By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
March 10, 2014
“If written properly, a backyard chicken ordinance is feasible for Cape Charles. It boils down to whether or not the Town wants it,” Town Planner Rob Testerman told the Planning Commission March 4. Commissioners agreed that Testerman should draft a suggested ordinance to allow keeping backyard chickens under controlled conditions. At present, the town’s ban on agricultural activities in residential areas contains no exception for chickens.
“Backyard (urban) chickens are allowed in residential districts in various localities across the country, state, and Eastern Shore, from city settings such as Madison, WI; Chicago, IL; and Brooklyn, NY; to small rural towns like Onancock, Chincoteague, and Eastville,” Testerman reported. “They are allowed on lots as small as 3,000 square feet, or in some cases the minimum lot is much larger,” he said. Two towns that do not allow backyard chickens are Exmore and Wachapreague, he noted.
Testerman reviewed factors including noise, odor, disease, predators, lot sizes, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act impact, and fire concerns, and said that a chicken ordinance could be enforced in the same manner as other zoning ordinances.
What about turkeys, goats, or pigs? “The simple answer,” Testerman said, “is that if Town Council directs staff to research any one of those things, staff will research it, and present findings to the Planning Commission for a recommendation to Council.”
The Planning Commission asked staff to prepare a draft ordinance for the April meeting that will be a starting point for specific requirements. At that time, the Planning Commission may discuss or change any of the specific requirements and regulations.
Town staff has been discussing the feasibility of a community survey to better gauge the feelings of the property owners. Logistics and possible costs need to be determined before proceeding, Testerman said.
After gaining public input and modifying the upcoming draft, a public hearing could be scheduled. [Read more...]
CAPE CHARLES WAVE
March 6, 2014
Cape Charles voters will have a choice for each of the four offices to be filled in the May 6 elections: there are two candidates for mayor and 6 candidates for the three positions open on Town Council.
In alphabetical order, running for mayor are George Proto and Frank Wendell. Running for Town Council are Chris Bannon, Deborah Bender, Charles “Sambo” Brown, David Gay, Lenora “Lynn” Mitchell-Fields, and Joan Natali.
George Proto, 68, and his wife Nancy moved to town in 2011 from Poughkeepsie, NY, built a house near the water in the Historic District, and started making “Sweet Annie’s” chocolates, sold in local gourmet food stores.
This is Proto’s first foray into local politics: he has never run for office and never served on a town board or commission. However, he was appointed president of the Cape Charles Business Association following the resignation of Dave Burden.
Frank Wendell, 56, was born in Cape Charles, and other than time away for college has lived here ever since. He is president of Wendell Distributing Co., Inc., the town’s second-largest business.
Wendell is a sitting member of Town Council, where he was elected in 2012 following a 12-year hiatus from town politics. Before that, he served six consecutive terms as a town councilman, from 1988-2000. He has observed that when he joined Town Council in 1988 he was the youngest member, and 26 years later he remains the youngest member. Wendell has one daughter, a town resident who will attend Virginia Tech in the fall.
TOWN COUNCIL RACE [Read more...]
March 10, 2014
We are writing to provide an update on some changes within the Stage Door Gallery, the visual arts facet of Arts Enter Cape Charles. From our humble beginning on Strawberry Street 14 years ago, to our growth into the beautifully renovated space on Mason Avenue in 2007, the gallery continues to shine thanks to our dedicated patrons, artists, and volunteers.
However, it is with sadness that Arts Enter has accepted the resignation of gallery manager Ellen Moore. Both she and her predecessor, Ebba TinWin, were instrumental to supporting the gallery’s role in the community.
In 2011, Arts Enter was pleased to honor Ellen with the first Living the Arts Award. The wording on her plaque read: “In appreciation for her unwavering commitment to keep the visual arts alive as Chairman of the Stage Door Gallery, where she has invested her dynamic talents to ensure high quality, an elegant ambiance, and continuing success.”
Our gratitude for Ellen’s five years of volunteerism remains, and we sincerely wish her the best in her future endeavors.
Arts Enter would also like to express our thanks to the many artists who give their time to the Gallery. For those continuing to volunteer—Anne Bois, Michael Flanagan, Marilyn Tapscott, Vera Miller, Evy Chapman, Gertraud Fendler, Eden Ertle, Victor Abrahamian, Keith Fox, and Vanessa Cox — we thank you. For those who have stepped down to pursue other endeavors — Mary Anne Clark and Marty Burgess — we thank you. We treasure and respect the generous and talented people who have helped shape this volunteer-driven organization. [Read more...]
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following editorial is reprinted by permission from the Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore newsletter, ShoreLine.
