Supervisors Nix Kiptopeke Villas Restaurant Permit

Cape Charles Wave

March 16, 2015

On a very warm evening with a hint of spring showers in the air, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors met for the March 10 regular meeting. The Kiptopeke Villas project once again made an appearance, this time seeking a second Special Use Permit to construct and operate a 12 table takeout restaurant on county parcel 69. The 2,500 square-foot “greasy spoon”-style eatery would consist of 12 tables and an outside porch area. There would be no drive-thru capability.

During public comments, Charles Bruckner questioned whether the developer had done due diligence in regard to groundwater and aquifer protections, in light of the fact that the site once housed a gas station, and the tanks are presumably still underground. “Do you have any engineering data you can point to? Have you even done a phase one or two environmental impact assessment? My worry is that there was a gas station there. The DEQ may have looked at it, but they are not an investigative agency. They come in after something has happened to help remediate,” Bruckner said.

Terry Ramsey followed with comments about the parking, especially by larger vehicles such as RVs and truck or boat trailers. “This should be safety first. This will change the fundamental character of our neighborhood. It is not an appropriate use” for this area,” he said. Ramsey also urged Supervisors to limit or even ban music played outside and consumption of alcohol on the porch.

Supervisor Granville Hogg voiced concerns about the project to County Planner Peter Stith: “I have concerns with page 3 where it says it will not adversely affect the health of the area. This is zoned Hamlet, I understand that, but do you feel this is an appropriate use?” Hogg asked.

“Are you suggesting it should be zoned residential?” responded Stith. “I don’t know what development [for this area] holds for the future.”

Hogg continued: “Is this mass drain field really appropriate for this area? When we first started this, we were told it was going to be low impact; now it seems to be fairly substantial.” [Read more…]


PHOTO: Before the Thaw

Photographer/artist Gertraud Fendler took this shot just before last week’s warm spell arrived. In the distance is one of the ships dredging the Cape Charles Harbor. (March 16, 2015 edition)

County Should Stop Yanking Town’s Chain

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

March 16, 2015

On January 27, the Town of Cape Charles sent correspondence to County Administrator Katie Nunez voicing displeasure with the Board of Supervisors’ reluctance to bow to the Town’s whims — that is, drop everything it was doing and pick up work on the Cape Charles request to have the County include a Town Entrance Overlay District in proposed zoning changes.

The written response from the County was a bit like a horse swatting away an annoying fly with its tail — a nice way of telling Cape Charles to go pack sand.

While it is true that few citizens of Cape Charles actually take the Mayor, Town Council, or Planning Commission seriously, it is worrisome that this same sentiment has also seeped out into the county.

This sentiment may be marginally understandable, given the petulant and peevish tone of the town; however, the county still has some explaining to do, mainly as to why they have been reluctant to take up the matter in the first place. In the correspondence to Nunez, the town noted that in a previous letter, the Board of Supervisors was unable to deal with the town’s request: “Your letter of June 11, 2014 indicated that the Board of Supervisors was unable to consider our request for the inclusion of the Historic Town Overlay Corridor in the proposed zoning amendments due to current workload . . . .”

Workload? What workload? The county makes it sound like they toil away in a Kentucky coal mine. It seems the county is always able to make time for so many inane and inconsequential endeavors; their response to the town on this very important matter appears to be nothing short of a blow-off.

Mayor George Proto’s statement is a legitimate response. Rather than being treated like a creepy, stalker boyfriend who refuses to take no for an answer, the town at least deserves a straight answer. Proto wrote, “I am aware that the BoS has been diligently working through potential revisions [to the proposed zoning] . . . we would like the BoS to consider our request . . . before completing this review [of proposed zoning changes].” Even as diplomatically as they tried to wordsmith it, the town’s frustration is becoming more apparent. [Read more…]

Orchestra Hopped into Spring When Most Needed

March 16, 2015


If you’ve been hankering for spring and live classical music, our Orchestra of the Eastern Shore’s recent concert would have appealed to you. It was another stunner: they are on a roll. It was the second appearance of vibrant Dr. Paul S. Kim who succeeds the impressive five year tenure of Professor Lee Jordan-Anders.

The 15 member-strong volunteer orchestra was joined by a 10-member church chorus and two professional vocal soloists: the Shore’s own soprano, Anna Sterrett, and, in stark effective contrast, Michigan native bass-baritone Matthew Scollin, who handsomely paired with conductor Kim deftly playing violin in Bach’s Cantata “I will gladly carry the cross.” According to Dr. Kim, Bach could churn out such masterpieces weekly. This one aptly includes a raft of maritime images.

Prior to Mr. Scollin’s powerful performance the large audience had been nearly swept off their feet with Ms. Sterrett’s solo throughout Mozart’s Exultate, jubilate, drafted at midpoint in his life in his teens. The Ave verum corpus, among his last pieces just 18 years later in 1791, impressively engaged our chorus and orchestra as melody and voice, with wonderful acoustics, projected in Hungars Episcopal Church’s tranquil refuge.

With such splendor shared one dreams of an encore. We’re incredibly fortunate for conductor and director Dr. Kim’s presence, that of his teammates and guests, and the church’s cordiality. Shore residents should seize the opportunity to hear them live in the future — again at Bridgetown or in Onancock — for free or in support.

A professional program accompanies each performance. For further info see and for concert updates you are invited to join their list via [email protected].


Letters to the Editor are welcome, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged. Send submissions to [email protected].

THURSDAY 3/19: ‘Mother Nature vs Us’ at Oyster Research Center

Thursday March 19, at 7 p.m. at the Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center in Oyster, Don Young of Virginia Commonwealth University will present “Ecosystem Engineers: Mother Nature vs Us.” Virginia barrier islands are home to two very important dune building grasses, American beach grass and sea oats. Through feedbacks with physical processes these grasses use slightly different strategies to build dunes that protect and stabilize island interiors. The dominant barrier island shrub, wax myrtle, further stabilizes island interiors and increases soil nitrogen that may be important to dune grasses and the island fringe marsh. Field research on these species will be discussed, and our results and experiences”will be placed within the context of coastal restoration, sea-level rise, and climate change.