Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week in Review 12/7/09 - 12/12/09

I hate to sound like a broken record but this was a very busy week – a council meeting that lasted until almost midnight, meetings with citizens, staff and a neighborhood, and a couple ceremonial events. There is no way I can cover everything that occurred this week without putting ya’ll to sleep so I’ll just hit the highlights.

On Tuesday I had the honor and privilege of attending the swearing in ceremonies for the newly elected Morrisville Town Council members as a guest of Councilman Tom Murry. Tom and I have been friends for some time now and I wouldn’t have missed his swearing in for anything...well ok, almost anything. ;-) This was a lot of fun and the comments from outgoing council members were especially entertaining. I hope the new board members have similar senses of humor - given the long meetings and contentious items that council members often deal with a little laughter goes a long way towards helping to maintain one’s sanity. I wish the new council members and Mayor the very best and look forward to working with them over the years to come.

Wednesday evening Councilwoman Julie Robison and I along with representatives from our town staff participated in a neighborhood meeting with residents of the Evans Estates Subdivision and the applicants of a proposed 30 home subdivision adjacent to Evans Estates. The applicants are requesting a waiver from the town’s connectivity ordinance which would require them to construct a road stub for a future road connection and bridge to Evans Road. For those reading who may be unaware, the town’s connectivity ordinance requires that when certain are met that new development connect to adjacent development and/or provide new road connections to collector roads or thoroughfares.

Residents were roughly split as to whether they supported the requested waiver or not and many in attendance expressed concerns regarding additional traffic and safety of neighborhood children as well as significant environmental and economic impacts.

After a healthy discussion the following day at our council meeting the council unanimously rejected staff’s recommendation to deny the appeal and supported the requested waiver. While I cannot speak for the other council members specific reasons for supporting the applicant’s request, I supported it for the following reasons:

· Concerns over the negative environmental impact, loss of mature trees and natural area and increased impervious surface. Roughly 16,500 square feet of buffer and 181 linear feet of the stream would be destroyed.

· Evans Estates was planned and built knowing these 30 homes would be constructed in the future. Evans Estates Road is a collector street and the Evans Estates subdivision has three connections to Evans Road already.

· Economic Impacts: Requiring the road construction and associated bridge/stream crossing would add significant cost to the project (over $600,000.00) potentially resulting in a request to increase the project’s density to offset these additional costs. A reduction in the current lot sizes (some as large as 24,000 sq. ft.) and/or increase in density would be unacceptable.

· Construction traffic will utilize Evans Estates Road regardless of whether or not a stub connection is made to Evans Road or not. We are better to work to reduce its impact as we cannot eliminate it.

· The applicant’s agreement to work with the Evans Estates HOA to implement traffic calming measures to address existing and future traffic concerns.

After speaking with Chief of Police Pat Bazemore we also learned that Evans Estates Road has no posted speed limit signs – therefore the legal speed limit is currently 35mph. We will be working to reduce the speed limit to 25mph and post the appropriate signage. I have also contacted WCPSS Board members to discuss the possibility of relocating the existing bus stop further inside Evans Estates to move children waiting for the bus away from the dangerous corner at Evans and Evans Estates Road and away from any future construction traffic.

Other council meeting highlights included the swearing in ceremonies of Councilwomen Jennifer Robinson and Julie Robison and Councilman Jack Smith. Immediately following the ceremonies was the selection of Cary’s Mayor Pro-Tem. Councilwoman Julie Robison was elected Mayor Pro-Tem by a vote of 4-3.

Also on Thursday’s agenda was the first of two public hearings regarding the proposed single quadrant intersection design at Cary Parkway and High House Road. Not one citizen spoke in favor of the proposal and of the 40-50 emails council has received thus far regarding the project none have been supportive. That speaks volumes to me. Given the overwhelming opposition to the current proposal and the fact that most likely not one council member will support it I made the motion to cancel January’s public hearing and to direct staff to cease and desist work on this project and to begin work on an alternative proposal. To my amazement my motion failed for the lack of a second. The council majority (everyone but me) felt that since we have already scheduled and noticed the January public hearing we should go forward with it to further solicit public input. That’s all well and good but in my opinion why waste any more time or resources on something we know we will not consider?

Afterwards council held a closed session to discuss an ongoing lawsuit and potential incentives contract.

Saturday I had the honor of riding in the Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade in downtown Cary. What a great day for a Christmas parade – the cold air and overcast skies had everyone bundled up in winter coats and blankets and drinking hot chocolate trying to stay warm. It just felt like Christmas. Thanks so much to the Cary Jaycees and everyone who worked so hard to make the parade a huge success.

It was great to see so many friends and neighbors. Then again I was pretty easy to spot riding atop a bright yellow Corvette. And after riding in it I gotta say, nothing says Christmas like Corvette. ;-) Maybe once we graduate a few out of college Santa will bring me one? I’ve been a good boy right? ;-)

Well that's it for now. I may not post next week as we will be in Florida to watch our son Jordan and the University of Central Florida take on Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl. This game is extra special for all of us as this will be the final game of Jordan’s five year college football career. We are so proud of Jordan’s success on and off the field, and while he will soon begin to write a new chapter in his life story, we can’t help but be a little sad that this one is coming to a close. Congratulations, Jordan. We couldn’t be any prouder. Go Knights!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Cary!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We Want YOU!

Apply Now for Cary's 7th Annual School of Government

Get an innovative, hands-on, behind-the-scenes look at Town government, decision-making, and the people and facilities that provide the services you use every day. Applications will be accepted through December 31 for the 2010 Town of Cary School of Government. Sessions are scheduled for Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. from February 3 through March 17 plus one session on Saturday morning, February 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information or to download an application, visit School of Government at or call (919) 469‑4006.

Lana Hygh, Assistant to the Town Manager, (919) 469-4006
Deanna Boone, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 462-3908
Susan Moran, Public Information Officer, (919) 460-4951

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few holidays left that hasn’t been ruined by commercialism or political correctness. I don’t have to worry about offending anyone by wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving and I don’t have to run all over town and spend a small fortune buying gifts for folks either…at least not yet. ;-) It’s all about family, getting together with loved ones, giving thanks for all the good that we have in our lives, great food and football!

I have so much to be thankful for. First and foremost I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my wonderful wife who is always supportive, loving, and patient. I am thankful for our six amazing children who have brought so many blessings into our lives. I am thankful for my mother and father who taught me responsibility and that life is what you make of it. I am thankful for my brother Dan who has been my best friend for my entire life.

I am thankful for all our friends. Through good times and bad they have always been there for us. I am thankful for our good health.

I am thankful for God and that he sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins. I am thankful that God has a plan and brought me to Cary.

I am thankful for our success in business and for our incredible employees who make that happen – especially you, Darryl. I learned a long time ago that in business you are only as good as the people you have working for you. We are truly blessed to have such highly skilled and dedicated employees.

I am thankful for the trust and support Cary’s citizens have bestowed upon me by electing me to serve as your representative. I am thankful for my council colleagues and for our town staff who work so hard day in and day out to make Cary one of the greatest places to live in America.

I am very thankful, and I hope that you are too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Day in the Life

Folks often ask how I balance my business and family responsibilities with those of a council member. I decided that instead of my usual week in review I would post a day in review instead to give folks a better idea of what an average day is like for me. Hopefully you find it interesting. If not, I’m sure you’ll let me know. ;-) So without further adieu,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alarm goes off – hit snooze. Repeat. I am so not a morning person. ;-) After coming to terms with my denial and accepting that yes, I do have to get out of bed and go to work, I roll out of bed and sleepwalk to the shower. My day begins.

I arrive at work at 8:00 am to find that Darryl’s got everything under control. Why am I not surprised? He’s awesome. I check the morning paper and internet sites for anything newsworthy. Find nothing. ;-) Check and respond to a couple dozen emails. Some require staff assistance to better address –contact staff for assistance. This will generate more email. Respond to three phone calls missed from the previous evening. One is from a citizen requesting a meeting regarding a neighborhood issue, one from a fellow councilor and one is from a newly elected school board member.

Time to get to work…the kind that pays the bills anyways ;-) I am needed to diagnose a couple of drivability problems. One is a high idle and check engine light on a Ford Focus, the other a hard start on a Honda CRV. I find that the CRV needs a new oxygen sensor and an intake service to remove excessive carbon build up, and the Focus needs a new PCV hose assembly to cure a lean condition. I write it up and give the info to Darryl so he can authorize repairs and order parts so I may participate in a conference call with the North Carolina NFIB Leadership Council of which I serve as a member.

The NFIB conference call lasts almost an hour as we discuss a wide range of topics including the NFIB’s and small business' position on health care, taxes on services, card check legislation and incentives vs. North Carolina's corporate tax rate.

10:30 am: I check email again to find that staff has provided some of the information I had requested earlier – follow up with citizens. I have found that I keep up with email best if I check it numerous times throughout the day. There isn’t much worse than opening your email account to see that you have 120 new emails. Ahhh!!!!

Back to work. I complete the needed repairs on the CRV and Focus – yes I still turn wrenches – and also perform a routine service on a Toyota Highlander. After my work on these three vehicles is complete I handle a number of business related responsibilities for both Frantz Automotive and Rosedown Weddings.

2:00 pm: I leave work and head home to clean up and change clothes before attending the town’s employee appreciation reception. I Hit the BK drive-thru on the way home to grab a quick bite for lunch and call Lisa to see how her day is going. It’s no surprise to hear she’s doing five things at once. Those of you that know Lisa know what I’m talking about. ;-) She’s an amazing woman who works hard not only at home, at work, and in the community, but she also takes up my slack – especially at home – as my council responsibilities keep me away from home more often than not. My wife is a saint. I love you sweetie!

