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Cary Businesses Want To Keep Downtown Locations

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CARY, N.C. — The town of Cary wants to attract more affluent shops, restaurants and stores. Under a proposal, city officials want to make room for new tenants by clearing out old ones, including auto shops. A vote on the plan was delayed, but some mechanics have not stopped speaking out.

"I'm a third-generation owner. We've been here since 1949," garage owner Mike Spencer said.

Last September, Spencer saw Cary planners' new vision for downtown. According to the plan, Spencer's shop, along with 34 other garages and outside storage businesses, would be zoned out.

"We've been here for a very long time supporting Cary and we just don't see the need for us to have to leave because of this new vision. We want to be a part of it," Spencer said.

Cary planner Jeff Ulma said City Council members could choose to give the nonconforming businesses seven years to move out or they could let them leave on their own as the downtown economy changes. The plan includes expanded rail service, new two- to three-story buildings filled with shops, restaurants, offices and apartments.

"Those kind of uses obviously don't take advantage of that kind of location," Ulma said.

However, for many businesses, moving is not an option.

"If we have to move and we'd have to move quite some distance to get out of the downtown area, we would lose our customer base and pretty much just lose our business because of that," Spencer said.

Members of the Cary City Council are scheduled to vote on the rezoning plan on May 22.


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