There are three contested races for Cary Town Council this year.
Typically, municipal elections are held in odd-numbered years, and the mayor and all eight council members serve four years.
This year, the mayor, one at-large seat, District B and District D, are elected, while the remaining at-large seat, District A and District C, will be elected in 2025.
For the at-large seat, incumbent Lori Bush faces challengers Mary Inspruker and Matthew Gronke.
District B incumbent Don Frantz faces Michelle Craig. District D incumbent Ryan Eades faces Sarika Bansal and Rachel Jordan.
Mayor Harold Weinbrecht is running unopposed.
Early voting runs through Oct. 7. Election Day is Oct. 10.
To find polling places and full details on early voting, visit the Board of Elections at wake.gov or 919-404-4040.
Name: Don Frantz
Residence: 706 E Cornwall Road, Cary NC 27511
Occupation and Employer: Small business owner, Frantz Automotive Center
Education: Southside Va. Community College
Political or civic experience: Cary Town Council 2007 - current, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Cary Planning and Zoning Board, Past President of the Heart of Cary Association, NC National Federation of Independent Business Leadership Council, Cary IMP Club, Wake County Growth Issues Task Force, Wake County Transit Advisory Committee, Cary Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Page Walker, Cary Elementary PTA
Campaign website: frantzforcary.com
Why you are running to serve Cary. Why should voters trust you with this position?
Cary is one of the greatest communities to live in America. I am running for re-election to continue to work to make Cary an even better place to live, work and raise a family, and to give back to the community that has provided so much for me and my family.
I have worked diligently provide the high levels of services that our citizens demand at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer, and to create an environment that encourages business growth and creates jobs. Quality of life begins with a good paying job so folks can support their families.
I have also been an advocate for increased public safety initiatives because like employment, our quality of life also depends on Cary remaining a safe and secure community; and I have been a champion for our successful downtown revitalization efforts while at the same time fighting to preserve that which makes Cary special.
Keeping Cary great means staying ahead of the curve on issues like housing affordability, public safety, infrastructure and infill development. Working together we can continue to address complex problems with common sense, data-driven solutions.
What is Cary doing right to manage the town’s growth? If elected, what changes would you propose?
Cary will continue to grow, but it is how we grow that matters. As a member of the council I have supported a balanced growth approach that maintains a reasonable 2-3% growth rate. This helps to ensure that infrastructure and services keep pace with growth and that new growth does not further burden surrounding communities. I support development that protects the character and charm of existing neighborhoods and I oppose that which does not.
Many people who have lived here say they can no longer afford rent or struggle to own a home. What must Cary do for established and new residents to live here comfortably?
Housing affordability is an incredibly complex topic that folks are rightly concerned about. As a parent of six and grandparent to eight who wants them to live close to family, so am I.
I have written in detail about what my council colleagues and I are working on to address the problem on my blog here: donfrantz.blogspot.com/2023/08/housing-affordability-update.html
First and foremost, we need to build more housing. Supply is not keeping pace with demand. Continue to encourage age restricted and senior housing so that as our parents and grandparents age out of their single-family home they have better opportunities to stay in Cary and remain close to family.
We must continue to invest in transit and promote transit-oriented development near employment centers, schools, shopping and services.
Continue to invest in existing and new programs like our Healthy Homes Cary initiative that better assists seniors and folks on limited incomes remain in their homes and preserves already existing affordable housing.
Continue and expand partnerships with community organizations and nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity, DHIC, White Oak Foundation and other faith based organizations to meet our community goals. Make it easier for churches to build housing on their land.
Continue to work with developers to include affordable/workforce housing into their projects.
Allocate underutilized public land(s) for affordable housing like we are doing with the Laurel Street project on Maynard Road.
Establish ordinances that allow for accessory dwelling units and allow for increased densities where appropriate.
Reevaluate development standards and streamline processes for workforce/affordable housing developments to reduce development costs.
Incentivize new development to retain already existing affordable/workforce housing.
