Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week in Review - 10/24/11 - 10/29/11

This past Tuesday I served as a judge for the 2011 Red Ribbon Poster Contest. This was no easy task as this year’s entries were probably some of the best I have seen in the four years I have been judging this event. The theme this year was “Peace out to Drugs”. While some posters were funny and colorful with hippies and VW buses, others were more hard hitting and spoke to the negative effects of drugs on one’s family and life. If you happen to be near town hall, stop by and check them out – good stuff.

Council held a worksession Tuesday evening to receive an update on Cary’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources master planning process and to discuss the upcoming council retreat.

The information gathering phase of the master planning process is now complete and included a very comprehensive public input process to include a mail in survey, an online survey, focus groups, community meetings and meetings between boards and commissions. These findings were presented to council for review and discussion.

While much of the presentation wasn’t anything we hadn’t already heard before, a few things did stand out to me. Past surveys had indicated a lack of cultural facilities space, but this survey didn’t. It appears that the new Cary Arts Center is filling this need as intended. Folks are also looking for more festivals and special events – especially in the downtown area.

Which leads to a meeting I had on Wednesday with staff and a few car buffs to discuss the Town of Cary’s first ever Classic/Custom Car Show!!!! That’s right folks; Cary will be hosting a car show near the end of March 2012 in downtown Cary. How cool is that??? If you know someone with a classic or custom car or motorcycle that might want to participate, send them our way. More information will be coming soon once we get farther along in the planning process.

Our council meeting on Thursday was relatively light with only one public hearing regarding a rezoning on Old Apex Road near Laura Duncan. The applicant was requesting a change from commercial to townhomes. Two citizens spoke at the hearing to voice their concerns over stormwater runoff. After a healthy discussion regarding stormwater management and development standards the council unanimously approved the request.

Town Manager, Ben Shivar also presented an operational update to include a financial report. The bottom line from the financial report is that a number of funds are doing better than budgeted, and at this time, we are projected to end FY2011 with about a $4 million surplus.

Friday evening Lisa and I attended the 53rd annual Cary Band Day reception at Cary High School. Council member Gale Adcock and former Cary Mayor Koka Booth also attended. This is always a wonderful time as decades of CHS alumni and supporters come together to celebrate and reminisce. Congratulations to all the volunteers – especially Cary Band Day Chair Sandra Williams – for all their efforts towards making Cary Band Day a huge success. If only they could control the weather…

Unfortunately this year’s Cary Band Day Parade had to be cancelled due to rain, but the Band Day Competition did go on as planned.

Well that’s about all for this week. Have a Happy Halloween!

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 don.frantz@townofcary.org .

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Downtown Cary Theater Renovations to begin next week!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2011

Cary Downtown Theater Begins Extreme Makeover

CARY, NC – As part of its renovation project, contractors working on behalf of the Town of Cary will deconstruct the fa├žade of its downtown theater located at 122 E. Chatham Street. The removal is set to begin October 24, weather permitting, and finish in November; while no traffic implications are expected, pedestrians in the area will be detoured and are asked to use the alternative sidewalk routes. Reconstruction of the building is anticipated to begin this spring.

“The transformation of Cary’s downtown as a viable entertainment district is a major priority for the Town, and the renovation of the downtown theater is an important step in achieving this,” said Eric Simpson, Engineer. “Thanks to the cooperation and preparedness of our construction partners, we are pleased to be working on schedule and still on task for a winter 2012 completion.”

Cary purchased the property at 122 E. Chatham Street over the summer with the intension of renovating and repurposing it as an intimate cultural venue perfect for movies, music, comedy, and theater on the smaller side. While the 65 year-old building was the former site of the Town’s first indoor movie theater, it has also operated as a clothing store, auto parts store and recording studio.

To follow the renovation, search “Downtown Theater” at http://www.townofcary.org/ or call (919) 380-4204; for more information on Cary’s plan for downtown, search “Downtown Development” at http://www.townofcary.org/ or call (919) 462-3870.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Forbes Names Cary NC one of the Top 25 Retirement Communities

Forbes Magazine has named Cary one of the top retirement communities in the Nation!

But we already knew that.

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eeik45egge/cary-north-carolina

Thank You Cary Voters!

Thank you Cary voters for your faith and trust in me to continue to serve as your District B Representative on the Cary Town Council! This victory wouldn’t have been possible without your support and encouragement; especially that of my amazing wife, Lisa and family.

It has truly been my honor and privilege to serve as your voice in town government.

Four years ago you elected me to give citizens a greater voice in your government. You sought leadership that was in touch with our community and better understood our concerns. You wanted representation that was swift, courteous and most importantly, effective.

You were concerned Cary was growing too fast and that your quality of life was declining; that Cary was losing sight of some of the things that made our town such a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. You were worried about the town’s finances and increasing debt, and the council’s lack of focus in Cary’s older communities.

Despite these challenges, together we have worked to address a number of community concerns. We have made great progress in Cary over the last four years, but we still have work to do.

During my second term I pledge to continue to work to make growth a benefit to our community, not a burden; to balance the rights of folks to develop their property while protecting the rights of communities from the negative effects of development. Great things happen when all stakeholders are involved in the process. Under my leadership Cary has managed a sustainable growth rate of 3-4%.

I promise to continue to practice fiscal restraint and budget responsibly; to make Cary a friendlier place to do business; and I will continue to fight to ensure that all areas of Cary receive their fair share of town investments.

Most importantly, I will continue to listen. My door is always open. If I can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at don.frantz@townofcary.org or 919-612-6870.

Thanks again for your support and I look forward to continuing to serve you as your District B Cary Town Councilman. Together we are making a difference!

In your service,

Don Frantz
Cary Town Council
District B