Historic District Board Approves Old School Requests

Cape Charles Wave

August 27, 2013

Petersburg developer J. David McCormack appeared again August 20 before the Historic District Review Board, and this time the Board approved five requests that they had deferred at their June meeting.

Last December the Town of Cape Charles gave McCormack the Old School, basketball court, and playground parking lot at Central Park plus $41,000 to pay utility connection fees. McCormack has applied for federal and state tax credits totaling 45 percent of his costs to convert the property into a 17-unit apartment building.

In order to receive the tax credits, however, the developer’s plans must be approved by both the National Park Service and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. And under Town code, any significant alterations to the property must be approved by the Historic District Review Board.

 “I do not believe that a Certificate of Appropriateness should be provided to the developer.” 
– Chairman David Gay

McCormack requested permission to clean exterior walls and repair mortar and masonry; replace a rubber membrane roof with a PVC roof; restore historic windows and replace aluminum frame windows; replicate historic front doors, restore and replicate transoms; insert compatible new doors where historic doors are undocumented; and install two canopies on fire escapes. The Board approved all the requests.

However, the developer still needs to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Board, and Chairman David Gay said it is unclear to him how the Board will proceed, because questions remain about the site plans and parking for the apartment building. “I do not believe that a Certificate of Appropriateness should be provided to the developer,” Gay said.

A major issue is the location of a proposed parking lot. The Town’s Historic District Guidelines do not allow a parking lot in front of a building in a residential area. McCormack plans to build a parking lot in front of the main entrance to the Old School, which until recently contained an ellipse with a flagpole in the center. [Read more…]