Episode 007 – Veridea; Julia Beam (Part Two); Hurricane Irma

Episode #7 of the Apex Roundup Podcast. It’s the “Hurricane Irma” special.

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Intro
In this episode, I’ve rounded up for you…

  1. Part 2 of my interview with Julia Beam of the Grow Preschool in downtown Apex,
  2. A few tips on preparing for Hurricane Irma’s arrival,
  3. Apex town council updates from the September 5th meeting.

Welcome
Jumping into podcasting with both boots, I’m Lance Olive, host of the Apex Roundup Podcast. I’m glad you’re here with me right now. My goal is to bring you the news of Apex that the print media no longer covers. The Apex Herald? They folded in 2013. The Southwest Wake insert to the News & Observer? They’ve gone foodie. It’s not even news. And even social media posts almost never present both sides of the story.

That’s why I’m here. Thirty minutes, twice a month, I round up the stories, the decisions and the opinions, and I share ’em with you.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and Google. Just search for Apex Roundup with Lance Olive.

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Council Update
Bam! Let’s get started, shall we?

The Apex Town Council met Tuesday, September 5th, at 7:00pm to hold it’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the month at town hall. On the agenda, we had two presentations, five public hearings and six other matters of business.

In the first presentation, Graham Wilson gave us a report on the 2017 Bone Sucking’ Sauce Peak City Pig Fest, held in mid-June. Despite two heavy rainfalls, 18,000 people attended. 48 cook teams competed for $13,000 in prize money.

The Apex Police Department defeated the Apex Fire Department again in the Rib Eating Contest, although, when you get to eat free ribs, isn’t everyone a winner?

Onlookers squealed as the piglets raced around the oval track, while the rest relaxed under the enormous tents, sampling barbecue and beer. The rest of the people, not pigs.

In its first six years of operation, this festival, planned and executed by the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club, has raised almost $200,000 for local charities, including Western Wake Crisis Ministry, Operation Coming Home, US Veterans Corps and many more.

Next year’s Pig Fest is scheduled for June 15-16, 2018, so mark your calendars.

In the second presentation, Planning Director Dianne Khin introduced two recently hired planners, Sarah Rayfield and Lauren Staudemaier.

Following Consent Agenda, comprised of 16 non-controversial items, we entered the Public Forum where 3 citizens spoke. Pro tip: Write your thoughts down on a large index card to help you stay on message and within the time limit.

After a 30-minute closed session to receive legal advice from the town attorney, the council reconvened at about 8:00 to begin public hearings.

Public Hearings #1 and #2 were combined as the annexation and rezoning of about 19 acres way out southwest of Apex, near Fire Station #2 off New Hill Holleman Road. This was case #17CZ14. Technically, this is down Garris Rd. The project is characterized as providing about 75 small, lower-priced, single-family homes, staying under 3 residential units per acre, with a pocket park and solar-panel pre-wiring in each house. New homes are expected to start around $290k.

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After a presentation by Mike Foley and a public hearing, where one person spoke in favor, the council discussed and voted 5-0 to approve the annexation and rezoning.

Public Hearing #3 was a Quasi-Judicial Public Hearing for the Pine Springs Preparatory School, where they have requested to use the New Horizons Church building on East Williams St for temporary school space. You’ve heard me talk about quasi-judicial public hearings before… they operate a bit like a court case. In this one, Paul Stam represented the applicant and there was no opposition. The council voted unanimously to approve the Special Use Permit.

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Public Hearing #4 brought the heaviest item for consideration of the night — Veridea. Even more than that, Council members Schulze and Jensen commented that this was probably the most difficult decision of their 16- and 18-year-long (respective) terms.

Attorney Jason Barron brought a wonderfully passionate and eloquent presentation on behalf of his clients, Hudson Group, the applicants, requesting that we accept the proposed UDO amendment changes that would allow the majority owners of any Sustainability District property to terminate the Responsible Person and recommend a replacement to the council, who would then have the power of approval or rejection of the replacement.

