OLD SCHOOL: Messages From and To the Mayor

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a message from Mayor Sullivan reprinted from the November 20 Town Gazette. It is followed by a message to the mayor from Old School Cape Charles.)

November 21, 2013


I am pleased to report that the Supreme Court of Virginia has rejected both petitions for appeal of the decisions rendered by the Northampton Circuit Court filed by Old School Cape Charles, et al. We are looking forward to the developer now moving ahead with the historic rehabilitation of the former school property into an asset that contributes to our economy.

I am hopeful that we can continue to move forward in improving our Town.

Thank you,



The wheels of justice grind slowly, and Old School Cape Charles LLC has not given up the fight to save Central Park property from the hands of a developer who would turn the largest public building in town into an apartment house.

Old School Cape Charles still has the option of requesting the Supreme Court to review the decision of the Writ Panel that rejected our appeals. The question of “standing” looms large in the rejection. Circuit Court Judge Revell Lewis ruled that a community group formed for the sole purpose of saving a public asset does not have standing to question the decision of Town Council. Judge Lewis also decided that he did not have jurisdiction over the case involving the sale. So Old School Cape Charles plans to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision of the panel.

Then there is the question of the Town staff’s ignoring Historic District Guidelines which state that a parking lot should not be allowed in front of the building. Madame Mayor, you have refused to identify the front of the building, but we believe that the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be able to locate the front even without your assistance.


The school developer, J. David McCormack, told the Historic District Review Board August 20 that according to his civil engineer, he has no other option but to build parking lots on the “side” and the “back” of the school. Mr. McCormack maintains that the “side” of the school faces south — which is the entrance to the building. Mr. McCormack has yet to get his historic tax credits, and we question whether he ever will, so long as he insists on crowding an asphalt parking lot around what obviously is the front of the building.

The question of low-income housing has also not gone away. IF (a very big word) Mr. McCormack actually were able to obtain historic tax credits and build his 17 one-bedroom rental apartments, he then would have the opportunity to discover that Cape Charles is not Richmond, not Petersburg, not Hopewell, and not Fredericksburg. The only chance to rent those “loft apartments” in Cape Charles would be under Section 8 subsidized housing. But McCormack told the Historic Board: “We don’t do any low income – we don’t want to detract from the neighborhood.”

The Town can expect to receive only one economic benefit from the apartment complex –- 17 water bills a month at $108 each for a total of $22,000 a year. Is that what you meant, Mayor Sullivan, when you wrote about converting the school “into an asset that contributes to our economy”?

Community Relations Spokesperson
Old School Cape Charles



4 Responses to “OLD SCHOOL: Messages From and To the Mayor”

  1. Marita Patterson on November 21st, 2013 5:41 am

    Enough. Can’t you folks find another project on which to expend your energy and money?

  2. Deborah Bender on November 21st, 2013 8:31 am

    No, Marita! This town is bent on allowing the destruction of the oldest stage and public building in this county. An apartment building in the park is stupid. My husband has lived here his entire life and we are totally against this giveaway. The people running this tiny town have gotten it over 10 million dollars in debt — and you really think they know what they are doing? I doubt you are from here, so you couldn’t possibly know what it feels like to have your town being destroyed and run into millions of dollars of debt by people who have no roots in this community and will probably move away when they are done destroying the town.

  3. Wayne Creed on November 21st, 2013 8:58 am

    “Big-government economics breeds crony capitalism. It’s corrupt, anything but neutral, and a barrier to broad participation in prosperity.” –Paul Ryan

    Small-town economics apparently is not much different. The lies, fraud, incompetence, malfeasance, all in the name of improving the town by lining pockets of third-rate circuit-riding carpet baggers frames the most grotesque and appalling abuse ever perpetrated on citizens of the Eastern Shore.

    Coming from the person who has driven the Town 10 million dollars into debt (again, who exactly has benefited from this abuse? Certainly not the blokes on Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe), makes the charade that much more rich.

    Oh, and rumors of OSCC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The fight for truth, justice, and inclusion has just begun. The Mayor’s obtuse language, couched in the letter, reminds me of Orwell’s indictment, “Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

    “Enough!” they said. “Never!” we say.

  4. Gabriel Southern on November 21st, 2013 1:07 pm

    Reading the news from afar, the Old School Cape Charles case reminds me of the “Kelo v. City of New London” case in Connecticut, where the city used eminent domain to take away land from home owners to give to private developers. The city spent nearly a decade contesting appeals from homeowners and eventually won in the U.S. Supreme Court. However, after the city’s legal victory, and after the city and state spent nearly $80 million dollars acquiring land to give to developers, the developers backed out of the project and today the land is still vacant.

    One of the attorneys who opposed the land giveaway noted that: “What cities should take from this is to run fleeing from what New London did and do economic development that is market-driven and incorporate properties of folks who are truly committed to their neighborhood and simply want to be a part of what happens.” Unfortunately, it appears that the town officials in Cape Charles have failed to heed that advice.