BE-LO BUILDING BROUGHT LOW (January 18, 2015) Mason Avenue's biggest eyesore is no more. The old Be-Lo grocery store, run out of business when Food Lion opened on the highway, got a mercy killing this past week as developer Patrick Hand cleared the area for a mixed-use building with commercial storefronts at ground level and condos upstairs. Also falling victim to Hand's development are 160 public parking places surrounding the old building. The town plans to lease parking space on railroad property a bit further walk to shops compared to the old lot. (Photo: Irene Munz)

Watchdog Citizens Keep up Pressure on Supervisors

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

January 19, 2015

With brisk winds, temperatures in the 30s, and ice forming outside, over 100 people nevertheless packed the Northampton County administration building January 13 for the first Board of Supervisors meeting of the new year. Many who came were anxious over the proposed countywide rezoning ordinance that has been the dominant issue for the past year.

During public comment time, civic activist Ken Dufty documented several Supreme Court cases where decisions by local government had been challenged, warning that “we don’t want to go there, but we will” unless the Supervisors back down on the proposed rezoning and come back to the table. Otherwise they will be on a “crash course with the double doors of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Supreme Court,” Dufty emphasized.

Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore Director Donna Bozza added that Supervisors must reject the countywide rezoning proposal and that “public trust has been jeopardized. Reconsider for the good of the public.”

Former County Planning Commissioner Martina Coker criticized the proposal as a ‘”travesty that does not serve the citizens of the county.”

Newly appointed Chairman Rick Hubbard then addressed the audience, saying that the Board of Supervisors intended to finish the work left to do on the rezoning, that they had more information to gather, and after they compiled it and completed the process, they would open it up to the public for review. He reiterated that at present not even the Supervisors know what the rezoning will be or how it will look. He also stated that after completion, he would like to see two information sessions to gather information and recommendations before returning to the review process.

Another public comment came from David Boyd, who questioned the necessity of the PSA (Public Service Authority) sewer project for the Cheriton area of Route 13. Boyd said the entire project had been “hijacked by special interests” and that in the end, the only thing that would be accomplished would be alleviating the “boondoggle” that is the Cape Charles wastewater plant. [CLICK to read Boyd’s commentary in the Wave.] [Read more…]

COMMENTARY: Time to Disband the PSA

By DAVID BOYD

January 19, 2015

It is time to disband the PSA.

Originally the PSA (Public Service Authority) was tasked with developing a plan to construct a sewer which would serve Riverside Hospital in Nassawadox, in hopes of keeping that facility in Northampton County. When it became obvious we were going to lose the hospital, the PSA lost its primary purpose. At that point, Northampton County and four towns — Cape Charles, Cheriton, Nassawadox, and Exmore — revamped the PSA to handle wastewater issues in those towns and the surrounding County. The PSA would build or take over in-place wastewater treatment facilities and manage the operations and maintenance of them.

Of interest in this regard is the fact that Eastville, the County seat of Northampton County, chose not to join the PSA. Then the citizens of Cheriton found out what the monthly fee would be to treat their wastewater and they asked to be removed from the plan. Nassawadox and Exmore are no longer included in the plan in its present format either. So, this appears to have evolved into a plan to construct a pipeline to help bail Cape Charles out from its boondoggle of an overdesigned sewer plant, at the expense of Northampton County taxpayers.

The perpetrators of the PSA plan. however, claim the purpose is to attract business along Route 13, which contradicts the intent of the County Comprehensive Plan.

Since then, the PSA has spent more than $130,000 in grants and tax money with nothing to show for it. On September 16, 2013, the PSA held an informational meeting about a proposed tax district to pay for sewerage for commercial properties. At that meeting, more than 90 percent of the speakers said that they did not want a sewer pipe from Route 13 to the Cape Charles wastewater plant, or the related tax district. Immediately following those comments, the PSA voted to spend $70,000 for engineering plans for a pipe to the Cape Charles plant. Someone was not listening. [Read more…]

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WAYNE CREED Goes to a Town Council Meeting

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the absence of other reporting staff, Cape Charles’ most acerbic social critic, Wave columnist Wayne Creed, has recently donned a reportorial hat and dutifully recorded the actions of Northampton’s Board of Supervisors, which can be read in the news columns here and here. But in the column below, the indomitable Mr. Creed returns to his roots with an opinionated but highly informative commentary on Cape Charles Town Council’s first meeting of the new year.

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

January 19, 2015

With Christmas decorations ripped down, the sidewalks dark and lonely, the night cold and wet, the lights were turned on inside the Town Civic Center January 15 in order to conduct the first Town Council Regular Meeting of the New Year. Aside from two members of news media (Cape Charles Wave and Eastern Shore Post), only two other constituents braved the raw weather to attend. Mayor Proto himself arrived nearly 30 minutes late.

