Residents imagine Cary in 2040

07/28/2014 1:13 PM

07/28/2014 1:15 PM

Cheap stickers have never meant so much to the town of Cary.

By placing a variety of colorful dots and sticky notes on poster boards and maps, more than 100 Cary residents who attended public workshops last week helped advise the town on how it should guide development for years to come.

The workshops were part of Imagine Cary, a massive planning effort that will produce plans that town leaders hope will govern growth through 2040.

At workshops on Thursday and Saturday, the group asked residents to answer questions related to a handful of subjects, including where Cary residents will work, live, shop and dine, and how southwest Cary will grow.

Joel Moulin, who has lived in southwest Cary for 30 years, attended the workshop at the Bond Park Community Center on Thursday to support a push for more dense development in his neck of the woods.

Town officials say residents in the area are divided on whether Cary should preserve the land’s rural character or promote more residential growth.

Moulin considered his pro-growth stance to be controversial until he attended the workshop and saw that most residents had placed dots next to a statement reflecting his views.

“Many people want it to stay the same, but it’s not going to,” Moulin said. “All of the infrastructure is in place to develop it into a very nice living community.”

Alix Sotomayor, a Cary native who’s studying urban planning at Appalachian State University, said the town should focus on providing amenities and services to parts of Cary that are already developed before encouraging more suburban sprawl.

“All three activity centers are in southeast Cary,” she said.

The town could also use a few more bike lanes, Sotomayor said.

“Without a car, you’re isolated,” she said.

Erin Thompson was more concerned by the lack of variety in Cary’s housing market. She’d like to buy a house with a “decent-sized” yard that’s about 1,800 square feet.

But she said the only options in Cary that meet her size and budget requirements are townhomes.

“It’s hard to find a reasonably priced house on a reasonably sized lot,” Thompson said.

She said downtown Cary might be the best place for homes in the $100,000s and $200,000s – especially since many folks seeking that type of housing prefer to live in highly walkable areas.

But Cary needs to continue renovating its downtown for the area to become more appealing, said Theresa Coles.

Coles and her husband live off High House Road because it’s close to Research Triangle Park. She said she wishes they didn’t have to drive to Raleigh or Durham to go to bars and restaurants that aren’t chain franchises.

“The Cary (theater) helped, but I feel like we really need to have more reasons to go downtown,” she said.

Imagine Cary will host another two workshops in the fall to collect residents’ feedback on how Cary should develop its downtown and transportation options.

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