Local News

Cary resident petitions for better planning as town grows

Posted April 23, 2014

— West Cary's Highcroft neighborhood is in high demand. Just ask Scott Hoyt, who moved in seven years ago.

“We couldn’t be happier with the way things are,” he said. “We’re a little concerned with where things are going.”

Hoyt is talking about the hundreds of houses under construction near Highcroft Drive Elementary School, which is currently operating at 114 percent of intended capacity. It’s a similar situation at Mills Park Elementary School, which is at 108 percent, and Mills Park Middle School, which is at 112 percent.

“We need to take a break and assess the situation, so we can be smarter about development,” Hoyt said.

School overcrowding is one reason why Hoyt created an online petition on change.org.

In 2000, Cary had about 95,000 residents. That number burgeoned to more than 138,000 in 2011.

Assistant Town Manager Russ Overton said Cary's growth decisions are largely based on traffic counts, land-use plans and public safety, not schools.

“We share data with the county and/or the school system,” he said. “And that’s the limit of our role.”

Wake County Board of Education member Bill Fletcher said school construction is not keeping pace with residential construction, and that creates a quality-of-life issue for residents.

He said more revenue is needed to build new schools or expand existing ones. Wake County voters approved an $810 million school bond referendum to deal with growth.

“It probably does mean higher taxes,” Fletcher said.

Hoyt said all the public agencies involved in land development should work together.

“We kind of need everyone to get together and say, ‘How does what we do here affect these different areas?’” he said. “The schools, public safety, traffic. That’s what we’re kind of unhappy about.”

Jayne Kirkpatrick, spokeswoman for the City of Raleigh, said city leaders look at school capacity when making development and growth decisions.


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  • btneast Apr 24, 2014

    [bYou obviously ignored the first line that says he's lived there for seven years. ][/b]
    That would still be considered a newcomer.....7 years isn't very long

  • Marley Higgins Apr 24, 2014
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    for everyone saying that there's too much development going on, there's a very simple solution - buy the land yourself and put a permanent conservation easement on it. makes it undevelopable, and pretty easy to do (the easement, probably not the purchase). until then, don't expect to dictate to others what they do or don't do with their land. how'd you like some stranger walking onto your property and telling you how they want your quarter of an acre to be used?

  • lewiskr45 Apr 24, 2014

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    How is a town supposed to continue to grow without allowing new houses to be built? It's not up to Cary to build schools, that is the county's job. And for him to blame school overcrowding solely on the town is crazy. Again, that's the county's job. Towns do plan for wider roads as well, with right of way dedications, even though wider roads don't necessarily solve the problem. And a 7 year old house is still new, when you consider the length of mortgages and the intended lifespan of a house. No one forced him to move to a part of Cary that was growing just as fast 7 years ago as it is today.

  • Pepe Silvia Apr 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You obviously ignored the first line that says he's lived there for seven years. Yes, he moved into a growing area, and there is nothing wrong with that, but when a person does that they hope the town will grow along with it, not just keep allowing houses to be squeezed into every square inch of land while not planning accordingly with additional schools, wider roads, etc.

  • Terry Watts Apr 24, 2014
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    The building of schools by NC is entirely reactionary, ie they only get built when demand requires... The current state of relations between the County Commissioners and the Board of Education also throw a HUGE wrench into the works...

  • Peter Mescher Apr 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Errr... Cary, did it occur to you that you are perhaps issuing zones and permits faster than the county can possibly build new schools, a process that requires a bit more time?

  • Justin Case Apr 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Too many people forget that every neighborhood around here used to be farm or forest land. Cary is exactly what it's supposed to be: a Containment Area for Relocated Yankees. This guys issue is with school planning, not town planning.

  • Tara Olhoft Apr 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Interesting to note that while all of these schools are over 100% capacity, there are still students being brought in from Brier Creek area. That means that students who live within walking distance of Mills Park Elementary are assigned to a more distant school. Please start building larger school buildings with larger capacity to avoid this situation in the future.

  • lewiskr45 Apr 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Highcroft is new. In fact, the person mentioned in this article, his house was built in 2006. And his house is really new compared to some just to the south of his, built in the late 1990's and early 2000's. How do you think they felt when he moved in? If people want to live in this part of town, developers are going to keep building houses. You think the town doesn't want to increase it's tax base?

  • stevemichaels Apr 24, 2014

    Better Planning? that ship sailed about 30 years ago.... Once the town/county sold their sole to the builders which based on my experience was mid 80's.