$96,000 Peach to Washington Sidewalk Study Approved

Town Manager Heather Arcos displays map of the planned multi-million dollar Community Trail system. The first phase was the Central Park sidewalk; next comes a trail from the Park along Peach Street to Washington Street. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

August 13, 2012

Cape Charles Town Council voted August 9 to award $96,000 for an engineering study for the next phase of the Town’s “multi-use trail system” – also known as sidewalks.

Land Studio Professional Corporation will “develop construction documents for implementation of the multi-use trail along North Peach Street and Washington Avenue of the Cape Charles Community Trail Master Plan.”

Land Studio PC also did the engineering studies for Central Park.

In addition to sidewalks, the trail system includes lighting, drainage, and trees and shrubs.

Town Manager Heather Arcos displayed a map of the Community Trail planned phases. The first phase was the walkway in Central Park, completed at a cost of $1 million.

Grant funding through the Virginia Department of Transportation provides 80 percent of trail costs, with the Town paying the rest.

The trail will include a median on Peach Street from the park to Washington Avenue and sidewalks on either side. Trail construction could begin in 2014 if funding is allocated.

“Further phases of the project will continue until the Town is linked by trails. It will be many years before the full Multi-Use Trail Plan has been implemented,” Arcos told the Wave.

The next scheduled phase will be the south side of Peach Street.


In other sidewalk discussion, Town resident Dianne Davis expressed concern about the lack of sidewalks into Town from the Heritage Acres housing units off Randolph Street. Disabled residents using motorized wheelchairs are forced to ride in the street.

Councilman Frank Wendell agreed, and in addition asked that VDOT again be requested to install 4-way stop signs at the intersection of Randolph Avenue and Fig Street. This would assist pedestrians crossing the street to get to the drugstore.

Town Planner Tom Bonadeo reported that VDOT will soon begin repairing existing Town sidewalks, but will not install any new sidewalks. He suggested that since the company contracted by VDOT will already be at work, the Town might get a reduced price for installing new sidewalk, including to Heritage Acres.


Town Manager Arcos said that Town staff are working with VDOT on installing two more golf cart crossing signs on Old Cape Charles Road as part of the plan to enable Bay Creek residents to safely and legally drive their golf carts to town. “A citizens group will be constructing the golf cart path from the Bay Creek entrance to connect to the Town’s existing path on Route 642 into the historic portion of Town,” Arcos said.


Town Planner Bonadeo noted that because Northampton and Accomack counties have lost their HUB economic zone status, the Betis Group has decided to close its Strawberry Street office at the end of the summer.

The Betis Group is an information technology company with federal government defense and security contracts. The Washington Post included the Betis Group in its “Top Secret America” project documenting the national security buildup during the past decade. Betis located its corporate headquarters in Cape Charles to take advantage of government contracts for  businesses in HUB Zones.

Bonadeo said the HUB Zone status expired in October 2011.

HUB (Historically Underutilized Businesses) Zone is Small Business Administration  program that administers government contracts to small businesses in economically depressed areas. After the 2010 Census, HUB Zone lines were redrawn to combine the Eastern Shore with Virginia Beach. The result was the loss of HUB Zone status for the Eastern Shore, since employment and income in Virginia Beach is much greater.

U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell is co-sponsoring a bill to extend the HUB Zone status for three years for areas such as the Eastern Shore.


Town Planner Bonadeo has notified Hotel Cape Charles in writing that “the building has not been completed in accordance with the plans,” and therefore cannot be granted a permanent Certificate of Occupancy. The issue is the glass partitions on the hotel balconies. Bonadeo said the hotel owner plans to submit a new application to the Historic District Review Board. If the Review Board and the owner do not reach agreement, the decision can be appealed to Town Council and, ultimately, the Circuit Court.


In public remarks, Old School Cape Charles president Wayne Creed quoted from emails from Echelon Resources president Edwin Gaskin to Town staff stating it was necessary to “ignore the idiots of the world,” who should be shipped off to Gitmo. The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information request, and are part of the controversy surrounding Town Council’s decision to sell the old school and surrounding property adjoining Central Park to Echelon Resources for $10 for development as an apartment building.

