Monday, October 24, 2011

Week in Review - 10/17/11 - 10/22/11

After last week’s elections - and all the craziness associated with that – it was nice to see things return to normal; or as normal as life was for me anyways. I worked to get caught up on a number of things that were put on hold until after the election was over, and I spent a lot of time with Lisa and the family. We even had three home cooked meals in a row! Woo Hoo! ;-)

I cannot thank Lisa and the kids enough for all their love and support, and for the sacrifices they make so that I can serve you on the council. Lisa is my inspiration and motivation in life, and I am so blessed to have her by my side.

Our council meeting last Thursday was fairly light with only a couple of discussion items; a quasi-judicial hearing for the Sri Venkateswara Temple located on Chapel Hill Road, and proposed improvements to Wake Med Soccer Park.

The folks at the temple acquired one of the homes along Chapel Hill Road with the intent of using it for additional classroom space. Institutional uses such as churches are permitted in residential zoning districts with a special use permit, and therefore are required to come before council for approval. After conducting the required hearing the council unanimously approved the request.

The proposed improvements to Wake Med Soccer park, for the most part, were pretty straight forward and weren’t anything we hadn’t already seen before. They include new locker rooms, seating, parking and concessions. While Cary would be fronting the money for these improvements up front, the town will be reimbursed by Wake County over time via the hotel/meals tax revenue. What did however generate concern among some council members – myself included – was the proposed Trinity Road extension to the park from Cary Town Blvd. Staff was requesting $250,000 to design the road and associated stream crossing. To actually build the road however would cost an additional $1.3 million.

The council unanimously approved the soccer park improvements, but we split 5-2 regarding the road design funding. Council member Robinson and myself voted against the design over concerns that given current economic conditions, we may not have $1.3 million to build the road when the time comes; and if it turns out we did have the money, is this road project a higher priority that other needed transportation improvements throughout Cary? While I hope we will be able to meet our obligations three years from now, I need more assurance than hope before I will vote for something. I don’t vote for hope. That’s somebody else. ;-)

Gary Roth from Capital Area Preservation “officially” presented Cary with the Anthemion Award for our work on The Cary Arts Center. I look forward to receiving more Anthemion Awards from CAP once we complete work on the downtown Cary Theater….and the Jones-Foy House….and….

My wife Lisa and I had the honor and privilege of attending the Occoneechee Council Boy Scouts of America Dinner honoring Ralph and Daphne Ashworth for their lifelong commitment to our community and the Boy Scouts. This was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed all the stories from the Ashworth family and friends. Cary truly is a better place because of the Ashworths.

Our Planning and Development Committee meeting consisted of three discussion items;

• Transportation improvement waivers, Highcroft Village

• A transportation improvement waiver for the Barber property along Piney Plains Rd.

• Modifications to the town’s Housing Rehab Program

You can review all of the staff reports for these items here, here and here.

Highcroft Village was requesting a waiver for a right-turn lane, and instead offered a payment in lieu equal to twice the amount of constructing the turn lane, and they were also seeking to partner with the town in the funding of a stream crossing for the construction of Morrisville Parkway to Hwy. 55. The connection of Morrisville Parkway to Hwy. 55 is critical for Cary citizens in West Cary and this partnership with the developer will allow this project to be completed sooner than later, and at a lower cost to Cary taxpayers!

The Barber property is a 1700 sq. ft. home that is proposed to be used as a small office. They were requesting a waiver of required road improvements along Piney Plains Road, but would dedicate the necessary right-of-way. This office use might generate a dozen or so vehicle trips a day – to require them to widen 135 feet of Piney Plains Road makes little sense, and would prevent the re-use of and improvements to this site. The town can require road improvements if and when this property ever redevelops.

Modifications to the town’s Housing Rehabilitation Program include a deferred loan for income eligible applicants and seniors and an amortized low interest loan. Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds will be used and all applicants must meet Federal HUD requirements. We are working hard to better focus available resources towards improving existing affordable housing instead of just trying to build more of it. Cary already has a great supply of affordable homes – especially inside the Maynard Loop – that with a little TLC would make great homes for new families or folks on fixed incomes.

All three items were unanimously approved by the committee (Mayor Weinbrecht, Council Member Adcock and I).

Afterwards I met Lisa and Liz for a few hours of fun at the North Carolina State Fair. They had a hard time dragging me away from the food – YUM!!!!!

On Saturday Mayor Weinbrecht and I attended the 11th annual Cary Diwali Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheater. Diwali is the Indian festival of lights and celebrates the victory of good over evil. It was my honor to address the crowd and present the proclamation from the Town of Cary designating October 22nd as the 11th Annual Cary Diwali Celebration. This event is always a lot of fun and I look forward to it every year. If you have never attended Diwali you must check it out. Congratulations to Hum Sub, the Town of Cary and all the volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a huge success.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me at .