County Zoning Proposal Favors Highway Development

Cape Charles Wave

December 3, 2013

Northampton County is holding public information meetings December 4 and 5 on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance. The changes do not apply to the Town of Cape Charles, but would impact Town residents and merchants.

The County wants to eliminate overlay districts, including the Town edge overlay intended to protect the entrance corridor to Cape Charles. The changes would create a new 2.5-mile Commercial District along Route 13 and Route 184 at  the Cape Charles stoplight.

Both the County and the Town are updating their comprehensive plans — the blueprints for community development, including economic development, education, and community services. The current comprehensive plans of both jurisdictions call for encouraging enterprise, development, and growth in towns. This would change to promote development on the highways outside of towns.

Northampton County Economic Director Charles McSwain acknowledges that both the County’s and the Town’s comprehensive plans call for driving commerce into towns and villages. “But the Comprehensive Plan is a living document,” he told the Wave, suggesting that it’s time to change it.

Meanwhile, the Cape Charles Planning Commission is reviewing the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and the Town Edge Overlay District, a product of the nearly forgotten 1991 Annexation Agreement between Cape Charles and Northampton County. But the Town Edge Overlay District will disappear if the new zoning ordinance is adopted. [Read more…]