By the way, this public hearing was a continued item from the August 15th meeting.

During the public hearing, Jan Prince Jackson, a landowner in the Veridea district, Alan Maness, a consultant working for Lookout Ventures, the Responsible Person of record, and Tom Hendrickson, owner of Lookout Ventures, all spoke in opposition to the amendment.

The room was a bit tense; both parties involved have millions of dollars at stake. Their relationship has been strained over the last few years. The majority land owners out of New York flew down to Apex to see if the town council could make this ordinance change to give them a way to replace Lookout Ventures as the Responsible Person.

Each council member spoke for 3 minutes or so and the council ultimately voted down the amendment proposal by the slim margin of 2-3, with Schulze and Jensen voting in favor, and Wilkie, Moyer and Dozier voting in opposition.

With the UDO unchanged, this leaves Hudson Group and Lookout Ventures to work out their differences privately, or in a court of law. It also means that Veridea may still be a few years yet from breaking ground unless they can mend fences, create a few site plans that meet the requirements of the SD Plan, and get them through Planning Staff, Planning Board and the Town Council.

FYI, Veridea is comprised of about 1,000 acres between NC Highway 55, NC 540 and US Highway 1.

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Public Hearing #5 was an Economic Incentive package for Project Bluewater. Let me point out that, since Economic Development is considered competitive, these projects get code names for public hearings such as this. The name of the actual company is legally withheld until such time as any deal is agreed by both parties. This prevents unfair competitive practices by using public meeting records as a means of gaining what would otherwise be secrets of fair competition.

The proposal to offer about $116k in incentives over 3 years, in order to bring 51 jobs to Apex with an average salary of $88k passed 4-1, with council member Schulze voting no on principle that taxpayer money should not be spent to unfairly help one business over another.

That concluded public hearings. After the council resolved 3 open meeting matters and 3 closed session matters, the council adjourned at approximately 10:50 pm.

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Disclaimer
The content of this podcast is proudly produced in Apex, North Carolina. By listening to it, you agree to hold me harmless for anything I say here. Although I am indeed the mayor, the opinions expressed by me are my own. All information shared on this podcast is already public record. This podcast is a private venture and no public or campaign money was used in its production. Make decisions by doing your own research, because I’m just here for your entertainment. One lawyer felt slighted while I was writing this disclaimer.

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Interview
In episode 5, we heard part one of my interview with Julia Beam, owner of Grow Preschool. Now let’s join part two, already in progress.

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Blog
Read the Hurricane Irma blog on http://lanceolive.wordpress.com/irma

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Wrap
Hey! Thanks for joining me today for the seventh episode of the Apex Roundup Podcast.

Today I brought you updates from the September 5th Apex Town Council meeting, including the Veridea UDO Amendment proposal verdict. You got to hear the second half of my interview with Julia Beam of Grow Preschool and President of the Apex Downtown Business Association. And I shared my thoughts on Hurricane Irma Preparedness. If you want to review the show notes for this episode, point your web browser to apex roundup dot com slash 007 and you’ll be able to scroll down to read this entire episode.

Next episode I’ll be share the happenings of the Apex town council meeting for September 19th. I’ll also have as my guests, Apex resident Whitney Ludlow and her fellow Freedom Fighter, Nicole Bernard, as we begin my conversation on Human Trafficking, recognizing the signs and how to stop it from spreading into Apex. So subscribe to the podcast and make sure you don’t miss it.

You can find this podcast on the web at Apex Roundup dot com are subscribe in iTunes and Google Play. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook (@apexroundup)

Hey. What’s on YOUR mind? Do you have an opinion to share? Got any questions related to Apex? Go to Apex Roundup dot com slash contact and you can find multiple ways to get in touch with me.

I’m so glad you listened all the way to the end with me today. Until the next roundup… Happy Trails!


3 thoughts on “Episode 007 – Veridea; Julia Beam (Part Two); Hurricane Irma

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