HOOPS: Town Taketh Away but the Lord Giveth

Baptist Church

Local youths take advantage of the Baptist Church basketball court on the last day of 2013. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

January 1, 2014

Here’s some good news to start off the New Year: Thanks to Cape Charles Baptist Church, local youths’ prayers have been answered — there is now a place in town to shoot hoops.

The church has installed two temporary-type goals on an asphalt pad beside the church edifice. While not offering regulation play, it’s a lot better than nothing, and nobody is complaining.

The Town had been hoop-less since December 26, 2012, when Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek gave orders to Town maintenance workers to remove the hoops and backboards at the Central Park basketball court. The court no longer belonged to the Town, having been sold along with the former Cape Charles High School building to real estate developer J. David McCormack a few days earlier for the price of $10. The terms of sale did not give the Town rights to the basketball goals, but McCormack clearly did not mind that the Town took them down at taxpayers’ expense. [Read more…]


Shanty Restaurant Plans Expansion

Shanty Restaurant at Town Harbor as presently constructed

Shanty Restaurant at Town Harbor as presently constructed


December 30, 2013

Business has been so good at the Shanty Restaurant at the Town Harbor that they plan to expand next year.

The restaurant, which leases land from the Town of Cape Charles, has applied for permission to enclose the front entrance, add a “market” to the right of the entrance, and enclose the rear deck. The application does not state what would be sold at the “market.”

The Shanty opened for the 2012 summer season as an old-fashioned “open-air” facility, but customers quickly convinced management to install air conditioning.

Despite its popularity, the Shanty continues to close for the winter season, in company with Hotel Cape Charles, Brown Dog Ice Cream, and the Town’s public toilets.

Entrance would be enclosed as shown in sketch . . .

Entrance would be enclosed as shown in sketch

The Harbor Area Review Board will review the application at a meeting open to the public 6 p.m. Thursday, January 2, at Town Hall. An information packet including memo, photos, and architectural drawings may be viewed by clicking here. [Read more…]


WEEKEND: Great Year for New Roots Youth Garden

New Roots Youth Garden Chairman Laurie Klingel and President Tammy Holloway report a thriving year — most recently, 25 children participated in the “Thursdays in the Garden” program shown above. “We are always in need of adult help so if you would like to be added to our volunteer core please let us know,” Laurie says. The Youth Garden is now a United Way recepient – another way to lend support. (Published December 28-29, 2013)


PART 5: Lloyd Kellam Remembers
High School Football, Burned at the Barbershop

December 28, 2013

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  In 2002, as one in a series of lectures sponsored by the Cape Charles Library entitled “The Way We Were,” Cape Charles native Lloyd Kellam shared the following account.  In 2012, funded by a grant by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the recording, along with 14 others, was transcribed. The Historical Society has now made it available for readers of the Wave.  All the transcriptions are also available for reading at the Museum.  

I wanted a bicycle like everybody else had and my Daddy said he’d get me one, and he did. But when he got one, I got a bicycle with a wheel on the front of it and a basket about that big. You all have remembered seeing it or one like it. It was a delivery bicycle and after I got it one of my jobs was to go to a place called “Eastern Shore News” and deliver newspapers on Sunday. Going in people’s houses, I used to deliver newspapers and go in to collect for them. And I can remember going in different houses and different people and realizing how they were just a little bit different or they had different religious artifacts on the wall or pictures and furniture like they did. I sort of realized now that I had an appreciation for things even though I didn’t know what kind of appreciation it was. Some old women that I look back on now, that I wanted to get out of their house in a hurry because they wanted to dote on you a little too much, but they had such nice furniture. I realize that now maybe if I like nice furniture that was my going into all these nice houses.

One big thing — sports! When I grew up in grammar school, Father Miller started a football program. I think they played football here maybe back in the ’20s but it sort of died down and they didn’t have it. Father Miller started football. Boys started playing football, not enough equipment, but they started. Later on, Dan Wilkins came to help him coach and then wound up being coach alone. But the teams that we had for such a little town, most of the teams we played had more kids on the football team than we had in the high school! I think George was on one of these teams. I know Mike was, I know Tommy was. Father Miller scheduled a game with a team in Wilmington, Delaware, called Salesianum High School. That was a Catholic high school that had, if I’m not too far wrong, about 2,000 boys it seemed like. It was a big school. Anyway, the town or school or somebody paid, they rented two cars on the train. Took them up to Wilmington, played football, did a fairly good job, didn’t win, but came back. Going back in my memory, I know that Granby’s junior varsity, or second string, supposedly played Cape Charles. But one of the boys that later moved over here that played first string for Granby, said that it was named their second string but it was really most of their first string that played Cape Charles. And Cape Charles did very well. It was like 31 to 13, I think was the score, in fact, I know that was what it was. [Read more…]

COMMENTARY: Signs of Confusion


Violation: “Signs shall not exceed 25 percent of the window area on which such signs are displayed.”

