Zoning Opponents Sound Off at State of the Shore

Cape Charles Wave

April 21, 2014

Blustery conditions cancelled Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s charter flight to attend the State of the Shore event April 15, so he had to come by car. But the real turbulence at the meeting came from opposition to Northampton County’s rezoning plan.

Northampton Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry LeMond defended the zoning rewrite, saying the county needs to streamline the development process. Those who questioned the county’s plans are advocates of “no growth,” he said.

Ken Dufty, representing the newly formed group Citizens for Open Government, responded that the proposed zoning ordinance was not in accord with the County’s Comprehensive Plan and that the Planning Commission had not even discussed the zoning changes until two weeks before the public hearing. Dufty disputed LeMond’s claim that the Planning Commission had had two and a half years to look at proposed zoning changes. He also noted that the Planning Commission had asked the county to hire a consultant to help review the proposed changes, but that the county refused to fund it.

LeMond responded that Supervisor Larry Trala felt that the citizens should be able to take care of the review of the ordinance without hiring a consultant. The Planning Commission has 100 days to offer suggestions about the changes, and no further public hearings are scheduled for what LeMond referred to as a “hot-button issue.”


Dufty provided a list of concerns about the proposed zoning changes including elimination of the Chesapeake Bay protections from the seaside; increased housing density along waterfront areas; eliminating special use permits for adverse land uses; and allowing intensive chicken farming with reduced setbacks.

Additional concerns are reduced waterfront lot widths; promoting industrial parks and large scale development along Route 13; changing by-right uses of agricultural land; and allowing non-farm uses like prisons, dredge spoil disposal, auto and motorcycle race tracks, Dufty said.

This was the first “State of the Shore” event, held at Eastern Shore Community College and sponsored by regional chambers of commerce. Most of the Shore’s prominent political and business leaders attended.

Gov. McAuliffe told attendees that from his first days in office he has focused on the economy. In February, just weeks after the election, he visited Bayshore Concrete Products to announce tax relief for the company and more jobs for area residents. Hinting that a big announcement about agriculture exports would be coming soon, McAuliffe said he was talking with foreign officials about increasing farm exports from Virginia ports.

McAuliffe joked that he might be the first governor in space — leaving from Wallops Island. “To my detractors’ dismay, it will be a round trip,” he said.

Delegate Robert Bloxom, Jr., thanked the audience for sending him to the state capital but noted that he was only there eight days before the session ended.

State Senator Lynwood Lewis spoke about the healthcare and budget impasse, water access accord, dredging issues, and a traffic safety study on Route 13. Lewis decried the growing polarization of politics in general and in Virginia in particular where he has seen a decline in civility. Politics is becoming a “bloodsport based on fear and division,” he said.



6 Responses to “Zoning Opponents Sound Off at State of the Shore”

  1. Nancy Daniel Vest on April 22nd, 2014 8:29 pm

    State Senator Lewis’s statement about the decline in civility in politics really hits home. It seems to be happening at all levels — national, state, and even in our beloved town. Fair and open discussion is needed to solve problems and plan for the future. I have great admiration for people who have the ability to discuss issues and not personalities.
    A few years ago, the Town was divided over various matters and many citizens were upset. It was during this time that one of the Council members resigned and Melvin Dudley was asked to take the vacant seat. Melvin Dudley was just the right man at just the right time. He always spoke his mind but he did it respectfully and honestly. I do not believe I ever heard him say an unkind word about anyone. He discussed issues and never people. I once asked him why the town seemed to be in such turmoil. He patiently explained that there were two types of people in the world. With some, if there was a disagreement, they would never speak to you again. With others, you could argue about a question and then enjoy lunch together. Melvin said simply, “You just need to decide who you want to be.”
    I miss Melvin Dudley — his kind heart, his wisdom, his ability to look logically at problems and his willingness to listen and politely consider all points of view. I wish we could all just sit down and have lunch with him one more time.

  2. Don Riley on April 23rd, 2014 9:05 am

    Good Stuff!

  3. Wayne Creed on April 23rd, 2014 9:52 am

    Nancy, thank you for taking the time to remind us of all the contributions Melvin Dudley made. It should also be noted that, for many of us that have been engaged in the long fight to restore the Atlantic Menhaden stock, as a Northampton County angler, Mr. Dudley was very supportive in our efforts. There had been some talk about building a monument in the park to commemorate Melvin’s contributions, not just to Central Park, but to the Town as whole, including the fundamental support he provided in helping establish the Cape Charles Christian School. I hope someday we can revitalize that effort.

  4. Nancy Daniel Vest on April 23rd, 2014 3:47 pm

    Mr. Creed,
    As you may know Melvin’s friends worked to create a small memorial for Melvin in Central Park. A Christmas tree was planted in his honor and is named “Melvin.” It is designated as the official Christmas tree of Cape Charles. There is a small plaque beside the tree. It was placed to celebrate Melvin’s life and “his dedication to Cape Charles, his gifts of wisdom, his grand sense of humor, his love of family, and his appreciation of the beauty of his environment.” Each year as a part of the Grand Illumination of Central Park, his friends enjoy the lights that shine in his memory.
    I think it would be very fitting to place a bench facing his tree. Perhaps that could be a place in town where people could meet, sit, and calmly discuss problems, ways to help others and thoughts on how to make the world a better place.
    If we could all work together, pointing directions and not fingers, we could do amazing things. That would be a wonderful tribute to Melvin.

  5. Don Riley on April 23rd, 2014 8:40 pm

    I think the place to ponder over the future of CAPE CHUCK is on a bench facing the brick piggy house in Central Park. By the way, the pig house faces due west.

  6. Wayne Creed on April 25th, 2014 8:34 am

    A bench for Melvin would be nice. Nancy, you have a new job. Let me know how I can help make this happen.