Town Businesses Urge Halt to Highway Sewer Line

Cape Charles Wave

August 23, 2013

Just as Town and County authorities were running full speed ahead on plans to pipe sewage from Route 13 into Cape Charles, the Town Business Association has asked Mayor Dora Sullivan “to put the matter on hold.”

Vocal members of the Cape Charles Business Association had already told Mayor Sullivan what they thought of the plan at their meeting July 23. But now Association President George Proto has put it in writing.

“There does not appear to be any significant benefit to the Town of Cape Charles from the proposed connection,” Proto wrote the mayor August 19. Instead, “There does appear to be a potential long term downside for the town in terms of the availability of future capacity, even with plant expansion, to contain demand as the town expands through the build out of Bay Creek and as more properties in town are renovated and occupied.”

Business Association Vice President Andy Buchholtz put it more bluntly to the mayor last month: Providing sewerage to the highway “totally promotes growth on [Route] 13,” he said. “The County should be helping drive business into town.”

President Proto listed the following reasons not to pipe county sewage to Cape Charles:

— Based on discussions with Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek, the reduction in sewer charges to Town residents “is believed to be minimal”;

— No technical benefits (such as reduction in noxious odors from the treatment plant) have been identified;

— Accepting sewage from out of town “might cause us to run out of capacity even with expansion,” which “could unduly burden future generations financially”;

— A more cost-effective solution for the County is “to design an expandable county system that could better meet future needs”;

— And finally, a survey of 64 property owners on Route 13 “showed minimal interest (5 yes’s and 4 maybe’s out of 64 surveyed).”

“Given these concerns the business association urges the town council to put the matter of the PSA [Public Service Authority] line on hold and not to proceed with further work which would commit the town and expend county funds,” Proto wrote.


Putting the matter “on hold” would require a reversal by Town Council. The Town has already assured the PSA in writing that it is ready to accept sewage if the PSA builds a pipeline. Every member of Town Council has endorsed the plan with the exception of Council member Frank Wendell, a local businessman who strongly opposes it.

Bob Panek wears two hats – he is both the assistant town manager as well as the chairman of the PSA. As such, he has promoted the plan from both ends. Northampton County Administrator Katie Nunez is also strongly in favor of the sewer pipe, as is newly hired County Director of Economic Development Charles McSwain.

Until now, the only persons in authority opposing the sewer plan have been Frank Wendell and Granville Hogg. Mr. Hogg was a PSA member, but after voicing opposition his term was not renewed. He subsequently announced his candidacy for County Board of Supervisors, opposing Chairman Willie Randall.

At a joint meeting of the County Planning Commission and the Town Planning Commission August 19, County Planning Commissioner Roberta Kellam said her commission had not been consulted about the PSA and therefore had provided no input to the plans.



3 Responses to “Town Businesses Urge Halt to Highway Sewer Line”

  1. Wayne Creed on August 23rd, 2013 3:54 pm

    The entire idea of Cape Charles taking on the wastewater plant, without competent personnel, is becoming more and more ironic. In the end, the debacle of building the plant in Cape Charles was nothing more than an infantile tantrum, based on a “Come Here” fear and inferiority complex. Panek and Sullivan opted for this approach only to clutch power; they feared that the big lion (Furlong) would devour them if he was to control the flow of fecal matter in and out of Cape Charles. Building the plant was a de facto message from the Come Here power base to the indigenous populace. Placing it next to the Rosenwald School, disgracing and defiling it both visually and olfactorily, was also a message to the African American community. This hubris has left them a bit exposed (the emperor wears no clothes), and rage against the machine is building in the streets. The Forces of Evil in this bozo nightmare have to be feeling it too.

  2. Deborah Bender on August 24th, 2013 8:19 am

    It will be interesting to see if the mayor stops this plan or if she totally disregards the citizens and the businesses that are pleading with the town to just stop and think about what they are doing.

  3. Gene Kelly on August 25th, 2013 5:54 pm

    Strongly opposed to this sewer line! Let’s get our in-town sewer system to function properly first!