What does that mean? “Responsible growth” has been overused I am open to synonyms, but I believe it captures how our town needs to grow and has grown the past 4 years as I have sat on council. I have improved areas I saw needed corrected in our UDO (development code) such as driveway length, buffers around developments, required non-residential percentage in mixed use developments, etc. As I mentioned in my initial post, development is a minimum six-month process where the responsible part is implemented through meetings with me and staff is heavily involved making sure the plans meet our UDO before it is ever voted on in a meeting. This process is not perfect but there is a lot of time spent by me personally to make sure the projects are the best for Apex. It is unfortunate that some of my colleagues choose to not meet with the developer to suggest changes in order to gain their support yet decide to vote against projects again and again.
The more the town continues to
require of new development the higher the prices of the houses will keep going.
I have seen spreadsheet numbers from multiple developers that development cost
is close to 100k per lot (yes even the tiny lots!) in Apex before even building
a house! Requiring solar and other “add-on’s” to new construction adds to the
end cost to the user and increases price even more. As I have suggested why
don’t we require conduit installation and let the end user decide if a solar
investment is best for them instead of the government requiring them to have
solar on their house. I’m sure you know Apex is also and Electricity which
means we own and run our own electric department. When your power goes out or
there are other problems, have you seen how fast your power is restored or the
problem is fixed compared to Duke Energy? How does solar power affect our town
utility department? I believe this impact is currently being looked at and I’m
happy to report the results when I have info. I’m all for having new
developments pay the cost to develop and improve infrastructure but we need to
keep our “ask” in mind as we talk about affordable housing.
Recent RCA changes require 30% in a
new development. With buffer requirements on the edges they will have to find
the remainder of the 30% somewhere in their project. If they have a stream or
wetland on their property this might be easier than on an open piece of land. I
would like to hear your thoughts on how you think this should look in
I agree diversity of product is
important and is appealing to me as well. Diversity in housing IMO means
housing types including townhouses, single family, duplexes and apartments. I
was speaking with a realtor today and she told me her firm is seeing houses in
Apex stay on the market for an average of 22 days and getting multiple offers
over asking price. She also told me home values have gone up 20+% in the past 3
years!!! What is the old saying…if the product is bad then it won’t sell?
I don’t like clear cutting as much
as you don’t like it and we must continue to manage this with new developments.
I remember when many of the neighborhoods were built and clear cut/mass graded
in Apex that many of the people reading this post live in. Some of these neighborhoods
are older than others and now have more mature trees that were very small trees
when planted in buffers and throughout the neighborhood at the time.
Keeping taxes low is a must as we continue to grow. One of the things that has made Apex and even Wake county so attractive the past 20+ years is our low tax rate. Being mindful of what things cost and how necessary they are is the challenge we face. Did you know for the town of Apex to host an early voting location in November cost Apex taxpayers $50,000!! Looking at the history of early voter turnout in a municipal election and the very low numbers this was not a good decision in my opinion when early voting locations are in the next town over. Thank you again and I hope you have a great day.
Do you have kids in high school or middle school? How about
elementary school kids? Have you noticed an Apex Police officer at your kids
Apex School? Did you know WCPSS only pays a fraction of the cost for a SRO
(School Resource Officer) and it is mainly funded by the town. Hard to believe
but more on that later.
Last budget year which ended in June and our current budget
year started July 1, 2018 I advocated for the town to develop and pay for a SRO
at all our elementary schools as we didn’t have one at any elementary
school. It passed 2-0 in the personnel committee that Nicole Dozier and I sit
on and the council approved the position request afterward. This is an
important presence at our schools not only for safety but for community
outreach and building relationships with our kids. We started the program for
our elementary schools at the beginning of the school year with one officer and
I am excited to see how this program develops and impacts our kids into next
year and beyond. The plan was to have officer Patel evaluate the program and
make recommendations to the police chief on how to fully implement the program
at all our elementary schools to be most effective. Until yesterday at our
annual town budget workshop Ms. Killingsworth and Ms. Dozier want to put this
program on hold for our elementary schools. They want more community discussion
about the presence of a police officer at our elementary school. Below Officer
Patel was the mystery reader in my son’s elementary school class one day last
week! If you see one of them at your kids’ school make sure and say hello.
