It's not surprising that Cary, N.C., calls itself the "Technology Town of North Carolina": 94 percent of Cary's citizenry is online, so that's where town officials decided to engage them. Cary recently launched an online community where residents can comment on proposed development activities and help guide how they evolve. Software from IBM enables citizens to go to the town's Web site, review information about a proposed project and share their suggestions and concerns about it as well as see what other people are saying. The feature will be offered on a number of projects that are subject to public hearings, including rezonings, comprehensive plan amendments and mixed-use sketch plans. While the online comments will always be available, town officials will also collect and present them to the town council and planning board as a case is considered. For a cost of $25,000 for one year of service, the Cary Planning Department can manage comments on up to 25 projects at once. To see an example, click here. To learn more, contact the planning department at 919-469-4082 or visit