Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Change coming in Apex Historic Downtown District

What mysteries do the latest two store renovations hold in the Historic Downtown District?

Only the owner knows at this point.

The framed plywood covering was recently added in place of the dilapidated old plywood paneling in front of one store adjacent to the Peak City Grill. The other store now has wood beams supporting the second floor front area. No signs are posted so far indicating what is planned in these spaces.

Any thoughts on what will be in these two spaces?
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The battle goes on

The battle goes on for sign locations and Town Council seats.

This latest sign encouraging Apex voters to cast ballots for the three candidates challenging the trenched in "Mayor's Yes Men" voting block was placed briefly at the intersection of Salem and Hughes Streets.

A previous sign calling the three challengers "Independent Thinkers" was stolen or removed from all locations within hours of when the signs were placed. This new one, listing only the names, was up for one day (just long enough to capture this photo) but has now disappeared.

It's interesting that the only signs disappearing are the ones listing the three names Tom Haynie, Margo Bills and Lance Olive. Are the other candidates removing the signs to protect their turf? Or is the Town of Apex "sign enforcer" removing the signs incorrectly thinking they are not real political signs? Either way, removal of the signs indicates poor judgement and a violation of all candidates right to free speech.

Vote for these three and help make the Town Council back back into a responsible group of elected representatives that listen to town residents and do what is best for the community.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Rusty Bucket Kids Club TV Series

I just viewed the WRAL-TV interview of John Demers by Renee Chou on The Rusty Bucket Kids Club TV Show and think it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the local area, and Apex in particular, to a wide audience. The idea of traveling back in time to learn more about history and people is a great way to help our kids (and all of us) learn more about our history, but in this case, learn more about famous people during their younger years and how that part of their lives helped them become the famous people they were.

Most young people growing up in our current society go through their younger years at such a hectic pace they may not understand how young people grew up long ago and how their lives were so very different from how things are now. They can use every opportunity to learn more about our country's past and have a better understanding of how anyone can make a contribution to the world around them.

Making this show available can help all of us understand and learn about our local and national history. It will showcase this area so everyone can learn more from this interesting viewpoint and so the world can see our local community and how it is a thriving part of the region!

I was born and raised in Apex, moved away and later moved back after "retirement" and know first hand we have a lot to offer in this "small town grown up". This TV series can show the world our local area and at the same time help our children develop a link to the past and learn more about how young people from long ago grew up. The town had about 2,000 residents when I grew up and now has almost 35,000. Many living here now don't know a lot about the community's past and the scenes in this show will give a glimpse into times gone by and a little more about life in an early Apex.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Handicap folks - don't park in downtown Apex

If you like to wonder around in Historic Downtown Apex and have a need for a handicap parking space, don't bother to trying to park here...

The Town planners have not seen fit to accommodate the needs of Senior Citizens or handicapped folks.

There is NO handicap parking space along the entire length of Salem Street. There is NO handicap parking space along the entire length of Chatham Street. There is NO handicap parking space in the parking lot in front of the Historic Downtown Depot (home of the Apex Chamber of Commerce). Oh... there is one handicap space on the Center Street side of the Historic Depot building with a sign hidden in a bush so it is not obvious to those needing the space - and if they do find it, they have to park on the sidewalk and block the pathway into the Depot building.

However, there is good news... if you are making a pickup or delivery, you can park right on the corner by Anna's Pizzaria or the corner by Savory's Bakery at the stoplight on Chatham Street. And if you are a shop owner, you can park your vehicle in one of the limited parking spaces along Salem or Chatham.

Whether this is an oversight and poor planning on the part of Town of Apex planners, or just neglect and disrespect of those in need of such parking spaces, its just no way to treat residents.

At the Town of Apex office complex (intersection of Mason and Hunter Streets) you will get an altogether different view of how the Town provides for citizens needing handicap parking spaces. The "Employee of the Month" gets a reserved parking space right by the door at the entrance to the Town's recreation facility. A few handicap spaces have been provided across the entrance driveway so they have to walk further than employees. A number of handicap spaces have been provided in the REAR of the recreation facility with no way to get to them except to drive around the block and enter the lot from Hughes Street!

