#8 Story
Bay Creek Lots, Lighthouse Go for Pennies on the Dollar

map annotated

Bay Creek lighthouse cost $1 million when built 10 years ago but sold at auction for $137,500.

By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

June 2, 2014

The iconic Bay Creek lighthouse, a full-scale replica of the historic Old Plantation Flats lighthouse, sold at auction Saturday for $137,500 to the sole bidder, John Waller of Virginia Beach. Waller said he did not attend the auction with the purpose of buying the lighthouse, but when no one else bid, he did so on a whim. He and his family will use it as a “getaway.”

An additional 22 lots in Bay Creek Marina Village East owned by Paul and Robert Galloway also sold at auction for prices ranging from $2,750 to $37,076, for a total of about $200,000 for all 22 lots. At the height of the market eight years ago a single lot sold for more than that.

Built by Bay Creek developer Richard “Dickie” Foster as a museum in 2004, the lighthouse was never intended to be sold. Instead, it was a visual feature of Bayside Village and the Arnold Palmer golf course. But Foster gave up the lighthouse as part of a December 2013 settlement with his former business partner Paul Galloway. [Read more…]

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#9 Story
An Outsider’s Inside View of Bay Creek’s Beach Club

Forget the beach -- the new Bay Creek facility is really a large, impressive gym. (Wave photos)

Forget the beach — the new Bay Creek facility is really a large, impressive gym (Wave photos)

By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

January 27, 2014

When I moved to the Town of Cape Charles four years ago, I didn’t realize that the majority of the Town would be off-limits to me. Sure, I knew that Bay Creek was a gated community, but I didn’t think I would be banned from riding my bicycle over there.

That’s because, as a college student in the 1970s, I worked construction one summer on Hilton Head Island, where Sea Pines Plantation looks like it must have been the prototype for Bay Creek. Cars entering Sea Pines had to have a pass, but bikers and pedestrians could waltz right through. That was before 9/11, of course – maybe things have changed now.

Nevertheless I was shocked to learn of the “unneighborliness” of Bay Creek. German guests at our vacation rental rode bikes over to the gate and naively said they just wanted to “look around.” They were turned away, of course, not knowing the magic words “Coach House Restaurant.” Even my new weekender neighbors, a doctor and his professional wife, also on bikes, were turned away. [Read more…]

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#10 Story

GOODBYE WAVE, WAVE GOODBYE

CAPE CHARLES WAVE

June 29, 2015

In last Monday’s edition (which broke all readership records – over 7,000 page views in one day) the Wave had the sad task of leading the page with news of another drowning off Cape Charles Beach – a tragic death that competent town leadership could have avoided.

Anyone could have seen that drowning coming, and of course many did. The former “safe” beach has become a death trap now that newly pumped spoil has brought the beach close to the once-distant Cherrystone channel and its sudden drop-off and swift tidal currents.

Three months ago the Wave drew attention to the town’s failure to acknowledge the dangerous beach when we wrote: “A ‘special edition’ of the Cape Charles Gazette purports to tell everything you ever wanted to know about the harbor dredging/beach improvement. We learn what color the sand will turn, and whether it’s safe to walk on the beach. What isn’t mentioned is whether it’s safe to go in the water — specifically, are there dangerous drop-offs now that the beach extends so close to the channel? The town isn’t telling. (April 1, 2015)”

That same Gazette mentions that the town annually budgets $20,000 for beach sand replacement, but with the free spoil, that cost will now be saved. Yet last Saturday’s Eastern Shore News quotes town officials as saying that hiring lifeguards would be too expensive and too complicated. [Read more…]

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Bay Coast Railroad Must Move Hazardous Railroad Ties

Pile of railroad ties in foreground were amassed by the Army Corps of Engineers while preparing the spoil containment area in the background. The photo was taken from the Hump. (Wave photo)

Pile of railroad ties in foreground were amassed by the Army Corps of Engineers while preparing the spoil containment area in the background. The photo was taken from the Hump. (Wave photo)

By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

June 29, 2015

Bay Coast Railroad has been given five days to come up with a plan to properly dispose of creosote-treated railroad ties currently being buried behind the Cape Charles Museum. After the Wave alerted the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ sent a letter to Bay Coast Railroad, owners and operators of the Cape Charles rail yard, requesting a response within five days detailing what will be done to remove or recycle the material. That response is due today (June 29).

Creosote-treated products such as railroad ties must be disposed of in an approved landfill or be recycled appropriately. According to DEQ, the railroad ties must be treated as hazardous waste.

DEQ had not been aware of the large number of railroad ties amassed at the western end of the area being prepared to contain dredged spoil from the town harbor and channel. The mound of ties can easily be seen when driving over the Hump.

The regional DEQ representative, who asked not to be quoted by name, said the railroad was not allowed to use its property as an unpermitted dump site.

DEQ spokesman Bill Hayden told the Wave that he did not know whether the railroad ties could contaminate the water table. [Read more…]

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$78,000 Later, Route 13 Sewer Project Put on Hold

By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

June 29, 2015

In a stunning defeat to proponents of a sewer pipe from Route 13 to the Cape Charles treatment plant, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors voted June 22 to put Public Service Authority plans on hold. Citing higher priorities, including emergency medical services and the public schools, Supervisor Granville Hogg made the motion, which carried in a 3-1 vote. Supervisor Larry Trala was opposed, noting that the PSA had been working on the project for quite a while.

