Monday, January 24, 2011

Week in Review 1/17/11 - 1/21/11

Council held a worksession Tuesday to discuss redistricting. If this sounds familiar that’s because it is. The council considered redistricting in 2008, but voted 4-3 against it.

Municipalities are required by law to evaluate their districts following each decennial census. If population imbalances exist among the districts, the municipality is required to adjust the districts to correct the imbalance. Although municipalities are only required to redistrict after a Federal census, they can voluntarily redistrict more often to keep districts balanced. Cary has voluntarily redistricted numerous times in the past. Redistricting occurred in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, and 2001. Only 1981, 1991, and 2001 were census years.

A combination of explosive growth and a failure to redistrict during the last ten years have resulted in a significant imbalance in Cary’s Council districts. Cary’s district A, for example has nearly 54,000 of Cary’s 140,000 residents, while Cary’s district B and district D have 28,000 and 26,000 respectively. District A has roughly double the population of the other council districts and stretches from Downtown Cary into Chatham County.

Cary should have redistricted years ago, but better late than never I guess.

I recommended and the council agreed to direct staff to begin work on the redistricting process; specifically that they develop a couple of different proposals to bring back for council consideration. It is my hope that by having our town staff perform the majority of work will help to keep this as non-political a process as possible. Ya, I know, wishful thinking huh? ;-)

Our Planning and Development Committee meeting had two notable discussion items; whether or not to rename the Cary Community Arts Center and consideration of a four party agreement to modify and close rail crossings pertaining to the Parkside development in west Cary.

The four party agreement is somewhat complicated, so instead of me trying to explain it I suggest you read the staff report here. The bottom line is the agreement would extend the timeline of construction and closing of rail crossings at Carpenter Fire Station Road and O’Kelly Chapel Road and would also waive a $500,000 developer contribution towards the bridge construction.

We unanimously supported the agreement EXCEPT for the $500,000 developer fee waiver.

The Town’s Cultural Arts Committee along with town staff have discussed potential name options for the Cary Community Arts Center (Old Cary Elementary) and offered the following three possibilities.

· Arts on Academy
· Cary Arts and Cultural Exchange
· Kaleidoscope, Cary’s Arts Center

After a brief discussion, we selected none of the above and unanimously recommended that the Cary Community Arts Center be named the Cary Community Arts Center.

I also met with the applicants of two projects in Cary this week to discuss their progress towards addressing area resident’s concerns and to review proposed changes to their plans.

Well that’s about it for now. As always, thanks for reading.