Planning Commission Recommends Allowing Old School to Become Apartment Building

Wayne Creed of Old School Cape Charles addresses Planning Commission at Thursday’s public hearing. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

July 27, 2012

The Cape Charles Planning Commission yesterday voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning of the Old Cape Charles High School, adjoining parking lot, and basketball court from Open Space to R-1 residential.

The Planning Commission also voted 3-1 to recommend approval of a Conditional Use Permit to allow Echelon Resources, a private developer, to convert the school into a 17-unit apartment building located in an area of mostly single-family homes.

The votes were preceded by a public hearing, at which all the members of the public who spoke opposed the rezoning and conditional use.

Lenora Mitchell said the rezoning and the conditional use would “destroy the character of the neighborhood.” She noted that the basketball court next to the school is a community asset used across racial, age, ethnic and social lines. Under the terms of the contract signed by the Town, the basketball court will become a private parking lot for the apartment house.

John Peterman, an adjacent property owner and part-time resident, said, “We had no idea this would happen when we bought our property. We would not have bought it had we known.”

Wayne Creed, president of Old School Cape Charles, LLC, asked, “What happened that we are converting a public asset to a private asset? Why? Because we are in the Historic District we are eligible for government grants and loans and tax credits to improve the building, but those will be going to a private developer instead of the people of Cape Charles.”

Creed reminded the Planning Commission that the Historic District Review Board had rejected the proposal to convert the school into an apartment house as inappropriate.

Creed said the park has always been open space and the school has always been part of the park. “History shows that they were always together,” he said.

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