Historic District Board OKs Elevator, Deliberates Satellite Dishes, Plans Home Tour Featuring Sears Houses

Cape Charles Wave

June 22, 2015

A request to install a residential elevator at 600 Pine Street came before the town’s Historic District Review Board June 16. The American Disabilities Act states that adding items such as elevators and ramps to historic buildings should be done “in full compliance with the alterations standards for other types of buildings.” But, if following the usual standards would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a feature of the building, alternative standards may be used.

According to Town Planner Larry DiRe, town historic guidelines are “silent” on elevators. If elevators are considered as “modern features,” then locating one at the rear of the building “where they are least likely to detract from the character of the site” is appropriate per the guidelines.

According to the applicant and the contractor (J Street Construction), the elevator would be installed at the rear of the house, with an entrance near the garage. The structure will be completely enclosed. The total footprint is about 40 square feet and will be located “exclusively within the current driveway.”

The contractor’s drawings supplied to the board were not to scale; however, they did include “detailed information about the materials to be used for the project.” The contractor noted that he understood the rigid nature of the Historic District, and that he would “build it to look just like it had always been there.”

The applicant informed the Board that the main reason for the elevator was due to physical issues being experienced by his wife, and it would make it much easier for her to be able move about the home (avoiding having to use stairs to get to the 2nd and 3rd levels, where the main living areas are located).

The elevator will be an electric model, which will not require a ground shaft or hydraulics, thus limiting the amount of fluids that accumulate as part of the elevator operations. Although J Street Construction will build the structure, the elevator will be installed by a certified elevator installation crew.

The board approved the certificate. [Read more…]

WAYNE CREED: Is Reverse Parking a Communist Plot?

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

June 22, 2015

As Cape Charles is once again menaced by the threat of International Communism, inflammatory statements (aka the Truth), as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation, town citizens that value freedom as a state much prized within the realm of civilized society, the very stuff and pith of all we hold most dear to our hearts, have taken to the streets to protest the bloody implementation of reverse angle parking — an offense which, many feel, has been unfairly inflicted upon the earthy, owl eyed harbingers of truth, must meet its reckoning, and not a moment too soon.

For the record, the process to achieve higher density parking in Cape Charles began a year ago. The discussions began before the sale of the Be-Lo property, and the loss of overflow parking there. Even though this is a “Town Issue,” nothing happens on that street without the Virginia Department of Transportation. After several public Planning Commission meetings, VDOT’s consensus was that if there was going to be angle parking, it was going to be of the reverse angle variety. The Planning Commission’s recommendation was completely consistent with the VDOT edict. Even though there was ample opportunity for citizens to comment, none, including prominent citizen Schulz, was there to take issue and voice their views. It was later determined that the citizenry could not attend said meetings due to laborious and time consuming efforts aimed at addressing the aggravated lack of Pol le Veq, Porceileu, Savoy Aire, Sampolan, Carrier de lest, and Bres Bleu cheeses at the local Food Lion.

Faced with prime, blue ribbon apathy, and no citizen input, as well as chunks of modern (from this century) theory and research seeming to promote reverse angle parking as the hottest new chick at the dance, the Town rightly or wrongly, boldly and audaciously accepted the opinion of persons with some qualifications, and acquiesced to VDOT’s yen to paint reverse angle spaces on Mason Avenue. [Read more…]


LETTER: Don’t Turn County into a Dumpsite

June 22, 2015

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter below was sent June 18 to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors from Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, who has requested it be published in the Wave.) 


As a resident of Northampton County since 1998, I respectfully join those who object to a rezoning ordinance that would allow commercial chicken facilities into the county. I understand Tyson and Perdue have proposed building 50 chicken houses in Northampton County as soon as possible. I urge you to reject their proposals. The chicken industry is a major source of environmental degradation on the Eastern Shore. Drive through Accomack County and you can smell the oppressive odor of the chicken industry. Drive through Accomack County and you see the sick and suffering chickens going up and down Route 13 and on the back roads. Is that what we want in Northampton County? I stand with those who say No.

Twenty years ago the Washington Post reported that the Delmarva Peninsula produced a million tons of chicken manure a year, enough to fill a football stadium. Now it is even worse. Do we want to turn Northampton County into a dumpsite for manure piles, rodents, flies, air pollution, and other unwholesome consequences for county residents to cope with? If we care about the people who live here, and the land we occupy, the answer is No.

