Friday, August 26, 2011

Week in Review and Hurricane Irene

You know life is busy when the nice lady at the Wendy’s drive-thru says, “good to see you again, Don”.

With work, my council responsibilities and a reelection campaign to run, I haven’t had dinner with the family in a week. I can’t thank Lisa and the kids enough for their unwavering support.

Council held a worksession on Tuesday to review and discuss a number of items to include:

• The Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility (WWWRF)

• Aerating a section of Jordan Lake to improve water quality

• Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance Amendments

• Board and Commission Appointments.

Cary has secured all necessary permits and construction will begin on the WWWRF on September 1st. Construction is expected to take three years to complete.

Council also discussed the concept of aerating a portion of Jordan Lake to better improve water quality near Cary’s water intake. The theory is that by improving water quality BEFORE the water goes into the treatment plant, we will reduce the amount of energy and chemical treatment required to treat the water; thus saving Cary water customers money while at the same time improving the environment in and around Jordan Lake. Council approved the concept, but asked for a cost/benefit analysis prior to moving forward.

The council also reviewed proposed amendments to Cary’s telecommunications ordinance that will better incent stealth tower design and installation. This includes reduced set-back and buffer requirements for stealth facilities. The goal is to make it easier and more cost effective to obtain approval for stealth towers than it will be to go through the process for non-stealth towers. Cell companies aren’t stupid (the folks in customer support are a different story, but I digress…). They will choose the past of least resistance that still meets their needs.

I am optimistic these amendments will not only improve the visual landscape in Cary, but will also help cell providers better meet their customer’s needs.

Board and commission appointments were pretty straight forward with no surprises. I serve as the liaison to the Town Center Review Commission (TCRC) and the Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Board (PRCR). PRCR Chair, Denny Hoadley and I interviewed a few candidates prior to making our recommendations.

Our council meeting was pretty uneventful with the only notable topics being a public hearing for proposed Land Development Ordinance (LDO) Amendments, Thomas Brooks Park Site Plan Revisions, and a request by councilmember Robison to direct staff to investigate the possibility of working with Wake County and Apex to complete the missing segment of the White Oak Greenway.

I also met with a number of land owners in west Cary to discuss an upcoming rezoning and hear their concerns and suggestions. I am optimistic a compromise can be reached that all parties can be satisfied with.

It’s that time again! Cary Council campaigns are heating up and my reelection campaign is full speed ahead! I attended a number of political events and meet-n-greets over the last two weeks to hear from folks in the community; and to talk about my work on the council and my vision for Cary over the next four years. It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve you on the council and I hope that through my efforts, I have earned your trust and support for a second term. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last four years, but we still have work to do.

For the safety of our citizens, vendors and artists, Cary decided to cancel this year’s Lazy Daze Festival due to Hurricane Irene. It is the first time the event has been cancelled in its 35 year history. While unfortunate, we cannot take chances when the safety of our citizens is at stake.

The town has spent the last week preparing for Hurricane Irene by cleaning culverts, clearing vegetation away from power lines, test running generators and equipment, and making sure we have shelters ready for those in need. Should you experience a non-life threatening emergency, please do not call 911, and instead call the Cary Police non-emergency line at 919-469-4090. Let’s keep 911 available for those who need immediate assistance.

Be smart and stay safe. Possessions can be replaced – your life cannot.