2:50 pm: Arrive at Town’s employee reception at the Herb Young Community Center and speak with a number of guests and town employees prior to the start of the presentation. Our town’s staff is an amazing collection of dedicated professionals who work very hard to help make Cary the great place to live that it is. Attending this reception was the least I could do to show my appreciation for all their efforts.

Afterwards I head back to the shop to tie up a few loose ends. No time to change back into my work clothes so I take a little extra care to make sure my tie doesn’t get caught in a fan belt. ;-)

4:30 pm: Back to town hall for a meeting with the Town Manager, Engineering Director, Councilwoman Robinson and a family who lives on Pamlico Drive to discuss flooding issues they are experiencing and what steps the town can take both short and long term in an attempt to address their issues. I wish I could report that I left this meeting with the confidence we will be able to help. Unfortunately I did not but we will work as hard as we can to do so. Afterwards I race across the hall and into Council Chambers for our Planning and Development Committee meeting – on time with 30 seconds to spare!

5:30 pm: P+D Committee meeting begins – notable topics included consideration of a Comprehensive Transportation Plan Amendment and whether or not to consider an appeal from an applicant regarding a staff decision to require connectivity to their proposed site plan. The committee agreed to hear the appeal. Both of these items will come to the full council for discussion and decision at our next council meeting.

After our P+D Committee meeting I head across town to attend the tail end of a reception for WCPSS Board Member-elect Debra Goldman. It has been a pleasure to get to know Debra better over the last few months and she has become a great friend. I look forward to working with Debra on school related matters both in Cary and Wake County and I am confident she will do a great job as a member of the school board.

I stop the shop to pick up some documents and tie up a few loose ends before getting home around 8:00. Once home I grab a bite to eat (not out of a bag – yay! Thanks sweetie!)- and help Elizabeth with her homework before reading her a story and tucking her into bed. I spend the remainder of the evening responding to email and reviewing staff reports before retiring around midnight.

And there ya have it – an example of what a typical day is like for me as a business owner, family man and member of the council. There is always much to do, but by focusing on what’s most important - and with a little help from my family and employees - we get it done. I am very proud of my work on the council and hope that you are too.

And no matter how busy I might get I try very hard to make sure I make time for family – although there’s never as much time as I would like. I can’t thank my family enough for their love and support and for understanding how important my role as a council member is to both me and Cary. I couldn’t do what I do without you. I love you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week in Review 11/9/09 - 11/15/09

My week began with a meeting with Town Manager Ben Shivar to discuss a number of topics including Old Cary Elementary (more on this later), the town’s current financial outlook and council relations.

This past Tuesday Council held a work session to discuss two topics – Cary’s Historic Preservation Master Plan and Koka Booth Amphitheater.

Town staff and consultants presented the final round of updates and recommendations for Cary’s Historic Preservation Master Plan before preparations begin to send this to public hearing. Council asked that the public hearing be held AFTER the Holidays thinking that folks will already have enough on their plates (turkey I hope!) and might miss their opportunity for comment. As important as this initiative is we want to ensure we gather as much citizen input as possible before making any final decisions.

Next on the agenda were Koka Booth Amphitheater and sound levels. After a healthy discussion council ultimately agreed to allow three events next year to exceed the current limit of 92 decibels but not to exceed 95 decibels. This doesn’t sound like much of a difference I know, but believe me it is. A number of artists, patrons, and citizens have complained about our noise restrictions and a number of artists have even refused to play at the amphitheater due to sound limits. Council decided on limiting the number of shows which may exceed 92 decibels to three as a “test” to see how this works out for the amphitheater and area residents.

Council also discussed concessions and seating – but those are mainly operational items so we differed to staff….although one council member was somewhat critical of current wine selections. Obviously not me. ;-) Beer and pretzels and I’m good to go!

Thursday the council retreat committee and staff met to discuss the upcoming retreat agenda. The retreat will focus on where, or what we want Cary to be in thirty years from now – a visioning exercise in some regards. We will be reviewing allowable densities throughout town, housing types (suburban vs. urban), transportation, stormwater issues and our downtown. The retreat will be held locally in Cary again this year to reduce costs and encourage citizen participation – so if you have an opinion on Cary’s growth rate – and I know you do! – please come.

Afterwards was our council meeting. The majority of the meeting consisted of ceremonial presentations and awards but there were definitely a few other notable items worthy of discussion here.

Funding for the Old Cary Elementary School renovations and conversion to the Cary Community Arts Center was unanimously approved by council. Cary had previously estimated construction costs to be in the neighborhood of $15+ million. Bids came in at 7-9 million; a substantial savings given the down economy and increased competition. The remaining balance of the $15 million that was allocated for Cary Elementary (cash on hand) will be returned to the general fund to help make up for the reduction in revenue we are experiencing given the recession.

Council also unanimously approved the hiring of six new police officers for a new police beat in West Cary – our fastest growing area of town. Council had previously held off on filling these positions as we had applied for a federal grant to help defray some of the costs. Once we were notified we did not receive grant funding we approved the hiring of these additional officers. I wish all our decisions were this easy.

The highlight of the council meeting was the awards presentation for Cary’s first ever Hometown Spirit Award. All 12 finalists were recognized at our meeting and received a small token of our appreciation. Congratulations to Alisa Wright Colopy who was selected as Cary’s first ever Hometown Spirit Award Winner. Many thanks to the selection committee as well – in reading the nomination forms their job of choosing a winner from such an incredible group of individuals was surely no easy task.

On Friday evening I met with WCPSS Board Member Elect Debra Goldman to help her with her new blog, Debra’s Chalk Board. Make sure you bookmark it and check back often for updates…just like you do for my blog right??? ;-) Hopefully more elected officials will follow suit and make the effort to better communicate with their constituency. Great job, Debra!

On Saturday evening I attended John Tedesco’s victory ball in Garner. This was a lot of fun and it was great to celebrate with so many friends and colleagues. I can’t wait for December 1st!!!

Well that’s about it for this week in review. As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Proud Mama and Papa!

Jordan Richards and Rocky Ross Named to ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District Team

Knight student-athletes named to ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA First Team.

Nov. 5, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two UCF football players, linebacker Jordan Richards (Cary, N.C.) and wide receiver Rocky Ross (Jacksonville, Fla.) were honored for their academic success on Thursday as they were both first-team selections by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on the ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District teams.

To be eligible a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore, a starter or key reserve, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3. As first-team all-district picks, Richards and Ross both advance for consideration for the national ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-American teams.
Richards and Ross are both pursing master's degrees in sports and fitness after earning bachelor's degrees in criminal justice. Richards has posted a 3.63 cumulative GPA while Ross carries a 3.88 cumulative GPA.

Both also have helped the Knights (5-3, 3-2 C-USA) greatly this season. Ross is the team's leading receiver with 27 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 0:23 left to play against Marshall on Sunday night. He has also returned eight punts for 99 yards on the year. Richards has made 17 stops this year from his linebacking position, including two tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble.

This is Ross' second time receiving the honor, also doing so in 2007. He is the third Knight to be so recognized twice, joining Ron Johnson (1980-81) and Sha'reff Rashad (2005, 07).
These two honors make a total of six times that a Knights has been named to the all-district team over the past three years. In 2007, Keith Shologan went on to earn ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.

To see Richards, Ross and their UCF teammates play in either of their two remaining home games at Bright House Networks Stadium (Nov. 14 vs. No. 13 Houston or Nov. 21 vs. Tulane), please either call the UCF Athletic Ticket office at (407) 823-1000 or logon to


Week in Review 11/2/09 - 11/8/09

Sorry for the late post – Lisa was in Texas all weekend to watch our son Jordan play Colt McCoy and company so I had Mr. Mom duties all weekend. Boy am I glad she’s home! ;-)

My week began with a council retreat committee meeting with staff, Mayor Weinbrecht and Council member Portman. First item on the agenda was the retreat location. To reduce costs and encourage citizen participation we again decided to stay local and host our retreat in Cary. While I offered the use of Rosedown in Smithfield at no charge to Cary, committee members and staff felt it did not provide enough space and was a bit too far away (40 minutes) for folks to travel to and from as we do not have enough bedrooms for all to spend the night.

Topics to be discussed at the retreat will include a review of allowable densities throughout Cary, Downtown, and Stormwater issues throughout town. We will have another retreat committee meeting to shore things up so stay tuned! I know – you can’t wait right? ;-)

Tuesday was Election Day in Cary’s District A and boy am I glad that’s over! I could write a book on this topic, but what really needs to be said that hasn’t already been said? The voters have spoken. Congratulations to Jennifer Robinson on her reelection to the council and thanks to everyone who turned out to vote.

Congratulations also go out to John Tedesco who won his District 2 School Board election in convincing fashion and a big shout out to Tom Murry in Morrisville, Gene Shulze, Mike Jones and Lance Olive in Apex for their Election Day victories.

Thursday morning I attended the Heart of Cary Association’s monthly meeting at the Cary Chamber of Commerce. The main discussion topic was the upcoming Heart of Cary Association’s Ole Time Winter Festival which will be held in downtown Cary on December 5 from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm. The Town of Cary’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (ya I know, it’s technically a “Holiday Tree” but it will always be a Christmas Tree to me!) immediately follows the festival at 6:00 pm. Please come to the Ole Time Winter Festival and have your picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the live entertainment, local artisans and tasty eats! This will be a very fun time – see you there!

