By DORIE SOUTHERN
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...]
CAPE CHARLES WAVE
December 2, 2013
Is Cape Charles finally hitting the big time? Is the “best kept secret” finally out of the bag? That may depend on how many people nationwide saw the HGTV show a week ago Sunday. For those who missed it, the video clip above tells the story.
Glossy magazines like Southern Living (click here) and National Geographic Traveler (click here) have featured the attractions of Cape Charles during the past year and a half. So have the Washington Post (click here), USA Today (click here), and the Richmond Times-Dispatch (click here). But there’s nothing like a real nationwide TV show to seal the deal.
The HGTV show featured a Richmond family, the Outlands, who fell in love with Cape Charles and wanted to buy a beach house with a water view while prices are still low. Blue Heron Realty agent Eva Noonan was their guide, and showed them four properties. Click the screen above to watch the first four minutes of the show.
November 30, 2013
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days. In 2002, as one in a series of lectures sponsored by the Cape Charles Library entitled “The Way We Were,” Cape Charles native Lloyd Kellam shared the following account. In 2012, funded by a grant by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the recording, along with 14 others, was transcribed. The Historical Society has now made it available for readers of the Wave. All the transcriptions are also available for reading at the Museum. This is Part 2 of Mr. Kellam’s reminiscences. Click here to read Part 1.)
Anyway, where was Sample’s [Barbershop]?
[Audience member]: Near Wing Sing’s Laundry. Right in that group.
I don’t remember that. I remember apartments being over top. Anyway, to change the subject, in my time, Sample’s Barbershop was down that same street. He moved it. His son’s picture is in the paper this week, Johnny Sample. If you wonder who he is, Tommy Savage taught him all he knew about football!
When you turned the corner, there was Savage’s Drugstore and then, I can’t remember what was next to that. Was it a dress shop? OK, there was a dress shop there. Then the Palace Theatre was my first recollection, but I do remember when the Palace was built and I remember them tearing all those old buildings down. But I can’t remember who was there. I do remember Mr. Tilghman and I spent many a day in Mr. Tilghman’s place watching him fix watches. Back in those days, a watch was probably the most important thing that people had. And then there was Adam’s Quality Shop [?], Harry Rudy had a barbershop in there. And Lee Hart had a plumbing place, I forgot what it was called. And then Byrd Vick and then a Western Auto. The Radium was between Waddell’s Popcorn Shop, I called it, and Slim Colonna’s Barbershop. Then about the time I really remember, they opened up a beauty parlor upstairs and F. Winslow Toussaint’s. F. Winslow Toussaint and he started taking pictures. In looking back on it, I think that he didn’t have a bad deal with having the Miss Virginia Pageant in the Palace Theatre, which is another story. The newspaper that had that in it had nothing in there but pictures of all those beautiful girls from F. Winslow Toussaint. They were great, he could make a local girl look like a movie star! He was good.
Mr. Sak’s was down there. Where the building burned, I can’t remember exactly what was there, but my recollection was it was a grocery store.
[Audience]: Gaskill’s Grocery Store.
Then last but not least on that corner, in my memory, is the Palm Tavern. If Cape Charles ever really does come back, I want to go in there and open up a restaurant called Peach Street Chicken! [Read more...]
By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
November 29, 2013
Cape Charles Town Council is proceeding with plans to borrow an extra million dollars in the next few weeks, and members will discuss how to spend it at a workshop 6 p.m. Tuesday (December 3) at Town Hall. The problem is that the Town wants to spend closer to twice that much — an estimated $1.724 million.
Meanwhile, nobody seems sure how much money the Town already owes. The Wave reported (click here) that at the November 14 Council meeting, Councilman Frank Wendell asked Treasurer Kim Coates how much debt the Town currently owes. Coates was unable to say, but financial advisor David Rose thought it was around $8 million or $9 million. After consulting with bond counsel Kevin White, he revised that estimate to “about $10 million.” Town Council voted at that meeting to pay Rose $37,500 for his financial advice. Wendell says he still has not heard from Coates exactly how much money the Town owes.
In preparation for the Tuesday workshop, Coates has produced a one-page report entitled Town of Cape Charles Remaining Debt as of 11/26/2013 (click here). But the figures shown are not loan balances, but instead the remaining debt service. The only time total debt service equals loan balance is for a no-interest loan. Cape Charles is fortunate enough to have one no-interest loan with a balance of $4.7 million, but that’s a little less than half of the Town’s total debt according to estimates of Messrs. White and Rose.