Unfortunately the downtown parking situation has been greatly exasperated by the Town of Apex taking away most of the parking spaces in the new downtown parking lot across from the new Town Police Station and behind the renovated Mule Exchange building. This leaves customers of downtown stores searching for parking at all hours and often not being able to find a parking space during busy times for merchants.

And of course there is the hidden handicap parking space in Steve Adam's "private" parking lot for the Peak City Grill...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

611 Olive Street - Move one house, add three more

Packin 'em in...

That's the deal according to plans for the lot at 611 Olive Street in the historic overlay district of Apex. Sarah Potter bought a small lot a couple of years back and tried to get the Town Planners to change the building ordinances to let her split the lot into two parts - but narrower than current rules permit. And to change the rules to let her move the old house already on the lot to the back just five feet from the edge of the lot.

Saving the old house is required under Town ordinances and tearing it down would force the builder to wait four years to build on the lot. In order to comply with the ordinance and move on with building on the lot, Mrs. Potter has devised a plan to build three more homes on the lot and slip around the Town's building rules.

The plan files with the Town would leave her room to build three more houses on the half-acre lot. Two "main" houses and two "accessory apartments". The accessory apartments would in essence be so called "mother-in-law" apartments or small residences under the control of the main residence owners. The idea of "accessory houses" came from an old concept of having servants quarters or small guest homes on a homeowners property from long ago.

The big issue is that Mrs. Potter has taken advantage of a little known North Carolina law that allows a builder to sub-divide a lot under two acres and cram relatively small houses onto it.

An even bigger issue is that this can and will totally change the look and feel of the lot in one of the town's older historic overlay areas and change the character of the neighborhood.

Town officials have long claimed that the character of these older neighborhoods will be protected and preserved but the Planning Department has refused to stop the builder from packing four homes onto this small lot. The department claims this is being done under a state law that lets a lot owner subdivide small lots and build homes and that the department can't stop the builder.

Take a drive by 611 Olive Street and see how one builder has decided to alter a neighborhood with no concern for the views of the neighbors and the character of the area. Voice your concerns to the Apex Town Council to stop this blatant abuse of the Town's stated objectives of preserving the character of older neighborhoods...
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

National Crime Report Map

A new national crime mapping service ( is now available including crimes in Apex, NC.

Click to view a current display of crimes in the Apex area and learn if any are in your neighborhood...

Got signs?

You would think the folks on the Town of Apex planning staff think all town residents are blind as a proverbial bat or are a bunch of dumb clucks.

Building a "bridge to nowhere" used a lot of dollars that could have been spent on a useful project like sidewalks in the older parts of town or the unfinished Villages of Apex park by the tracks on Hughes Street at Town Hall.

The new $207,000 pedestrian CSX track crossing between the Town's office complex and the Duncan Commons office building on Salem Street is so cluttered with signs that it distracts walkers from looking at what they are doing. There are even more signs not visible in this photo warning walkers to not trespass, stay off the tracks, etc.

This crossing in theory allows folks to park at the Town office complex and walk to downtown events and have a more direct path to the historic downtown area. Never mind that there is not a way to get to and from the Town office complex parking area after you cross the tracks. The $207,000 was spent on an impressive array of iron fencing, concrete and lots and lots of signs. And it includes a fenced in observation area that gives a great view of the CSX dumping grounds between the Town office complex and the CSX depot downtown.
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Another vehicle used for billboard advertisement

Check out the crafty way the owner of the new Peak City Pharmacy on Salem Street has stepped around a town ordinance prohibiting using a vehicle as a billboard.

According to our own Town Manager "These businesses 'rue the day' the sign folks come into their parking lots because they know they are in violation of the sign ordinance by having wrapped vehicles in prominent locations in their parking lots. These vehicles are to be used as service vehicles not rolling or stationary billboards. I have not personally seen the wrapped Drugstore vehicle, but I will today and you can be assured the 'Code Enforcement' people will."
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Another sign of our discontent

Another sign of discontent with Weatherly "yes men" on the Apex Town Council...

The popular view continues that several Town Council members don't think on their own and need to be replaced. Attend any Council meeting and you will see that members currently running for 2009 re-election sit back and rock in their chairs and in the end vote with Mayor Weatherly for whatever he wants to push through.

