Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Commissioners Keep District Residence Requirements

At its meeting on July 22, the Board voted to deny the proposal eliminating all District residency requirements for Commissioners. The recommendation (please click on District Requirement) to have all members of the Board elected as “At-Large” Commissioners was rejected (the current Town Ordinance will remain unchanged). The next Town election in November 2009 will be for Mayor, a council member residing in District 2, one in District 4, and one “At-Large” member (residing anywhere in Morrisville).

The Board did vote to change its designation from a “Board of Commissioners” to a “Town Council.” Effective September 1, the Commissioners will be known as Council Members.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Land Use & Transportation Plans, 2008-2035

Morrisville is updating it long term Land Use and Transportation Plans. The Town will be determining how our community should grow and where transportation improvements should occur in the next 35 years. These plans will impact how you live, work, shop, and travel.

The proposed Land Use and Transportation Plans are now available. Citizens may view the document in three ways:

1 - DOWNLOAD in low-resolution PDF files from:

2 - PICK UP a CD-ROM with high-resolution PDF files from the Morrisville Planning Department

3 - VIEW a printed copy at Morrisville Town Hall or the Morrisville Planning Department

Morrisville Planning Department - 260 Town Hall Drive, Suite B – 8am-5pm, Mon to Thurs, 8am-12noon on Fri. (919) 463-6194.

Morrisville Town Hall - 100 Town Hall Drive – 8am–5pm, Mon to Thurs, 8am-12noon on Fri. (919) 463-6200.

You are encouraged to attend the presentation of the proposed Plans and comment on it at the Planning and Zoning Board meeting on Thursday, August 14, 2008 at Town Hall (Open House at 5 PM, Meeting starts at 6 PM). You may also email your opinions to Ashley Jones (

There will also be additional meetings of the Planning and Zoning Board and Town Council where the public can make comments. Citizens may send email to the members of the two Town Boards at:

Land Use & Transportation Plan Committee Member Speaks Out

Morrisville’s long awaited new Land Use and Transportation Plan (LUTP) will be unveiled at the meeting of its Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday, August 14 at Town Hall. Having served on the Plan Advisory Committee for the past nine months, following is my critique of the proposal.


A – Low Density Zoning: We are all aware of Morrisville’s major traffic problems and inadequate road infrastructure. Whether it is residential or commercial, planning for even more high density land use is like throwing gasoline on a fire. It effect, the limitations of the proposed Transportation Plan should impact the design of the Land Use Plan. Without solutions to the associated increase in automobile traffic, the Land Use Plan should have avoided designating land parcels for high density use. At the Land Use and Transportation Plan workshops and focus groups, a majority of the Town’s citizens clearly stated: “No more large development” and “Slow down growth.”

B – Residential Land Use: Most citizens seek Morrisville to “be a place to live, NOT a place to drive to.” Our Town’s primary appeal is being a residential community with desirable single-family owner-occupied homes. However, it has been estimated that approximately 20,000 residents from other municipalities drive into Morrisville to work and an additional tens of thousands drive through Morrisville to RTP and other job sites outside of our Town. I believe that the Land Use Plan should have concentrated on enhancing Morrisville’s appeal as an attractive residential community. Too many times the Plan diverts from this goal as well as proposing land use that significantly adds to the Town’s heavy traffic volume.

C – “Regional Activity Center” Designation of Parcels Surrounding Park West Village: The expanded area surrounding the planned “mixed use” shopping complex of Park West Village (almost 100 acres of retail and commercial outlets at Cary Parkway and Route 54) is predominately low-density single family owner occupied homes (Preston, Weston Estates, etc.). It is one of the prime residential areas in the Triangle. Planning for additional large “retail activity centers” around Park West Village may seriously impact the area’s value and appeal. There was no public support expressed for ADDITIONAL Regional Activity Centers at this location. This Land Use proposal is solely from the Town Staff.


A – Route 54 (Chapel Hill Road): At all of the public workshops, citizens had overwhelming identified Route 54 as THE major issue for the Town. Unless a viable solution to its traffic congestion is implemented, the future development of Morrisville is constrained. Any future growth will only exacerbate the Chapel Hill Road traffic congestion. Although the current Draft of the Transportation Plan now “recognizes” the significance of the problem, there is still no concrete plan to deal with it. The revised Plan simply conceptualizes what Route 54 should look like in the future. If the new Morrisville Transportation Plan didn’t do anything else, a specific proposal and timetable for improving Route 54 should have been proposed. I believe a specific plan for the needed improvements of Chapel Hill Road, in phases and within a specified timeframe, should have been a key part of the Transportation Plan.

