More Rezoning Opposition at Supervisors Meeting

"NO REZONING" signs are popping up like mushrooms around Northampton County. (Wave photo)

NO REZONING signs are popping up like mushrooms around Northampton County. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

November 17, 2014

Northampton County residents again turned out for a Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, November 12, to raise concerns about proposed zoning ordinance changes that have been the center of controversy since they were presented to the public last spring. All but one of the dozen speakers requested the withdrawal of the rezoning proposals. Only local Realtor Bill Parr, who as chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee helped to influence the proposed changes, spoke in favor of going forward with the zoning code rewrite.

Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Jay Ford noted that two Supervisors had attended the public forum held by Shorekeeper and Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore in Eastville November 6. Ford said that while he was pleased with the turnout and the insightful presentations, he could not shake a feeling of disappointment that civic organizations [instead of County officials] were left with the job of presenting information to the public about the consequences of the proposed changes.

Ford provided letters signed by 126 attendees of the forum asking that the Board of Supervisors withdraw the proposed zoning ordinance changes. Some of those who signed did express a need for zoning changes, he said, “but no one, not one, felt that the process [of developing the proposed changes] had been held properly.”

Ford asked the Supervisors to listen to citizen input, request environmental and economic impact studies, and make changes in accordance with the County Comprehensive Plan. He offered the service of Shorekeeper in helping to advertize and organize meetings with the public so that a consensus could be reached.

Former Planning Commissioner Roberta Kellam questioned whether the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors were on the same page regarding maintaining Bay Act protections on the seaside. Speaking of changes to the zoning ordinance, Kellam said, “Nothing you have done so far and nothing you can do going forward will cure the procedural and substantive defects in your County-wide zoning proposal other than a complete withdrawal.” Kellam urged the Board to work with the community on the Comprehensive Plan and changes to the zoning code. [Read more...]


Christian School Dedicates Multi-Use Heyward Hall

Heyward Hall, with magnificently restored windows, is dedicated November 15. (Photo: Tammy Holloway)

Heyward Hall, with magnificently restored windows, is dedicated November 15. (Photos: Tammy Holloway)

Cape Charles Christian School

November 17, 2014

Since 2010, the Cape Charles Christian School has operated in a beautiful stone building, the former First Presbyterian Church of Cape Charles, built in 1925. Recently the former sanctuary was renovated and made available for the first time in the school’s daily activities. Now known as Heyward Hall, the renovation created a multi-use event space which will bring new life to the former sanctuary while maintaining and respecting its historical bones. Heyward Hall’s beautiful and very functional space will also be available for wedding ceremonies, meetings and conferences.

Last Saturday (November 15), the school hosted a dedication of Heyward Hall. Attendees were able to witness the wonderful new community space and take part in a celebratory blessing of Heyward Hall.

An exciting component to this project was the unveiling of the magnificent stained glass windows that have been shielded by a protective plexiglas that had aged and grayed over the years. The stunning array of 34 stained glass windows was carefully and meticulously restored, creating a perfect venue for anything from a wedding to a conference. The school has launched a fundraising campaign allowing donors to dedicate a window in honor or memory of someone significant to them. [Read more...]

St. Stephen’s AME
Oldest Church in Town Celebrates 125 Years

The St. Stephen's edifice, constructed in 1885, originally housed

Church edifice was  constructed in 1885 and purchased in 1889 by St. Stephen’s congregation. (Wave photo)

November 13, 2014

The congregation of St. Stephen’s AME Church invites the public to attend their 125th Anniversary Celebration at 3 p.m. Sunday, November 16. Guest speaker will be Rev. Timothy Johnson, pastor of Bethel AME Church in Eastville.

St. Stephen’s African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest surviving church structure in Cape Charles, according to the National Register of Historic Places. The building was constructed in 1885 as Bethany Methodist Episcopal church and originally was located at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Plum Street across from the Cape Charles School.

St. Stephen’s (then the Cape Charles Mission) purchased the Bethany building 125 years ago in 1889 when Bethany needed a larger building. In 1897 the building was repaired and the cornerstone was set, and Cape Charles Mission became St. Stephen’s AME Church. In 1912 the building was moved to its present site at 511 Jefferson Avenue. [Read more...]


Forum on County Rezoning Draws Full House

Audience member Katherine Campbell spoke in favor of proposed zoning changes. (Wave photos)

Audience member Katherine Campbell spoke in favor of proposed zoning changes. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

November 10, 2014

Speakers at a community forum on the Northampton County Zoning Ordinance last Thursday called for the Board of Supervisors to withdraw the proposed ordinance changes being considered.

Some 140 residents braved the rainy evening to  attend the forum in the Eastville Fire Station Bingo Hall sponsored by Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper and Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore. County Supervisors Granville Hogg and Rick Hubbard were among them. When asked when the supervisors might vote on the proposed changes Hogg answered, “I don’t know.”

