Hotel, Park Bathroom Appeals Challenge Historic Board
BY GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
February 15, 2013
Two appeals will be heard on rulings by the Cape Charles Historic District Review Board — one regarding Hotel Cape Charles, and the other a bathroom in Central Park.
Cape Charles Town Council will hear the appeal concerning Hotel Cape Charles 6 p.m. Thursday, February 21, during the regular council meeting at Saint Charles Parish Hall.
The hotel owners, David and Kathryn Gammino, are appealing the final decision of the Historic District Review Board.
The Review Board ruled last November 20 that the hotel as constructed failed to comply with the plans submitted and approved by the Board.
The hotel has not been granted a permanent certificate of occupancy. It is closed for the winter but due to reopen March 1.
Unless Town Council overturns the Historic District Review Board decision, the hotel will not receive permission to reopen.
In a 35-page submission to the Town, the Gamminos argue that the Review Board failed to follow the Cape Charles Historic District Guidelines. “The denial was based on subjective impressions rather than [the] Guidelines,” the Gamminos wrote.
The Gamminos’ letter to the Town may be read here.
Meanwhile, another appeal of the Review Board’s decision has been filed in Northampton County Circuit Court.
The Circuit Court appeal is over a decision by the Historic District Review Board to approve a bathroom design adjacent to the pergola in Central Park.
The bathroom is planned to duplicate the design of an existing sewage pump station north of the pergola.
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Local resident Donald Riley first appealed to Town Council last December 10, making the same argument as the owners of Hotel Cape Charles are now doing: that the Historic District Review Board’s decision was not in keeping with the Guidelines of the Historic District.
Riley’s court filing states: “The building that is being constructed in the park is the size, shape and style of a 1980s sewage pump station that was built in the park before the Historic District was established and therefore was exempt from the guidelines.
“The building is not in keeping with the character of the historic buildings in the area and does not include any of the elements that define the character of the neighborhood, which is a requirement of the guidelines.”
Riley is asking the court to find that the decision of the Historic District Review Board “was arbitrary and capricious and not in keeping with the Guidelines.”
Construction of the park bathroom was halted last week after the appeal was served on Mayor Dora Sullivan.
The bathroom appeal may be read here.