So I have quite a bit of good news to report.
Matt Calabria, Wake county District 2 Commissioner was kind enough to sit down and discuss the ETJ with myself and a few other residents. He gave us ample time for us to convey our thoughts and arguments on why we are against this ETJ. I left the meeting feeling extremely encouraged that the commissioners will be taking a very close look at what is being submitted and will not be just approving this ETJ as a matter of course. I asked Matt for a response that I could post on this site to reflect his thoughts on the ETJ.
At the outset, it is important to point out that this issue has not yet been brought before the county for consideration. The County Commissioners heard about the prospect of ETJ expansion only recently, and no significant information has yet been presented to us. I found out about it when I received the same notice in the mail that many others did. County staff is collecting further information, but ultimately, the Town of Fuquay-Varina is making the proposal and managing the community input process at present. Based on my conversations with our staff, the town is going to be taking the feedback it received and determining whether and how to incorporate it into any proposal it may bring forward. If this comes before the county commission, it will not be until January 2019 at the earliest.
I have heard from dozens of residents and spent many hours talking to citizens about this matter. Residents have raised concerns about a variety of issues, including local representation, growth and traffic management, residents’ ability to continue current activities, uncertainty as to the effects of ETJ expansion, etc. I have been monitoring this issue closely, and I share many of these concerns. Some have reported hearing that the county’s approval of the ETJ expansion will merely be a rubber stamp. I can tell you no one in county government feels that way, including and especially me.
I agree with those who have written and encouraged me to listen to everyone before making a decision. The town has not submitted any proposal to the county for consideration. It has not yet communicated with commissioners about it. It would be inappropriate for any candidate or elected official to develop a hardened position on a proposal that has been neither finalized nor presented, for the same reason that a judge would undermine his or her own credibility by ruling on a case before hearing from the litigants—no matter what his or her inclinations might be. I don’t want it to be said by anyone (on either side) that I made the decision I did based on prejudice and had already made up my mind while pretending to listen to folks.
However, as mentioned above, I share a number of the same concerns that others have articulated and will be working to obtain answers on each one. Any decision on my part will be based on whether this will actually improve the long-term quality of life for the folks affected and for southern Wake County. I have also encouraged our staff to explore what win-win solutions might be available to meet the interests of all involved (and I believe there are a couple of potential options there).
I would suggest that residents share thoughts with the appropriate representatives/leadership at the town as that is where the conversation is happening at present. I would also encourage folks to share their thoughts with all the County Commissioners as we are all elected countywide. If and when this comes to the county for consideration, there will be ample opportunities for public input, and I would encourage folks to make their opinions known then as well. Of course, I am always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I was still celebrating an encouraging meeting with Matt, I received an e-mail from another stopfuquayetj.org supporter who received an e-mail from Frann Sarpolus who is running against Matt Calabria for district 2.
“Thank you for contacting me about this important issue.
I attended the Oct. 25th Community Meeting on these concerns, and can say that I definitely agree with the consensus that there is so much unclear about how each person’s property could be affected.
I can say that because of the much needed county representation with a voice for the citizens, I will be voting “No” on this ETJ in 2019.
I believe that those potentially affected are doing effective research and making their information readily available on the StopFuquayETJ.org site.
Thank you and thank all of those participating.
I do understand who opposing this passage sets me in opposition to, but I am not a “career politician” and do not intend to pay to play, or hide ambiguously to gain votes.
“I have a voice and I’m available”.
If I am elected, I will serve as the “Citizens’ Advocate” that I have activity been for all the years that I have lived in Wake County.
I am certain that there are those who could benefit from the expansion. I believe that their needs can and will be met going forward even without the ETJ expansion.
Thank you for your time and your input. And if you decide to vote for me, your doing what you can to reach as many voters as you can to do the same.
“Ask 10 to Ask 10 to Vote!”
Yours for Wake County Commissioner, Frann Sarpolus”
So I’m thrilled that however this election turns out we have at least raised awareness of this issue and we will have the ear of our elected officials. Please continue to engage the other county commissioners so our voice cannot be drowned out by the municipalities. Swaying a single county commissioner will not be enough to prevent the ETJ. We will need to show valid arguments on how permitting this ETJ is stripping residents of their rights and the town is not acting as a proper steward of “Smart Growth” and instead pursuing a “Maximum Growth” philosophy. Growth is happening all over Wake county whether the ETJ is approved or not. The question really is, do we want high density developments dotting all of southern wake county or should we be focusing on increased density within the city themselves. Seems to me if I was going to be building public transportation infrastructure I would want high population city centers rather than 22,000 acres of interspersed high density development. Approving high density single family home development anywhere a developer can get their hands on some land isn’t really planning at all. It is taking the path of least resistance and catering to developers. Let’s face it, Fuquay Varina sees all of southern Wake county as reserved for them. They don’t want low density development anywhere in their perceived territory. The towns planning is basically the definition of urban sprawl and that is not “Smart Growth”