Cary Mayor-Elect Has Golden Rule for Developers
Posted December 8, 2007 7:18 p.m. EST
Updated December 9, 2007 7:27 a.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — 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.