On Friday Councilman Jack Smith and I had the privilege of attending the Town of Cary’s Annual Veteran’s Day Appreciation Luncheon. It was truly an honor to be in the company of so many incredible men and women who sacrificed so much of themselves fighting for liberty and freedom around the globe. I am forever grateful for their service to our great nation.

On Sunday I presented a proclamation on behalf of the Mayor and council honoring Bradley John Vohler’s achievement of making Eagle Scout. This was a good time for all and a number of family friends were in attendance. My remarks focused on the principle goals of scouting. A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. “Wouldn’t it be nice if all our elected officials lived by these same principles?” I asked. After commenting that the world would be a better place if we had a few more Boy Scouts in government service, I presented the proclamation.

Well that’s it for this week in review. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Tomorrow, November 3 is Election Day. Go vote.

What’s that you say? You don’t think your vote matters? Think again.

I lost my first election by 130 votes. I won my last election by 48 votes.

Wake County School Board Candidate John Tedesco missed winning outright in last month’s school board elections by 38 votes.

Cary Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson came 4 votes short of winning Cary’s District A seat outright last month.

Al Franken ring a bell? Ya, I know – a dumbbell. ;-) But you get the point…I hope.

Voter turnout in municipal elections rarely breaks 13%, yet local officials impact our daily lives more so than that of our state and federal representatives. Apathy is often times a local official’s worst enemy.

Cary district A voters have the opportunity to head back to the polls tomorrow to either cast their ballot for change (whatever that means), or reaffirm Cary Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson’s leadership over the last ten years. Regardless of your preferred candidate I challenge each and every one of you to do just that - GO VOTE. And while you’re at it, call your friends and neighbors and encourage them to go vote. Drag your co-worker out of his cubicle and get him or her to the polls. Volunteer to drive someone without transportation. Allow your employees extra time during lunch so they may go vote. You never know, your vote just might decide Cary’s leadership and direction for the next four years.

Actually, I know it will.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cary High School Band Day

It's that time of year again! Come one, come all to the 51st annual Cary Band Day parade and field competition. The parade begins at 10:00 in downtown Cary and the field competition starts at noon at Cooper Field at Cary High School.

Started in 1958 by the Cary High School Band Boosters, Cary Band Day is one of the longest running high school marching band competitions in the nation and the most highly regarded in the Southeast. High School bands from all over the state of North Carolina and as far away as Virginia and Tennessee converge upon Cary each year with the hopes of returning home as Cary Band Day Grand Champion. Who will win this year? Well you'll have to just come and see now won't you? :-)

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of many parents and band boosters this event has become tradition in Cary. I can't ever imagine Cary without Cary Band Day - it just wouldn't be the same.

Oh - I almost forgot! Special guests at Cary Band Day this year includes the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band. If you have never seen Western Carolina's band perform you MUST come and check them out. Electric guitars, keyboards, drum sets on platforms - they put on a show! Western Carolina's band takes the field at 5:45 immediately following Cary High School.

I'll see you there!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week in Review 10/19/09 - 10/24/09

Council held a worksession on Tuesday to discuss the town’s adequate public facilities ordinance for roads (APFs) and our transportation development fee structure to determine if there is a more equitable way of ensuring that all development along a corridor pays its fair share. Currently the projects which develop early in the process don’t place too heavy a burden on our infrastructure, and therefore are not required to make as many improvements as those projects which come in towards the end when the need for transportation improvements are much greater, and much more expensive. All development taxes our infrastructure and therefore all development should pay its fair share. I feel like we left the worksession knowing what we want to do – we just don’t know how to do it yet. We’ll continue to work on it until we get it right.

I met with the applicants of a proposed cheerleading and tumbling gym in West Cary off of Davis Drive. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss their request for a 20% parking reduction from what our ordinance requires. The town calculates parking requirements based on building square footage and they are proposing to build a 10,000 sq. ft. facility; yet the majority of floor space is open gym space with spring floors and tumbling tracks. Our ordinance requires they provide enough parking to accommodate 185 people, yet according to the applicant they will never have more than 115 children there at any given time. They simply do not need the amount of parking our ordinance requires. Makes sense to me. Another positive is that reducing the number of parking spaces reduces the amount of impervious surface at the site which will result in less stormwater runoff and increased environmental benefits.

Afterwards Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson and I met with a family on Pamlico Drive to discuss the flooding issues in their neighborhood. We were shown a video the couple had created that clearly documented the flooding problem folks in this area are experiencing. It was truly amazing to see the amount of water behind these folks’ homes after only a half inch of rain – after just a few inches water was coming inside their home.

More and more folks – especially in our older areas of town – are experiencing increased flooding with each passing year. While I am proud that the council recently strengthened our stormwater retention ordinance to prevent future development from negatively impacting nearby property owners, we must also address the existing problems folks are experiencing now. Mrs. Robinson and I will continue working with our staff to determine the best course of action.

Prior to our council meeting Thursday evening the town hosted a reception for our outgoing board and commission members. Seeing everyone was a lot of fun. I cannot thank our board members for their dedication and service to the town. Cary is a much better place because of their efforts.

Of the five public hearings scheduled for our council meeting, two generated the most comments. The first was Round 13 Amendments to Cary’s Land Development Ordinance. A number of folks spoke in opposition to the proposed reductions to the number of children a home day care provider may keep at one time from eight to six. While existing providers would be “grandfathered in”, a number of folks expressed concerns regarding the current shortage of day care providers throughout town, and how these restrictions would further reduce folks ability to obtain child care for their children, as well as reduced income earning potential of home child care providers. Our Planning and Zoning Board will now review the proposed ordinance amendments and then make a recommendation to council.

The other public hearing which generated significant comment was the proposed rezoning of the Russell Hills community in our downtown area from TC-LDR to TC-LDR-12. A number of residents voiced their support of this proposal as the proposed zoning would in effect align the neighborhood’s zoning with the original covenants the neighborhood was developed under, and remain valid today. Russell Hills’ original R12 zoning was changed to TCLDR when TCAP was adopted back in 2001. This allowed for zero lot line development and reduced setbacks resulting in redevelopment that residents found out of character with that of the existing Russell Hills community. While Russell Hills residents originally requested that the town rezone their neighborhood back to R12, given the neighborhoods proximity to downtown we believe there value in keeping this community zoned town center (TC) and instead worked to create a new zoning classification that addresses the neighborhood’s concerns yet still provides opportunity for redevelopment and reinvestment. One property owner spoke in opposition to the proposed rezoning. This proposal now goes to our Planning and Zoning board before coming back to council for final decision.

Another item that generated some discussion - and quite a bit of frustration among most all on the council I might add - was a Comprehensive Plan Amendment for a parcel in the Carolina Preserve at Amberly on Pittard Sears and O’Kelly Chapel Roads. The applicant was requesting a change in the land use plan from low density residential (LDR) to medium density residential (MDR) as they are looking to expand their retirement community – a community which brings little traffic and adds no school aged children I might add. The parcel is surrounded by MDR except that which fronts Pittard Sears and O’Kelly Chapel Roads. Pittard Sears Road provides a good boundary between the existing MDR on the east side and LDR on the west side. Simply put, this amendment made sense…well, six council members thought so anyways.

One council member who after speaking with a Chatham County Commissioner very familiar with the proposed amendment just a few hours before our council meeting stated she would oppose the amendment because – in her words – the Chatham County Commissioner was “unsettled” about the proposal. That’s it. Not because she believed it to be a bad amendment or anything like that, but because a Chatham County Commissioner – who by the way is no stranger at Cary Council meetings and has communicated her thoughts to council on numerous Cary developments in the past including this one – was “unsettled”.

Another Cary Council member said it best, “I work for Cary”.

On Friday I had the honor and privilege of attending a retirement party for Mr. James Brice, Custodian at Cary Elementary School for over 33 years. After some brief remarks I presented him with a Proclamation from the Mayor and council thanking him for his many years of dedicated service to both Cary Elementary and the community. He will be sorely missed.

Well that's all for this week in review. As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week in Review 10/12/09 - 10/17/09

Monday began with a meeting with Town Manger Ben Shivar. We discussed a number of topics including the upcoming budget worksession and the town’s financial outlook as well as next steps regarding the spray painted house on Maynard Road.

On Monday evening I attended a community meeting with residents of Russell Hills and our town staff to discuss the proposed rezoning of the Russell Hills neighborhood from TCLDR to TCLDR-12. Russell Hills residents have submitted a petition requesting the zoning change as they are concerned that the current zoning (put in place when TCAP was adopted) is in conflict with pre-existing neighborhood covenants and would allow for new construction to be built up to the street and property lines altering the character and charm of the existing Russell Hills community.

On Tuesday I met with a developer and property owner regarding a potential development project at Harrison Ave and Maynard. I encouraged him to include area residents in the design process sooner than later to ensure that what is proposed better meets the expectations and satisfaction of the surrounding community.

Afterwards council held a worksession to discuss next year’s budget. Given the current economy and associated loss of revenue next year’s budget will be even leaner than our last. While maybe good news to some folks, growth in Cary has come to a screeching halt. No new growth means no new revenue to the town, yet the costs associated with maintaining existing levels of services will continue to increase. Just as your cost of living increases each year due to inflation or other factors so does the towns. If your family suddenly experienced a 20% reduction in income could you maintain your current standard of living? Of course not, and neither can the town.

