The following questions were submitted by citizens to the Virtual Town Hall held on April 30, 2020. Due to the large number of questions we received, not all were able to make it on to the broadcast. However, you can find answers to all of the questions submitted to the event below, with some edits for clarity or consolidation.
This list is comprised of questions submitted exclusively for this event. For common questions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visit our COVID-19 FAQs page.
Currently, Town staff is focused on COVID-19 emergency response. Some of those efforts do include researching best practices for electronic public meetings, starting with our Council business meetings. Many factors must be considered and met to comply with the open meetings law. Consideration to hold other electronic meetings may happen in the future once we know we can successfully meet those requirements. We will continue to update all board members as the process unfolds.
All of Cary’s street width standards recognize the many users of our streets that include passenger vehicles, bikes, pedestrians, emergency vehicles, various delivery services, school buses, and on-street parking. Generally, in neighborhoods with single family homes, sufficient parking is required and provided in garages and driveways, with occasional informal parking provided along streets for visitors and homes that may have multi-car ownership.
If parking in these neighborhoods obstructs or becomes problematic with emergency vehicle maneuvering, then parking can be regulated to one side only or prohibited entirely by Cary. Prior to 2020, most townhome street standards in Cary allowed developers to choose between private streets and public streets. Nearly 85% of townhome streets built to date in Cary were developed using private streets. The widths are similar to public streets; however, the biggest difference is that HOA manages and regulates parking on-street, but Cary requires that parking be managed and located to facilitate emergency maneuvering. Townhome communities must provide required parking for each townhome unit, but also additional spaces to account for visitor parking. We see many challenges with some of our older townhome communities that were not built with enough spaces due to demand. Moving forward this spring, Cary will begin to require all townhome streets to be public, and we will allow greater options for parking design and spacing within a community.
Cary’s Land Development Ordinance requires two off-street spaces per unit for detached dwellings. For both townhouses and multi-family units, the LDO requires two spaces per unit, plus an additional 0.5 spaces per bedroom over two bedrooms, and a flat 0.25 spaces per unit for visitor parking. In other words, one space per bedroom is required for the first two bedrooms in townhouse and multi-family developments, and an additional half space is required for each additional bedroom. Visitor parking is required for all units regardless of the number of bedrooms.
Developers may request a reduction to these minimum parking requirements, which may be reviewed and approved by the Planning Director or the Zoning Board of Adjustment depending on the level of reduction requested (Note: Planning Director may approve up to 15% reduction; ZBOA up to 30%). The responsibility is on the developer to show why the reduction is justified, and in general, is only likely to be approved for multi-family developments.
On April 28, 2020, the Fenton project received approval for the first phase of the project, which includes almost one million square feet of office, retail, and residential development. This approval represents the culmination of nine months of work on the part of the developer and staff.
Final grading and retaining wall installation are currently underway on the site, with infrastructure installation now set to commence in early May now that the Phase I development plan has been approved. The developer, who has a signed 20-year lease with Wegmans, continues to work full-speed towards preparing Wegmans’ building pad for delivery in the fall of 2020. The developer still anticipates vertical development beginning in late 2020, with the first stores opening in late 2021. Drone footage of the clearing and grading activity showing varying stages of progress on selected dates is available from staff upon request.
The NC State Building Code is a guide to help set minimum standards and to keep construction consistent. We have learned that people’s desires, taste, options, and project budgets vary greatly resulting in very different projects. We do however offer citizens help with projects for the home. We have a Residential Multi-Trade division that manages residential alterations and additions. They respond to inquiries and questions about potential projects for home owners almost daily. There are times when a site visit is needed to ensure we were providing the proper guidance. We also have residential plan review staff that are available to help home owners with projects by answering questions and providing guidance.
Plan review is very important and saves a lot of time; this is also the feedback we get from our building community. It’s far more beneficial to identify and work through challenges prior to the project starting construction. These could include the determination of setback requirements as well as any other potential obstacles. We have a number of guides for multiple projects, including some that were mentioned, on our website (see link below). As I stated earlier our staff is available to help and guide anyone who has a project they need assistance on. We hope this helps and if you have a specific projects you need help with or want to discuss this further please contact Brian Stark – Assistant Department Director of inspections at 919-460-4996.
Interior and exterior projects guides are located on the right side of this page.
In 2015 we worked with Duke Energy update all street lights on Cary Streets to LED to help improve both efficiency and lighting quality. On residential streets we try to balance street lighting needed for safety while also being thoughtful not to have excessive lighting that can spill over onto private property. Cary’s specifications on residential streets include placement of street lighting fixtures at 400 to 600 foot intervals unless:
a. The roadway length is less than 400 feet but more than 200 feet in which case a street light will be provided at the end of the street;
b. Where the roadway length is less than 200 feet and a street light is placed at the intersection.
On bigger streets, we use design recommendations for lighting levels and uniformity by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) consistent with NCDOT requirements. Sometimes trees grow and block street lights and we work with our Public Works Department to try and address those issues and sometimes there are street lighting outages that Duke works to address through their website. If there is a specific area of concern please contact Kyle Hubert to discuss further. For street markings I wanted to first mention that many streets in Cary are maintained by NCDOT. This can be found in the “streets by ownership” section of maps.townofcary.org. Many times pavement markings are addressed as part of our annual resurfacing program and on NCDOT streets we forward citizen inquiries to NCDOT maintenance. For specific pavement marking concerns on Cary streets please contact Amir Nezarati.
