By WAYNE CREED
December 17, 2013
As was reported in the Wave, the Cape Charles Planning Commission continues to mull ideas around Route 13 development. This is a critical role at a critical time, and could be argued is their most important task. There have been comments that Cape Charles is already “business ready” and that development should somehow only be directed towards the Town. I’m not convinced a waste water plant and six policemen constitute “business ready” — the reality is that the County will eventually develop outside of town; it has to. It is important that Cape Charles stays engaged so that we can have a voice in how this development takes place.
Unfortunately, the folks in Cape Charles running point on this issue have extremely limited and somewhat backwards notions of just what development means. As usual, they defer to antiquated, sprawl-promoting plans that include hotels and strip malls. In the end, these industries provide little economic boost, and destroy rural character in the process.
Sustainable rural development must become the fundamental principle which underpins our development goals — a multifaceted approach to managing our environmental, economic, and social resources for the long term. The hope is to reverse out-migration, combat poverty, stimulate employment and equality of opportunity, and ultimately improve rural well-being in not just Cape Charles but also the County.
The focus and framework should be around agriculture, medium-scale industries, rural services, and tourism. These policies should promote development which sustains the Eastern Shore’s rural landscapes by proactively protecting natural resources, biodiversity, and our cultural identity. In other words, meet the needs of the present without compromising the Shore’s future. [Read more…]