Like it or not, the town needs to maintain a healthy growth rate to continue to provide the high levels of service and amenities that our citizens demand. I believe our Budget Director Scott Fogleman said it best, “If we were still seeing a 4-5% growth rate this worksession would be over”.

On Wednesday Town Manager Ben Shivar, Assistant Manager Mike Bajorek, Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson and I met with a family in the Russell Hills neighborhood to discuss ongoing stormwater problems and future plans to help alleviate these concerns.

Afterwards I attended the Town Center Review Commission’s (TCRC) meeting at town hall. Discussion items included a presentation on the town’s ongoing Historic Preservation Master Plan Project and the appointment of a vice-chair. Congratulations Susan!

Our Planning and Development Committee Meeting was Thursday evening. Our one discussion item was consideration of the next steps towards determining a future intersection design for the Cary Parkway and High House intersection. The town has been working to develop a new intersection plan for this intersection for some time, and after gathering community input and consideration of a number of alternatives our engineers are recommending a single quadrant design; similar to that of “jug handle” intersections like those seen in northern states. While this plan – on paper – makes sense and increases pedestrian safety by not adding asphalt and widening the intersection, I have concerns over how confusing this will be to motorists – especially those traveling this intersection for the first time. We recommended this item go to the full council for discussion and decision.

On Friday I met with representatives of the Amberly – Pittard Sears Road development seeking a comprehensive plan amendment from LDR to MDR. This project is in our town’s Northwest Area Plan. We discussed the existing resident’s concerns and their progress thus far in addressing those concerns. This item comes before council for decision this Thursday.

Well that’s it for this week in review. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week in Review 10/5/09 - 10/10/09

The majority of my time this past week was spent helping candidates running for both school board and municipal elections and preparing for Thursday evening’s council meeting.

Tuesday was Election Day – and what a great day it was! All four conservative, family friendly, pro-neighborhood schools, anti-mandatory year round school board candidates won their elections handily. Debra Goldman, Debra Prickett, and Chris Malone each won landslide victories garnering 60% of the vote. John Tedesco, candidate for district 2 school board running in a five person race also won big, but just missed the 50% + 1 of the vote required to avoid the need for a runoff. He finished with 49%. Tedesco now faces a runoff on November 3 with distant runner up Cathy Truitt who received only 24% of the vote. Why she is even calling for a runoff I am not sure but regardless I am confident that Tedesco will seal the deal in November. However we cannot rest on our laurels. This election is too important folks. I encourage everyone reading this to call or email John and offer your support. We know where John stands on the issues – Truitt’s positions change almost hourly depending on which way the wind is blowing, or to whom she is speaking with.

Voters sent a clear message to WCPSS. Parents and taxpayers are sick and tired of having our children used as pawns in some liberal social engineering experiment without any data whatsoever that proves the experiment even benefits the children it is designed to help. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe diversity in our schools to be a good thing – as long as a child doesn’t have to give up their seat at their neighborhood school so another who lives 15 miles away can sit in it.

Jack Smith and Julie Robison, candidates for reelection to the Cary Town Council also won big. Jack Smith received 66% of the vote and Julie received nearly80%. Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson also won on Election Day, but like Tedesco, failed to receive the 50% +1 of the vote to negate the need for a runoff. Jennifer received 49.97% of the vote in a four person race – 2 VOTES shy of winning outright. Think your vote doesn’t matter? Think again. There are a handful of provisional ballots left to count so there is still hope that Jennifer may pull this one out without the need for a runoff.

Regardless, the Robinson campaign is not sitting around waiting for the final tally. That’s not her style. Its full steam ahead towards victory in November! On a positive note, a month long runoff election allows Jennifer the time to debunk all the misinformation coming from the Bush campaign. Cary's citizens deserve honest answers to their questions, not quotes taken out of context and half truths. Whether you agree with all of Jennifer’s decisions or not, it's poor character to make her out to be something less than the dedicated and honest public servant that she is. I look forward to a debate between the two of them.

I also want to say “Thank You” to Terry ‘Doc’ Thorne and Cindy Sinkez for running positive, issue oriented campaigns. It has been an honor and a pleasure to get to know the both of them better during this campaign season. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. The main topics of discussion were the proposed Cameron Pond revegetation plan and associated subdivision plan amendment.

The Cameron Pond buffer issue has been one of the most difficult subjects; if not the most difficult I have dealt with during my time on the council. For those of you who may be unaware of this issue, the 100 foot buffer behind Cameron Pond that would have protected the residents from the future I540 was annihilated by Progress Energy to make way for massive 100 foot tall high voltage transmission lines. This was done without any knowledge or notification to the town or the council by Progress Energy or the developer of Cameron Pond. Unfortunately, no matter how wrong this was, Progress Energy is a condemning authority and has the power to do so.

The town, Cameron Pond residents and developer have been working for months to develop a revegetation plan that provides for as much screening from the future I540 and the power lines as possible. The reality however is that no amount of revegetation can ever right the wrong that has been imposed upon this community. You simply cannot replace the 100 foot of mature hardwoods and pines that were removed – and Progress Energy will not allow any plantings within the easement. Council was tasked with determining whether or not the proposed plan was sufficient (in my opinion no), and met the letter of the law in regards to Cary’s opaque buffer standards (it does). After a lengthy discussion and a commitment from the developer to install even more plantings the council swallowed hard and unanimously approved the revegetation plan.

The next item of discussion was the associated subdivision plan amendment. The existing plan is nonconforming as it does not include the utility easement nor the revegetation. Council voted 5-2 to approve the plan. Both Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson and I voted against the subdivision plan as we felt there was more the developer could do within the development to help compensate for the diminished quality of life in Cameron Pond. On behalf of the Town I sincerely apologize for everything the Cameron Pond residents have had to endure, and I thank them for all their work in helping us get to this point.

Afterwards council members pledged to partner with NCDOT in the construction of I540 so that we may better work together to further reduce the impacts that I540 will have on this community.

Council also unanimously denied the Nelson Road Industrial site plan as they were requesting a reduction to the required buffers along the west side of their property and the 100 foot thoroughfare buffer along Aviation Parkway. Great timing huh? I don’t see this council granting any buffer reduction requests any time soon - if ever; and in fact we will be working to strengthen our buffer standards in the very near future.

On Saturday I had the honor and privilege of attending the 9th annual Diwali Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheater along with council members Smith, Robison and Portman. Congressman David Price was also in attendance. I had a great time and I can’t thank the folks at Hum Sub enough for all their hospitality. Being a history buff I always enjoy learning more about other cultures – and sampling their food while I’m at it! ;-) But no matter how different our cultures may be, we still have so much in common. We all want good government, safe communities, a clean environment, great educational opportunities and respect. Sounds simple enough to me.

I also want to take a minute to thank everyone who took the time to email or call with your concerns regarding our son Jordan’s injury in the ECU/UCF football game. It really means a lot to our family and we are forever grateful for all your support.

Well that’s about it for this week in review. As always thanks for reading!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week in Review 9/21/09 - 9/26/09

This past Tuesday council held a worksession to receive and update and discuss the town’s wayfinding project. The town’s wayfinding project is a comprehensive signage system that will help direct visitors to destinations in our downtown area, and other town venues such as Koka Booth Amphitheater, USA Baseball and many of our town parks and greenways. Council reviewed options and recommendations from our citizen wayfinding committee, consultants and staff prior to endorsing the project and directing staff to continue with only a few minor recommended changes.

I am very pleased to see this project taking shape as this is an initiative that the Heart of Cary Association and I have been working on for years. I can’t tell you how many phone calls and comments I have received over the years from both Cary citizens and visitors who have expressed concerns with not being able to find their destination due to lack of adequate directional signage. It is also my hope that better directional signage will help to alleviate traffic (less folks getting lost/making u-turns etc..) and reduce harmful vehicle emissions by reducing vehicle run time.

On Wednesday town staff, council member Robinson and I met with residents in the Pamlico Drive/Maynard Road area to discuss stormwater issues they are experiencing in their community, and current projects underway and/or in the design process to potentially alleviate this problem. We also requested a meeting with town staff and residents be held at Swift Creek to further analyze and discuss issues the residents are experiencing.

Later that afternoon Mayor Weinbrecht and I taped the October edition of Cary Matters. Topics for the show included explaining the differences between open and closed sessions, upcoming meetings, worksessions and events. I got to have a little fun at the end of the show so be sure and check it out! Afterwards I attended WakeUp Wake County’s Cary Council Candidate forum held at the Kirk of Kildaire Church. Highlights of the forum can be seen on NBC17.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. Discussion items included a rezoning request for the Russell Hills neighborhood in the town center area, consideration of options for roadway improvements for the proposed expansion of St. Michael’s Church, and appointments to the town’s Information Services Advisory Board. Council also held a closed session afterwards to discuss property acquisition through purchase.

Council supported the request of Russell Hills’ residents to create a new zoning district for their neighborhood that mirrors that of the pre-existing Russell Hill covenants and called for this change to be included in round 13 of amendments to the town’s LDO - a public hearing will be held on October 13, 2009. Council also recommended accepting St. Michael’s offer of a payment in lieu instead of requiring them to install a turn lane at the intersection of High House and Cary Parkway as the town is currently studying this intersection and, at this time is not entirely sure what improvements will be needed or recommended. That last thing we want to do is require an improvement that we later discover is not necessary – or worse even, not recommended. St. Michaels will also be required to install a traffic signal in front of their property across from Bond Park.