The “Remaining Debt” report also omits four loans for police vehicles: a 2013 Dodge Charger, a 2013 Ford Explorer, a 2011 Dodge Charger, and a 2010 Dodge Charger. Interest rates on those loans range from a high of 6.6 percent to a low of 3.125 percent. Again, the loan balances are not known. [Read more...]
CAPE CHARLES WAVE
November 27, 2013
More than a year after Hurricane Sandy washed out the foundation on a section of Sea Breeze Apartments on Washington Avenue, the condemnation signs have been removed, and units are being readied for re-occupancy.
The owner has constructed a sea wall out back and fortified the foundation. When the storm took out the foundation, it left the air conditioning units hanging from their wires, high but not dry, as shown below.
As shown in the top photo, all-new heating/AC units have been installed, but they are sitting directly on the ground, much like the old units.
By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
November 25, 2013
Cape Charles is “under the gun” to stop pumping untreated backwash directly into the Town Harbor.
Public Works Director Dave Fauber told Town Council November 21 that the Virginia DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) has ordered Cape Charles to cease discharging excessive amounts of iron- and manganese-laden water into the Chesapeake Bay. The Wave first reported the “red tide” in August after a resident observed the discharge and expressed concern.
Ironically, the Town only began the unlawful discharge after completion of the new $19 million sewer treatment plant. Previously, backwash was directed into the old treatment plant’s polishing pond.
But, “when the new wastewater treatment plant was built and the old polishing pond demolished, the discharge from the water treatment plant backwash was sent directly into the harbor,” Fauber said. Council approved his recommendation to expand a backwash vault at a cost of approximately $28,000 to allow metal solids to settle before the water is discharged into the Bay. [Read more...]
November 23, 2013
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days. In 2002, as one in a series of lectures sponsored by the Cape Charles Library entitled “The Way We Were,” Cape Charles native Lloyd Kellam shared the following account. In 2012, funded by a grant by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the recording, along with 14 others, was transcribed. The Historical Society has now made it available for readers of the Wave. All the transcriptions are also available for reading at the Museum. In Part 1 below, Mr. Kellam recalls the German P.O.W. camp in Oyster, as well as the day a Cape Charles policeman accidentally shot and killed Mrs. Barban. Mr. Kellam, now 79, is a long-time pharmacist who reopened his Shore Pharmacy this year in Exmore.)
My name is Lloyd Kellam. And those of you who lived here knew me before as “Brother.” Some guys in here knew me as “Sly.” Those were some of my nicknames. Everybody here during that time had a nickname, and I mean everybody! I can’t think of some people’s real names!
But anyway, it’s hard to do this, but it’s easy. One of the reasons is that I’ve had this love affair with Cape Charles all my life. And I just can’t seem to shake it, it’s like a good woman, I guess. But my thoughts of Cape Charles are maybe not the same as yours because you’re going to see my memories through a child’s eyes. I think my thoughts begin when my father went in business downtown and stopped when I went to college. Daddy opened his business in Cape Charles downtown in 1938. We had an apartment over the store. A lot of things I’m going to tell you, you’ll have to visualize. We had an apartment and when we were in the living room we looked out and saw the ferry traffic. We saw the steamers. We saw the ferries’ comings and goings. [Read more...]
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a message from Mayor Sullivan reprinted from the November 20 Town Gazette. It is followed by a message to the mayor from Old School Cape Charles.)
November 21, 2013
MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR
I am pleased to report that the Supreme Court of Virginia has rejected both petitions for appeal of the decisions rendered by the Northampton Circuit Court filed by Old School Cape Charles, et al. We are looking forward to the developer now moving ahead with the historic rehabilitation of the former school property into an asset that contributes to our economy.
I am hopeful that we can continue to move forward in improving our Town.
MESSAGE TO THE MAYOR FROM OLD SCHOOL CAPE CHARLES
The wheels of justice grind slowly, and Old School Cape Charles LLC has not given up the fight to save Central Park property from the hands of a developer who would turn the largest public building in town into an apartment house.
Old School Cape Charles still has the option of requesting the Supreme Court to review the decision of the Writ Panel that rejected our appeals. The question of “standing” looms large in the rejection. Circuit Court Judge Revell Lewis ruled that a community group formed for the sole purpose of saving a public asset does not have standing to question the decision of Town Council. Judge Lewis also decided that he did not have jurisdiction over the case involving the sale. So Old School Cape Charles plans to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision of the panel.
Then there is the question of the Town staff’s ignoring Historic District Guidelines which state that a parking lot should not be allowed in front of the building. Madame Mayor, you have refused to identify the front of the building, but we believe that the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be able to locate the front even without your assistance. [Read more...]