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.