While council ultimately agreed to councilmember Robison’s recommended slate of appointments to the Information Services Advisory Board, I was very disappointed that this information was late in coming to council (about 3 weeks late) and that there was no time to review the recommended slate’s applications. In fact, I was handed a piece of paper with names on it only 30 minutes prior to this discussion. I found this very unprofessional, embarrassing and unfair to those applicant’s who had applied to serve on the ISAB.

Friday morning town staff, council member Robinson and I met with residents in the Pamlico Drive/Maynard Road area to follow up on our Tuesday meeting, and see first hand the progress – or lack thereof – of the stream restoration project. Unfortunately, after our meeting I think we now have more questions than answers. While the stream restoration project was necessary to further protect the environment and to provide for greater water quality - and a requirement of the state resulting from the Maynard Road widening project I might add. I believe a more comprehensive project that not only addressed environmental protection and greater water quality, but also stormwater runoff that is causing problems for folks in the area would have been wise. We are continuing to work with staff and the residents to come up with the best solution(s) available.

Afterwards Mayor Weinbrecht, Councilman Jack Smith and I attended the Cary High School IMP Club Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon at Carraba’s Restaurant. This was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many long time friends. With five of our six children attending and participating in athletics at Cary High School it goes without saying that our family has been a part of the Cary High School family for years – five down, one more to go! We presented a proclamation and medal to this years Hall of Fame inductees.

Saturday went from being a great day to one of the most terrifying moments of my life in the blink of an eye. Our son Jordan, who play’s linebacker for UCF was back home in North Carolina to play ECU this weekend. We trekked to Greenville early with many family members and friends to tailgate before the game and had a great time. During the game it was clear this was going to be Jordan’s best game of the season thus far as he had racked up 6 tackles and a forced fumble by halftime. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Jordan broke through the defense once again to tackle another Pirate. Only this time he didn’t jump up and celebrate. He wasn’t moving at all. Medical personnel from both sidelines rushed the field and began tending to Jordan. Shortly thereafter they called for a back board and spent what seemed like an eternity moving him onto the board securing his neck and body. As Lisa and I waited near the end zone I kept looking for the thumbs up from Jordan to signal that he was ok. He never did. Only when they began to transport Jordan to the ambulance did we learn he was awake – and angrier and about being removed from the game more so than anything else. A UCF athletic trainer said Jordan was unconscious on the field for nearly 4 minutes. After numerous tests and observation Jordan was later discharged from the hospital and on a plane headed back to Florida.

Lisa and I want to thank all the medical staff and the athletic department at ECU for all their help and support. This was a very stressful and emotional time for our family and they treated us like part of the Pirate family. We are forever grateful.

That’s it for this week in review. As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week in Review 9/14/09 - 9/19/09

Sorry for not posting a week in review the last couple of weeks but its college football season. ;-) Seriously though – our son Jordan plays linebacker for the University of Central Florida in Orlando so we’ve been on the road the last couple of weekends. This year is Jordan’s last and we are traveling to every game we can get to. Next week will be nice as we won’t have to travel far at all. UCF plays ECU in Greenville this Saturday.

My council week began with a meeting with Town Manager Ben Shivar. We discussed a number of topics which included the proposed Cary / Chatham County land use plan, shared sick leave for town employees, and the town’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan – specifically as it pertains to Evans Road. I have concerns with Evans Road being planned for 6 lanes median divided and hope that we may be able to review this very soon.

I about had a heart attack on Wednesday when I received a call from fellow council member Jennifer Robinson stating that someone was cutting down trees in Dorothy Park. (The town is planning a stream restoration project for the park and is working with area residents to iron out the details and respond to their concerns). Terrified that someone had made a grave mistake (Buffalo Tract), I jumped in the truck and flew over to the park to investigate - and possibly jump in front of a bulldozer. But upon arrival we found no tree removal crews. It turns out a couple of residents had received a draft plan from the town that did not clearly indicate which trees were to be removed/replaced. The residents in reading the plan interpreted what they believed to indicate that 60+ trees were being removed, so they marked each of those trees with pink tape to alert area residents of the town’s plans. And alert area residents they did! As folks drove by, one after the other stopped to find out what the heck was going on.

Councilor Robinson and myself did our best to answer questions and tried toease resident’s concerns and reassure them that nowhere near the amount of trees marked were being removed. We also encouraged everyone to come to the community meeting on the 29th to hear firsthand from the town about the stream restoration project and have an opportunity to provide feedback and voice any concerns they may have.

Afterwards council attended the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Leadership Dinner. The guest speaker was Governor Bev Purdue. Purdue spoke about the recession’s impact on North Carolina while at the same time praising Cary’s leadership and vision as being largely responsible for Cary weathering the economic crisis better than most. I liked her speech. ;-)

Thursday evening was our Planning and Development Committee meeting. Notable topics of discussion included transportation improvements to Cary Parkway and High House Road resulting from proposed additions to St. Michael's Church, and a proposed new zoning classification for the Russell Hills neighborhood in our downtown area.

After our Planning and Development Committee meeting we high tailed it to Chatham County to meet with the Chatham County Commissioners to discuss the proposed Cary/Chatham Land Use Plan. Board member comments were positive and both boards agreed in principle to the proposed plan. I was glad to see both boards put prior differences aside and work together towards crafting a plan that protects Jordan Lake and the environment and helps to preserve the rural character and charm of east Chatham County.

I also spent a good amount of time this week working for candidates running for office both in municipal and school board races. I’m making phone calls, sending emails, facebooking, and stuffing envelopes for quite a few folks these days. Please remember to vote on October 6th!

Well that’s about it for this week in review. I hope to post again next week but with the UCF/ECU game and ensuing postgame victory celebration it may be difficult. ;-) Sorry Pirate fans. ;-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Red Letter House Update

Many of you have asked about the status of Mr. David Bowden's home at 305 Maynard. The following letter was hand delivered to Mr. Bowden by Assistant Town Manager Mike Bajorek and Engineering Director Tim Bailey on Sept. 4, 2009.

September 4, 2009

Mr. David Bowden
305 SW Maynard Road
Cary, NC 27511

Dear Mr. Bowden:

Over the past month, you and I have met several times without success to try to resolve concerns about your home. In an effort to unblock what appears to be a logjam between you and the Town, we are hoping that you will join us in mediation. As you may know, mediation is a model often used for resolving disputes. The process uses a trained, neutral third-party to facilitate discussions between parties and assists them in working together to settle their differences. Mediators don’t render judgments; if an agreement is reached, what the parties decide is written down and the parties sign an agreement as if it were a contract.

If you agree with us that mediation could be a productive next step – and we hope you do -- the Town of Cary will contact a local mediation service to provide a mediator certified by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission to conduct the mediation. Both you and the Town will have input into which mediator is actually selected according to the standard practices of the mediation service, and the mediator will be checked to ensure there are no conflicts of interests before the proceeding. Should you agree to participate in good faith, the Town will pay for the mediation service.

I would appreciate hearing from you about your decision by Thursday, September 10, 2009 and can be reached at or by phone at 469-4003. In addition to mediation, the Town of Cary’s June 15, 2009 offer to install a grated trench drain at no cost to you to handle water going onto your carport is still available.

We remain very interested in resolving this issue for the good of our community and hope you will join us in this effort.


Mike Bajorek
Assistant Town Manager

cc: Ben Shivar, Town Manager
Town Council

Mike and Tim explained the mechanics of mediation to Mr. Bowden, but unfortunately Mr. Bowden appeared uninterested, and has not responded to or accepted the town's offer for mediation. He continues to refuse the town's offer to help.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who's Got Spirit!?

Some of you may remember this was an initiative I championed at the request of a citizen. It is great to see it finally come to fruition.

First recipient of the Hometown Spirit Award to be honored at a fall Town Council meeting

CARY , NC – The Town of Cary is looking for the most community-minded of all to receive the Town’s first Hometown Spirit Award, an annual award that recognizes a citizen who enhances the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive and quantifiable small town community values and traits. Cary citizens can submit nominations today through 5 p.m. on October 9, 2009 using an official nomination form available at Nominations should be submitted to Town Clerk Sue Rowland by e-mail at, by fax at (919) 460-4910 or by mail to Town Clerk, Town of Cary , P.O. Box 8005 , Cary , NC 27512-8005 .

“The Town Council decided long ago that no matter how large Cary’s population grew, the community would always be called a town, not a city, to reinforce our small town heritage and values, and this award is the perfect opportunity to recognize outstanding Cary residents for the role they play in helping keep Cary’s small town charm thriving,” said Town Clerk Sue Rowland.

Cary residents ages 21 and older are eligible for the award. Nominees should demonstrate leadership and integrity and be respected by peers. In addition, nominees should exemplify at least one of the following criteria: helps out neighbors and fellow Cary residents; demonstrates hospitality; promotes and preserves traditional American past-times; shows a concern for preservation and works to preserve traditions and the small-town atmosphere in the community; promotes entrepreneurship through supporting locally owned business; promotes a sense of community in their neighborhood and all of Cary; demonstrates patriotism through promotion and preservation of the country's symbols and dedication to the U.S. military, past and present; and serves the community through business.

During the November 12, 2009 Council meeting, the Mayor will recognize the nominees and announce the winner. The winner will receive a plaque, and the Town will recognize the winner on a perpetual plaque that will be placed in Town Hall. In addition, the award winner and family will be invited to participate in the community Tree lighting event on December 5, 2009 . Immediately following the tree lighting, there will be a reception to honor the award winner.

