By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave
April 20, 2015
The Northampton Board of Supervisors approved the FY 2016 budget April 14, which included a $320,000 increase in school funding as well as a 2% cost of living increase for county workers. To accommodate these increases, staff and operations cuts have been put in motion, including the elimination of one county building inspector, and a code enforcement official reduced to part time status.
There will be a tax rate increase, but the Board kept it to less than 1 cent ($0.6805) per $100 of the assessed value for real estate. Personal property taxes (including aircraft) will be raised to $3.90 (up from $3.85) per $100 assessed value. The vote to approve the budget was 4-1, with Supervisor Oliver Bennett voting no as show of protest against cutting county jobs (just prior to an election cycle).
Although the budget approval was the most pressing part of the agenda, real estate and special use permits for several high profile projects took front and center. At the forefront were two projects by Eyre Baldwin. The first was for a Conference Center/Retreat at the barns of the historically restored Mimosa Farm. The retreat plans to have up to 10 guest rooms. The parcel is currently zoned Agricultural/Rural Business and sits on over 17 acres of land. Cela Burge of the law firm Turner and Turner, representing Baldwin, told the Board that “using the barn meets the goals of the Comp Plan, is a low-impact special use, and is a quality rural business.” She said that “we have gone as far as we can go on this project” without approval from the Health Department, but in a “chicken and egg” scenario, the Health Department would not do anything until there was an approved use for the parcel.
During public comments, Elizabeth Dodd of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce said, “This will bring vendors and business to the county . . . bringing in people from outside the county; this is an historic venue that will be perfect for hosting distinctive events.”
“There has been a crying need for a product of this nature,” added Joan Prescott of Eastville. “This is an adequate and lovely facility . . . travel and tourism will benefit from this lovely property . . . it will bring in high quality, low-impact groups.”
Carol Evans of the Chamber said, “This property has been impeccably, historically restored . . . it will add to our tax base, and is the kind of sustainable business we need in the county . . . that will respect our historic environment.”
Applicant Baldwin stated that he and his companies have been trying to bring opportunities to Northampton County, but were always being told by the county to hold off. “Over the years, we have spent $10 million to get things done here . . . and yet, we are always told to just wait, that the county is going to change the zoning. We are in such a time, we need to get things done with a ‘Yes.’ It hurts the little guy, the guy that wants to make a hustle parking cars or shucking oysters . . . it hurts local planners and photographers and musicians. How can we learn to say yes? Help me, help you save the economy.” [Read more…]
By WAYNE CREED
April 20, 2015
On this day, April 16, 2015, the Cape Charles Town Council met for its Regular Meeting, and Mayor George Proto announced it to be National Proclamation Day. Town Council then proceeded to the business of approving several new proclamations, including National Safe Boating Week Proclamation, National Police Week Proclamation, Building Safety Month Proclamation, National Public Works Week Proclamation and Municipal Clerks Week Proclamation. After each proclamation was approved, Mayor Proto read every word, every line in its entirety. If the CIA ever finds that they need a new, cutting edge torture procedure to use on terrorists, Proto may have just come across it for them. Half-way through proclamation recitations, even the most hardened individual would divulge any information just to make it stop.
This meeting was the first time new Town Manager Brent Manuel was in attendance proper; however it was Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek that did all the talking. During his report on the Cape Charles Community Trail, Panek seemed firm on following the precedent he set on previous adventures such as the overpriced and underperforming, yet exquisitely malodorous wastewater system, using a finely honed skillset of naiveté and hubris to once again drag hapless Cape Charles down the rabbit hole of benightedness.
During his report to Council, Panek informed them that the $95,000 engineering study was a teeny bit off. That is, after receiving actual bids on the work, the cost would be $350,000 more than was stated in the engineering study. There is no grant money available to make up the difference, so in typical Cape Charles fashion, the plan is to cut corners by sacrificing citizen safety. Just as the town was too cheap to place warning signs at the beach, and the lack of those signs led to the tragic drowning of a child last summer, they now plan to just use half the amount of lights to illuminate the trail at night. Of course, once someone gets raped or murdered, and the publicity might begin to affect the amount of cash being stuffed into the tourist tills, the Town will then add the additional lighting.
