Monday, April 18, 2011

Week in Review 4/11/11 - 4/16/11

Saturday’s storms were the most violent I have seen since Hurricane Fran tore through North Carolina in 1996. Twenty two people are confirmed dead and hundreds are homeless. Businesses have been damaged or destroyed, and their employees now find themselves indefinitely unemployed. We can help. Please consider making a monetary donation or volunteer your time with the American Red Cross or Samaritan’s Purse to aid in relief efforts, or check with your church or area civic groups to see what you can do to help. You can also find more information on how to help here. Together we can make a difference and help North Carolina recover from this tragic event.

I had the privilege of participating in the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors Leadership Academy this week along with Wake County School Board Member Deborah Prickett and Raleigh City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin. We were “guest panelists” for a session on Governmental Relations and Political Affairs. We spoke mainly about our call to leadership (why did we run for office?), our roles in our positions and what a typical day is like for each of us.

On Thursday the council held a worksession prior to our council meeting to discuss “sustainable site design guidelines”. Our town staff has been working to update Cary’s design guidelines in an effort to encourage development that creates more walkable, pedestrian friendly communities and better protects our environment through greater open space preservation.

Staff presented recommendations to council for consideration and feedback. My thoughts were that while I “liked what I saw”, I wanted to know more about the costs associated with these recommendations. Any time you create a new rule or regulation you add cost to a project, and we need to be sure that we aren’t imposing unrealistic burdens on small business owners in Cary. Sometimes blanket “one size fits all” ordinances don’t fit and might not work in a particular case. We need to ensure that there is flexibility so that when this happens – and it will – that we can resolve the issue in a timely manner.

Following the worksession was our council meeting. Notable discussion topics included the Pamlico Drive flood minimization and stream restoration project and associated greenway connection and sidewalk, and the Swift Creek Parallel Forced Main Project.

While residents in the Pamlico Drive area are eager for flood relief, they expressed concerns regarding the proposed greenway improvements – especially the greenway stub to their neighborhood and sidewalk. The council unanimously voted to remove the greenway connection and sidewalk from the project.

The council ultimately postponed a decision on the Swift Creek forced main project for two weeks to give our town staff time to resolve issues raised by property owners most impacted along Holly Springs Road.

The council also unanimously approved a quitclaim deed to relinquish property purchased from yours truly. I asked that I be recused from voting on this matter as it directly pertains to my property. You can read a detailed explanation on this item here.

I had a number of meetings this week including a meeting with Councilwoman Gale Adcock to discuss a number of items, as well as a budget preview meeting with our Town Manager and Budget Director.

On Saturday I had the honor of welcoming folks to this year’s Basant Bahar held at Athens Drive High School. Basant Bahar is the Indian celebration of spring and includes a number of beautiful dance and music performances. Unfortunately this year’s event was delayed due to severe weather and loss of power. Nonetheless the event was still a huge success and well attended. Thanks to everyone at HumSub for all your hard work and for your ongoing partnership with the town. Your involvement in our community is tremendous and we are all better for it.