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Cary Reconsiders Ordinance Dealing With Schools, Growth

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CARY, N.C. — The town of Cary may abandon an ordinance requiring developers to work with Wake County Schools.

The town's planning director says the ordinance was created to make sure the school system kept up with Cary's growth. However, it may be too expensive for developers to keep up with.

The ordinance, adopted in 1999, included a hefty fee for home builders and, in turn, home buyers. The fee -- which is sometimes as high as $2,000 per new home -- pays for schools, ensuring new classrooms as new students came to the area.

"Because we have so many other requirements and ordinances and things that help us manage growth really well in Cary, we didn't see that it added much value to our tool kit," planning director Jeff Ulma said. "We've taken a look at it and watched it operate, and in this case, not really be very effective."

Cary's town council is in favor of a discussion for dropping the fee. A public hearing is scheduled on May 27.

"You don't live in a static world," Mayor Ernie McAlllister said. "You deal with change and dynamics all the time and this is something that's changed over the past five years. So we need to re-evaluate it and see if it still makes sense."

The problem now is not just where to put students, it is where to put schools. The school system is having trouble finding enough land to build the projected 13 news schools on the planning board.

"Our biggest issue is price, availability of land and the number of news schools we need to construct," Ulma said.

The plan now is for Cary to work closely with the school system, to keep development on pace with classroom space.


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