B – Crabtree Crossing Extension: In the current Draft of the Morrisville Transportation Plan, considerable “public comment” is cited to have been made for the proposed Crabtree Crossing Extension. Not reported is the fact that almost all of it is opposed to the proposal. The Town’s most recent expense estimate for this road extension is at least 11 million dollars (it might be more like 20 million in today’s dollars). The Town now believes that about 2,000 autos would utilize the planned connector road daily. However, most of this traffic would feed into a limited travel street in a prime residential neighborhood. Considerable expense (to both Town and residents) would be needed to install traffic deterring and calming measures on Crabtree Crossing Parkway. Any minimal additional emergency response time that might be gained by the road extension would be more than offset by the obstacles and blockage caused the by the new traffic calming measures. The citizens overwhelming voiced rejection of this proposal. It will have to be constructed a phenomenal cost to the Town. To me logic and common sense indicate that it SHOULD NOT be included as a proposal in the Town’s revised Transportation Plan.

After review by the Planning & Zoning Board, the proposed Land Use and Transportation Plan will next be considered by the Town’s Board of Commissioners. Please review the proposals and attend the P&Z and Commissioners meetings. Since the final Plan will set direction for Morrisville for decades, let your opinions be known at the public hearings and in email to the two Town Boards:

LUTP Advisory Committee Member

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Should We Eliminate District Residence Requirements for Commissioners?

The Morrisville Board of Commissioners is considering eliminating the current format of district representation and changing to an all “At-Large” mode for electing Board Members. The Board is looking for your input on this issue prior to their vote on July 22, 2008.

Currently, the Board consists of four district seats, who must reside in the district that they represent, two At-Large seats, who may reside anywhere within the town limits, and a Mayor, who is also At-Large. During an election, however, all residents can vote for all available seats on the Board, regardless of whether they are district-based or at-large. Also, regardless of any initial district designation, Commissioners are responsible for representing ALL of Morrisville. If this resolution is approved by the Board on July 22, district designations would be eliminated starting with the next election, and every Board member would be At-Large, meaning that they could live anywhere within Morrisville’s town limits.

Our next Town election is November 2009. The Mayor and three of the Commissioner seats are up for election. Under the proposed change, the three candidates receiving the greatest number of votes would be elected Commissioners. It is possible that all three elected may reside in the same district.

If unchanged for 2009, the current system would require that one Commissioner reside in District 2, one in District 4, and one be At-Large (reside anywhere in Morrisville). Under this setup there is a greater possibility that one or two candidates may run unopposed for their District.

Citizens can weigh in on this issue by emailing the Board at

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vision for Morrisville

In a speech at the Chamber of Commerce, Morrisville’s Mayor promoted the commercial development of retail “big box” stores, offices, apartments and restaurants. We don’t believe that this vision is shared by the majority of residents. It is contrary to our Town’s “Mission” and “Vision” Statements, which is “dedicated to preserving quality of life” and to “preserve small-town values.” Also, it is not supported by Morrisville’s limited road, water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure.

Morrisville’s commercial development of 43% far exceeds surrounding neighborhoods: Cary 26%, Apex 18%, Raleigh 29%, Wake Forest 20%, and Holly Springs 9%. With recent Board approvals, rental apartments will soon exceed owner-occupied residences. Many perceive the Board has “never finding a development it didn’t like.” Morrisville is only about 10 square miles. How many high-density commercial services, stores, offices and apartment buildings can we squeeze in? This is not community building, and it is not acceptable.

Morrisville’s great appeal is primarily as a residential community of attractive one-family homes in highly desirable neighborhoods. Within minutes, we provide access to all services. We are in close proximity to major employment centers, prime recreational facilities and key transportation hubs and arteries. Our residents in owner-occupied homes provide a vital and sizeable tax base. Maintaining and enhancing Morrisville as a prime residential community is the “vision” we should be seeking.