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Official: Cary Must Take 'Responsibility' to Save Land for Schools

Posted August 19, 2007
Updated August 20, 2007

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— As development increases the need for new schools, Cary is exploring ways to prevent potential school sites from being bulldozed by development.

Cary Councilman Nels Roseland has proposed a land banking program to preserve land for schools amid development that consumes as much as 1,000 acres a year in the town.

"To approve thousands of new houses and developments in Cary without taking responsibility, or some responsibility, to provide school resources would be irresponsible on our part," Roseland said.

The town would buy suitable school sites and hold them until the Wake County Board of Education is ready to buy them at a similar price. The town and school board would work together to chose the sites.

Town leaders said the program could be funded by $2.5 million from school impact fees levied on some developers in fast-growing west Cary. Another $2.5 million could come from the general fund.

"We feel like this is an appropriate use of our funds to address school capacity issues that are facing the community," Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister said.

Cary must act to keep new development from further straining schools in the town, Roseland said.

As much as eight years can pass from when the town council approves a new neighborhood to when a school is built to serve the area, according to research by town planners.

The land banking program could cut that time in half, town leaders said.

Cary currently asks developers to set aside land for schools, McAlister said. However, state law allows developers to ask for money or the land back if school are not built within 18 months.

Ron Margiotta, a school board member, indicated initial receptivity to the program concept.

"It sounds great, if they in fact do so," Margiotta.

Roseland will urge the Cary Town Council to adopt the proposed land banking program at a meeting on Thursday.

"We have to think outside of the box to address the school crisis," Roseland said.

38 Comments

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  • WakeHammer Aug 22, 2007

    Great quote from Nels Roseland:
    "To approve thousands of new houses and developments in Cary without taking responsibility, or some responsibility, to provide school resources would be irresponsible on our part," Roseland said

    Since that is exactly what Roseland and McBulldozer have done for the past four years, I believe they have labeled themselves as 'irresponsible.' Most of us already knew that.

    People in Cary are not stupid, and this announcement will be received as a desperate political ploy by Roseland and Ernie McBulldozer to keep their jobs when the elections happen six weeks from now.

    Ernie, you have allowed Cary to be strip-mined by developers for the past four years. Time to step aside and let Harold Weinbrecht take the reins and re-establish order!

  • Uncle Ruckus Aug 20, 2007

    Must be election season, because until a few months ago, I didn't think Mayor Ernie had a clue there were even schools in Cary, and this is the first time in 8 years where I have seen Nels even mention schools. I thought that Cary was "land banking" for future parks and things, not the WCPSS.

    Beside if Nels and Mayor Ernie really cared about the quality of life in Cary and Schools, they would bring back the Adequate Public Facilities Ordnance (APFO) they killed a few years ago.

  • Vietnam Vet Aug 20, 2007

    Why would the Town of Cary want to spend its own funds to "bank" land for Wake County Schools. What about just identifying likely properties as future school sites and simply not allow development on those sites and save their money. Why spend more of their sadly depleted "general fund" on such nonsense. Unless of course they still want to break away from the Wake County Schools and set up their own school system? And why is this being thought of now and not several years ago? An election year perhaps?

  • Navillus Aug 20, 2007

    Sigil Odegra
    "Heck, I'm a Cary native and I'm all for unrestricted growth in Cary."
    I am glad to know that another Cary native is against restricted growth

  • wrx44 Aug 20, 2007

    It's laughable that Roseland and Mayor McAllister now want to do something about schools after they have ignored this issue for 4 years!. Now that their re-election is coming up, they actually want to appear like they care about this issue and quality of life.

    They have created the issue by approving basically whatever the developers want in Cary. Heck, McAllister had a fundraiser at a developers house! The developers have been making money hand over fist under this Mayor, Roseland and existing town council as they have rubber stamped whatever the developers want.

    Absolutely those who are profiting big-time in Cary should share in the infrastructure costs like schools, roads, etc....Right now it is falling solely on the existing homeowners via property taxes and city fees. Developers should pay their way or not get approved,simple as that. But under McAllister and certain members of the existing council, don't hold your breath. Just vote them out come election time.

  • NC is my home Aug 20, 2007

    It might be a good idea for the developers to furnish the land and build the schools (to NC specifications)! That way, those who are making the money on all these people coming in can take the responsibility to build them as well. Also, for any area, maybe developers should be required to build the roads, connect to water & sewer, etc. I'm tired of paying Wake Co taxes for everybody to come here! Let those making the money do something!

  • Beachnut Aug 20, 2007

    Alas, like adequate public facilities (remember those?), this measure is doomed once the folks who bought the elections of your local officials discover that this might take money out of their pockets. In the meantime, Nels and his buds can use it as fodder for building some empty campaign promises. Bring back Glenn Lang!

  • Michael Kenyon Aug 20, 2007

    "why does wake need to build fancy schools"

    It's so the little tykes will have plenty of self-esteem.

  • Michael Kenyon Aug 20, 2007

    "As a Cary native, I am sick to death of so many people who are "anti-development"yet they are not natives of the area."

    Heck, I'm a Cary native and I'm all for unrestricted growth in Cary.

  • All child molesters should die Aug 20, 2007

    The town would buy suitable school sites and hold them until the Wake County Board of Education is ready to buy them at a similar price. MEANING: The TOC will take (buy, dirt cheap), individuals land. Beware! And, there is nothing you can do, to stop that. It's called progress. If they want "your" land, they "take" it. (Supreme Court passed this law, years ago).

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