February 2015 Updates
- Consumers and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina could save an estimated $377 million annually in lower energy costs thanks to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to an analysis by Virginia-based consulting firm ICF International. Virginia and North Carolina electricity consumers benefit from (the Atlantic Coast Pipeline) because the lower cost of natural gas to fuel power generation will, in turn, result in lower electricity bills for consumers.
- Local governments all across NC are actively lobbying and speaking out against state legislation
that would limit their power to regulate home designs and exert planning authority on their outskirts.
The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition is lobbying against the bills, House Bill 36
(and a companion in the Senate, Senate Bill 25) and House Bill 51.
- Over the next 40 years, the planned Chatham Park development could generate $154 billion in spending statewide, including $80 billion in Chatham County alone. That’s according to a study by N.C. State University economics professor Michael Walden, whose report was released Tuesday by the Chatham Economic Development Corp.
- The City of Durham and Durham County governments in North Carolina have chosen OpenDataSoft,
an award-winning Paris-based internet platform, to power their growing Open Data initiative. The deal marks OpenDataSoft’s first customer in the United States. “We chose OpenDataSoft because it was best suited to help us achieve specific distinctive project objectives,” said Greg Marrow, CIO of Durham County. “Our vision is to build a highly sustainable open data program that empowers our citizens, employees, private industry while being open to other local, state and federal governments.”
- A bond, if approved, could pay for some of the $330 million in needed repairs and upgrades that
Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County schools officials have identified. It also could address other needs, such as affordable housing and parks,
- Wake County leaders signaled that additional revenue from a property-tax increase will likely be needed soon to help keep up with population growth that is filling schools and stretching county services.
- Town leaders blocked a proposed residential project despite a developer’s repeated attempts to quell their concerns that it might overburden local infrastructure. A rezoning request that would have brought 70 townhomes to 13 acres on Stephens Road in south Cary was effectively denied after a motion to approve the project failed with a 3-3 vote.
- Town leaders seem open to loosening some of Cary’s building design rules, but they recently agreed that others need to be strengthened. For example, current rules require masonry materials to make up at least 75 percent of commercial building facades and at least 35 percent of apartment and townhouse facades. However, developers who follow the letter of the law sometimes have transitioned away from masonry material at an awkward place, such as at the middle of a window, rather than above it or below it. Council members said they also want to limit the use of dark glass windows on commercial buildings. Town rules require windows to account for 50 percent of the front facade on ground-level retail buildings, and developers currently are allowed to use opaque glass.
- Durham residents have four opportunities to share their thoughts on the 2015-16 budget and the city’s priorities: three remaining Coffee with Council meetings and a public hearing. Coffees with Council are held, one in each Partners Against Crime district, but all are open to the public at large.
- Budget Public Hearing, Monday, March 2, 7 p.m., City Hall council chamber (during regular City Council meeting)
- Coffee With Council, Thursday, March 12, 5:30-7 p.m., City Hall Committee Room, Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m.-noon, Campus Hill Recreation Center, 2000 S. Alston Ave., Saturday, March 21, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St.
- Town Council members indicated at their annual retreat last month that they want to examine the
capital improvement list and start taking action on the highest-priority ideas. The town’s current capital improvements plan is 129 pages long and contains 32 potential projects.
- New pipeline will curb wastewater overflow problem in Crabtree basin. At 54 inches in diameter, the 21,000-foot line will run along Crabtree Creek from just outside the Beltline near Glenwood Avenue to just east of Capital Boulevard a bit south of the Beltline. Construction of the $30 million to $35 million pipeline is slated to kick off this spring and last until 2018, bringing with it rolling road and greenway closures. The project has a dedicated website (crabtreepipeline.com), phone number, email and Twitter hashtag. All residents within 1,500 feet of the project are expected to receive letters in the coming weeks with information about it.
- Water and Sewer Rate Hikes? - The Raleigh City Council now is considering the first of those hikes, which also will affect Garner and Rolesville. Scheduled for July, the initial increase would add about 7 percent to a typical Raleigh residential bill, or about $3 on the average $49 monthly charge.
- Town Commissioners recently talked town project priorities and cited Wendell Park. Town leaders will have a further discussion and residents may soon be asked to vote on proposal. Other priorities include: installing fiber optic cable throughout the downtown and creating a transportation improvement plan.
- Visit www.zebulongreenways.com, where visitors can take surveys and stay up to date on the greenway master plan throughout the process.