Local Politics

Local Growth Issues to Play Out at Polls

Posted November 5, 2007 6:25 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2007 7:05 p.m. EST

— Rapid growth in area towns could play a role at the polls Tuesday as pro-growth and slow-growth candidates face off.

Wake Forest, for example, has doubled in size in the last decade and now faces a debate about how fast the town should grow.

"The incumbents and the challengers are divided along those lines pretty much," said Marty Coward, editor of The Wake Weekly newspaper.

Some candidates for commissioner in Wake Forest are for continued steady growth, while others maintain development is outpacing the infrastructure to handle it.

In the previous election, two commissioners for steady growth were replaced by slow-growth candidates, Coward said.

Last month, Cary voters ousted pro-growth Mayor Ernie McAlister in favor of Harold Weinbrecht, a former member of the Cary Town Council who favored more controls on growth.

Political commentator Barlow Herget said growth is the hot topic in this year's municipal elections. Voters could essentially stage a referendum on the population increase the Triangle has seen in recent years, he said.

"I think you are seeing it all throughout the Triangle. You are seeing it in small towns like Wake Forest and Apex (and) Morrisville," Herget said, adding that Knightdale and Garner are other area towns confronting growth at the polls.

Some people said they're concerned such important decisions could be left to a few people since non-presidential election years historically have low turnout.