On the bright side, Chief Pruitt did display his new chest video camera, so I guess we can all sleep well knowing that bit of technology is now in place.
As a note, the firm that produced the engineering study for the trail (handpicked by Panek and Co.) is the same one the town used to design our magnificent series of Finger Lakes (Lake Cape Charles) that surround Central Park. A question still lurking: while the Mayor was handing out all these proclamations, where’s the one for National Ineptitude Day or National Lack of Due Diligence Day? [Read more…]
April 20, 2015
It was such an adventure to be involved in the Harbor for the Arts Our Town grant project and be a part of the Harbor for the Arts Festival in 2013 and 2014. I am writing to share a few thoughts about working together building on the momentum of the Harbor for the Arts Our Town grant (the National Endowment for the Arts grant that brought you Experimental Film Virginia, Harbor for the Arts Festival, Art Walk and the Cape Charles by the Bay website in 2012-2014).
The Harbor for the Arts “branding” for Cape Charles, proposed and launched by the Our Town grant, is now in our collective hands. The goal of this branding, among other things, is to boost tourism, identity, and culture, and to position Cape Charles as a prime cultural tourism destination spot with the arts at the core of entertainment, events, and programming that will attract audiences near and far and nurture local community.
The core team included Arts Enter as lead applicant, Cape Charles Business Association, Citizens For Central Park, and the Town of Cape Charles; the proposed agenda included the Art Walk, the Cape Charles tourism website, and Harbor for the Arts Festival. Now that the grant period is over, these projects will live on independently and strive to bring back the events you loved last summer!
Experimental Film Virginia grew out of the Harbor for the Arts Festival as a way to bring it all together and produce a tangible artifact (the films) that could preserve and share the beauty of Cape Charles within and beyond our town as well as involving the community in the making of these films. It is an ideal creative-placemaking project and quickly became the core program of the Harbor for the Arts Festival in 2013 and 2014 while I was working with Arts Enter.
This year, Experimental Film Virginia is on its own and the Harbor for the Arts Festival remains an Arts Enter event. Experimental Film Virginia happens this July 1-12 with events that bring national and international artists for a two-week residency to create Art in a Barn, Films, and Bayamo After Party. The Harbor for the Arts Festival will return in August. [Read more…]
8th Annual Blessing of the Fleet at Cape Charles Town Harbor.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Biggest Jimmy Competition: Our local watermen bring to the table two of their biggest Jimmys caught, they are measured and put into a basket to be auctioned off later that evening. The Biggest Jimmy is $100 and runner up is $50. [Read more…]
The Eastern Shore Health District and the Eastern Shore Medical Reserve Corps will hold a Tick-Borne Disease Seminar on Thursday, April 23, from 2-4 p.m. at the Barrier Island Center in Machipongo. The focus will be on education, prevention, and early detection of tick-borne diseases and illness. Presentations will be made by Dr. David Gaines, State Entomologist, Virginia Department of Health, and by the Old Dominion University Tick Lab. This seminar is free and open to the general public.
Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s next seminar is “Tall Buildings — Design, Construction, & Mishaps.” The free 90-minute seminar will meet at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 24 in the Lecture Hall of the Eastern Shore Community College, 29300 Lankford Hwy., Melfa. [Read more…]
Sunday, April 26, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. is the 5th Annual Blessing of the Worms. Bring the whole family and come join us for a fun-filled afternoon in the garden. Hands-on children’s activities; Blessing of the garden; yummy and healthy treats; information about upcoming garden programs; sign-ups for spring and summer youth garden programs; learn about becoming a garden volunteer. [Read more…]
The theme of this year’s Bake and Bloom is the hymn In the Garden: “I walk in the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses.” Baked Potatoes & Fixing” available for take-out or eat-in lunch. Guest Presentations & door prizes: [Read more…]