The Town Council approved the award program on July 23, 2009 . At a cost of $250 per award winner, funding for the program will come from the Town’s General Fund.

For more details on the Hometown Spirit Award, visit or call (919) 460-4941 .

Week in Review 8/24/09 - 8/28/09

This past weekend I attended my 20th High School Reunion in sunny (sort of) Fullerton California. It was great to see all my old friends and classmates again. And seeing the old neighborhood sure brought back a lot of memories. So much had changed, yet so much had stayed the same. I had a great time, but it’s great to be back home in Cary. It took 20 years for me to miss California enough to go back. Once there it took about two days for me to miss Cary. I love this town.

Council had a worksession on Tuesday evening to discuss and vote on our recommended boards and commission appointments. While this sounds simple enough, given the number of highly qualified citizens that applied to serve (82 for 42 vacancies) I must say it was quite a bit of work to get to this point in the process. I personally reviewed each and every application, and determining which candidates to support for which position was no easy task. We are blessed to live in a community with such educated, passionate and creative citizens – the caliber of talent we have here in this town is truly amazing. Unfortunately there simply wasn’t enough vacanies for everyone deserving – and for what its worth I know what that’s like. I applied to serve for three years before finally being appointed to the town’s planning and zoning board. Although politics may have had a little something to do with that. ;-)

While we continually strive to do better, I believe Cary has done a relatively good job engaging its citizens. And I am proud that as a member of this council we have further increased opportunities for citizen involvement through the creation of the Environmental Advisory Board, Issues Advisory Board, and Animal Issues Task Force. We have changed the manner in which mixed use development is approved in order to give citizens a greater voice in the process, and we also created Cary Matters to better inform you, our employer, of the goings on in Cary. The Mayor and I also started blogs to better communicate with citizens – we do work for you after all. But like I said before, we are continually looking to do better. If you have any ideas of how we can further increase citizen involvement in Cary please feel free to let us know.

Council also held a closed session to discuss an ongoing legal issue.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. At our meeting council voted to table the proposed Cameron Pond Revegetation Plan as we just received it the day before and had not had ample time to review it. Council also received the annual reports from our Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Advisory Board, Our Sister Cities Commission, and the Public Art Advisory Board.

The notable discussion item was the rezoning request and annexation petition for roughly 40 acres located at the intersection of O’Kelly Chapel and Pittard Sears Road. The applicant hopes to construct 166 age restricted homes. During the public hearing citizens expressed concerns regarding notification and further stressing of neighborhood amenities. Council members were torn on whether to continue the public hearing or move this forward to the November Planning and Zoning Board Meeting. While all council members expressed concerns regarding the notification process, in the end the majority of council voted to send this one on to P+Z and encouraged the residents to work with the applicant to address their concerns. November is a ways away – much can be accomplished between now and then.

Afterwards council held a closed session to discuss a number of legal issues – none of which I can say anything about. Sorry. ;-)

Thats it for this week in review. Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week in Review 8/10/09 - 8/14/09

This past week I met with a small business owner in our downtown area and members of our town staff to discuss their concerns relating to our town’s sign ordinance. They recently opened up a small scooter sales and service business and would like to place a couple of scooters out front near the road to better advertise their new business. Sounds reasonable – especially considering there are numerous used car dealers in the area who display their vehicles for sale near the road. After meeting with staff it appears a minor change to the business owner’s site plan from retail to vehicle sales may be all that is needed to correct this concern.

On Monday evening I attended the Wake County Young Republican’s monthly meeting in Raleigh. Our guest speaker was Lenny McAlister, author of “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative)” and contributor to numerous media outlets such as Fox News and CNN.

Tuesday evening council held a worksession to review and discuss the town manager’s update on boards and commission’s structure and action plans, council operating procedures, and council communications.

Wednesday I spent the better part of the day reviewing staff reports and our agenda for Thursday evening’s council meeting before heading to the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Dinner. The Chamber’s Leadership Dinner is an annual event which brings local, state, and federal officials together for an evening of networking and an opportunity to discuss issues facing our state and region. The highlight – or lowlight depending on your perspective – was when Congressman Brad Miller attempted to turn the event into a health care town hall (which was a bit odd considering the congressman has refused to hold a town hall on health care “out of fear for his safety” - reality is he had scheduled no town halls to start with). Anyways, halfway into his comments an elected official’s wife began to question Mr. Miller’s statements. Brad Miller immediately went on the defensive and began spewing typical pro-government health care statistics and talking points. (NOTE: when politicians resort to quoting statistics when making their argument it’s a good indication they have no real knowledge of the issue). The discussion quickly became heated as others, including her husband, joined in until Chamber officials intervened and asked folks to finish this discussion some other time.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. Notable discussion topics included whether or not to officially sanction a group to study allowing chickens in Cary town limits and report back to council (council denied the request), a decision to award $75,000 in financial incentives to Deutsche Bank to locate a technology development center in town, council’s decision to support a shared sick leave program for town of Cary employees, and a very lengthy closed session to discuss a number of legal issues facing the town.

While I am thrilled that Deutsche Bank is coming to Cary and creating 300 jobs, I voted against granting Deutsche Bank $75,000 in financial incentives as I believe Cary’s high quality of life, our highly educated workforce, and our proximity to RTP, the airport, and numerous educational institutions are already incentive enough. What really makes me sick however is that North Carolina – who is in a budget crisis and cut education funding statewide by 10% - is granting Deutsche Bank $9.4 million in incentives. In Wake County alone our school system is losing over $21 million in state funding and a number of teachers have lost their jobs, $600,000 has been cut from the Sheriff’s dept. budget, and the state is even withholding $500,000 in ABC store revenue from the county in an effort to balance their budget – yet they can somehow magically find $9.4 million for Deutsche Bank….amazing.

Council directed staff to develop a shared sick leave program for Town of Cary employees and bring back to council for decision. Should council approve of the program it would most likely take effect during next year’s budget process.

I spent a good deal of time this week responding to email and speaking with citizens regarding a number of issues such as the Red Letter House on Maynard Road, Flooding concerns in the downtown area, chickens, and the Dorothy Drive Park and Stream Restoration project.

And in all that free time I have ;-) I also worked on a number of candidate’s campaigns for this fall’s municipal and school board elections. I realize that some of you might not be pleased with my involvement in political campaigns given my position as an elected official. While I am an elected official I am a citizen first and foremost and have the same rights as anyone else. I believe it’s long past time our governments started working for us instead of us working for it and I will continue to do anything and everything I can to help those candidates who I believe will work hard for the citizens of Cary, Wake County, and of our state. I encourage you to do the same. We get what we elect.

Well that’s about it for this week in review. I doubt I will post next week as I am leaving for California on Friday for my 20th High School reunion. I am really looking forward to seeing all my old friends and the neighborhood I grew up in. I haven’t been back in 15 years. I am sure a lot has changed. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Red Letter House

I’ve received a lot of calls and emails as of late pertaining to the home on Maynard Road whose owner, Mr. David Bowden, determined that the most effective manner in which to voice his displeasure with the town was to spraypaint “Screwed by the Town of Cary” in bold bright red letters on the front of his house. Well, actually he didn’t do it – he paid a painter $200 to do it for him. Mr. Bowden claims that the widening of Maynard Road to 4 lanes has caused significant water damage to his home.

Let me start by saying I feel for Mr. Bowden, and all of the residents negatively impacted by the Maynard Road widening for that matter. I really do. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to have a four lane thoroughfare thrown in your front yard and having to live with the increase in noise, traffic, and loss of privacy that comes along with it. While I was not on the council when the project was approved, I don’t believe the project should have caught folks by surprise either as Maynard Road has been planned to become a four lane thoroughfare since the adoption of Cary’s Thoroughfare Plan back in 1967. And while the town’s thoroughfare plan has been updated over the years, Maynard has always been dentified as a four lane thoroughfare or greater. In 1999 voters overwhelmingly approved a bond referendum which listed widening Maynard Road as a potential project.

Since taking office I have met with a number of Maynard Road residents – including Mr. Bowden – and have worked to help address their issues and concerns. Some were relatively minor problems – others a bit more complicated. A couple of times it was simply a matter of putting the resident in contact with the appropriate staff member or department.

After being contacted by Mr. Bowden I gladly met with him at his home to hear his concerns and to see things for myself. While there were obvious signs of water damage to Mr. Bowden’s home (rotted siding, mold, etc…) a number of things just didn’t add up with Mr. Bowden’s claims that the widening of Maynard Road was responsible for his water problems. The rotted siding in the carport area for example had clearly been rotting for years. I asked Mr. Bowden if he had any photographs of his home taken before the road widening project began. He did, and low and behold one photograph clearly showed rotting siding in the carport area.

When the town performed a survey of Mr. Bowden’s home in 2008, it was determined that a clogged gutter downspout was most likely responsible for water entering his crawlspace. Mr. Bowden claimed this was not the case as he “had never had a problem with his gutters”. However, seeing first hand the trees – yes trees – growing from Mr. Bowden’s gutters I respectfully disagreed and asked when the last time he had them cleaned was. Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever getting an answer to that question. Anyways, it does appear however that sometime between my visit to his home and the media’s he has since had his gutters cleaned…or at least removed the trees. Maybe the ‘sign painter’ removed them, I don’t know.

There were other obvious signs of neglect such as mildew/mold growing all over the siding (you can clearly see it here), the back yard was littered with limbs and tree debris and the grass hadn’t been cut in ages. Siding all around the home was rotting (gotta love masonite) and in desperate need of paint. It was clear that regular home maintenance was not high up on Mr. Bowden’s ‘to do list’.