March 10, 2014
Those who read ShoreLine regularly know that we’ve taken a strong interest in Northampton County’s revision of its zoning ordinance. The editorial board is unanimously agreed that the ordinance needs revision — and we’re unanimously agreed that the County’s conduct of that revision has been so poor that it has raised the spectre of embarrassing legal action.
What’s been wrong with the process? First, the public has been effectively shut out. There has been no informed public involvement in developing the revision. The so-called public information meetings on the draft revision held in December were virtually meaningless because no presentations actually informed the public about the draft ordinance. Maps were displayed and staffers, available to answer the public’s questions, were more than willing to expound upon minor details. This process tended to obfuscate the real changes. In fact, without substantive information, it was hard to know what questions to ask.
As ShoreLine goes to press at the end of February, two more public information meetings are scheduled. It remains to be seen if they will be any more informative than the December meetings.
Second, the Board of Supervisors bypassed the Planning Commission and tried to give the comprehensive planning process to a hand-picked ad hoc committee chaired by Bill Parr, a local Realtor. When it was pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan must be completed by the Planning Commission, the ad hoc charter from the Board of Supervisors was limited to the economic development part of the Comprehensive Plan. This final committee report was largely ignored and got little public attention. Nevertheless it appears to have had a lot of back-channel influence on the draft revision of the zoning ordinance.
The county has invested a lot of money and effort to develop a professional Planning Commission. It is irresponsible not to use that expertise for a complicated and technical zoning revision.
Third, Development Director Charles McSwain’s claim of consistency with the Comprehensive Plan notwithstanding, the draft revision is not consistent with the existing Comprehensive Plan approved several years ago — and the Planning Commission has neither completed the state Code-required five-year revision of the Plan nor presented recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. [Read more...]
By WAYNE CREED
March 10, 2014
It was reported in an opinion piece last week in the Wave that the 501(c)(3) Eastern Shorekeeper has decided to enter the fray over proposed Northampton County zoning issues, essentially using a petition and a veiled legal threat to force County Supervisors to follow the “intent” of the Comprehensive Plan. I understand the trepidation, but attempting to tie officials to a document that is outmoded the day it is completed does not seem like an effective approach.
Although required, Comprehensive Plans are only a guide, and the State does not require land use and zoning decisions to be based on, or even consistent with them (they carry no legal intent). They are inherently too old, too ignored, or too irrelevant to ever be of any practical use — attempting to apply them to dynamic systems is the ultimate exercise in futility.
At a base level, I agree that engaging multiple stakeholders in a collaborative process to define problems and find solutions is critical. Yet, the proposed zoning has been available since October, and there have been several public hearings. There has been plenty of time for public comment (as well as private jawboning).
The fact of the matter is that the current zoning map is a rat’s nest that needs serious attention. It seems any time the County attempts to do anything that might possibly disturb the status quo in terms of development, the barbarians storm the gate, insisting that the County remain frozen in 1955.
Has the “proposed” new zoning code gone so far off into the weeds that protests are fully warranted? What is this really about: the environment, stopping sprawl, stopping development? If we could choose, where would we start? Playing devil’s advocate, we have to ask, “What do we really want?”
Let’s start with maintaining our rural character, promoting smart, sustainable growth, while doing all we can to keep air and water quality as high as possible. I know it’s the same old boring trope, but clean air and clean water are our most essential natural resources, and economically fundamental to our aquaculture industry, and those that still work on the water.
Given our proximity and effect on the two waters, neither is guaranteed. We have to work at it. If new zoning increases population and development activity (as seems intended), the threats to these resources increase; if there is a concern, it is the appearance that the County is taking a laise-faire approach to mitigating it. [Read more...]
March 10, 2014
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days. In 2006, Bill and Jan Neville interviewed the late Capt. Bill Evans. A grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities enabled 15 interviews to be transcribed, and the Historical Society has made this one available for readers of the Wave. All the transcriptions may be read at the Cape Charles Museum.)
Excerpts from a March 31, 2006, interview by Bill and Jan Neville of Ferryboat Capt. Bill Evans and his wife, Grace.
I don’t know if this is right or not, but I call the Pocahontas, the Princess Anne, the DelMarva, I call those the ferries. And then the Elisha Lee and the Virginia Lee and the Maryland, I called them steamers. But I guess they are all technically steamers. I thought these were diesel engines and that they didn’t run on steam. Were they coal fired?
Oil fired. No coal fired ferries. There was that heavy oil. You had to heat it to get it to burn. They had to heat it to pump it into the boat. The boat had tanks on there which was enough to carry the boat one day, maybe two days. But in these tanks they had heaters.
What was the most curious thing that ever happened to you?
[Grace]: During the hurricane you know he lived at where the State Park is.
I remember that. I thought you all had the neatest house down there.
