Bathroom Design Reaffirmed by Citizens for Central Park

Park bathroom is planned to match 1980s sewage pumping station. (Wave photo)

Park bathroom is planned to match size and appearance of 1980s sewage pump station. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

January 22, 2013

The group that chose a sewage pumping station as the model for a bathroom in Central Park reaffirmed its decision last Saturday.

The action came at a meeting of Citizens for Central Park, held at the home of Cape Charles Vice Mayor Chris Bannon.

The meeting was open to the public, and was attended by the bathroom’s most vocal opponent — Don Riley.

Riley urged Citizens for Central Park to redesign the bathroom to reflect the surrounding historic architecture, and to choose a better location in the park.

The current location will require raising the foundation 2-3 feet to prevent flooding, entailing a long, curved ramp for access.

Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek is also president of Citizens for Central Park, and chaired the Saturday meeting.

Panek noted that the Historic District Review Board and the Planning Commission had approved the bathroom and that Town Council had upheld the approval. He asked for a motion to go forward with the plans.

Twelve of 13 members present voted to continue with the bathroom as planned.

Riley told the Wave that he is not satisfied with 12 members of the community making a decision for the whole Town.

“When they planned the Central Park design, they involved the community. And this should be a community decision too,” he said.


Riley has not given up. Last week he met with Virginia Beach law firm Wollcott Rivers Gates to discuss legal options for appealing Town Council’s approval of the park bathrooms.

The Town’s zoning ordinance provides for appeal to the Circuit Court, and construction is not allowed to begin until the court has issued a ruling.

Riley said he may also contact the Virginia Eastern Shore Community Foundation, which awarded a $20,000 grant for the bathrooms.

Fake Rolex

In the meantime, Riley hopes to obtain more signatures on his petitions to rethink the bathroom plans. An online petition (click here) had 21 signatures as of yesterday, with another 20 gathered earlier on a paper petition.

Riley points out that the number of signatures is more than three times the number of people who voted to endorse the present plan.

As a tax-exempt charity, Citizens for Central Park is required to maintain records open to public scrutiny, including its mission statement, financial reports, and tax returns. President Panek has refused to provide any records to the Wave.

Adjacent property owners were not advised of the location, size, or design of the park bathroom prior to the beginning of construction. Nor did the Town’s official newsletter, the Gazette, report any information about plans for the park bathrooms.



3 Responses to “Bathroom Design Reaffirmed by Citizens for Central Park”

  1. Mary Finney on January 22nd, 2013 7:48 am

    I think someone should be asking WHY the Citizens for Central Park are refusing to provide its documents for public viewing. Once again , I am profoundly struck by how secretive the folks who are in control of the town decision making and money spending are. It certainly leads the average observer to the conclusion that they have something to hide… It is also quite strange (or not?) that this issue was not covered in the Gazette.

  2. Deborah Bender on January 22nd, 2013 8:47 am

    Mary — no one knows why the town handles everything under the cloak of darkness but a lot of the citizens have a pretty good idea.

    About the Gazette: you won’t ever see anything in the Gazette that is the least bit controversial. The Gazette is basically the town managers “little” information site.

    If you want the real deal keep reading the Wave!

  3. Keith Underhill on January 22nd, 2013 5:50 pm

    My grandfather used to chuckle when he heard of CC and their goofy doings. He would say, “Someone’s friend has a job and someone else will tear it down and fix it in a few years.” So, CC citizens it is just the way it happens in your town from long ago.