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Cary Mayor-Elect Has Golden Rule for Developers

Posted December 8, 2007
Updated December 9, 2007

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— Cary's Mayor-elect Harold Weinbrecht has joined the ranks of Triangle-area leaders who say they want to slow growth.

Weinbrecht said he has one simple rule for developers: “Before you build, make sure adequate road capacity is available in the area you want to build. Make sure there’s adequate water and sewer available.”

Once he takes office on Thursday, Weinbrecht said he will push to raise impact fees, which are charged to developers to cover the cost of infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer service, and schools.

But developments often do not cover those expenses, Weinbrecht said, pointing to large mixed-use development slated to go at the northeast corner of High House and Davis Drive. Hundreds of nearby homeowners objected and said they felt ignored by town planners who approved the project.

Chip Carew, who moved with his wife to Cary 12 years ago, said he and other voters elected Weinbrecht to slow growth.

“We’ve all been a part of that growth, but the kind of growth we valued is the kind of growth where you put in a subdivision and leave the trees standing,” he said.

Cary issued an average of 200 single family home permits per month this year – up from 120 two years ago. Permits for multi-family units also saw a sharp spike.

To manage that growth, Weinbrecht embraced the same strategy as Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, who said he will seek to double impact fees as he begins his fourth term.

Different impact fees are charged in three districts of Cary – downtown, the Crossroads area and everywhere else. Weinbrecht said he wants to break that down even further by creating what he calls “impact districts,” letting existing development dictate the impact fee.

“If you had a certain type of development that is overburdening an area, your impact fees could be higher for that type of development,” Weinbrecht said.

While using impact fees to discourage certain types of development in some areas, Weinbrecht wants them to also encourage growth in downtown.

"You need to anticipate growth, and we need to manage it appropriately," he said.

Weinbrecht said he also plans to write a weekly blog about his mayoral activities. He and the Cary town Council will be sworn in Thursday.

62 Comments

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 10, 2007

    This do gooders who are trying to stop growth like the Mayor-Elect of Cary and Mayor Meeker of Raleigh are actually making the problem worse.

    When you make it difficult locally, you only accomplish the effort of pushing development further out, creating more sprawl and traffic problems.

    The last time that Cary stopped development, the Developers started building in Apex, Fuquay Varina, and Holly Springs. This has created sprawl south of Cary in addition to traffic problems through Cary on NC-55, Davis Drive, and US-1.

    Let the developers build closer to the jobs without excessive fees instead of forcing the builders to build further out creating sprawl and more traffic problems.

  • Sumo Vita Dec 10, 2007

    I figure that "us that buy the homes" is unusually well informed about the plight of developers.

  • chfdcpt Dec 10, 2007

    Developer owns a large lot of land. He has to pay the city/county for all the inspection fees for construction.

    Developer then has to follow the plan approved by the city/county planning. Developer has to build water/sewer system for development according to city guidelines. Developer then has to pay a fee to the city for each house in the system. Developer has to then turn over water/sewer/road system over to the city after final inspectioni. Developer then has to pay for each house the city hooks to the water system.

    Additionally, there are the coutless inspections that are done at every step of the construction, which the developer has to pay for.

    Cost to city/county for this development? None. It is all passed on to us that buy the homes, etc. And in some cases, developers will turn some of the land over for future park/school use.

    And they still want an impact fee to "cover the additional" expenses?

    Go figure!!!

  • wrx44 Dec 10, 2007

    Lizard...again your point is....let's keep things like they are...don't touch taxing new new development.

    If the government is going to waste it anyway like you say...I would rather them waste impact fees than more of my property taxes.

    That is the only fair way to do it....But I don't think fairness is part of your reasoning.

  • flashlight Dec 10, 2007

    I've brought this one up before...

    Does anyone out there know of a town, not necessarily in NC, that has seen a drop in new home sales as a result of higher impact fees?

  • richard2 Dec 10, 2007

    I see the common theme here on impact fees(taxes). As long as you tax everyone else but me its ok.

  • lizard Dec 10, 2007

    New home buyers prices will go up. But 1) not enough to build roads and 2)that cost will be passed on later to home buyers that are just moving around within this area, not coming in from somewhere else like everybody thinks.

    Listen people,,,,you're giving more money to the gov't which does not practice good fiscal control. It won't work.

  • Sumo Vita Dec 10, 2007

    "Who do you think will really pay for those impact fees. The home prices will simply increase and the consumer will pay."

    Since the pro-growth lobby has been repeating this mantra ad nauseum, I feel compelled to add: So?

    So the "consumer" (read: new home buyer) is made to pay for the COST of infrastructure required to support said consumer's OWN HOME, as opposed to dumping that cost on established residents.

    What exactly is unseemly about this?

  • lizard Dec 10, 2007

    Trees will fall all over for new roads (to those that are interested.) Many will still be ungrateful, because they are now, after all the projects completed in the last two years - Davis Dr., High House Rd., Hwy 55, Louis Stephens Rd, Tryon Rd. Kildaire Farm Rd, US # 1, Hwy 54, Walnut St, etc.

    No i don't want anyone touching my "profit margin." You want some "know nothing" touching yours? You want people to be able to vote away your livelyhood because of their ignorance in thinking that if you allow politicians to increase fees it won't affect you? You can't "earmark" money the gov't gets. Bp's earlier comment proved that.

    "They" got ya hooked, some of you. Believe a lie and vote away your pocketbooks. "But it won't effect me!" Yeah, Right. We got some of the highest impact fees in country right now.

  • Sumo Vita Dec 10, 2007

    Let's not mix issues here.

    Impact fees are the cost of supporting new development. Whether the builder or the new home buyer pays this cost is irrelevant to the point that it should NOT be subsidized by existing residents. Considering that new development only serves to drives down existing home prices, it's the height of chutzpah to expect homeowners to further underwrite the costs of new development through reduced impact fees.

    Pulling the wool over people's eyes by calling these fees "taxes" might have helped get Ernie get his job, but it's a patently dishonest claim. If anything, it's the lowering of impact fees that presented a higher tax burden for citizens - to make up the difference themselves.

    Those concerned that revenue from impact fees won't go into expanding infrastructure, should address that point separately. Should the newly elected council choose to be as irresponsible as the outgoing one, it can fully expect to meet no better a fate in elections to come.

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