Watchdog Citizens Keep up Pressure on Supervisors

Cape Charles Wave

January 19, 2015

With brisk winds, temperatures in the 30s, and ice forming outside, over 100 people nevertheless packed the Northampton County administration building January 13 for the first Board of Supervisors meeting of the new year. Many who came were anxious over the proposed countywide rezoning ordinance that has been the dominant issue for the past year.

During public comment time, civic activist Ken Dufty documented several Supreme Court cases where decisions by local government had been challenged, warning that “we don’t want to go there, but we will” unless the Supervisors back down on the proposed rezoning and come back to the table. Otherwise they will be on a “crash course with the double doors of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Supreme Court,” Dufty emphasized.

Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore Director Donna Bozza added that Supervisors must reject the countywide rezoning proposal and that “public trust has been jeopardized. Reconsider for the good of the public.”

Former County Planning Commissioner Martina Coker criticized the proposal as a ‘”travesty that does not serve the citizens of the county.”

Newly appointed Chairman Rick Hubbard then addressed the audience, saying that the Board of Supervisors intended to finish the work left to do on the rezoning, that they had more information to gather, and after they compiled it and completed the process, they would open it up to the public for review. He reiterated that at present not even the Supervisors know what the rezoning will be or how it will look. He also stated that after completion, he would like to see two information sessions to gather information and recommendations before returning to the review process.

Another public comment came from David Boyd, who questioned the necessity of the PSA (Public Service Authority) sewer project for the Cheriton area of Route 13. Boyd said the entire project had been “hijacked by special interests” and that in the end, the only thing that would be accomplished would be alleviating the “boondoggle” that is the Cape Charles wastewater plant. [CLICK to read Boyd’s commentary in the Wave.] [Read more…]

COMMENTARY: Time to Disband the PSA


January 19, 2015

It is time to disband the PSA.

Originally the PSA (Public Service Authority) was tasked with developing a plan to construct a sewer which would serve Riverside Hospital in Nassawadox, in hopes of keeping that facility in Northampton County. When it became obvious we were going to lose the hospital, the PSA lost its primary purpose. At that point, Northampton County and four towns — Cape Charles, Cheriton, Nassawadox, and Exmore — revamped the PSA to handle wastewater issues in those towns and the surrounding County. The PSA would build or take over in-place wastewater treatment facilities and manage the operations and maintenance of them.

Of interest in this regard is the fact that Eastville, the County seat of Northampton County, chose not to join the PSA. Then the citizens of Cheriton found out what the monthly fee would be to treat their wastewater and they asked to be removed from the plan. Nassawadox and Exmore are no longer included in the plan in its present format either. So, this appears to have evolved into a plan to construct a pipeline to help bail Cape Charles out from its boondoggle of an overdesigned sewer plant, at the expense of Northampton County taxpayers.

The perpetrators of the PSA plan. however, claim the purpose is to attract business along Route 13, which contradicts the intent of the County Comprehensive Plan.

Since then, the PSA has spent more than $130,000 in grants and tax money with nothing to show for it. On September 16, 2013, the PSA held an informational meeting about a proposed tax district to pay for sewerage for commercial properties. At that meeting, more than 90 percent of the speakers said that they did not want a sewer pipe from Route 13 to the Cape Charles wastewater plant, or the related tax district. Immediately following those comments, the PSA voted to spend $70,000 for engineering plans for a pipe to the Cape Charles plant. Someone was not listening. [Read more…]


WAYNE CREED Goes to a Town Council Meeting

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the absence of other reporting staff, Cape Charles’ most acerbic social critic, Wave columnist Wayne Creed, has recently donned a reportorial hat and dutifully recorded the actions of Northampton’s Board of Supervisors, which can be read in the news columns here and here. But in the column below, the indomitable Mr. Creed returns to his roots with an opinionated but highly informative commentary on Cape Charles Town Council’s first meeting of the new year.

Cape Charles Wave

January 19, 2015

With Christmas decorations ripped down, the sidewalks dark and lonely, the night cold and wet, the lights were turned on inside the Town Civic Center January 15 in order to conduct the first Town Council Regular Meeting of the New Year. Aside from two members of news media (Cape Charles Wave and Eastern Shore Post), only two other constituents braved the raw weather to attend. Mayor Proto himself arrived nearly 30 minutes late.

Town Council voted to request the Virginia Port Authority to carry over to the new year several grants previously awarded for harbor improvements. This includes $645,000 for offshore breakwaters and $185,000 for a wave attenuator and dock improvements. The VPA has altered the terms to a 75%-25% match, making the proposal more fiscally attractive. Local matching funds must still be identified for these projects. Councilman Steve Bennett aggressively questioned Harbormaster Smitty Dize in what appeared to be a leading manner, attempting to get Mr. Dize to acknowledge, or at least provide a modicum of actual requirements that might justify the request for funds.

“Are there no plans to spend the money (we have)? No contracts have been awarded?”

Mr. Dize only responded, “I’m with you,” and “the VPA likes Cape Charles. We spend their money.”

The motion to have Mayor Proto write a letter requesting the funds passed unanimously (Councilman Wendell was absent). There was no discussion by Council regarding who would actually write, edit, or approve the letter Mayor Proto is required to sign. [Read more…]


FRIDAY 1/23: Free Lecture on Traumatic Brain Injury at ESCC

“Traumatic Brain Injury” is this week’s free 90-minute talk sponsored by the Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, January 23, in the Lecture Hall of the Eastern Shore Community College, in Melfa. Bob Paschall will talk about the political and social implications of traumatic brain injury. Paschall practices neurology on the Shore.

Be-Lo Building Brought Low


(January 18, 2015)

Mason Avenue’s biggest eyesore is no more. The old Be-Lo grocery store, run out of business when Food Lion opened on the highway, got a mercy killing this past week as developer Patrick Hand cleared the area for a mixed-use building with commercial storefronts at ground level and condos upstairs. Also falling victim to Hand’s development are 160 public parking places surrounding the old building. The town plans to lease parking space on railroad property a bit further walk to shops compared to the old lot. (Photo: Irene Munz)

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