[Grace]: There was a swimming hole and all that. They told him everything was all right, but he had nine trees on his house.
Nine trees. That was Hurricane Hazel. They told me everything was all right and I got home and there were nine trees!
[Grace]: His wife took the kids and brought them to Cape Charles.
I have a picture I want to show you and see if you can recognize some of the people in it. Looks like some kind of dignitaries.
That’s Nolan Chandler, and that’s Frank Belote. And that’s Captain George Daniels. That’s me. Might be Kirwin Forrest there. That’s Ed Hockaday. Harvey King. That’s Ernest Ewell. He was a ferry captain, too. Might have been when they re-commissioned the Princess Anne.
I guess that slowed her down.
You want to know something, made her faster. Lighter, the stern was down further in the water and we made better time. They made them faster.
So they lengthened the Princess Anne, the Pocahontas and the DelMarva.
[Grace]: That’s what we wanted to remember to tell them about, when they cut them in half.
That’s what we’re talking about. Did you get to go up there when they cut them in half?
I did one of them. I went up there for the Pocahontas.
I would remember coming home from college at Christmas time and it would just happen that you would end up on the same ferry with a lot of other people coming home from other colleges. It was like a reunion on the boat. I kind of miss the ferry. It’s a lot classier than riding across the bridge.
[Grace]: I don’t know why they couldn’t keep one ferry, just as a tourist attraction. [Read more...]
By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
March 3, 2014
Cape Charles Town Council voted unanimously February 28 to oversee the spending of $427,000 on harbor improvements for South Port Investors’ Cape Charles Yacht Center. South Port has agreed to pay 25 percent of the cost if the Virginia Port Authority will fund the remainder. No local tax money would be used.
The work includes construction of a 235-foot floating dock/wave attenuator, 100 feet of steel sheet piling, and extensive excavating, grading, stone, and concrete work. Meanwhile, construction of a two-story apartment/storeroom is nearing completion at the Yacht Center, and a travel lift to haul boats is planned to be installed in early April, when South Port partner Eyre Baldwin said they hope to have the boatyard open.
The harbor improvements project is dependent on winning an “Aid to Local Ports” grant from the VPA. The grant application will compete with other requests for a portion of the $1 million available. In response to a question from Council member Frank Wendell, Town Manager Heather Arcos said that other pending grants for the town harbor would not be reduced by the new grant application.
A year ago in January the town and South Port agreed on a more ambitious $1 million project for wave attenuation for the inner harbor. South Port was going to pay half the cost, with the remainder to come from a VPA grant. However, South Port subsequently pulled out of the deal.
South Port later developed the new plan outlined above, but instead of asking the town to sponsor the VPA application, it asked the county. According to South Port Chief Financial Officer Dan Brown (see letter above), the county did not inform South Port until February 26 “of their decision to abort application sponsorship efforts.” Only then did South Port ask the town for help. The application deadline was March 1, requiring an urgent Council meeting with only seven hours to spare. [Read more...]
ON THE TELEPHONE POLE
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is seeking volunteers to help plant thousands of native trees and plants along stream banks in Northampton and Accomack counties. Native trees, shrubs, and grasses planted along streams trap and filter runoff pollution, reduce erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and improve the health of local waterways. Re-establishing such natural pollution filters along waterways is among the key strategies of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the federal-state plan to restore streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. These Eastern Shore stream plantings are funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. [Read more...]
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.
“As Time Goes By,” a discussion on how our perception of time changes as we age, will be presented 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, in the Lecture Hall of the Eastern Shore Community College, 29300 Lankford Hwy., Melfa. [Read more...]
CAPE CHARLES WAVE
March 3, 2014
Cape Charles resident and Broadwater Academy senior Katie Wendell has been selected to the 2014 All-Metro Conference Girls Basketball Team.
Consisting of nine high schools in the Tidewater area, the Metro Conference selects a 12-member all-star team at the end of each season.
Katie was co-captain of her team and played the point guard position. She led the Lady Vikings in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game. She also was the Metro Conference’s second-leading scorer this season.
Two of Katie’s season highlights were a 32-point performance against Stonebridge Academy, and scoring 8 points in the fourth quarter in a come-from-behind victory over Northampton High School. The Lady Vikings finished the season with an 11-9 record.
On defense, Katie finished fourth in the Metro Conference with 3.5 steals per game.
A three-sport standout at Broadwater, Katie has played volleyball, basketball, and softball each year since 6th grade. She credits her participation in the Northampton County Parks and Recreation Department youth soccer and basketball programs for helping her develop the fundamentals of successful athletics. Katie especially encourages young girls to take advantage of the co-ed format. Strengthening their game against male competition will reap benefits later when they play on all-girl teams in junior and senior high school, she says. [Read more...]
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