Town Council voted to request the Virginia Port Authority to carry over to the new year several grants previously awarded for harbor improvements. This includes $645,000 for offshore breakwaters and $185,000 for a wave attenuator and dock improvements. The VPA has altered the terms to a 75%-25% match, making the proposal more fiscally attractive. Local matching funds must still be identified for these projects. Councilman Steve Bennett aggressively questioned Harbormaster Smitty Dize in what appeared to be a leading manner, attempting to get Mr. Dize to acknowledge, or at least provide a modicum of actual requirements that might justify the request for funds.

“Are there no plans to spend the money (we have)? No contracts have been awarded?”

Mr. Dize only responded, “I’m with you,” and “the VPA likes Cape Charles. We spend their money.”

The motion to have Mayor Proto write a letter requesting the funds passed unanimously (Councilman Wendell was absent). There was no discussion by Council regarding who would actually write, edit, or approve the letter Mayor Proto is required to sign. [Read more…]

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ON THE TELEPHONE POLE

Spring Classes at Arts Enter School of Dance

Time to get your dance and movement on, as the spring semester begins at Arts Enter School of Dance. Looking for a different kind of workout? Try our 60 minute high-energy Advanced Modern or Contemporary Jazz classes featuring a warm up, a toning session, and 45 minutes of original choreography by Amy Watkins. Drawing on all types of musical influences, Miss Amy’s choreography is always low impact, but fun for both new and experienced dancers. [Read more…]

SATURDAY 1/24: Play Auditions at Arts Enter

Arts Enter will be holding auditions for “The Exciting Adventures of an Effervescent Elf” on Saturday, January 24, at 10 a.m.. There are several roles for male and female, ages 7 to 16. [Read more…]

Publish Your Event in the Cape Charles Wave

Holding an event of interest to the general public in or near Cape Charles? Send an email to
[email protected] and your event will be listed in ON THE TELEPHONE POLE. Events will normally be publicized the same week they occur. Deadline for submission is the preceding Saturday.


FRIDAY 1/23: Free Lecture on Traumatic Brain Injury at ESCC

“Traumatic Brain Injury” is this week’s free 90-minute talk sponsored by the Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, January 23, in the Lecture Hall of the Eastern Shore Community College, in Melfa. Bob Paschall will talk about the political and social implications of traumatic brain injury. Paschall practices neurology on the Shore.

Beekeeping Class for Beginners

A beginners’ beekeeping class will be held in February at the Chamber of Commerce in Melfa.  Sponsored by the Beekeepers’ Guild of the Eastern Shore, the class will meet on two consecutive Saturdays, February 7 and February 14, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. [Read more…]


Town Meeting Question: Who Will Pay for Spending?

Northampton District 1 Supervisor Granville Hogg conducts Town Meeting January 8 at Kiptopeke School. (Photo: Donna Bozza)

Northampton District 1 Supervisor Granville Hogg conducts Town Meeting January 8 at Kiptopeke School. (Photo: Donna Bozza)

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

January 12, 2015

A crowd of close to 60 people braved the frigid cold January 8 to attend District 1 Supervisor Granville Hogg’s Town Hall Meeting, held at Kiptopeke Elementary. Following the last few months of intense opposition to the proposed zoning ordinance changes, those in attendance were anxious for any further information regarding this as well as other items being undertaken by the Board of Supervisors.

The first item on Mr. Hogg’s agenda was the Public Service Authority Southern Node Project. Hogg reiterated many concerns that have been voiced after the Northern Node part of the project was rejected and focus was turned on the Southern Node: Is there a legitimate need for it, and is there a decent business plan in place that will justify it? And — just who will pay for it?

Martina Coker questioned whether the project is really going to create commercial growth, or will have the opposite effect. An example she used was the new Veterinary Clinic in the Food Lion Shopping Center, which had already been executed based on an established cost estimation and business plan, and whether it would be fair now to burden them, and future businesses, with an excessive new cost.

Along these lines, Roberta Kellam argued that since wastewater has already been approved in these areas, and existing septic systems are working, there is no indication that this project will create new jobs.

Former Supervisor Spencer Murray noted, ‘This is basically a build it and they will come scenario. Sensitive growth is good — the question is how you get it.”

The next topic addressed by Mr. Hogg was the proposed construction of a new Emergency Medical Services facility. The Board of Supervisors is looking three options:

· Fully restore the Machipango Middle School facility, with an estimated price tag of $3.8 to $5.5 million;

· Or, acquire the existing EMS property now being leased, and build onto that. Estimated cost, depending on the size of the new garage, would be $500,000 to $600,000.

