Scandinavian Scandal in the Historic District

Cape Charles Wave

July 16, 2012

This town is a little bit business-unfriendly. That’s my observation, anyway, as someone who’s lived here all of two years.

And not just business-unfriendly – it’s also more than a little bit improvement-unfriendly.

You just have to jump through so many hoops to get permission to do anything.

Latest case in point: The Cape Charles Hotel. Two years ago, the hotel had shut down and was a blight on Mason Avenue. Obviously, there’s no town rule against empty storefronts – we’ve got plenty of them.

The old hotel was particularly ugly, in my humble opinion, with its orange-salmon paint job. But there’s no law against ugly, apparently.

So – along comes an investor, buys the hotel at bank auction, pumps who knows how many million $$ into it, and opens up an elegant, tony boutique facility that is, or should be, the pride of the Town.

And now come the complaints. Folks don’t like the plate glass dividers on the balconies. Looks too Scandinavian for the Historic District.

At last week’s Town Council meeting, Town Planner Tom Bonadeo reported that the hotel is not in compliance with the architectural guidelines approved for it. There were supposed to be wrought iron partitions, and instead we got plate glass.

And it sounds like the Town’s planning to do something about it.

Meanwhile, as a property owner who does vacation rentals, I think about tourists’ first impression of Cape Charles – which is not Mason Avenue, but Randolph Avenue. As they drive into town, that’s what they see first. [Read more…]