Harold’s Blog: September 14, 2020

Cary, NC — This week was a holiday week so activities were limited.

Monday was Labor Day. In past years many people traveled to the coast for the holiday. This year the long weekend seemed like any other weekend even though I am sure the coast was busy.

Tuesday – Prepping for Town Council

Tuesday I attempted to contact each council member to hear concerns or questions about Thursday’s council meeting agenda. Most of the questions and concerns centered around a proposal for multi-family at the corner of Cary Parkway and Evans Road.

Later in the day I met virtually with staff and Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz to go over the agenda. The meeting only lasted a few minutes. My last meeting Tuesday was with the town manager. We talked about several items in a meeting that lasted about thirty minutes.

Thursday – Council Tables Rezoning on Cary Parkway

Thursday the council held their first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included 9 consent items, 1 public hearing, and 2 discussion items.

The only item that was debated by the council was a multi-family rezoning proposal at the corner of Cary Parkway and Evans Road. Opponents of the rezoning cited several reasons including the preference for the existing zoning of office instead of multi-family. In addition, opponents alluded to the lack of a compelling reason for the rezoning saying that it would be more compelling with additional environmental conditions.

After discussion, it was clear that the vote would have failed. The applicant then asked that the proposal be tabled indefinitely so that they could consider additional changes. The motion to table passed 5 to 2. The meeting concluded in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Friday – Remembering 9-11

Friday was the 19th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. I joined many around the world in a moment of silence and prayers for the victims and their families. It is important that we remember this event and do everything we can to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

Town Manager’s Report

The town manager, Sean Stegall’s report for this week included:

Manager’s Message to Council

It’s 911 – a time to remember. But remember what, exactly? How about December 7? April 19? December 14? Well, for me, they all (and many more) represent days of unthinkable horror in communities across America AND the local government heroes from all sectors who came to help. Because that’s what we do. We build and rebuild and comfort and care for those who need us. Every part, every sector of local government. We mourn and we serve – collectively.

The power in today – and the other days I listed – is in grounding and re-grounding us in our purpose. In our values. In the human endeavor.

Local government is rooted first in public safety, which isn’t to say that the only ones of us who matter wear a gun or carry a hose. We all matter because, as we’ve seen even in this pandemic, there’s always plenty to be done.

And I am so proud to be one among you.

Sean

Cary Parkway at Bebington Drive

Overgrown trees were causing sight distance issues for drivers traveling north on Cary Parkway towards the intersection with Bebington Drive. Staff investigated the concern and after verifying that maintenance was indeed needed, we reached out to the affected neighbors and offered to partner with them to resolve the issue. Fortunately, each impacted household was receptive to our outreach and agreed to the landscaping plan we suggested.

This work took place on Thursday, September 10. This is a great example of the One Cary approach we have adopted, and I want to thank staff working in Community Engagement, Transportation, Code Compliance, and Public Works for coming together to create a positive outcome for all involved. Such a great example of the power of our Neighborhood Services model!

Operational Framework & Update

This week’s key message and FAQs from Deputy Town Manager Russ Overton include recognizing September as Fit Cary Month and encouraging staff to take advantage of this year’s virtual events. Staff was also made aware that the Town will continue to deduct social security tax from employee paychecks as normal. ​

The weekly operational report brings a close to the week’s activities outside of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Departmental Updates

Included below is a summary-level overview of the operational activities continuing to take place during this health emergency.

  • It’s been just over a year that we’ve been working more closely with the Downtown Farmer’s Market. Profits are up as is visitation. We’ve helped with technology, marketing, and safety. The relationship is in a good place. Special thanks to PRCR’s Ryan O’Quinn, who’s been taking on the added role of Special Liaison to the Market from the Town Manager’s Office.
  • Cary’s 2020 Census self-response rate has reached 78.6%. Staff continues to encourage participation through social media, outreach to community leaders and churches, signs and flyers, and advertising in The Cary Citizen. We have completed installation of over 1,700 “Census 2020” signs all over Cary. Many thanks to staff members who helped make this possible, including six temporary staff members who each helped by working three days last week on this project.
  • Planning and Development Services is working with the Taylor YMCA on the needs for running a scholastic support center for 60 children (K-8) in a 10,269 square foot space at the Cary Towne Center.
  • Work is proceeding on the stabilization of Town-owned structures at Barnabus Jones Farmstead, near Jack Smith Park, CF Ferrell Store and Warehouse, and Good Hope Farm.
  • The Environmental Advisory Board and Town Manager’s Office are discussing approaches to community tree planting programs that facilitate tree education and plantings on public and private properties.