Did you know WCPSS only provides partial payment to provide
this safety and valuable community resource in their schools. Crazy right!? the
town is paying for the safety and presence of a police officer at WCPSS
facilities! Personally I am absolutely ok with this expense if WCPSS won’t pay
for it as I think they should but here are the numbers for Apex. For the 10
individuals in the School Resource Unit the town pays over $800,000 for salary
and benefits. WCPSS only pays the town around $100,000 to provide this
protection and service to our students. Please email all council your support
for a SRO presence at every elementary school. As always if you would like to
meet over coffee to discuss this or anything about Apex I’m happy to meet with
Friends, Olive Ridge passed the re-zoning process with a 3-2 vote. Wesley, Bill and Brett were in favor and Audra and Nicole were against. This will be an asset to our community and this part of town. Through my meetings and conversations with the builder I was able to reduce the number of units by 10%, approximately 18 homes, and also remove the townhouses from the middle of the project to make this a single family house only neighborhood. By meeting with the developer over coffee and having ongoing conversations (not every council member meets with developers which I believe is a dis-service to the citizens we represent) with them through our very detailed development process (4-6 months) I was able to get these concessions in the best interest of us all in Apex. The landowners were sad to leave a community which they had spent over 70 years in some instances but the time had come for them to move on in their life. As always I am available for coffee if you would like to meet.
Fellow Apex Citizens. There has been much talk lately of the
Ford dealership going in on the corner of Salem St. and 64 on both the SW and
SE corners. I would like to put the facts out there as I have seen misinformation
Now the SE corner currently under construction and in front
of us for annexation. A car dealership on this corner is currently an allowed
use with the zoning so this parcel did not need council approval to put a car
dealership there. From the best we can tell our records indicate this property has
been zoned for industrial use since 1963. Just like the storage unit closer to
town, once the old business left the new business could be built without
council approval. Is this Annexation is “bringing” a development into the city
limits of Apex, connecting to city water and sewer and collecting taxes on the
property. The annexation is usually a standard process once a property is
rezoned, until this time. The council decided to delay this vote on annexation
until our next meeting. We have two choices. We can annex this property and
collect the taxes from this property or we can NOT annex it, NOT collect the
taxes and deal with the dealership on this corner. Here is the link to their
site plan. Note the significant buffer 40 ft. Type A (most opaque) and the two
business uses between it and Salem St. http://www.apexnc.org/DocumentCenter/View/24499/CrossRoadsTruckCenter?bidId
Although I don’t like the car dealership on the SE corner that is up for
annexation I think we should annex this property so the town can collect the
taxes. Assuming the two individuals who are still on the council feel the same
way they did 3 years ago when they rezoned the SW corner I expect us to annex
this property into the town of Apex. I
hope the two other members agree.
Fellow citizens, as you know Apex controls very little of the roads we all travel around town. We are at the mercy of the NCDOT. We have to wait on them to make improvements to entire roads. We require developments to improve entrances to their developments and if stoplights are warranted we also have them fund and complete the process with DOT. The challenge is we end up with roads partially improved. Good news DOT is asking for input with their future plan. Please add a comment to the Apex area of the map from the link below and let our voice be heard.
Friends, I hope this post finds you doing well. There is a
re-zoning request before the council on Tuesday and there has been a lot of
discussion about denying this. I want to provide some facts about this
First, our land use map. This is the guide we give to land owners and developers in Apex what our expectations are if they decide to sell/develop their property. The first version of this was called the 2030 land use map. This was completed around 2012, admittedly before I paid too much attention to what was going on around Apex (I just started my business and my family so life was busy 😊 ) and how development worked. The town paid a consultant $60,000 to develop this plan with citizen input and multiple public workshops. I was elected in 2015 and one of the first things the mayor, Mr. Jensen and myself did was start the process to update our plan and include areas that were slightly overlooked (West and SW Apex specifically-New Hill) in the previous version. Plus we had so much growth in those years we wanted to stay current with our plan so it was time for an update. We started the approx. 2-year public process of the current version of our land use map in 2016, and out came the 2045 land use map. The town spent $176,000 on this version. We feel this is a more comprehensive guide for development in Apex and it includes more area for non-residential growth and mixed-use growth. It also provided the pedestrian and bike plan as well. The Olive Ridge re-zoning that is coming before us Tuesday complies with the 2045 land use map and meets or exceeds all our minimum standards for development. I wanted to provide some facts on this development. See below.