Creed also quoted an email from Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek to Gaskin stating that he did not expect any “serious opposition” to the sale of the school. Creed asked why Old School Cape Charles was not being taken seriously. He stated that the Town refused to negotiate with Old School Cape Charles, but negotiated in secret with Echelon Resources for five months. Creed emphasized that Old School Cape Charles made three offers – two to buy and one to lease the school.

Creed also read from Town Minutes in which Vice Mayor Chris Bannon said, “Nobody wanted the school.”

“Does Mr. Bannon think that the residents of Cape Charles who have come together to form Old School Cape Charles are nobody?” Creed asked.

“If there was no money for the school to do even the required repairs, how was the Town able to spend $200,000 bond money meant to drill wells to purchase a bank building? How will that be made up? The suggestion is from tap fees, but for the entire fiscal year 2012 no money was received in tap fees,” Creed noted.

Creed further stated that when he asked Echelon partner J. David McCormack about the cost of removing asbestos in the old school, McCormack said it would not be a problem. “So why were we told it would cost millions of dollars to remediate asbestos in the school?” Creed asked Town Council.

Councilman Wendell complained that the Town was unwilling even to allow volunteers to caulk and repair school windows to prevent further water damage.


Town Planner Bonadeo told Council that the Town ordinance prohibiting boat trailer parking over 48 hours is unenforceable because VDOT controls the roadways. At Bonadeo’s recommendation, Council scheduled a work session to discuss boat parking.


Town Manager Arcos reported that an election for the council seat of the late Don Clarke has been set for November 6 (concurrent with the general election) and that the filing deadline is August 17. Anyone wishing to run may request further information from the clerk.



5 Responses to “TOWN COUNCIL
$96,000 Peach to Washington Sidewalk Study Approved”

  1. Bob Panek on August 12th, 2012 11:32 pm

    HUB Zone, not HUD Zone.

    (EDITOR: Thanks for the clarification. The story has been corrected, and background information on HUB Zones added.)

  2. Sandy Mayer on August 13th, 2012 1:13 am

    Does anyone know why some sidewalks simply end and if you do not walk to the street to continue you have to walk through someone’s yard to continue to the next sidewalk, especially on Monroe? Consequently people just walk down the street all the time. Why were the sidewalks not built to be continuous?

  3. Sarah Morgan on August 13th, 2012 7:19 am

    Some Town Council members seem to have hidden agendas regarding the CC School–why on earth would you want more apartment space–presumably more expensive than many local residents can afford–when there are so many empty Bay Creek condos and houses? If this is supposed to be “affordable housing,” here’s hoping that the salaries of the hard-working Shore folks go up, too, so they can indeed afford to live here.

  4. Deborah Bender on August 13th, 2012 11:36 am

    If this is the same engineering group that planned the park I sure wouldn’t hire them. There is always standing water at the park after it rains. I would have to question if the town got bids for this job or just hired the same people as before. It seems to me that they should get bids.

  5. Judy McKnight on August 16th, 2012 9:47 am

    I understand there is a disagreement between the review board and the CC hotel. There must be a way to solve it that does not involve denying the occupancy permit and shutting down a business recently featured in the Washington Post.

    Then there are the plans for sidewalks and trails. I only hope that what is planned will first ensure that every block throughout town has sidewalks. I second the suggestion that putting sidewalks to Heritage Acres has to be a top priority. A question above asked why there were not sidewalks on all blocks in town. I think we all the know the answer to that. Please make sidewalks a top priority too, then focus on the “trails.”

    As a bike rider, I think of the trails as walking, biking, and golf cart trails. I love the cut through over the railroad tracks that allows me to avoid the hump. Even though it is rough now, I am happy to hear that improvements are in the plan, but sidewalks where needed, first.

    I love our library too. The folks who work there are wonderful. We clearly need more space. How sad the “county library board” wouldn’t support the idea of our fixing up the Old Cape Charles School and moving our library in there. That still sounds ideal. I guess the current plan is to move it to the Bank Building. Seems sad to lose such impressive, valuable, taxable, commercial space. And I worry about safety too. I can imagine kids walking to the library and playing in the park. I don’t want to think of them hanging around the intersection of Strawberry and Mason.