when certain are met that new development connect to adjacent development and/or provide new road connections to collector roads or thoroughfares.

Residents were roughly split as to whether they supported the requested waiver or not and many in attendance expressed concerns regarding additional traffic and safety of neighborhood children as well as significant environmental and economic impacts.

After a healthy discussion the following day at our council meeting the council unanimously rejected staff’s recommendation to deny the appeal and supported the requested waiver. While I cannot speak for the other council members specific reasons for supporting the applicant’s request, I supported it for the following reasons:

· Concerns over the negative environmental impact, loss of mature trees and natural area and increased impervious surface. Roughly 16,500 square feet of buffer and 181 linear feet of the stream would be destroyed.

· Evans Estates was planned and built knowing these 30 homes would be constructed in the future. Evans Estates Road is a collector street and the Evans Estates subdivision has three connections to Evans Road already.

· Economic Impacts: Requiring the road construction and associated bridge/stream crossing would add significant cost to the project (over $600,000.00) potentially resulting in a request to increase the project’s density to offset these additional costs. A reduction in the current lot sizes (some as large as 24,000 sq. ft.) and/or increase in density would be unacceptable.

· Construction traffic will utilize Evans Estates Road regardless of whether or not a stub connection is made to Evans Road or not. We are better to work to reduce its impact as we cannot eliminate it.

· The applicant’s agreement to work with the Evans Estates HOA to implement traffic calming measures to address existing and future traffic concerns.

After speaking with Chief of Police Pat Bazemore we also learned that Evans Estates Road has no posted speed limit signs – therefore the legal speed limit is currently 35mph. We will be working to reduce the speed limit to 25mph and post the appropriate signage. I have also contacted WCPSS Board members to discuss the possibility of relocating the existing bus stop further inside Evans Estates to move children waiting for the bus away from the dangerous corner at Evans and Evans Estates Road and away from any future construction traffic.

Other council meeting highlights included the swearing in ceremonies of Councilwomen Jennifer Robinson and Julie Robison and Councilman Jack Smith. Immediately following the ceremonies was the selection of Cary’s Mayor Pro-Tem. Councilwoman Julie Robison was elected Mayor Pro-Tem by a vote of 4-3.

Also on Thursday’s agenda was the first of two public hearings regarding the proposed single quadrant intersection design at Cary Parkway and High House Road. Not one citizen spoke in favor of the proposal and of the 40-50 emails council has received thus far regarding the project none have been supportive. That speaks volumes to me. Given the overwhelming opposition to the current proposal and the fact that most likely not one council member will support it I made the motion to cancel January’s public hearing and to direct staff to cease and desist work on this project and to begin work on an alternative proposal. To my amazement my motion failed for the lack of a second. The council majority (everyone but me) felt that since we have already scheduled and noticed the January public hearing we should go forward with it to further solicit public input. That’s all well and good but in my opinion why waste any more time or resources on something we know we will not consider?

Afterwards council held a closed session to discuss an ongoing lawsuit and potential incentives contract.

Saturday I had the honor of riding in the Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade in downtown Cary. What a great day for a Christmas parade – the cold air and overcast skies had everyone bundled up in winter coats and blankets and drinking hot chocolate trying to stay warm. It just felt like Christmas. Thanks so much to the Cary Jaycees and everyone who worked so hard to make the parade a huge success.

It was great to see so many friends and neighbors. Then again I was pretty easy to spot riding atop a bright yellow Corvette. And after riding in it I gotta say, nothing says Christmas like Corvette. ;-) Maybe once we graduate a few out of college Santa will bring me one? I’ve been a good boy right? ;-)

Well that's it for now. I may not post next week as we will be in Florida to watch our son Jordan and the University of Central Florida take on Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl. This game is extra special for all of us as this will be the final game of Jordan’s five year college football career. We are so proud of Jordan’s success on and off the field, and while he will soon begin to write a new chapter in his life story, we can’t help but be a little sad that this one is coming to a close. Congratulations, Jordan. We couldn’t be any prouder. Go Knights!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Cary!