‘Temporary Fix’ Planned to Reopen Fishing Pier in March

This portion of fishing pier built on concrete sleepers laid on the sand was destroyed in the hurricane. The deeper water area secured to pilings was not damaged. (Wave photo)

This portion of fishing pier built on concrete sleepers laid on the sand was effectively destroyed in the hurricane. The deeper water area secured to pilings was not damaged. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

January 15, 2013

The Cape Charles fishing pier, partly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, should be repaired in time to reopen by late March, according to Town officials.

Ultimately, the fishing pier will be rebuilt by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Town Planner Tom Bonadeo told Town Council last Thursday that rebuilding the pier will cost between $200,000 and $300,000, and will not happen for a “year or two.”

In the meantime the Town is working on “a temporary fix” to allow the pier to reopen as soon as possible.

Town Manager Heather Arcos said the Town is working with an engineer with the goal of reopening the pier by the end of March.

But the permanent fix will be up to FEMA. That will entail replacing the section going out to the jetty which was built on concrete sleepers rather than pilings. The portion of the pier in deeper water is already built on pilings and was not damaged.

“FEMA is going to be dumping a lot of money in it to fix it and fix it right this time,” Public Works Director Dave Fauber told Council.

In addition to damage to the pier, the Town estimates that $5,400 worth of beach sand was lost.

Town Basketball Court and Children’s Playground

In other Town Council business, Town Manager Arcos said that town staff are exploring options for replacing the basketball court in the park. One idea is to locate the court on Town-owned property beside the skateboard park.


The former basketball court was conveyed to Echelon Resources to become a private parking lot for apartments in the old school.

Councilman Frank Wendell engaged Arcos in a discussion about why the Town removed the backboards and hoops from the court. Arcos maintained that the Town’s contract with Echelon included the basketball hoops as items required to be removed by the Town before closing on the school property. Arcos invited Wendell to come by her office to see where this was specified in the contract.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Readers are invited to read the contract by clicking here.  Any reader discovering a requirement to remove the basketball hoops is requested to so note in a comment below.)

Arcos also said that the Town will install a new layer of mulch in the playground, and is planning to build a “bridge” over the drainage pond separating the park from the new playground entrance. Under the terms of the contract with Echelon, the Town was required to close the former entrance from the parking lot to the playground. That parking lot is now also private property owned by Echelon.

Echelon Resources Gets Extension

Town Council gave Echelon Resources until April 25 to begin construction at the old school. Under the contract, construction was to begin 90 days after closing, which took place on December 20.

A court hearing is scheduled January 25 on lawsuits challenging the sale and rezoning of the school and related property. If the matter goes to trial, Echelon will nevertheless be expected to begin construction at the school.

Citizen Participation Guidelines

Council approved the guidelines for citizen participation recommend by Town staff. One new rule is that speakers are limited to three minutes and cannot be given time by other speakers. Another rule is that  handouts may only be distributed to the audience by the Town clerk.

South Port Yacht Center Approved

Town Council gave final approval to South Port Investors for the Cape Charles Yacht Center, including a conditional use permit for fencing, boat storage, and an apartment. Developer Eyre Baldwin noted that the approval had taken “four long years.”

Christian School Tax Refund

Town Council acknowledged the tax-exempt status of Cape Charles Christian School and will refund $2,836 in property tax the school paid to purchase the former Presbyterian Church following a bank foreclosure.

Sidewalk Repairs Status

Arcos reported that VDOT will complete sidewalk repairs on Monroe Avenue soon and then begin work on Mason Avenue, with the goal of finishing Mason before the tourist season. Repairs to Tazewell and Randolph Avenues sidewalks will follow.



4 Responses to “‘Temporary Fix’ Planned to Reopen Fishing Pier in March”

  1. David Boyd on January 15th, 2013 4:06 pm

    Despite a specific list of items that would be removed from the premises that was included at the end of the contract document, I saw no mention of any requirement to remove the basketball hoops.

    Sounds like a bit of misdirection on Miss Arcos’ part.

  2. Mary Finney on January 16th, 2013 9:11 am

    After reading the contract referred to by Ms. Arcos, I also did not see any mention of the basketball hoops, nor any requirement that the Town be responsible for their removal. Furthermore, there seems to be specific language regarding Echelon’s requirement to carry proper insurance which would protect the Town from any liability should any injury or damage occur on their purchased property. (At least, that is the sense that I got from the above referenced contract, not being a lawyer myself.) Which is interesting since I recall one of the excuses given by the Town as to why Town employees were being used to do labor that appeared to be the job of Echelon was a fear of law suits if someone got hurt using those basketball hoops… I am sorry to see that the tone of secrecy, misdirection, and misinformation appears to be continuing on the part of the Town administration. I think we would all like to know WHY.

  3. Deborah Bender on January 16th, 2013 10:00 am

    It is pretty impossible to get any sort of straight HONEST answer from our town manager. Last fall I personally was told by a town employee that was on the job removing the entrance to the playground that the purpose of taking down the archway to the playground was to paint it. BIG LIE! The archway stood leaning against the old school for months and never did get painted.

    We basically have no say in what is done in our town.
    We basically have no say in what is spent in our town.
    No open government honesty, no government transparency.
    We just get to hear what the town is going to do, spend, etc.

  4. Mike Kuzma, Jr on January 17th, 2013 11:05 am

    Actually, reading the contract, it appears that: within the “As is, where is” clause, Echelon bought the court in toto, along with the rest of the property, and that furthermore in “Exhibit B” to Purchase Contract, it specifically EXCLUDED the Town reclaiming the backboards by omission in the last line stating:

    “5. A small wooden shed between the playground and the BASKETBALL COURT.”

    It is here that an exclusion regarding removal of “personal property” would be noted, as Clause B under Item #1 recognizes Exhibit B as being all inclusive of the “personal property.”

    From reading this, it appears that the Town has reduced Echelon’s costs by at least the cost of removing the backboards.

    And after talking to some of my coworkers, it is our opinion — only an opinion — that seeing as how the Town removed the backboards after closing, and they were not excluded in the contract, basically the Town stole them. See, if they were excluded, #5 on Exhibit B would read: “a small wooden shed between the playground and basketball court; said court appurtances above grade level also to be excluded from the sale.”

    Frankly, item #5 simply missed memorializing said appurtenances.

    As a postscript, I do not mean to imply that the Town did anything ‘illegal’, it is simply a way of describing the end result. There is no inference of nefarious intent on the town, its employees or the Public Works employees whom did the work.