TCC Coffee Chat Summary - Town of Cary

•      TCC - Cary Coffee Chat  Wednesday, April 11, 2018    8:24 AM

Opening Summary - Tom Anhut, 2018 TCC Chairman

•      Jacob Rogers - Richard Brown, Kimley-Horn & Associates – Sponsor

•      4/22 - TCC Luncheon on What Makes Commercial And Office Successful

•      5/4 - Sporting Clays Tournament

•      5/2 - Town of Clayton Coffee Chat

Elected Official Summary:

 Lori Bush:

•      Struggles with Housing Affordability - issue is a focus for Lori moving forward

•      She cites that the Town needs to look at the diversity of housing stock to allow more users to have access to the housing, and offer opportunities for variety of housing stock and variety of affordability.

Jennifer Robinson:

•      Western Cary - High Growth - concerns over new units and density. Looking for a sense of place, and fostering community with new developments (tie to greenway, areas of congregation, “high quality development”)

•      Would be amenable to a “cool” or neat project get special treatment to reduce the complexity in the process.

•      She challenges the idea that there could be an affordable product model that ultimately works and keeps units affordable long-term indicating that the first user would experience the affordable component and then sell at market rate.

•      She indicates that transit may be the answer to get people from the outlier communities to the work nodes, such as Cary. She suggests incorporating transit so new development is plug-n-play ready for the future of transit opportunities.

Ed Yerha:

•      Cary is very much aware of the importance of Economic Development, and the Property Rights of folks within the community, and with redevelopment infill the Town is aware of the issues coming their way

Don Franz:

•      North Cary Rep - He indicates Downtown is making great progress

•      In the Downtown particularly, the town is looking at more private investment

•      He would like to believe that there could be a mix project that would allow lower cost of entry (mixed income project) yet still maintains high quality end and that the Town could allow more density (or at least he would support that). He indicates that he is always willing to give up density to get quality mixed-use/mixed-income projects

Jack Smith:

•      SE Cary Rep

•      Acknowledged that his area has potential for growth up against Apex & Holly Springs

•      Big challenge in Cary right now is having to deal with redevelopment and infill development

•      Having a lot of new traffic from the Holly Springs/Fuqua growth

•      His general Cary concern, but somewhat more pertinent to his area, is that there are a lot of infill, and these parcels/developments appear forced due to topo/enviro challenges which result in a less than ideal project.

Ken George:

•      District D - Least amount of new development in his district since it’s not in the Maynard Loop - basically built out district

•      He noticed that in his district Affordable Housing can stay Affordable - if existing neighborhoods are kept up then the houses sell at affordable rates, but redeveloped houses flip for large sums. This is a concern.

•      Regarding Development Review in Cary - He is curious about parallel paths to expedite review and entitlements?

○   Are there benefits to concurrent process (site/building/CD’s/plats) reviews?

○   Scot Berry suggests that the current process is there to protect the end user and not run into issues.

Staff Summary:  

Town Manager Sean Stegall:

•      Recap of Community Plan -

○   Goal — making sure the systems and the people are aligned.

○   He recognized Cary is a maturing and growing community.

○   He acknowledged that Cary issues are good problems to have.

•      He relayed that Cary is in a period of re-training staff for Imagine Cary it’s tough, as such he believes that it is imperative that to solve issues being experienced with Development Services (or other Cary issues) that particular problems, or particularly individuals who are troublesome need to identify/cited so they can be coached. Sean is looking for Development Community to provide feedback, accurate feedback.

•      13% land left - likely infill and redevelopment will be the future in Cary.

Asst TM Russ Overton:

•      DS Survey - thankful on the recap

•      One Year out on the Imagine Cary Community Plan

○   Why now? It’s a transformative community plan

○   Now focused less on Greenfield, and now infill/redevelopment

○   Within last 5 years there was 17% developable land, shrank to 13% today - need a new model to address redevelopment

•      Interesting dichotomy between citizens perception and developers perception of how easy/hard it is to get through the process in Cary.

Question and Answers:  

•      Tom Anhut - Discussions on the Town of Cary DSD Survey - 0.5 changes out of 5.0 scales. The TCC shows that the Cary Dev community has been doing much better. Experience with EO’s has gone up 0.7, which might suggest great stability on Council.

•      Tom also suggested that 5 submittals to get approvals in Cary is not so great - it’s taking longer and longer to get projects through the system. Question is - is there a cause for the delay? If more front-end diligence were to occur or if a plan were to be submitted correctly would it help?


•      The question came up — should the staff accept partial//incomplete submittals at the risk of delaying all submittals? Several staff members (Scot Berry mostly) indicate that this is a known issue and that they are looking to have more scrutiny in the intake/submittal process

•      Comment from Scott Underwood, Woodfield Investments — Clarity in Inspections and Development Entitlements is huge for the developer for predictability and financial

•      Scot Berry acknowledged that the Typical town process includes Full Submittals which should go from 4-weeks to 2 weeks, and then for a final 1-week review.

•      Russ Overton suggests there should be a better job setting expectations — seems there aren’t enough front-end communications with Cary and Client. Often times the Town can commit to certain timelines and schedules with early communications and expectations from both parties.

•      Group Discussion — Small Projects: would be better to have a more predictable and efficient process, esp for smaller projects.

•      Development Liaison Group - evolved to deal with smaller projects.

•      Building Permit - Online 

○   Going well so far

○   Commercial - 90% are electronic

○   Residential - most are emailing