Town Grants South Port $180,000 Utility Fee Deferral

South Port Investors' Cape Charles Yacht Center looks to cater to this clientele.

South Port Investors’ Cape Charles Yacht Center looks to cater to this clientele.

Cape Charles Wave

January 23, 2014

Town of Cape Charles offices were closed yesterday due to snow, but that didn’t stop Town Council from holding a special meeting to grant a deferral to South Port Investors of up to $180,000 in utility connection charges.

South Port, the developer of Cape Charles Yacht Center, is engaged in yacht repair and storage, and is soliciting vendors for boat manufacturing, yacht brokerage, boat rentals, sail making, ship stores, insurance, a bistro, retail shops, and a bed & breakfast.

South Port last month requested a waiver of utility charges and fees for property it is leasing from the Town. Unable to reach consensus at its December meeting, Town Council held a special work session earlier this month to further discuss the issue, but still could not agree on what to do.

A week ago, Council held a closed meeting, revealing only that the discussion concerned “property leased by the Town and Town-owned property,” leading observers to conclude that South Port again was the topic.

The thorny issue is that although Town Code requires utility connection charges, Town Council has begun making exceptions. The Shanty Restaurant, built on property leased from the Town, was not required to pay a utility connection fee (which would have been $60,000).

South Port’s legal representative, Cela Burge, said South Port is only asking for equal treatment. She also pointed out that the Town waived a portion of connection fees for the developer of the apartments planned for the Old School at Central Park. (The fees essentially were eliminated by cutting them 75 percent and then giving the developer $41,000 to apply toward the remainder.)

Council member Joan Natali appeared to have forgotten about the Old School: “To my mind our precedent is limited to leased Town property,” she said.

Most recently, the Town reduced connection fees for the new Bay Creek Beach Club from $153,000 to $44,000. [Read more…]