Create rental/purchase assistance and workforce development programs
Some residents have expressed concern about the rapid growth of Cary amid new changes like the potential redevelopment of the Town Hall campus, more nightlife, and other projects. How can Cary grow, especially downtown, without losing its community character?
I have been an advocate for our downtown revitalization efforts while at the same time fighting to preserve that which makes Cary special.
I championed the redevelopment of old Cary Elementary into the Cary Arts Center to provide a wonderful amenity for our citizens and preserve that magnificent piece of Cary’s history. I convinced my colleagues to agree to prohibit tall buildings along South Academy Street to protect the character of Cary’s signature street. I made sure Cary kept its promise to build a remarkable park in downtown — designed by Cary citizens for Cary citizens — and not allow the majority of that land to be developed.
Strategic public investments have spurred significant private investment. Some of my favorite projects are the adaptive reuse of older, existing buildings into new businesses like Bond Brothers, Crosstown Pub, Cotton House, RBF or the new West End as an eclectic mix of old and new best creates a sense of place and respects Cary’s history.
Sure, I’m not happy with all of the changes downtown – none of us are – but I do know this; It wasn’t too long ago that when the clock struck 5:00, they rolled the sidewalks up and everyone went home. Downtown became a ghost town. Now people and businesses want to be downtown, and that’s a good thing.
Under my leadership we have moved from downtown revitalization to downtown realization. That said, a lot has happened in a relatively short period of time. We do need to slow things down a bit and complete existing projects before beginning new ones.
In regards to the potential redevelopment of Town Hall Campus, the key word is potential. It is only an idea. I personally love town hall campus just the way it is. We do, however, need additional space for town employees to better serve existing and future residents and businesses. I will not support any redevelopment that is inconsistent with what we are currently seeing downtown or that negatively impacts the Page Walker Arts and History Center and surrounding gardens and community spaces. We are not trying to create another Fenton or North Hills in downtown Cary. To that end, I mailed a letter to Cary citizens in my council district to provide them with the facts and my position on this topic and answer questions I had received. You can read that on my blog here: https://donfrantz.blogspot.com/2023/06/potential-redevelopment-of-cary-town.html
What must Cary do to become more inclusive of marginalized residents, including African Americans, people of color, immigrants, poor or working class, and the LGBTQ+ community?
Discrimination of any kind has no place in Cary. Creating an inclusive community begins by including everyone.
First and foremost we must seek to understand everyone’s historical, cultural, and social context. Listening and learning is key. To that end we created Cary’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and hired a DEI Manager to better help us become a more inclusive community for ALL Cary residents. I also supported Cary adopting Wake County’s non-discrimination ordinance.
We must continue to work to ensure that town plans and new development recognizes and provides for the different socioeconomic status’ of our residents. Town boards, committees and planning exercises require diverse participation to ensure equal representation.
Cary also continues to expand our community outreach initiatives. We understand that some communities may not feel comfortable reaching out to us when they need help or services, so we make sure we seek them out. We also provide materials in a number of different languages and formats. Relationships matter and earning the trust of all our citizens is a top priority.
Cary is an incredibly diverse community and we celebrate our diversity through a number of community events and festivals to include Diwali, Eid, Pride, MLK Dreamfest, Ritmo Latino, Chinese Lantern Festival and Asia Fest.
To help those less fortunate we have a number of town programs and continue to invest in housing and transit initiatives as mentioned elsewhere in this questionnaire. We continue to look for ways to do more.
How can Cary continue to expand and protect its parks, greenways, and environment?
Cary’s many parks and expansive greenway network are one of things that set us apart, and I have a proven record of supporting initiatives that further protect our environment, improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff. Cary has the strictest development, tree preservation and stormwater regulations allowed by state law, and we continue to find those “gray areas” within the law to do more. Some examples of initiatives I have championed or supported include:
Purchased over 200 acres of open space in west Cary to forever preserve it from development. Built more parks to include the Downtown Cary Park, Walnut Street Park, Carpenter Park, Reedy Creek Road Trailhead, Kay Struffolino Park and miles of greenway trails.