· Or, construct the new EMS facility at the existing school bus garage in Eastville. Again, cost estimates are closer to the $600,000 figure. [Read more…]

1 Comment

LETTER: Proposed Rezoning Betrays Property Owners

January 12, 2015

DEAR EDITOR,

I am writing to add my voice publicly to those who have already spoken and written their objections to the way in which Northampton County’s new proposed rezoning is being handled. I was a participant in several of the citizen workshops held when the present zoning was being reviewed, and am appalled at the way this is being handled now.

I am an elected public servant, having served on the Eastville Town Council for over 20 years, but I write this as a private property owner and business owner. I sent an earlier version of this letter as an email to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors in late March 2014. I received no reply from any of them.

Everything about the way this matter is being handled makes me suspicious that it is being driven by interests that DO NOT have the interests of Northampton County citizens and taxpayers in mind.

I, as a resident, property owner, rental home owner, bed and breakfast owner, and taxpayer, feel betrayed. I understand a desire on local government’s part to do something, anything, to improve the economic situation, but this is not the answer.

Eastville, on a much smaller scale, of course, has gone through the same process of Comprehensive Plan review and updating of its zoning text and map, and it was a steep learning curve for us on the town council at the time. County staff was fantastic,  helping us in every way they could, including bringing in planning and zoning experts from as far away as Colorado. Zoning is complicated and doesn’t interest everyone. But whether you care or not, your community’s zoning does affect you and your property values. This proposed county rezoning is opening a Pandora’s Box. [Read more…]

Here’s Who Was Behind the Crab Pot Drop

Dropping of the Crab Pot promises to become a Cape Charles New Year's Eve tradition, thanks to a lot of hard work. (Photo: Cape Charles Gazette)

Dropping of the Crab Pot promises to become a Cape Charles New Year’s Eve tradition, thanks to a lot of hard work by volunteers. (Photo: Cape Charles Gazette)

Reprinted from the Cape Charles Gazette

January 12, 2015

The Cape Charles Town Harbor hosted the first Cape Charles Dropping of the Crab Pot on December 31, 2014, at 10 p.m. on Mason Avenue. What started as an idea for a small gathering for New Year’s Eve evolved into an exciting event with over 500 residents and visitors braving the cold temperatures for this inaugural event! The attendees enjoyed live music by Loaded Goat, a local band on the Eastern Shore, along with hot apple cider and hot chocolate served by the Cape Charles Volunteer Fire Company to bring in 2015 with a bang!

The preparations began a week prior to the event with the construction of a 6’x6’ “crab
pot.” The crab was illustrated by Rachael Taylor, cut out of metal by Sheldon Williams,
and painted by Kristin Lewis to give the crab a lifelike feel in dedication to our local
watermen. The pot was wrapped in fencing and Christmas lights with a “2015” sign made by Andy
Buchholz/Eastern Shore Signs, and built to light up Mason Avenue with full effect. The
crab pot also featured laser lights and a smoke machine to add to the effect,
compliments of Shane Hayward. [Read more…]

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PHOTO ESSAY: Cold Beach Day Yields Rewards

FrozenBay.
By GERTRAUD FENDLER

January 11, 2015

Nice cold day — yes!

Staying home? No way! Just had to go to the beach. . . [Read more…]

5 Comments

New Town Planner Has Extensive Job History

LAWRENCE DIRE

LAWRENCE DIRE

CAPE CHARLES WAVE

January 10, 2014

The Cape Charles Gazette has announced that Lawrence DiRe will be the new town planner effective February 2. DiRe replaces Rob Testerman, who resigned in October to work for the town of Kitty Hawk, N.C.

The Gazette provided no further information, but DiRe has posted his full bio on linkedin.com. According to linkedin and other websites, DiRe is 51 years old and has connections with the Eastern Shore. He has lived in Delmar, Delaware, just north of the Maryland state line on Route 13. From 2013-2014 he was an advisor for Delmarva Education Foundation in Salisbury, Maryland.

DiRe has worked in a number of jobs in several states. From 2009-2014 he was an instructor at Elmhurst College in Chicago. From 2007-2009 he was chief administrative officer and treasurer for the village of Berkeley, Illinois. From 2004-2007 he was town administrator for the town of St. Pauls, North Carolina. From 2002-2004 he was town manager for LaCrosse, Virginia, about 110 miles west of Norfolk. Earlier he interned for the town of Leesburg, Virginia. [Read more…]

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