Cary NCDOT Projects –SPOT and LAPP Updates

NCDOT is revising SPOT project schedules throughout the state as part of their ongoing financial strategy. Within our local CAMPO region, 77 NCDOT projects will be impacted. Typically, the project delay is 2 to 3 years. Several notable Cary projects and their revised schedules are listed below:

  • Aviation Parkway from I-40 to NC 54 ROW 2029 Construction 2031
  • Crossroads Junction ROW/Construction 2026
  • Holly Spring Road Intersections ROW 2029 Construction after 2032
  • NE Maynard Road Railroad Grade Separation ROW 2025 Construction 2028
  • Ten Ten Road ROW 2027 Construction 2030
  • Trinity Road Railroad Grade Separation ROW 2025Construction 2028
  • US 64 ROW 2026 Construction 2029

When NCDOT fell below their cash floor, they put all LAPP projects not under construction (aka Reedy Creek Road widening), on hold. Some limited funding is starting to move for LAPP projects. NCDOT will learn about August redistribution soon which redistributes unused federal funds from other states to states who can spend the money.

A portion of these federal funds is anticipated to go to LAPP projects. We are updating CAMPO and NCDOT about our projects and our willingness to move forward when funds become available.

Wastewater Collection System Optimization

One of the major challenges in operating a larger sewer system consisting of over 990 miles of pipelines and 41 pumping facilities is managing odor potential, especially during warmer months.

Utilities uses a variety of technologies ranging from carbon scrubbers, biofiltration systems, and even chemical treatment to minimize impacts. In our continuous pursuit to improve all aspects of wastewater system performance and to always be a good neighbor, staff conducted a study to reexamine our current strategy and experiment with new optimization plans.

A new chemical feed and dosage was tested and found to be even more effective than our current system. The big take away is that we substantially improved performance by up to 50% in some cases, while utilizing a more efficient chemical dosing rate.

Triangle Water Partners –Updating Regional Interconnection Model

Cary is an active member of the Triangle Water Supply Partnership, a coalition of 13 jurisdictions within the Triangle area who collaborate and share information about regional water supply planning efforts. The Triangle Water Partners recently embarked on an important update of their regional water supply interconnection model for the entire region extending from Orange County through Wake and Durham Counties to Johnston and Harnett Counties.

The Partners will share modeling data and operating experience to provide a regional overview of water transfer capacities throughout the region. One of the most impressive features of this study is joining all the various data platforms from our regional partners to provide a cohesive interconnected model of water system interconnections for the region.

Seasonal Variation in Jordan Lake

Utilities is closely monitoring seasonal variations in Jordan Lake, which is experiencing its annual fall turnover. The fall turnover occurs when the lake, which stratifies or forms layers during the summer, begins to cool in the fall, with consistent dissolved oxygen levels throughout the overall depth of the lake.

As the lake turns over, it changes source water conditions by mixing static water at lower depths with higher quality water near the surface. Our Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility staff has made needed adjustments to the water treatment process to ensure consistent high-quality water is conveyed to our citizens.

We will continue to monitor conditions closely. Water quality remains excellent and we are not experiencing any taste or odor issues.

Additional Information of Interest

I’ve found the following articles to be particularly interesting this week and wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure:

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails this week included the following:

  • A safety complaint about the crosswalk at Cary Parkway and Silverridge Court
  • A request to have all voting by mail (not a town function)
  • A request to have a carbon free future
  • A complaint about census signs (the town will collect these after the election)
  • A complaint about the LDO Amendment related to cottage businesses
  • Kudos for arresting a suspect in Cary’s only murder this year
  • Next week’s activities include staff meetings and a meeting of the CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) Executive Board

Get in Touch

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 13th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.


From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images by Town of Cary and Ashley Kairis.

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