Cape Charles Wave

December 24, 2013

Did anyone, other than Cape Charles Town Council member and Planning Commissioner Joan Natali, actually read the new 20-page sign ordinance before voting it into law? Town Planner Rob Testerman says the Town’s attorney reviewed it, but a reader has pointed out that the time restriction on political signs violates Virginia state law.

The new sign ordinance is not only extremely proscriptive – it’s also frustratingly vague. For example:

PERMITS REQUIRED: Unless specifically exempted, a permit must be obtained from the zoning administrator for the erection and maintenance of all signs erected or maintained within this jurisdiction and in accordance with other ordinances of this Jurisdiction.

Does that mean that EVERY sign in town will need a permit? Even temporary signs, such as For Sale signs? The ordinance doesn’t say.

But speaking of permits, there are of course:

PERMIT FEES: Permit fees to erect, alter or relocate a sign shall be in accordance with the fee schedule adopted within this jurisdiction.

No fee schedule is shown.

Do we even know what a “sign” is? Yes, thanks to the ordinance:

SIGN: Any device visible from a public place that displays either commercial or noncommercial messages by means of graphic presentation of alphabetic or pictorial symbols or representations.

So a sign doesn’t even have to contain words. It might be pictures of pumpkins such as were displayed in the windows of the vacant Bi-Lo building on Mason Avenue in October. The signs are gone now, and a good thing, because they are illegal.


VIOLATION: “Pure Sea Glass” banner looks to be well over 25 percent of the window space.

The most restrictive rule in the new ordinance is this one:

WINDOW SIGNS shall be permitted for any nonresidential use in a residential district, and for all commercial and industrial districts, subject to the following limitations:

– Any signs attached to windows or glass walls advertising weekly specials or special services offered for a limited time by a business establishment.

– The aggregate area of all such signs shall not exceed 25 percent of the window area on which such signs are displayed. Window panels separated by muntins or mullions shall be considered as one continuous window area.

One really needs to read this several times before it sinks in. Essentially, it bans all “permanent” signs in storefront windows. Only “weekly specials,” or “limited-time” offers are allowed to be displayed.

But that’s not all – there’s also the size restriction: no more than 25 percent of the window area. [Read more…]


Town Puts the Squeeze on Merchant Signs

Town wanted to ban these signs . . .

Town officials wanted to ban these signs next to the Coffee House on Mason Avenue . . .

. . . but the new 20-page ordinance goes a lot further, including restricting the Town's own new Harbor advertising.

. . . but the new 20-page ordinance goes a lot further, including restricting the Town’s own new Harbor advertising.

Cape Charles Wave

December 23, 2013

Cape Charles Town Council enacted a tough new sign ordinance December 19 that appears to place a number of local merchants, especially real estate agents, in violation of the law.

“This ordinance does not attempt to regulate what messages can be placed on signs, as that is a matter of free speech,” Town Planner Rob Testerman told Town Council. But the new 20-page ordinance (the old ordinance was 5 pages) goes into great detail about what messages can and cannot be on signs:

Another example of

Another “development complex sign” — or is it a “billboard”? Either way, it doesn’t appear to meet the new Town sign ordinance.

Signs posted inside storefront windows are limited to “advertising weekly specials or special services offered for a limited time by a business establishment.” This appears to be aimed at the storefront adjacent to the Cape Charles Coffee House,
which typically features signs protesting Town Council’s sale of the Old School in Central Park. (The signs have been replaced with Christmas greetings during the holiday season.) Signs inside store windows “shall not exceed 25 percent of the window area on which such signs are displayed,” which catches the large “Don’t Answer That” shown above. But it also catches the sign in the door of Brown Dog Ice Cream. [Read more…]


WEEKEND: Merry Christmas from the Cape Charles Wave



COMMENTARY by a Chicken-Hearted Resident

Two hens for every boy. (Photo: Stefanie Hadden)

Two hens for every boy. (Photo: Stefanie Hadden)

December 21, 2013

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cape Charles resident Stefanie Hadden made the following presentation Thursday at the Town Council meeting.)

Hi friends and neighbors! Backyard chicken-keeping is a rewarding and educational activity. It is also harmless. Keeping a small number of hens on one’s private property, properly secured and cared for, is a forward-thinking win-win for the community. It is a perfect example of sustainable living, and an important counterpoint to inhumane industrial- scale poultry production.

Hens are friendly, curious and productive! They‘re quiet, clean, entertaining birds and make wonderful outdoor pets. They produce nutritious hormone and antibiotic-free eggs ($4.29 per doz. at the grocery!), keep yards free of ticks and other insect pests, and provide excellent garden fertilizer in the form of their composted droppings.

Did you know the average dog produces 12 ounces of waste per day, where a hen produces a mere 1.5 ounces? [Read more…]