Regarding the manure storage facilities and poultry litter incinerators, a report by Food & Water Watch, Poultry Litter Incineration: An Unsustainable Solution, says the incinerators produce toxic air emissions and will likely be subsidized by taxpayers. Toxic air emissions cited in the report include carbon monoxide, CO2, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, volatile organic compounds, dioxin, particulate matter and the arsenic compound nitarsone. Do we want all this fecal pollution and pharmaceutical residue in a county whose residents, including children, already suffer from high levels of chronic respiratory infection? [Read more…]


Supervisors Hear Continuing Opposition on Rezoning

This flier being circulated by Northampton County rezoning opponents stresses that anyone who does not register his or her opposition to county rezoning plans will be judged to be in favor of the rezoning.

This flier being circulated by Northampton County rezoning opponents stresses that anyone who does not register his or her opposition to county rezoning plans will be judged to be in favor of the rezoning.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that County Supervisors have postponed any action on rezoning until January 2016. But as pointed out in a comment by Ken Dufty (see below), the Supervisors merely extended the window by six months because it otherwise would have expired.)

Cape Charles Wave

June 15, 2015

Despite continuing outspoken opposition to rezoning proposals, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors appears set to enact the sweeping measure in advance of November elections — perhaps as early as June 29.

Elections this November will ensure at least one new Supervisor on the Board, because Larry Trala is not running for re-election. And if Spencer Murray succeeds in unseating Board Chairman Rick Hubbard there will be two new Supervisors. Murray is strongly opposed to the rezoning proposals as presently constituted.

Two candidates have filed for Trala’s seat: Robert Grayson Duer and Gwen Cummings-Thompson, both of Exmore. The latter’s position on rezoning has not been revealed, but Duer is known to be opposed.

The only sitting Supervisor opposed to the rezoning is Granville Hogg, but if two like-minded candidates join him on the Board in January, they will have a majority, and the Board could be expected to march in a new direction.

The possibility of a dramatically different Board come January might well have influenced the decision by Economic Development Director Charles McSwain, who is believed to be resigning next month. McSwain has taken the most heat from rezoning opponents, followed by County Administrator Katie Nunez.

The flier above is representative of the efforts by rezoning opponents, led by Ken Dufty and supported by a host of well-known residents including Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore (CBES), Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, a prominent Realtor, a marine biologist, and a former Planning Commissioner, all of whom spoke at the June 9 Board meeting.

At that meeting, Supervisors once again encountered the full force of opposition to the proposed zoning changes that many feel could destroy the rural nature of the county. The core issues remain protection of the environment, as well as the overall rural character of Northampton — that is, just what will happen if setback changes, PUD (Planned Unit Development) and altered rules for impervious surfaces are put in place. What will happen if large-scale CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and waste incinerators, mainly poultry operations, set up shop on the lower end of the shore? [Read more…]


Prominent Resident John Schulz Blasts Council for ‘Dumbest, Most Dangerous Parking System in America’

reverse angleCAPE CHARLES WAVE

June 15, 2015

Cape Charles resident John Schulz is well known as an author and former Voice of America foreign correspondent. He also has been an Oxford scholar, National War College professor, magazine editor, and a prize-winning poet. But only now has he made the decision to break ranks with the town’s power structure and roast them for enacting “reverse angle parking” on Mason Avenue.

In a letter to Cape Charles Town Council which Schulz requested be made public record, he wrote satirically,

Dear Council Members: Congratulations! Thanks to your well-thought-through decision, we can all now brag about yet another unique feature of Cape Charles: We have the dumbest, most dangerous main street parking system of any town in America.

Thanks to all of you, anyone wishing to park on our commercial main street can now experience all the thrills and adventures associated with turning into oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, reversing, and, though most of us never practice skills at backing into parking places, begin the adventure of re-crossing into the lane we were in. And, hoping not to scrape the cars parked on either side due to our limited skills at this little adventure, slide our cars into place — also hoping not to drive up on to the curb where we might kill a passer-by we didn’t see in our rearview mirrors.

And, for those of us thoughtful enough to go to the end of the block, do a U-turn, and drive head first into the parking space we previously selected, thus avoiding all this maneuvering and extra lane-crossing, there is a parking ticket “just waiting to happen,” hot in the hands of our local constabulary. [Read more…]


Two County Supervisors May Have Conflict of Interest

June 15, 2015


The June 9 meeting of the Northampton County Board of  Supervisors was rather lively.  As this would be the last time that residents could address the BOS before staff sends the rezoning scheme out for public comment, many speakers took to the podium to relay their opposition to the widespread plan to industrialize our farmland, among other changes. Those commenting included three former planning commissioners, a marine scientist, two heads of local civic organizations, and other landowners who feared their investments in this county were being jeopardized.