The town also states they have observed Mr. Bowden’s property during heavy rainfalls and have witnessed only normal water levels in the yard – no standing or deep water.

I promised Mr. Bowden I would do what I could to help. I met with our town manager and engineers to discuss the situation and possible solutions. Staff determined that constructing a trench drain would help divert water away from his home, and that the town was willing to cover the costs. NOTE: Town engineers do not believe this to be necessary as the engineering study shows the water situation to be better now than pre-road widening. However I was very glad to learn that the town, in an effort to satisfy Mr. Bowden's concerns, was willing to implement a fix, and I “assumed” (ya, I know) Mr. Bowden would be pleased as well. I never heard back from him…until now.

Mr. Bowden has refused to allow Town of Cary employees on his property to construct the drain, and instead is demanding that the town buy his house for $170,000 and pay him $80,000 for his “troubles”.

A few more FACTS to consider:

Mr. Bowden admits knowing that his home had water issues when he purchased it. The previous owner had installed a sump pump in the crawl space.

Mr. Bowden stated that shortly after purchasing his home he excavated the foundation to further waterproof.

Simply put – this house has had water issues from day one.

Looking back at my meeting with Mr. Bowden what I find most interesting now was a more casual disussion we had in which he spoke about his online ‘friend’ and his quest to buy a Dodge Viper. I remember thinking to myself, “Really? What does a 60+ year old retiree need a Dodge Viper for? I get the friend part. ;-)

But now I get it. It all makes sense. Mr. Bowden isn't looking for help. He's looking to leave - quick. What he wants is a new life and he is trying to strong arm the town into buying it for him. He’s unhappy living in his current home. He’s tired of dealing with ongoing water problems and feels he cannot sell his home for what it is, or was once worth. (NOTE: home was purchased in 1986 for $88,000 – Tax value currently $177,000) He hates living on a four lane thoroughfare. He even went so far as to tell the media he wants to use the money buy a motor home to travel the country. And yes, he was serious about the Dodge Viper because a beautiful new Plymouth Prowler ($35,000+ sports car) has recently appeared in his driveway. This man doesn’t want a new house, he wants a new life. He hasn’t invested in or maintained his home for years because he hasn't cared about it for years. He just wants out, and in all honesty I can’t say that I blame him. But it is not the town’s responsibility to send him on a permanent vacation.

As I said earlier I have spoken to and worked with many along Maynard Road and heard loud and clear their disdain of having to live through the construction, and in some cases having to live there now. Quite frankly I’ve never heard of any road widening/construction project that was ‘pleasant’. While they typically benefit the masses, they often punish the few….a lot. I do believe however that the town has tried very hard to address concerns and issues that have arisen, while at the same time working under state and federal regulations.

The town is, and has been very willing to help address Mr. Bowden’s water problems. Heck, some general repairs here and there, paint and a little landscaping it could be a real nice home again…if he wanted it. The 35 grand spent on the Prowler might even cover the costs. But I guess it all depends on what your priorities are.

While I do not approve of what Mr. Bowden has painted on the side of his home, I do support his right to free speech. There are however more appropriate ways in which to get your point across.

If nothing else good comes out of all this, I at least hope this serves as a lesson to other potential homebuyers. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Take the time to review transportation and land use plans. Speak with a planner or engineer in the city you are buying in. Ask questions – lots of them. What you see today may not be what is planned for tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week in Review 7/20/09 - 7/25/09

What a week – a council meeting that lasted until 12:45 am, a worksession, numerous meetings with town staff and residents, and political campaigns….not necessarily in that order.

Monday morning I met with representatives of Infinite Solar Power, our town Manager Ben Shivar and his assistant Lana Hygh. The purpose of me calling this meeting was to introduce Infinite Solar Power to the town in the hopes that we may be able to work together and possibly utilize solar power to help power some of Cary’s buildings and facilities – while saving Cary taxpayers thousands of dollars in the process. It is estimated that one solar installation at a town wastewater facility for example might amount to $50,000.00 in savings without any capital outlay. As with anything, the devil is in the details - I'll keep you posted as this moves along through the process.

Monday evening I attended the Wake GOP Executive Committee meeting to hear from all Republican candidates running for office in Wake County. After hearing from the candidates, the committee then went in to closed session to debate and determine party endorsements. Some were slam dunks – others took a great deal of time and debate to determine who would receive the party’s endorsement. While not every candidate seeking the party’s endorsement received it, everyone one of them is to be commended for their desire to serve, and all are winners in my book.

One candidate that stood out to me was WCPSS District 9 Candidate Debra Goldman. I also had the pleasure of meeting with her for lunch the next day. Hearing first hand her vision of education in Wake County and her passion for increased parental involvement and neighborhood schools was very encouraging. I am proud to support Debra Goldman for WCPSS Board District 9.

Council held a worksession Tuesday evening to receive an update from consultants and staff, and for council to provide feedback regarding Cary’s creation of a Historic Preservation Master Plan. The main goals of the Historic Preservation Master Plan are to preserve, protect and maintain Cary’s historic resources, viewsheds and landscapes; and to discourage demolition of significant structures and promote policies and actions that reinforce downtown’s significance as Cary’s historic core. I was very pleased with the work that has been completed thus far, and am optimistic that when all is said and done we will have a plan in place that protects Cary’s historic resources, while at the same time providing for reinvestment in Cary’s historic districts.

Wednesday morning I met with Cary citizens for a general discussion on a number of regional and local issues which included but was not limited to annexation, incentives, environmental protection and politics. It is our hope to meet on a regular basis and potentially serve in an advisory capacity to local and state government. I’m just hoping we find a better time to meet than 7 too darn early am. ;-) Afterwards I spent the better part of the day in preparation for this week’s council meeting.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. Notable discussion items included a stealth cell tower installation at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church, an economic development incentives contract, round 12 of land development ordinance amendments, a comprehensive plan amendment to a proposed development near Carpenter’s historic district, land development ordinance amendments pertaining to front yard vehicle parking, a potential new low density residential (LDR) zoning district in our downtown area, council’s decision to direct staff to perform a comprehensive review of the town’s sign ordinance, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Council held a quasi-judicial public hearing pertaining to the proposed installation of a stealth cell tower in Greenwood Forest’s bell tower. While council members – myself included – expressed concerns over the potential negative health effects associated with a cell tower (potential radiation exposure), there is no proof that a cell tower poses any health risks to the adjoining community and/or church membership. The proposed cell tower would emit less than 1% of the maximum radiation allowed by the FCC. In a quasi-judicial public hearing the council acts as judge and jury and MUST base our decision on fact – not fear. Given the facts presented to council we unanimously voted to approve the installation.

Council voted 6-1 to approve an economic development incentives contract with Loparex LLC. in the amount of $25,000.00. Yes, I was the lone no vote. I find it very hard to believe that a company such as Loparex bases their decision on which city to set up shop over 25 grand. I voted against the incentive as I believe our quality of life, low taxes, and high demographics are incentive enough, AND I am sick to death that every time we turn around another business wants a government handout at taxpayer’s expense. I aint playing this game.

Land development ordinances pertaining to Cary’s new mixed use development approval process were tabled until our next meeting to give staff time to make a few minor adjustments. The new process for mixed use development approvals has been a long time in the making – we want to make sure we get them right.

A proposed comprehensive plan amendment pertaining to a development proposal adjacent to Carpenter’s historic district was also tabled over concerns that the proposed changes to the buffer language in the plan’s note would potentially reduce the buffer’s effectiveness and provide less protection to the historic district. Considering the devastation that has occurred to Cameron Pond’s buffer the council has grave concerns about changing any buffer restrictions at this time. I can also promise you we will be looking to increase the effectiveness of our buffer restrictions in the very near future.

Council also directed staff to begin a comprehensive review of the town’s sign ordinance. While Cary has weathered the recession better than most communities, many businesses and residents are feeling its effect nonetheless. Businesses are having a harder time making ends meet and homes are taking longer to sell. It is our hope that we may find areas where we can be a bit more flexible in our ordinance while at the same time continuing to protect Cary’s visual landscape. Times change and it’s been ten years since our sign ordinance was last reviewed. This process will take time and I will do my best to keep everyone abreast of our progress. I was also interviewed by WRAL and NBC17 regarding this topic.

Town Manager Ben Shivar also announced this week his selection of Mike Bajorek as the Town of Cary's new Assistant Town Manager. Mike replaces Ben Shivar as assistant who was selected by council to serve as Town Manager; replacing retiring Manager Bill Coleman. Congratulations Mike and Good Luck!

That’s all for this week in review. As always, thanks for reading and thank you very much for allowing me the opportunity to serve you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Please Support Jack Smith and Jennifer Robinson for Cary Council

Instead of my usual week in review I will be taking this opportunity to speak about the upcoming Cary Town Council elections….since that’s what everyone is asking me about lately. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing….until I turned it off. ;-)

I proudly support Cary Town Council members Jack Smith and Jennifer Robinson for reelection to the Cary Town Council.

Why you ask? That’s easy.

Jack has served as the district C representative on the council for 20 years. During that time Cary NEVER raised taxes – not once. In fact, thanks to Jack and Jennifer’s leadership Cary actually lowered taxes in 2000. Cary’s tax rate of 33 cents per $100 of valuation is the LOWEST tax rate of any municipality in Wake County and one of the lowest in North Carolina. Cary continues to have a AAA bond rating. Cary has been nationally recognized for its fiscal health – and is in the top 2% - of all cities in the US. Cary’s cash reserves exceed even that of Charlotte’s and far exceed the minimum required by the State.

