Local News

Cary's Water Woes Lead To Moratorium On New Building Permits

Posted May 26, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Carywas coming up dry in its search for water, but like a good neighbor Raleigh has agreed to help. The good news for current residents is bad news for potential ones, though. The town has established a temporary moratorium on new building permits.

Anyone planning to ask for a new building permit -- residential or commercial -- in the next 30 to 60 days can expect to be denied. Cary's Town Council voted Thursday night to put a temporary stop on all new permits.

Developers and builders were surprised by the development. "We know that there is additional water coming from Raleigh and so we don't totally understand the necessity to take this step this quick and it just caught us by surprise," said Jim Wahlbrink, of the Homebuilder's Association.

Cary Mayor Koka Booth explains the decision; Booth says the town needs time to make sure a new water report is as accurate as possible, so the well does not run dry in the future.

"You have to have what I call some fudge factor," Booth says. "You have to have some safety factor in these figures. And that's what we're trying to do; [be] cautious, prudent, good government, doing it right."

The moratorium will cost builders; they will pay at least a month of extra interest on lots they cannot yet develop. The Town Council feels this is absolutely necessary until it comes up with a revised water plan, which may include water restrictions.

Cary does have plans for a new water plant. But it will not be finished until 2004. Until then, rations could be tight. The town is asking people to conserve water by not overwatering lawns. Residents can also get a rain gauge to calculate exactly when they need to water. Photographer: Joe Anthony