The new competing candidates are generally tuned in to the interests of community residents and listen and think about issues affecting lives of all... controlled growth rather than unbridled development, not changing development guidelines to favor builders that pursue infill building in older neighborhoods, finding ways to build sidewalks in all parts of town - not just in new neighborhoods, preventing builders from packing lots with multiple homes and destroying the character of established neighborhoods, etc.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

First Apex Annual Tree Award

The first Apex Annual Tree Award...

Several years back, the first Town of Apex and Apex Appearance Commission tree award was presented for the 1950 Pearson Magnolia - Center and Mason street.

The sign was stolen a week after it was awarded but the honor lives on.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Mount Apex

Know where "Mount Apex" is located?

Right next to the new Thales Academy in the Villages of Apex development.

Now that the "Villages" development has been all but abandoned, this large mound of soil has been left by builders not able or willing to continue developing the "largest single undeveloped parcel of land inside the Town corporate limits".

Like many other projects, the development has fallen victim to the declining economy and most of the land was left stripped bare and undeveloped with a sea of pipes sticking up out of the landscape. Signs around the development offer plots for sale but there are few buyers willing to risk investment for now.

This is now yet another thorn in Mayor Weatherly's crown, pushed through the approval process and advertised heavily in the media as one of the projects to bring many jobs, tax revenues and prosperity to Apex.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Town of Apex vs cars as billboards

An interesting debate has turned up in the 2009 political campaign for Apex Town Council.

A big fuss was made in the News and Observer (Van tiff reroutes Apex campaign) over Scott Lassiter having a van with his candidacy advertised on the side. By the Town's rules and sign folks this is considered as advertising and parking in public places for advertising is prohibited. According to the news article "The town quickly took notice. An Apex zoning official told Lassiter that parking his van on public streets would violate the town's sign ordinance, which requires company vehicles to be kept on private property. The rule prevents businesses from using the streets as free billboard space.".

Has Mr. Lassiter been singled out by other candidates and the media to harass him because he is running for one of the Town Council seats and might knock out one of Mayor Weatherly's "yes men" or "Town Council Sheep"? According to the Town Manager the van is legal and he can continue to use it for his campaign - but not if it is parked on public streets.

The new Gaston's Garage in Laura Duncan Village shopping center has had a minivan parked by the street in its corner parking space (photo top left) ever since the shop has opened - just across from the Apex Town Hall complex!

Another vehicle being used for a billboard is parked each day in the parking lot of the new Peak City Pharmacy in the Historic Downtown Apex. Another advertising wrapped vehicle was used by the Great American Bicycle Company previously located across from the historic Apex Depot in one of the new Salem Street shops until the business closed due to the depressed economy.

Grubbiest part of Historic Downtown Apex

The dirtiest part of downtown Apex lies within a stone's throw of the Historic Apex Depot parking lot where concerts are held on Friday nights and Flea Markets on weekends.

Two hundred feet away, toward the Apex Town Hall office complex, lies an old CSX Railroad parts dump that has been allowed to remain a home for trash, junk railroad materials, metal scraps, old railroad ties, wharf rats, snakes and most anything CSX officials want to dump in Apex.

The site was in the same condition more than fifty years ago when coal powered locomotives passed through town. Absolutely nothing has been done to get rid of the CSX dumping spot and the Town seems OK with allowing such a grubby dump to remain in an area now popular for concerts, festivals and numerous downtown events.

This area could be cleaned up and donated to the Town to combine with the renovated old Tunstall House that is expected to become a center for Senior Citizen activities. The spot could even be used for additional downtown parking or could be landscaped and used for a picnic area or a Farmer's Market addition.

New Apex park not open to the public

Like the new park between the railroad tracks in villages of Apex?

The land has been cleared, grass has been planted but no one is allowed to use the space.

Look closely at the little signs the Town of Apex has posted and you will see a warning...
Site of future Apex Park
Access and Entry Currently Prohibited

This is likely because of a lack of funds to complete the park for general public use but the Town could open the park for walking and limited use since it is already cleared.

