REWRITE THE CARY COMMUNITY PLAN


The Cary Community Plan was adopted in January, 2017. It is the latest comprehensive plan in a long series of plans for the Town of Cary. It sets out a long-term vision, policies, and strategic actions "with a time horizon out to 2040."

The Cary Community Plan makes no provision for climate change. It does not provide long-term vision, policies, or strategic actions for the Town to do its part in reversing the ruinous rise in global temperature.

The document that guides development and re-development in Cary must do so. It is imperative that Cary catch up to the thousands of jurisdictions that are doing their fair share in the fight against the rise in global temperature. This is not some feel-good exercise, but a requirement if we as a species are to be able to keep the environment from descending into a spiral that we cannot reverse. Our leaders do not want this as their legacy, and our young people do not want to inherit a ruined planet.


The Cary Community Plan grossly underestimates the coming population growth in the Town. It makes no provision for infrastructure to support it. It states that the yearly growth rate "is expected to decline" [p. 82], but does not specify who it is that expects the growth rate to decline, by how much he or she expects it to decline, or for what reason or reasons the decline is expected.

The table below shows the Town of Cary's population based on estimates of (1) the Cary Community Plan, (2) the U.S. Census Bureau, and (3) the Town of Cary administration. Note that the Cary Community Plan's projections work toward its prediction of 193,000 in 2040. The increase from 159,769 in 2015 to 193,000 in 2040 yields a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 0.76%.

If we take the actual rate of population growth for the Town and project it forward [right column of chart below], we see that the Cary Community Plan's prediction of 193,000 in the year 2040 will be surpassed 16 years early – in 2024 – and by 2040 there will be 291,371 people in the Town.

YEAR Population per
CARY COMMUNITY PLAN
( CAGR of 0.76%)
U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU
OFFICIAL ESTIMATE
(April 1)
TOWN of CARY
ESTIMATE
(July 1)
Population projection
based on
CAGR of 2.59%
2010 Not applicable 135,264
(official count)
Not available
2011 Not applicable Not available Not available
2012 Not applicable Not available 142,257
2013 Not applicable Not available 144,981
2014 Not applicable Not available 149,854
2015 159,769 159,769 153,865
2016 160,983 162,320 157,259
2017 162,207 165,904 160,390
2018 163,439 168,160 163,763
2019 164,682 170,282 167,316
2020 165,933 174,721
(official count)
170,287 174,721
2021 167,194 179,000+/- 179,246
2022 168,465 183,889
2023 169,745 188,651
2024 171,035 193,538
2025 172,335 198,550
2026 173,645 203,693
2027 174,965 208,968
2028 176,294 214,381
2029 177,634 219,933
2030 178,984 (official count) 225,629
2031 180,345 231,473
2032 181,715 237,468
2033 183,096 243,619
2034 184,488 249,928
2035 185,890 256,401
2036 187,303 263,042
2037 188,726 269,855
2038 190,160 276,844
2039 191,606 284,015
2040 193,000 (official count) 291,371

This underestimate — by a percentage of 66% and an actual number of about 98,000 people — is ruinous. Cary has rocketed by Wilmington, Greensboro, Durham, and Charlotte to become the second densest jurisdiction in North Carolina, trailing only Raleigh, and we'll pass them in the next decade to become the densest. See the population-density chart on this page.


The third reason reason the Cary Community Plan must be rewritten is that the writers crafted the document with the unstated premise that the Town would develop all the buildable land within its boundaries. This premise states a short-sighted goal grounded only in economics and profit, and doesn't take into account the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Cary, its wildlife, and its urban canopy. Stated simply, the premise is ruinous, and should not underlie the Town's most important document.