Audience sentiment clearly supported withdrawing the proposed zoning changes. But one attendee, Katherine Campbell, bravely asked to speak in favor of the changes and was given three minutes. She said her concern was that the county needed economic development and that the zoning changes would lead to a more prosperous county. In response, panelist Roberta Kellam noted that everyone is interested in a more prosperous county. Kellam questioned how the zoning ordinance’s proposed ban on single-wide mobile homes could benefit low-income residents. “Will developers build affordable homes or waterfront homes?” Kellam asked. [Read more...]


Experts to Rally Public Against County-Wide Rezoning

Shorekeeper Jay Ford will moderate Thursday's forum.

Shorekeeper Jay Ford will moderate Thursday’s forum.


November 3, 2014

Prominent planning experts and local environmentalists will address a public forum 7 p.m. Thursday, November 6, at the Eastville Fire Department Bingo Hall. Sponsored by Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper and Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, the forum is meant to educate the public on the proposed Northampton County zoning overhaul.

Panelists include former chair of Northampton County Planning Commission Martina Coker and former commissioners and planning officials Roberta Kellam and Mary Miller. They will be joined by David Kabler, a real estate broker with 41 years of experience, and Art Schwarzschild, a marine scientist who directs the UVA research center in Oyster and who is also chairman of the Willis Wharf Village Steering Committee.

Other panelists include retired hydro-geologist Gene Hampton who served on the Eastern Shore’s bi-county groundwater committee for many years, and Ken Dufty, a longtime community organizer.

The forum will be moderated by Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Jay Ford, who will also offer a presentation on the timeline of the rezoning process by the County Board of Supervisors and Planning staff.

Panelists will explain how the proposed zoning could affect residents throughout the county, including those in the five incorporated towns, the 29 hamlets, and the nine villages.

The presentation will also include suggestions on how residents and interested citizens can be more effective in having their concerns voiced and considered by the County Board of Supervisors before they vote on the final ordinance. Organizers say the forum will be “the most comprehensive and informative presentation on this critical issue to date,” and urge county residents to attend.

Organizers are circulating a handout entitled “Proposed Changes to Our Community You May Not Know About.” (CLICK to view.) [Read more...]

Donna Bozza Is New CBES Executive Director

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CBES President Arthur Upshur, new CBES Executive Director Donna Bozza, and outgoing CBES Executive Director Denard Spady

November 1, 2014

Donna Bozza is the new executive director for Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore. She succeeds Denard Spady who is retiring after nearly 20 years as director.

CBES, a non-profit organization formed 26 years ago to promote balanced growth in Accomack and Northampton counties while enhancing the quality of life for all citizens and preserving natural resources.

Bozza will be the first CBES executive director to serve full-time, which is being done to expand the organization’s role and effectiveness. The change to full-time work mirrors the move made recently by Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, which was initially established by CBES.

“We have been fortunate in being able to hire, as our Executive Directors, two people of exceptional qualifications: Jay Ford, who became the VES Executive Director and Shorekeeper last November, and now Donna Bozza, the new Executive Director of CBES,” said Jack Ordeman, board member and past president of CBES and president of Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper. “We are confident that both organizations will increase their influence and better fulfill the goals of their Mission Statements under their capable and inspiring leadership,” he said. [Read more...]


EXTRA: County Won’t Drop Seaside Protections


October 28, 2014

Northampton County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday (October 27) to reverse an earlier decision to remove the protections of the Chesapeake Bay Protection Act on the lands east of Route 13 and adjoining the Atlantic, otherwise known as the seaside.

At a March 11 public hearing, dozens of residents and former officials expressed overwhelming concern that removal of the protections of the Chesapeake Bay Act on the Seaside would have a profound adverse impact on the aquaculture industry, which is among the largest on the eastern seaboard. The CBPA requires increased setbacks for structures and septic systems, and calls for a vegetative buffer to protect the sensitive aquatic ecosystem from nutrient loading that could result from agriculture and wastewater runoff. [Read more...]

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Shorekeeper Thanks Public for Keeping Up Pressure

Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper

October 28, 2014

Last night (October 27) the Northampton Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to keep the vital water quality protections of the Bay Protection Act in place county wide. This is a huge step in protecting our delicate intertidal zone and the men and women who can make a living because of our clean waters.

Many of you wrote letters to the county, spoke at countless public comment periods, or joined the over 500 citizens in signing our petition to keep the Bay Protection Act and I want to thank each and every one of you.

Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper will continue to work on additional threats to our water quality included in the zoning overhaul but we also believe in taking time to give credit when credit is due. Please take a moment to contact your supervisor and thank them for keeping the Bay Protection Act in place county-wide. [Read more...]

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