Bay Creekers Say No to Chickens in Historic District

This fancy backyard chicken house in the Historic District stands empty, awaiting a decision from town officials. (Wave photo)


September 29, 2014

Last week the Wave reported the results of a “chicken survey” (CLICK) conducted by Town Planner Rob Testerman: 39 respondents opposed backyard chickens, 35 were in favor, and 7 wanted more information. But the Wave noted that 20 of the responses came from Bay Creek property owners, even though the backyard chicken ordinance would apply only to the Historic District. Bay Creek makes its own rules, and chickens are not allowed. The survey results did not break out Bay Creek respondents, so there was no way to know if the Creekers were skewing the results.

At last Thursday’s work session of Town Council and the Planning Commission, Council member Sambo Brown wanted to know what the survey results would be if Bay Creek responses were eliminated. Planner Testerman didn’t have that information at his fingertips, but he supplied it the next day: Of the 55 Historic District responses, 31 favored backyard chickens, 20 were opposed, and 4 said “maybe.”

That’s a significant change: overall, only 47 percent said yes to backyard chickens, but when the Bay Creek vote is removed, the yes percentage rises to 56 percent. Even more telling, the opposition drops from 52 percent all the way down to 36 percent.

This is not the only time that Bay Creek residents have had a hand in making rules that do not apply to them: Creekers hold 40 percent of the seats on the Historic District Review Board, which must approve any construction in the Historic District but which has no purview in Bay Creek.

Creekers enjoy even more power on the Planning Commission, which also has no jurisdiction in Bay Creek. Nevertheless, the chairman and the majority of members of the Planning Commission reside in Bay Creek. [Read more…]


Drowning Does Not Merit Bickering and Finger-Pointing


September 29, 2014

Upon reading Wayne Creed’s well written article in the Wave September 22 (CLICK), I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of sadness and disappointment all at once. As the son of a Cape Charles native and grandson of a former Cape Charles town manager, mayor, and business leader, I feel a special connection to Cape Charles. From its perfectly aligned and tree-shaded streets to its small-town America vibe, Cape Charles has a unique panache that cannot be duplicated.

However, not unlike many boom towns across this great country of ours, Cape Charles has not been without its troubles. From its earliest days, this southernmost enclave on the Eastern Shore has seen fortunes come and go with the tides that frequent its shores. Starting with the railroad that placed Cape Charles on the map, to the Bay Creek development that practically saved its future and then almost lost it again, the town knows a thing or two about recovery.

This summer has been a particularly trying season for the area. Starting with the disastrous and deadly tornado that ripped through Cherrystone, it was quickly followed by the tragic drowning death of Uvihin “Ace” Horton at the public town beach. In the days and weeks following Horton’s death, the people of this town have quietly begun the process of introspectively digesting what happened and how it possibly could have been prevented. The death of anyone by drowning, much less a child on vacation, is a horrific tragedy. It further highlights the risk we all take when enjoying the prolific expanses of nature that surround our peninsula.

In Mr. Creed’s article, he rightly questioned why the town has not installed some type of safety measures beyond a sign that is posted on the dunes nearest the Gazebo. Life guards, more safety signs, a daily posting of high and low tides, and floats attached to rope indicating the outer limits of safe swimming are all good starts. However, beyond these suggestions is where I draw the line in agreeing with Mr. Creed’s assessment of the town’s handling of the drowning, their attitude towards safety, and the overall climate of the town’s current state of affairs. [Read more…]