Council Deal to Buy Foster Lots Includes Back Tax

At Town Council meeting, New Roots Youth Garden volunteers Joann Fitchett, Jen Lewis, Tammy Holloway, and Brook Thomas receive town seal to display on the garden fence. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

March 24, 2014

In a 5-1 vote March 20, Town Council approved purchasing seven lots at the entrance to town for $100,000 from Bay Creek developer Richard “Dickie” Foster. Council member Frank Wendell opposed the purchase.

As partial payment, the deal includes $61,000 in back taxes owed the town by Foster’s company, Bay Creek LLC.

As reported in the Wave March 20, the town has been paying Foster’s county tax and town tax on the lots since 2010, as well as mowing the grass. A town welcome sign is erected on one of the lots.

The Wave has learned that a comparable lot on the other side of Randolph Avenue east of the Museum recently sold for $4,000 to the owner of Eastern Shore Custom Carts.

No use for the seven Foster lots has been stated, other than display of the welcome sign. Town Council members agreed at the meeting that they do not support the use of the lots for creating a traffic circle as proposed by VDOT and contained in the Comprehensive Plan. A traffic circle would also plow through the New Roots Youth Garden. [Read more…]


Public Hearing Set for Lodging Tax Increase

Cape Charles Wave

March 24, 2014

Cape Charles Town Council voted 5-1 March 20 to hold a public hearing on increasing the town lodging tax. Only Council member Frank Wendell opposed the action. The Town Code would be amended to raise the 3 percent transient occupancy tax to 3.7 percent, effective July 1, and cap the contribution to the ESVA Tourism Commission. The public hearing will be 6 p.m. April 17 at St. Charles Parish Hall.

In addition to raising the tax rate, Town Manager Heather Arcos is suggesting other “updates” to the Town Code – most significantly, deletion of language allowing Northampton County to levy a 2 percent lodging tax in the town. This provision in the Town Code is in fulfillment of the 1991 Annexation Agreement between the town and the county. Under state law, a county cannot levy a tax within a town without the town’s permission. The town granted that permission to the county when the county allowed the town to annex the property that became Bay Creek on the south side of Cape Charles.

Another “update” is deletion of a requirement that the town treasurer “ascertain the name of every person . . . who fails, refuses, or neglects to collect such tax. . . .”

Councilman Tom Godwin asked Arcos if she suspected there were many violators. Arcos responded, “I would say that the homeowners that rent without a Realtor or management company – yes.” She added that it was “very time-consuming” for staff to try to monitor the tax payments.

Council member Joan Natali noted that one way to monitor rental activity is by checking vacation websites. “If we have any good citizens who would like to dedicate a couple of hours a week, a month, or whatever, to do some of that research and then provide the treasurer with that information, it could then be followed up in a more targeted way,” she said. [Read more…]

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EDITORIAL: Blame the Wave

March 24, 2014

Going to the Post Office, it’s hard to miss the posters attacking the Wave, including accusations of “schemes to denigrate our town.” Another claim stapled to the telephone pole is that “the Wave has been screaming about wasteful spending and that we are going bankrupt.

The postings appeared on the telephone pole this past Friday, the morning after former town councilman Larry Veber addressed Town Council with a similar message. “Something that’s very concerning,” Veber related, “from what I hear from people who come into town. Two people recently that love Cape Charles and were so impressed with Cape Charles – they looked at everything, and said, ‘listen – we understand your town is going bankrupt!’ . . . ‘Everything we read about in the Wave – it’s bankrupt. You guys are going under! You are really in serious, serious trouble!’”

Veber continued, “We need to have somebody who’s going to give the information and not editorialize it.” . . . “There’s a group somewhere that keeps on talking, keeps on beating, and it’s hurting our town – in my opinion it’s having a tremendous negative effect on Cape Charles.”

Our response is that Mr. Veber’s accusations are utterly ridiculous and without foundation. What he doesn’t like is that the Wave actually reports the news – good and bad. The inner circles of any government never want bad news reported, and if possible they will print their own Pravda – or in the town’s case, the Gazette. [Read more…]


ORAL HISTORY: Delivering Milk by Horse and Wagon

David Mitchell today (13 years after his remarks transcribed here). Photo courtesy Marion Naar

David Mitchell today (13 years after his remarks transcribed here). Photo courtesy Marion Naar

March 24, 2014

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  A grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities enabled 15 interviews to be transcribed, and the Historical Society has made this one available for readers of the Wave.  All the transcriptions may be read at the Cape Charles Museum.)

David Mitchell speaks April 12, 2001


I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and I left there at the age of five and came to Cape Charles.  I lived with my aunt and uncle, Jesse Mitchell and Sally Mitchell.  My uncle worked for the town back in those days.  He used to haul garbage, and the garbage dump was over where the Coast Guard housing is right now [Washington Street east of Sea Breeze apartments].  Used to be the dump pile.  They had a horse and wagon they used to haul garbage with.

I always loved having my own money, so at an early age my Uncle Jesse had me working.  He used to do a little gardening and he would sell butter beans and tomatoes and stuff from his garden.  And he would take orders from private homes to sell butter beans and we had to help shell them and so forth.  And, of course, he would give us a little bit for helping and delivering.  My aunt used to wash laundry for families and she did some housework also.

When I was about 12, Mr. Gladstone had a dairy.  I know a lot of people are familiar with Gladstone Dairy over on the other side of Washington Avenue.  His father had strawberries and stuff.  I didn’t know that much about his father, but I did know Paul Gladstone.  I used to watch the cows and they would graze along Washington Avenue.  They had fields along it, but no fence.  So I happened to be out there playing one day and he came by and asked me if I wanted to keep the cows from going out in the street.  He’d give me something for doing it.  Well, I was playing anyway, so I told him yes.  So I would just throw a rock out and make them go back and then I would continue to play.  I’d see them come over again and I’d throw and make them go back.  And I guess he must have seen that I was faithful in what I was doing, so when I got a little older he gave me a job at the dairy. [Read more…]


MONDAY 3/24: Joint Meeting of County Supervisors, Planning Commission and PSA

On Monday, March 24, at 5 p.m. in the Board Room of the County Administration Building, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors will conduct a regular work session to include the annual meeting with the NHC Planning Commission and a joint meeting with the Eastern Shore of Virginia Public Service Authority. [Read more…]