LETTER: Supervisors’ Complacence Threatens County

March 23, 2015

DEAR EDITOR,

My wife and I attended the zoning informational meeting at Kiptopeke School this week. While discussing the zoning with one of the Supervisors present we were told that he believes the majority of people in the county actually support the proposed zoning but are simply not attending the meetings, and that the group of people who attend all the meetings (and overwhelmingly oppose the zoning) are actually the minority. The takeaway here would seem that if you are against the zoning changes, or at least skeptical of them, you had better get to the meetings and be heard or you are assumed to be supporting them.

While expressing our concerns to this same Supervisor about the zoning changes paving the way for uses such as medical waste disposal and manure processing/incineration (just to name a couple) we were told,”Uses like that would never happen.” But if our zoning is weak and leaves loopholes, then, whether we like it or not, uses like these can and will happen and could negatively affect every resident of Northampton County.

Any use, in any district, that has the potential to
— foul and pollute our air,
— pollute the water we drink or grow our clams and oysters in,
— pollute the ground our crops are grown on and our children play on, and
— negatively impact the values of our business and homes,
should NEVER be allowed “by right.” These types of uses should always have to go through a “special use” process so that community members have the ability to change or stop, when necessary, something that is harmful to the county as a whole.

RICH GLIEDMAN
Cape Charles

Letters to the Editor are welcome, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged. Send submissions to [email protected].

THE ALTERNATIVE TABLE: How I Lost 50 Pounds

By KAREN GAY
Cape Charles Wave Columnist

This is the first of a series of columns I am calling The Alternative Table. I will discuss many topics beginning with interviews and photos of some of the new sustainable farms on the Eastern Shore and also covering what are healthy food choices and cooking techniques, recipes, important books and movies on these subjects, and alternative health options. I’ll approach these subjects from the point of view of a journalist, reporting on farms I’ve visited and topics I’ve been reading about. I’d like to be clear about the fact that I am a layperson with wide-ranging interests in these topics and not a doctor, nutritionist, or healer.

My first topic is the Weston A. Price Foundation and how it has helped my health. I understand that what has worked for me is not necessarily a weight loss solution for everyone. We all come from different genetics, cultural heritages, and physical experiences, and as a result each of our bodies operates in a slightly different manner.

At first, my friends looked at me incredulously when I explained how I lost 50 pounds by incorporating the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The ingredient that did it for me was fat — lots of fat! Like most people coming of age in the 1970s I learned about the new USDA food pyramid and the need to eat less meat, dairy, and fat. I took this seriously, as my mother had always kept abreast of health trends, listening to Carlton Fredericks and Adele Davis on the radio. My siblings and I were probably the only children who went to school after a breakfast of orange juice and brewer’s yeast. Fortunately, the niacin flush wore off just as I arrived at school.

Fast forward past high school, college, marriage, kids, and a career. By the time I retired in April 2014 I was physically exhausted from raising children, coping with a really stressful career spent mostly in front of computers in dark rooms, and a commute that took occasionally more than two hours on the return trip. I was way overweight, exhausted, and my preference during non-work days was to read in bed. Somehow over the years when initially I tried to make healthy food choices I stopped reading labels and bought food primarily for convenience. I found myself looking forward to meals and snacks as replacements for fun and over time began to crave sugar and then fat alternately.

Once I got those cravings, it got to be an addiction. My drugs of choice were potato chips followed by ice cream. No matter how each day I resolved to skip the grocery store, by the time I finished work I could not resist. At the time I knew I had a problem but did not know how to resolve it. For quite a few years I was convinced that I just lacked willpower. [Read more…]

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Dickie Foster, Joan Natali Taken off Bay Creek Board

Bay Creek developer Richard "Dickie" Foster toasts Oral and Mrs. Lamber during happier times in 2008. (Photo: Virginian-Pilot)

Bay Creek developer Richard “Dickie” Foster toasts Oral and Mrs. Lambert during happier times in 2008. (Photo: Virginian-Pilot)

CAPE CHARLES WAVE

March 16, 2015

Threatened by a palace revolt, Bay Creek South owner Keyser/Sinclair has removed founder Richard “Dickie” Foster as president of the Bay Creek Community Association. Cape Charles Town Council member Joan Natali is also being removed from her position as a voting board member of the Association.

The action was announced March 11 by Bay Creek South LLC President Gary Dorsch at a property owners meeting. Dorsch appointed longtime Foster associate Oral Lambert to replace Foster as president.