Jack led Cary’s efforts to create an Economic Development Commission, including a strategy to have a dedicated professional focus entirely on bringing businesses to Cary. During the current economic slowdown Cary has recruited 24 companies to move here or expand (including 5 headquarters), resulting in 1600 new professional jobs at salaries averaging greater than $75K.

Jennifer Robinson has served on the council for nearly ten years. During her time on council Jennifer has always been an advocate for careful planning, economic development, environmental protection and fiscal conservancy.

Understanding the importance of sustainable development, Jennifer Robinson was the driving force behind Cary’s lower density Southwest Area Plan which counterbalances higher density development near employment areas and protects our environment. Jennifer also led Cary’s first land banking effort to purchase land ahead of time for future parks, community centers, libraries, fire stations, and schools. Banking and preserving this land now for future use saves Cary taxpayers millions of dollars in escalated land costs. Jennifer has also been a strong advocate for Cary’s downtown and older neighborhoods inside the Maynard loop.

Cary has achieved the very best Fire, Police & Parks/Recreation Personnel. All are nationally accredited and have been recognized as ‘best of the best’ – no other municipality in the State has achieved this recognition. Cary continually is nationally recognized as one of the most livable cities in the U.S & annually is recognized as safest community in the Southeast. This didn’t happen by accident folks.

And last but surely not least, I have had the pleasure of serving with council members Jennifer Robinson and Jack Smith for two years now. I have known them both personally for seven years. I have witnessed firsthand their impressive work ethic, commitment to excellence, and passion of making Cary an even better place than it is today. While we may not always agree on every item that comes before council, I trust that both Jack and Jennifer are making the decision that they believe is best for Cary – NOT what is best for their next reelection bid. They have given me no reason to believe otherwise.

You will hear a lot of cries for the need for “change” this year. You will surely read letters to the paper claiming the sky is falling and that Cary is doomed unless we elect new district A and C representatives. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Look around you and judge for yourself – are things really that bad in Cary right now? There is a reason Cary is continually ranked one of the best small cities in the country to live work and play - leadership. Can we do better? Absolutely. I am confident that Jack and Jennifer will continue to work hard to make Cary an even better place than it is today.

I think most everyone reading this blog knows who I am and what I stand for. I have no problem speaking my mind or holding elected officials who aren’t doing their job accountable - regardless of party affiliation (that can be a full time job sometimes). Good, honest elected officials seem harder and harder to come by these days. So when I see one – or two – who I believe have earned another 4 years, I am going to do everything I can to help and support them.

Please join me in supporting Jack Smith and Jennifer Robinson for reelection to the Cary Town Council.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Give A Cluck

So it looks like the chicken issue is coming back to council for decision...again. I gotta give these folks credit - they don't give up. Heck, I admire their passion and persistence. And while I may not agree with what they are fighting for, I support their right to fight for it.

About a year ago a group of citizens petitioned the town requesting that we modify our ordinance to allow folks to keep chickens in Cary town limits. Council denied the request. These citizens, not taking no for an answer, then submitted an application to the recently created Citizens Issue Review Commission (CIRC) requesting a recommendation from CIRC that council sanction their group to form an issue Advisory Group (IAG). This would allow them to make a formal presentation and plead their case to council. CIRC approved their request. Council however still has yet to decide whether or not to sanction this group - this will happen at a future council meeting.

Assuming (and we all know what happens when you assume) that no one on council has changed their mind regarding chickens in Cary, there is a good chance that their request will be denied. Council has already discussed the issue and said, "no". While I have concerns that our CIRC has given these folks false hopes, I also believe they know what they are up against, and it is up to them to change our mind...or at least one of our minds - they only gotta count to 4 after all.

So I figured this was as good a time as any to review why I do not support their request.

Reason #1 - a picture is worth a thousand words.

This is not some picture snagged off the Internet. This was taken just outside of Garner NC city limits. It is referred to as the "chicken and duck house" by many. Garner does not allow chickens in city limits. Since this is not in Garner city limits (it is so close however that most folks think it is in Garner) their is nothing that Garner can legally do to address the many complaints they receive on an almost weekly basis regarding this property.

Would you be ok if your neighbor's property looked like this?

Now sure, the town could create standards and ordinances to prevent such an occurrence, but what would be required to do so? How much would it cost? How much staff time and resources would this require? How would zoning enforcement police this? Would we discover that we need to hire additional staff to enforce violations and/or respond to complaints? Would we need an additional animal control officer?

Reason #2 - Chicken Coops.

Now how many of you would like to see one of these in your neighbor's backyard? Unlike the first image, both of these images were snagged off the Internet and yes, they are examples of worst case scenarios. They came from - a popular website among those who keep chickens as pets - a site I have spent way too much time on in an effort to learn more about urban chickens. Along with these images were comments such as "Good Job!", or "Great idea!" The funniest comment however was "at least the chickens will be dry" :-) I digress.

Now this chicken coop is actually cute. No different in appearance than most tool sheds (besides the smell of course). So how would Cary ensure that those who built a chicken coop did so in a tasteful manner such as that above? Would it require ordinance amendments with design guidelines for chicken coops? (Cary coops would have to be beige of course) What if folks couldn't afford to build a coop like this but they do have an old dryer laying around? What about those citizens who construct a coop that does not conform to our design guidelines? Do we now end up with chicken police?

Reason #3 - increased predators.

In my research I have come to the conclusion that chickens do and will attract predators such as snakes, raccoons, foxes, skunks, weasels, and even dogs. Yes you can take steps to limit the chances of attracting predators by keeping chicken feed off the ground (attracts mice which attracts snakes) and ensuring your coop is constructed in a manner that discourages predators, but things can and will happen. According to rodriguezpoultry, Chickens eat chicken feed. Mice like chicken feed. Mice live close by the food source. Snakes eat mice. Snakes live close to the food source.

What if a chicken gets lose into a neighbors yard who happens to have a dog or two? Yes I know dogs don't like cats either, but the cat is much harder to catch than a chicken, and chickens taste like, well, chicken. Yum.

Reason #4 - Smells, noise, and disease.

In reviewing for information on disease I was a bit overwhelmed. There were over 450 pages and 12,000 different threads pertaining to emergencies, disease, injuries and cures. Yes dogs and cats get sick too, but most folks are familiar enough with "normal"dog and cat behavior and can "usually" tell when something is wrong. I tend to believe that most folks who decided to keep chickens in town limits would be doing so for the first time and would be unfamiliar with a chicken's "normal" behavior, possibly not realizing something is wrong until it is too late. Could a disease spread to another animal such as a dog or cat? What about humans? Many folks order their chickens through the mail (seriously). What about avian flu? (yes I am aware we haven't had a confirmed case in the US yet but....)

I also have concerns regarding odors and to an extent, noise. I have friends who keep chickens in the country - they smell. My wife also had chickens for a number of years. She did not like the smells (much less finding dead chickens due to predators) either. Yes you can keep the coop clean and limit most odors, but how many of Cary's busy urban families have time to care for their coops properly in between taking little Johnny to T-ball practice or little Suzy to dance? What about Cary's postage stamp sized lots? While folks may believe they have the right to keep chickens, their neighbors have rights also.

Reason #5 - HOAs

Most homeowners associations in town already prohibit their residents from keeping chickens. Many that did not, after hearing about the request from folks to keep chickens worked quickly to modify their covenants to prohibit it. "Most" folks in town would not be permitted to keep chickens since most of our neighborhoods have HOAs.

Reason #6 - Majority of citizens oppose the idea.

The majority of Cary citizens I have spoken to during the last year have made it clear. I cannot tell you how many folks have grabbed me in the grocery store, at the ball field or some other event, called or emailed opposing the idea of Cary allowing folks to keep chickens in town limits. The general comments of those who weren't totally opposed to the idea were along the lines of, "Well, I guess I am ok with it AS LONG AS MY NEIGHBOR DOESN'T HAVE CHICKENS." In other words, it's ok as long as I don't have to deal with them. In my opinion that comment speaks volumes about peoples thoughts regarding chickens in their neighborhood.

Reason #7 - Dinner.

I am all for folks having fresh eggs for breakfast. Heck, one of my favorite dinners is a breakfast dinner with pancakes, eggs, and bacon....lots of bacon! But what about those who want chicken for dinner? What about those folks who might not think twice about slaughtering a chicken in the backyard for dinner? What if little Suzy were to whitness that?

And last but not least - Reason #8 - Precident

Would allowing folks to keep chickens open the door for folks who might want to keep pigs, goats, or other farm animals? There is a place for this - it's called the country. While I live in Cary, I also own a house in rural Smithfield. Our neighbors have all kinds of farm animals such as horses, chickens, sheep and cows. But it's the country - it's expected. Everyones property is 5 acres or larger - much larger than the postage stamp lots we have in Cary.

I am sorry for such a long post. I am well aware that there are those in Cary who share a passion for having chickens and I believe they deserve a thorough explanation of why I oppose allowing it. They won't, and don't, like my position and that's fine - I respect that. I have probably made more people mad regarding this particular issue than any other issue that has come before council. I hope that those reading this appreciate the time and effort that I have taken to further educate myself on this topic, and explain my position as I appreciate and respect their position. I hope that if nothing else, we can agree to disagree.