2045 Land Use Map: low density, 3 units per acer
RCA: 27% of the total site (15+ acres) in RCA
SW corner of the project is the existing McKinnish property – part of the
development – not a separate parcel purchased to meet RCA
RCA areas including perimeter buffers, stream buffers, play lawns, and interior
spaces are provided throughout project
Clearing: less than 20 acres within any phase of
“Central Core” gathering space is being provided
Alley loaded homes are provided in the “Central
Core” (not required by UDO)
Multiple home sizes/types are provided (not
required by UDO)
Site is set up for an amenity center (not
required by the UDO)
40’ buffer along NHOC Road (30’ is required)
undisturbed (existing vegetation stays) type B
55’ R/W dedication along NHOC Road-for future
NCDOT expansion when needed
Parks & Recreation fee (estimated on 155
lots x $3,395.67 = $526,328.85)-goes into our P&R fund to help with all
parks related projects around Apex
Project will provide the following at or above Apex
6’ paved shoulder (bike lane) along New Hill
Olive Chapel Road-meets our new bike plan
Turn lanes along NHOC Road at both entrances-DOT
Exit from development widened to improve vehicle
Street stubs to adjacent properties-standard
Sanitary sewer stubs to upstream
10’ Side path along NHOC Road-meets our new bike
Sidewalk on both sides of streets within
Pedestrian connectivity through development and
adjacent properties-single connection required but multiple provided
Stormwater controls – water quality and
quantity-standard but possibly more, determined at next phase (site plan)
Play lawns provided throughout the development-meets
As always, I am happy to get together with anyone for coffee
to discuss any re-zoning. Our time is getting short to meet on this specific
application however to date the only person who has reached out for a meeting
about this development is the development team, which I sat with and walked
through these items with them for clarification and to make sure this project
is the best it can be for our town.
In the last campaign, I ran on a platform that was focused on two key points – responsible growth and giving the people a voice. I was honored to have received your support and to have been given the awesome responsibility of serving our great town of Apex.
The topic of “responsible growth” continues to be a hot topic. Everyone has different ideas of what this means. In my opinion, this means voting with the best interests of our town in mind. In some cases, I will vote for the development proposals “as is.” Other times, I might request amendments to proposals, which I’ve done when I’ve believed that certain specifics, like buffers, were insufficient. I will also vote against proposals which, I believe, aren’t in our town’s best interests.
We won’t always agree on the definition of responsible growth. However, I believe that even when we disagree, we should tackle the issues through on-going, respectful dialogue. Since being elected, I’ve made it a point to meet with all people who have reached out to me, regardless of whether we have differing views or whether they may vote for or against me. I’ve taken this approach because I believe it’s important for everyone to have a voice and to have a seat at the table. Some have asked about my motivations for serving this town. My answer is fairly simple. I’ve lived here my whole life and I want to give back to the place I’m proud to call home. I have always put Apex first and will continue to do so.
Once again, I thank you for your support and for trusting me to serve this great town.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s 2016 is off to a great start.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more active with my blog posts. I thought this would be a good time to hit the ground running and discuss a topic that has been the focus of many discussions here in Apex – growth.
Since I started on the job, I have made it a priority to schedule meetings on a regular basis with town officials, property owners, and to continue to meet with the voters. I came to the conclusion that some people were led to believe that the candidates in this last election were either for growth or against it.
I understand that land will be developed and that more construction is inevitable. However, I am also “Apex first,” meaning that as a representative of the people, I want to do everything I can to ensure that we do this responsibly – that we meet with the right people and do our best to make sure that our roads and schools keep up with the population growth. We also need to have jobs here! I do not think it is prudent to have a plan that relies on other towns and cities to provide jobs. I will do my best in 2016 and going-forward to work for you to make sure we are responsible in our planning. My platform during the campaign was responsible growth and that’s the position that I continue to take.
Thank you again for your support. I am honored to serve you and the great town of Apex. As always, please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.