Bay Creek neighbors Dr. Paul Strong and Steve and Susan Husak led a threatened legal challenge to Dorsch for his company’s failure to charge monthly dues to Foster for the 75 lots he still owns through his two companies, Bay Creek LLC and Baymark Construction. Operating under the name “Bay Creek Citizen Group,” Strong and the Husaks alerted fellow residents to the fact that while they were being charged $155 a month for each lot they owned, Foster had not been charged anything for the past seven years following his sale of most of Bay Creek to Keyser/Sinclair. More than 200 Bay Creek owners signed on to the Citizen Group’s complaint.

The Citizen Group also charged that Bay Creek South (Keyser/Sinclair) had been unable to substantiate its claimed costs for various improvements used to justify its own exemption from paying property dues. “When residents attempted to exercise their right under both the Declarations and Virginia law to examine the records substantiating these costs, they were told they had been ‘lost,'” the Citizen Group said.

The issue is complicated by the fact that Bay Creek property owners do not have control over their own Community Association. Instead, owner Keyser/Sinclair, known as the “declarant,” controls the Association. The by-laws call for control to pass to the actual property owners not later than 2021. In the meantime Dorsch controls the Community Association in the name of the declarant.

Another wrinkle is that the majority of dues go to pay for grounds maintenance — and the company performing the maintenance is owned by Foster. There is no bidding  — the Association simply pays whatever Foster charges.

[Read more…]

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Supervisors Nix Kiptopeke Villas Restaurant Permit

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

March 16, 2015

On a very warm evening with a hint of spring showers in the air, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors met for the March 10 regular meeting. The Kiptopeke Villas project once again made an appearance, this time seeking a second Special Use Permit to construct and operate a 12 table takeout restaurant on county parcel 69. The 2,500 square-foot “greasy spoon”-style eatery would consist of 12 tables and an outside porch area. There would be no drive-thru capability.

During public comments, Charles Bruckner questioned whether the developer had done due diligence in regard to groundwater and aquifer protections, in light of the fact that the site once housed a gas station, and the tanks are presumably still underground. “Do you have any engineering data you can point to? Have you even done a phase one or two environmental impact assessment? My worry is that there was a gas station there. The DEQ may have looked at it, but they are not an investigative agency. They come in after something has happened to help remediate,” Bruckner said.

Terry Ramsey followed with comments about the parking, especially by larger vehicles such as RVs and truck or boat trailers. “This should be safety first. This will change the fundamental character of our neighborhood. It is not an appropriate use” for this area,” he said. Ramsey also urged Supervisors to limit or even ban music played outside and consumption of alcohol on the porch.

Supervisor Granville Hogg voiced concerns about the project to County Planner Peter Stith: “I have concerns with page 3 where it says it will not adversely affect the health of the area. This is zoned Hamlet, I understand that, but do you feel this is an appropriate use?” Hogg asked.

“Are you suggesting it should be zoned residential?” responded Stith. “I don’t know what development [for this area] holds for the future.”

Hogg continued: “Is this mass drain field really appropriate for this area? When we first started this, we were told it was going to be low impact; now it seems to be fairly substantial.” [Read more…]

6 Comments

WAYNE CREED
County Should Stop Yanking Town’s Chain

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave Columnist

March 16, 2015

On January 27, the Town of Cape Charles sent correspondence to County Administrator Katie Nunez voicing displeasure with the Board of Supervisors’ reluctance to bow to the Town’s whims — that is, drop everything it was doing and pick up work on the Cape Charles request to have the County include a Town Entrance Overlay District in proposed zoning changes.

The written response from the County was a bit like a horse swatting away an annoying fly with its tail — a nice way of telling Cape Charles to go pack sand.

While it is true that few citizens of Cape Charles actually take the Mayor, Town Council, or Planning Commission seriously, it is worrisome that this same sentiment has also seeped out into the county.

This sentiment may be marginally understandable, given the petulant and peevish tone of the town; however, the county still has some explaining to do, mainly as to why they have been reluctant to take up the matter in the first place. In the correspondence to Nunez, the town noted that in a previous letter, the Board of Supervisors was unable to deal with the town’s request: “Your letter of June 11, 2014 indicated that the Board of Supervisors was unable to consider our request for the inclusion of the Historic Town Overlay Corridor in the proposed zoning amendments due to current workload . . . .”

Workload? What workload? The county makes it sound like they toil away in a Kentucky coal mine. It seems the county is always able to make time for so many inane and inconsequential endeavors; their response to the town on this very important matter appears to be nothing short of a blow-off.