Watch them go by...

Keeping track of the fast changing mix of political signs in Apex?

The Town of Apex continues to discriminate on local residents right to express themselves by removing signs as fast as the appear in some parts of town.

The first signs encouraging voters to not allow Weatherly's band of "yes men" to continue on the Council were removed as soon as they appeared. The next day signs indicating some members of the Town Council are a "band of Council Sheep" were also quickly removed.

A new sign has appeared that simply suggests voters "Reelect No One" has now appeared. Lets see if the Town Sign Czar tries to take this one down. It offends no one and is clearly suggesting voters to not let the Weatherly Sheep and "yes men" get reelected...

No Council Sheep in Apex

No more Council Sheep !

Another "sign" of excitement in the race for Town Council seats in Apex.

The view that Mayor Weatherly has a little band of "yes men" continues to be a topic of discussion around town as several seats open up for the Town Council.

If you believe the Council pushes through proposals and plans that are not in the best interest of the Town then get out and vote for new members for the Council. Now is your chance to change the perception that there are "council sheep" that go along with whatever the Planning Board and Planners bring for consideration...

Got enough signs here?

Check out the new Peak City Pharmacy in Historic Downtown Apex.

Is this a pharmacy or a sign shop?

Count the signs... there are at at least a dozen signs facing Salem Street at this new friendly pharmacy. And this does not count the small van parked out front with signs painted all over it.

Did someone say there was an ordinance prohibiting billboards in Apex? Does the van the owner parks out front to advertise the drugstore count as a billboard?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Downtown Apex "private" handicap parking spot

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This is the second of two off-street handicap parking spaces available to patrons of the Historic Downtown District. Handicap parking is not high on the priority list of the Town of Apex or merchants.

The interesting thing about this one is that Steve Adams, owner of the Peak City Grill, placed this at the rear of the small group of spaces squeezed in between the fire station and the Peak City Grill. Maybe it was because handicap parking was required and if he placed at the back it would not interfere with the regular customers.

For patrons that need the space it is awkward to get to... you have to squeeze past owner Steve Adam's car just to get to the space. Then to get back to the sidewalk you have to squeeze past other cars that are usually in the spaces near the front of the lot - if you can get by. And if you happen to be in the parking lot when Mr. Adams walks by, be prepared for one of his cute little comments that if you park in "his" parking spaces he expects you to eat in one of "his" restaurants! Not exactly a welcoming gesture on his part.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Want to learn more about Apex?

Interested in learning more about the historic side of Apex?

Check out the Apex Historical Society. A local organization made up of members ranging from original residents that always lived here to relative newcomers interested in learning more about the history of the community and surrounding area. Read more...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scary downtown Apex handicap parking space

Handicapped and in need of a parking space near Apex downtown stores?

The Town Planners have seen fit to provide only TWO handicap parking spaces anywhere near the stores along the Salem Street shopping area. You would think there are no handicap employees in the Planning Department or are unfamiliar with what it is like to be a handicapped driver or passenger.

This one is located in the small parking area across the street from Peak City Grill. For over a year it has had three holes the size of a gallon paint can right in the path of handicap drivers. No one knows why the holes were drilled. There is speculation it was to eventually put a railing by the parking space making it even smaller than a small car can fit into. The space is already so small it is difficult to park in and difficult for passengers to get out of the car on either side.

For the last year this has posed a major safety hazzard for anyone parking in this space.

If this is the only option for handicapped downtown parking it might pay to take your business elsewhere...

And don't you forget it

So you want to enter the parking lot at the Town of Apex Utilities department...

Don't dare drive over FIVE miles per hour or enter on your skateboard, bicycle, rollerblades or scooter!

Seems like the Town has gone overboard a bit here...
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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Signs of discontent

Looks like the days of Mayor Weatherly's little band of "yes men" in Apex NC may be numbered. Lots of folks around town have discovered several of the Apex Town Council members mostly go along with whatever Weatherly wants when voting at Town Council meetings.

Maybe it's time to change some of the Town Council members to ones that think and vote for what their constituents want... ya think?
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That time of year again

It's that time of year again...

Leaves are turning, falling, piling up. Time for raking is here!
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