Nearly all of the speakers questioned the Board’s motives for changing the land use rules which currently protect property rights and our limited natural resources (the aquifer and clean coastal waters), all without our consent.  Near the end of the citizen comment period, I addressed the Board with what I thought might be in part driving the changes, and I appreciate this opportunity to more fully flesh out my presentation.

Shortly after buying our building next to the Post Office in Exmore in 2008, during a meeting of a local citizens group we became aware of a project called the Exmore Energy Project.  The plan was announced at that meeting by a representative of the Bay Coast Railroad.  The proposal was called a “Bio Diesel plant” and would manufacture a diesel additive by refining waste oil from the Norfolk Oil Transport Company.  The waste product would be railed to the site (next to our shop and in the middle of town), mixed with methanol and other additives, heated, filtered, and stored.

As I had experience with these oil refineries while working for county government in our rural upstate New York county, I quickly concluded that the project was not a good fit for the middle of a business district.  Working with other citizens in the town and Virginia  DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality], we encouraged Bay Coast and the Norfolk concern to abandon their plans. [Read more…]

LETTER: Respect Animals by Not Eating Them


Thank you for publishing Wayne Creed’s thoughtful and informative article, including the shout out for International Respect for Chickens Day May 4 and every day. For many people who want to be vegan, including me 30 years ago, cheese is the biggest hurdle. One day I sat in my car in front of my favorite Italian restaurant in College Park, Maryland, crying because I could no longer have pizza with extra (or any!) cheese. I had a good cry in the driver’s seat. Then I dried my eyes, went inside, ordered rigatoni with mushrooms, and never looked back.

I wish that in childhood I had made the connection between eating and animals, but I didn’t. Growing up in a Pennsylvania town where schools were (and still are) closed on the first day of hunting season, where ring-necked pheasants are pen-raised to be released into the woods to be wounded and shot for pleasure, I hated those things, yet I didn’t connect animals and dinner. I don’t hold myself responsible for what I failed to realize growing up, although I regret it, but once my eyes were open, I was responsible.

To this day I consider my decision to respect animals by not eating them to be the single best decision I ever made. For me, being vegan is the opposite of renunciation. It is a totally positive, deeply satisfying diet and dietary decision that has influenced my attitude and behavior in other areas including household and personal care products and in trying to act consciously instead of just conveniently.

If I have any advice for people who want their food to be animal-free, it is to stay firm in your commitment, be happy about it, eat well, and don’t apologize. I invite everyone getting started to sign up for the daily recipes and gorgeous photos featured on One Green Planet. Remember the animals whose lives you are no longer ruining just for a meal. For me, this is the most powerful incentive.

President, United Poultry Concerns


WAYNE CREED: How to Bring Avian Flu to Northampton

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

June 15, 2015

As Northampton County continues to grapple with the ramifications of the proposed zoning changes, still lurking in the shadows is the subtle opening of the door for the poultry industry, including CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), as well as chicken litter waste incinerators. Having less available expansion options left on the northern Delmarva, the industry finally hopes to gain a foothold in Northampton County.

While the special, and even conflicted, interests continued to gather in the back rooms of Northampton to plot their next moves in efforts to make the county “more profitable” through proposed zoning changes, it was reported in the New York Times by Stephanie Strom that the deadly avian flu had struck some of the largest egg operations in the Midwest where millions of chickens will have to be euthanized.

The Center Fresh Group, a top U.S. egg producer must kill (using carbon dioxide or foam) and dispose of about 5.5 million laying hens housed in 26 metal barns on their property. For the last month, the daily ritual of the Agriculture Department has become to report how many more hens must be destroyed. On extreme days, the number can be several million. In Iowa, where a good bit of all eggs originate (including liquid egg products), nearly 40% of the egg laying hens have been affected by the flu.

This is creating a monstrous disposal problem, as carcasses have filled barns; poultry farmers have been pleading for state and federal assistance to deal the disposal effort, as “workers in masks and hazmat gear attempt to clear the barns.” Part of the issue is the way the battery hens are crammed in, with the battery cages stacked on top of each other, usually filling almost every square inch, top to bottom, of the barns. [Read more…]