Supervisor Larry LeMond expressed impatience with the Town of Cape Charles for its failure to reach an agreement with the PSA about the cost of services. He reported that the town wants to condition a sewer deal on whether the county gives the town a say on what kinds of commercial activity would be allowed just outside town limits.

PSA Chairman John Reiter told the Supervisors that engineering studies for the project were 40 percent complete. The PSA has paid almost $78,000 to date, including $8,000 for a study of possible use of the Bayview facility which had been requested by the Supervisors.

Reiter reported that negotiations with the Town of Cape Charles were still in progress, citing differences over how much should be charged per gallon of wastewater and whether there should be a connection fee. Reiter said that an agreement was close on the per-gallon cost. But he complained that the connection fee could cost $750,000, adding considerably to upfront costs. [Read more…]

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Body of Teen Swimmer Found Near Town Fishing Pier

CAPE CHARLES WAVE

June 22, 2015

Persons gathered on the Cape Charles boardwalk Sunday night during search and rescue operations for a missing swimmer heard a weeping, distraught man call out “mi hijo” — my son. At that time his son had been missing in the water for some two hours. Police contacted the Coast Guard at about 6:30 p.m. to report the missing boy.

Although search teams continued through the night, the body of 15-year old Alvaro Lopez-Castaneda was not found until Monday afternoon, when it was recovered near the town fishing pier. He had recently finished the ninth grade at Nandua High School in Accomack County.

The tragedy was sadly reminiscent of another Sunday afternoon last August when an 8-year-old drowned off the beach. His body was not recovered until the following Tuesday — also close to the fishing pier.

Following the drowning last August, outspoken residents urged town officials to erect warning signs to swimmers and establish a roped-off area. Some called for town life guards as well. In response, the town announced plans for a designated swimming area, but as of yesterday — the first official day of summer — nothing had been done.

Rescue efforts included use of a Coast Guard 25-foot response boat crew from Station Cape Charles and a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City. Virginia Marine Resources Commission personnel and members of the Cape Charles Fire Department also took part in the search.

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Bay Creek vs. Relentless Chesapeake Bay

June 22, 2015

It’s the “Battle of the Bays.” On the left we have the mighty Chesapeake Bay, champion for the past 35 million years ever since the area was struck by a meteor. On the right is upstart challenger Bay Creek South, formerly managed by Dickie Foster, who dared to build a golf course mere feet from the Bay. Now under the control of Keyser/Sinclair, Bay Creek enjoys the advantage of modern technology and deep pockets, while the Chesapeake Bay relies only on wind, waves, and time.

Who will be the victor? Odds are that Bay Creek will win the first several rounds, thanks to a rock wall being constructed just west of the golf cart path. But before the battle is over, the Chesapeake Bay can be expected to combine forces with the elements to deliver a knock-out punch —  just as the Bay did with Hurricane Sandy less than three years ago.

Town Hits Mason Avenue Parkers with $$ Fines; Shoppers, Merchants Outraged

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

June 22, 2015

Up until Thursday, June 18, motorists parking front-ways in the new reverse angle parking on Mason Avenue were not breaking the law, because there was no law. Cape Charles Town Council fixed that at their Thursday meeting, voting 4-1 to enact a new ordinance entitled “Parking on Town Streets.” Only Councilman Frank Wendell opposed it. The only question before the vote also came from Wendell, who asked Town Manager Brent Manuel about VDOT’s approval of reverse angle parking, which was done by telephone. Wendell asked for the name of the VDOT official, but Manuel said he did not recall.

Following the meeting, Cape Charles Police immediately began ticketing wrong-way parkers, to the anguish of Mason Avenue merchants and, eventually, Mayor George Proto, who a month earlier sounded concerned when Police Chief Jim Pruitt reported to Town Council that nine parking tickets were written the first week after the new lines were painted on the street. “The town did not do this to make money,” Proto said at the time. This makes the second time Proto is asking the Police Force to stand down on ticketing and to void the tickets they have written.

But some damage has already been done. One story circulating on Mason Avenue is that a man parked front-ways to run into Gull Hummock to buy a case of wine. When he came back to his car he found a ticket, which made him so mad that he carried the wine back into the store, asked for his money back, and promised never to shop again in Cape Charles.

One merchant observed a police car parked in front of the medical center for over an hour with the engine running. Whenever the policeman saw a “wrong-way” parker he would immediately walk over and write a ticket.

Town Manager Manuel also announced that backwards parking would be implemented on Bay Avenue as well beginning this fall.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Members of Cape Charles Business Association turned out in force for the June 18 Council meeting, but none of them spoke against the town’s new parking policy. Instead, the focus was on the loss of the contract by one of their own for the tourist website “Cape Charles by the Bay.” Town Manager Manuel awarded the website contract June 2 to Cape Charles Wave LLC, which also publishes the Wave newspaper. The tourism website is currently managed by Donna and Greg Kohler, who were instrumental in its founding two years ago. The website began with grant funding but now operates at town taxpayers’ expense. The Kohlers submitted a bid of $9,790 for another year, while Cape Charles Wave LLC’s bid was $5,300. [Read more…]

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