Created a stormwater working group comprised of impacted citizens, stormwater experts, engineers and town staff to model the impacts of stormwater using state of the art technology and address flooding issues in the Walnut Creek Basin in downtown Cary. Through this initiative we resolved flooding problems that had plagued hundreds of residents for decades.
Moving town vehicles to electric or at the very least, hybrid where appropriate
Hired Cary’s first Urban Forester/Creating Cary’s first Urban Forest Master Plan
Installed anti-idle technology on town fire trucks to reduce emissions
Ensured that the development of the downtown park included a significant stormwater mitigation component – also planted over 600 trees and 66,000 native plants in the park
Expanded Cary’s My Tree, Your Tree program which provides free trees for our citizens to plant on their own properties as trees are the number one way in which to capture carbon
Encourage the installation of solar or at the very least, the conduit for solar in new developments – additional EV charging stations in both public and private developments
Supported reduced parking minimums where appropriate to reduce impervious surfaces
Purchased the South Cary Solar Farm
Completing the Higgins Greenway connection into downtown – construction to begin soon
Black Creek Greenway renovations – ongoing
Numerous new sidewalk projects to promote walkability and healthier living
Created a new town ordinance requiring developers to model and mitigate stormwater runoff to the 100 year storm event
Expanded GoCary transit and in the process of planning for a new Multi-Modal Transit Facility in downtown
Utilization of Silva Cell Technology for all street trees in downtown to promote tree growth and improve stormwater management
I was successful in convincing my council colleagues to support the construction of a greenway tunnel under Weston Parkway that will connect the Crabtree Creek Greenway to neighborhoods south. Construction will begin soon
Autonomous vehicle pilot program in Bond Park
Count Me In Cary initiative to explore the impacts of a changing climate, identify challenges and opportunities, and implement real, tangible solutions
Town events using 100% compostable products – lead by example
What three issues would you focus on in office that others might not? Why are they important for Cary?
As the only small business owner on the council, I have been a champion for our small business community. Small businesses make up over 95% of the businesses in Cary. They provide the majority of jobs and benefits for our residents and play a critical role in the quality of life of our residents. We can talk about all the things that contribute to our high quality of life in Cary, but the reality is that quality of life begins with a good paying job so people can support their families.
I have been and remain the voice for “old Cary” on the council. I will always fight to make sure that we preserve and protect our community character and history as best we can and that we never lose sight of what makes Cary special. I don’t always win, but I never quit fighting.
Keep the Cary Town Council apolitical.
I have seen firsthand in other communities how damaging or ineffective a partisan council can truly be. Their actions rarely reflect the will of the community at large and oftentimes creates division. A council with a diversity of ideas and priorities best represents the entire community and works toward solutions that most everyone can be satisfied with. I have found that when we do something that neither the hard left or right support we’ve probably done the right thing.
What specific life experiences or skills have prepared you for town governance?
I have served on the council for 16 years. This gives me an intimate knowledge of past and present issues, decisions and policies and afforded me the opportunity to build relationships with community stakeholders. Relationships matter. I have served in leadership roles on various community, civic and business organizations and I am an award-winning small business owner, father and grandfather. This experience and my determination to get things done is what makes me an effective council member.
Today’s issues are more complex than ever and requires strong, experienced leadership. Through my efforts I have earned a reputation as a no-nonsense, pragmatic leader.
Please make note of any endorsements you’ve received that you consider to be important.
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht
NC Sen. Gale Adcock
NC Transit Workers Association
If you have any other goals or issues that you’d like to address, please do so here.
My record on the Council is one of collaboration with citizens, advocacy groups, community partners, the business community, my council colleagues and town staff to address key issues in our community.
I believe that a transparent government is an inclusive government. That is why I work very hard to communicate with Cary citizens both through my blog and social media. Our citizens deserve to know what it is I am doing on the council and why. We may not always agree, but folks will always know where I stand.