Mayor George Proto’s statement is a legitimate response. Rather than being treated like a creepy, stalker boyfriend who refuses to take no for an answer, the town at least deserves a straight answer. Proto wrote, “I am aware that the BoS has been diligently working through potential revisions [to the proposed zoning] . . . we would like the BoS to consider our request . . . before completing this review [of proposed zoning changes].” Even as diplomatically as they tried to wordsmith it, the town’s frustration is becoming more apparent. [Read more…]

LETTER
Orchestra Hopped into Spring When Most Needed

March 16, 2015

DEAR EDITOR,

If you’ve been hankering for spring and live classical music, our Orchestra of the Eastern Shore’s recent concert would have appealed to you. It was another stunner: they are on a roll. It was the second appearance of vibrant Dr. Paul S. Kim who succeeds the impressive five year tenure of Professor Lee Jordan-Anders.

The 15 member-strong volunteer orchestra was joined by a 10-member church chorus and two professional vocal soloists: the Shore’s own soprano, Anna Sterrett, and, in stark effective contrast, Michigan native bass-baritone Matthew Scollin, who handsomely paired with conductor Kim deftly playing violin in Bach’s Cantata “I will gladly carry the cross.” According to Dr. Kim, Bach could churn out such masterpieces weekly. This one aptly includes a raft of maritime images.

Prior to Mr. Scollin’s powerful performance the large audience had been nearly swept off their feet with Ms. Sterrett’s solo throughout Mozart’s Exultate, jubilate, drafted at midpoint in his life in his teens. The Ave verum corpus, among his last pieces just 18 years later in 1791, impressively engaged our chorus and orchestra as melody and voice, with wonderful acoustics, projected in Hungars Episcopal Church’s tranquil refuge.

With such splendor shared one dreams of an encore. We’re incredibly fortunate for conductor and director Dr. Kim’s presence, that of his teammates and guests, and the church’s cordiality. Shore residents should seize the opportunity to hear them live in the future — again at Bridgetown or in Onancock — for free or in support.

A professional program accompanies each performance. For further info see http://orchestraes.org and for concert updates you are invited to join their list via [email protected].

WENDY MARTIN
Eastville

Letters to the Editor are welcome, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged. Send submissions to [email protected].

PHOTO: These Snow Birds Just Won’t Chicken Out

Photo by Karen Davis

(Photo: Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns)

United Poultry Concerns founder Karen Davis submitted this week’s snow photo, featuring three of her sanctuary birds. “We got hit with lots of snow this winter, but our sanctuary birds have braved the elements with fortitude and good cheer,” she reports. “Some of the white hens in these photos were flown by private jet from California battery cages in 2013 following their rescue by Animal Place, yet here they are, tramping about in winter wonderland in Machipongo, Virginia!” (Published March 9, 2015)

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Dufty Reads Riot Act to County Planning Commission

March 9, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Exmore community activist Ken Dufty continues to hold Northampton County officials’ feet to the fire, as evidenced in his latest letter to the Planning Commission. Of particular and novel interest is the issue of whether an owner of a commercial “barn,” apparently built to hold events, fundraisers, and other public gatherings, could do so “by right” if the owner offered hay rides to party and wedding guests. Dufty does not mention any owner by name, leaving the Wave to speculate that developer Bill Parr’s barn is the object of attention.

CHAIRMAN DIXON LEATHERBURY AND NORTHAMPTON COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSIONERS:

It is becoming crystal clear that both the ongoing revisions to the current Northampton County Zoning Ordinance and the 2009 Comprehensive Plan are being conducted in an arbitrary and capricious manner and are devoid of the required studies and other empirical data that must be relied upon to make the decisions that are now being proposed.

Last week at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, [County Planner] Peter Stith was asked by Supervisor [Granville] Hogg why the revisions to the Comprehensive Plan did not involve the citizenry at the beginning of the process, rather than the current plan to present a final product to residents and business owners once the Plan had been revised.

Mr. Stith answered that they did involve the citizenry in surveys and workshops about three years ago. I have attached a copy of the responses to those surveys which 188 people filled out. Overwhelmingly, the respondants to those surveys conducted by the county said that it was “very important” that the Comprehensive Plan protect groundwater recharge areas and concerns; protect floodplains; preserve Priority Conservation Areas; protect Historic Sites, ensure Septic Suitability; and also directed the drafters of the Comprehensive Plan update to factor in rate of growth (majority wanted 1-2% rate of growth), and said that it was very important to create a balance between jobs and housing.

We are curious if the Planning Commission ever received the reponses to the surveys and the notes from the community meetings. If you did not, it is incumbent upon you to access that information, factor it into your deliberations, and then offer credible and defendable evidentiary basis to support your version of the plan, which turns its back on the will of the people as captured in the survey responses.   As many of you know, in order for any decision of a county government to withstand a judicial challenge, it has to rise to a level to be fairly debatable.   Simply ignoring and not responding to a key piece of evidence, such as a community survey and input from public workshops, tips the scales of this review firmly into the arena of arbitrary and capricious behavior, recommendation, and final decision. [Read more…]

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