Cary staff are adapting to our "new normal" in many ways, several of which we believe are worth continuing beyond the current public health emergency. We will continue to evaluate how our tools can increase citizen engagement.
Cary citizens are encouraged to engage with Council members and Town staff year-round through a variety of platforms. Additionally, recordings of Cary Town Council meetings are available on Cary's YouTube channel and meeting minutes are posted on our website.
We appreciate the concern you have shared regarding speeding vehicles on Tanglewood Drive. We are confident there are speeders passing through your area from time to time. Unfortunately, the conditions you are seeing on Tanglewood Drive are very similar to conditions we see on all Cary roadways. With that in mind, the Cary Police Department strives to prioritize enforcement efforts based on data collection and enforcement results.
One method we use is data collection with Speed Sentry devices. These electronic devices use an onboard radar system to collect traffic data which is then used to validate traffic complaints, so we can deploy officers to areas having the greatest enforcement needs.
Not to be fully reliant on electronic data, we take advantage of all available assets including marked and unmarked patrol vehicles, as well as motorcycle officers to address reports of speeding vehicles. This included deploying an officer to specifically address your speeding concern on Tanglewood Drive on the afternoon of April 27, 2020. The officer reported back that the average speed of the twenty-four vehicles he observed was 25.02 mph, and only one vehicle was recorded at 38 mph during his visit. These results are consistent with prior enforcement efforts by the police department on your street.
Please know that despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents us, we will continue to proactively address complaint streets in the Town as we are made aware of them.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission describes coyotes as one of the most hardy and most adaptable species on the continent. Their habitats range from field and forest to populated suburban neighborhoods. Coyotes are described as opportunistic carnivores. They will feed on almost any food source including rodents and rabbits, birds and snakes. Coyotes have been known to get into unattended garbage or pet food to survive in more residential areas. Adult coyotes do not run in packs, but they do mate for life and will to return to places where food sources are most available.
The period of time between February and May is coyote pup-rearing season. If you are seeing a pattern of coyote appearances near your home, there may be a litter of pups near-by. Coyote pups should be avoided. Though adult coyotes are not typically a danger to people or leashed pets, they may take a stand to protect their young. As a general rule, Town of Cary Animal Services Officers do not handle reports of non-injured wildlife, including coyotes. In most circumstances, our Animal Services response to a coyote complaint will be limited to providing the caller with tips to discourage human vs. coyote interactions. Helpful tips include:
- Removal of food sources, vegetation, or cover materials that may attract wild animals and provide them with shelter or concealment
- Establishment of protective structures, fences, or barriers
- Referral to an appropriate Wildlife Damage Control Agent
Wildlife Damage Control Agents are licensed, private individuals or businesses who can remove wild animals such as coyotes from your property. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission offers an extensive list of agents operating within a reasonable distance of Cary.
The Commission provides additional information here about coyotes that may be helpful. If a wild animal becomes aggressive and poses an immediate threat to human safety, a police officer may be dispatched to assess the situation and to determine a proper course of action.
Trash & Recycling
Parks, Greenways, and Recreational Programming
Whether a Council member would give up all or part of his or her annual stipend for their public service is an individual and personal decision each could make at any time. That said, doing so would have no appreciable benefit to or impact on the Town’s financial position, and the Town Manager has not recommended their doing so as part of his financial plan for Cary.
Council members are standing in solidarity with Cary citizens each and every day as they help make and support difficult decisions to keep the Town Government functioning at a high level. They’re also using their public platforms to encourage people to frequent our small businesses and to donate to groups providing financial and other resources to those who’ve become un- or underemployed. The Council has also been instrumental in getting Personal Protective Equipment donated for citizens and healthcare workers.
A few additional points to keep in mind:
- Council members Town “salary” ranges from $11,492 to $13, 753 based on their position on the Council
- All on Council members have full time jobs that have been impacted by the virus or are on fixed incomes from having retired from full time careers.
- This year’s Cary budget totals $336.5 million.
For more on Cary spending, read the Town of Cary's Budget in Brief.
The COVID-19 virus is shed from human beings through a person’s stool, which is carried through the sewage collection system and to a wastewater treatment plant. The Biobot system works by collecting a daily composite sample of the incoming sewage at the treatment plant. This sample is then shipped to the Biobot laboratory where it is analyzed for fragments of the COVID-19 virus. Like human DNA, COVID-19 has RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) that allows the lab to identify it in the wastewater. The number of COVID-19 fragment copies are counted in the sample as an indicator of the virus concentration. A model is run using the data to estimate the number of COVID-19 related cases or people in the sewer service area. Monitoring the virus counts in our sewer could help along with other data to evaluate trends over time or to detect a possible resurgence of the virus in Cary.
The more information and data we have for COVID-19 within our community, the better we can make data-driven decisions. COVID-19 wastewater data is another tool in our toolbox in helping to evaluate the health of our community.
For more information on tracking COVID-19 in Cary, visit our Tracking COVID-19 page. We are working on adding a map that will identify the North Cary and South Cary sewer service areas.