Supervisors Hear Continuing Opposition on Rezoning

This flier being circulated by Northampton County rezoning opponents stresses that anyone who does not register his or her opposition to county rezoning plans will be judged to be in favor of the rezoning.

This flier being circulated by Northampton County rezoning opponents stresses that anyone who does not register his or her opposition to county rezoning plans will be judged to be in favor of the rezoning.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that County Supervisors have postponed any action on rezoning until January 2016. But as pointed out in a comment by Ken Dufty (see below), the Supervisors merely extended the window by six months because it otherwise would have expired.)

Cape Charles Wave

June 15, 2015

Despite continuing outspoken opposition to rezoning proposals, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors appears set to enact the sweeping measure in advance of November elections — perhaps as early as June 29.

Elections this November will ensure at least one new Supervisor on the Board, because Larry Trala is not running for re-election. And if Spencer Murray succeeds in unseating Board Chairman Rick Hubbard there will be two new Supervisors. Murray is strongly opposed to the rezoning proposals as presently constituted.

Two candidates have filed for Trala’s seat: Robert Grayson Duer and Gwen Cummings-Thompson, both of Exmore. The latter’s position on rezoning has not been revealed, but Duer is known to be opposed.

The only sitting Supervisor opposed to the rezoning is Granville Hogg, but if two like-minded candidates join him on the Board in January, they will have a majority, and the Board could be expected to march in a new direction.

The possibility of a dramatically different Board come January might well have influenced the decision by Economic Development Director Charles McSwain, who is believed to be resigning next month. McSwain has taken the most heat from rezoning opponents, followed by County Administrator Katie Nunez.

The flier above is representative of the efforts by rezoning opponents, led by Ken Dufty and supported by a host of well-known residents including Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore (CBES), Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, a prominent Realtor, a marine biologist, and a former Planning Commissioner, all of whom spoke at the June 9 Board meeting.

At that meeting, Supervisors once again encountered the full force of opposition to the proposed zoning changes that many feel could destroy the rural nature of the county. The core issues remain protection of the environment, as well as the overall rural character of Northampton — that is, just what will happen if setback changes, PUD (Planned Unit Development) and altered rules for impervious surfaces are put in place. What will happen if large-scale CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and waste incinerators, mainly poultry operations, set up shop on the lower end of the shore? [Read more…]


Prominent Resident John Schulz Blasts Council for ‘Dumbest, Most Dangerous Parking System in America’

reverse angleCAPE CHARLES WAVE

June 15, 2015

Cape Charles resident John Schulz is well known as an author and former Voice of America foreign correspondent. He also has been an Oxford scholar, National War College professor, magazine editor, and a prize-winning poet. But only now has he made the decision to break ranks with the town’s power structure and roast them for enacting “reverse angle parking” on Mason Avenue.

In a letter to Cape Charles Town Council which Schulz requested be made public record, he wrote satirically,

Dear Council Members: Congratulations! Thanks to your well-thought-through decision, we can all now brag about yet another unique feature of Cape Charles: We have the dumbest, most dangerous main street parking system of any town in America.

Thanks to all of you, anyone wishing to park on our commercial main street can now experience all the thrills and adventures associated with turning into oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, reversing, and, though most of us never practice skills at backing into parking places, begin the adventure of re-crossing into the lane we were in. And, hoping not to scrape the cars parked on either side due to our limited skills at this little adventure, slide our cars into place — also hoping not to drive up on to the curb where we might kill a passer-by we didn’t see in our rearview mirrors.

And, for those of us thoughtful enough to go to the end of the block, do a U-turn, and drive head first into the parking space we previously selected, thus avoiding all this maneuvering and extra lane-crossing, there is a parking ticket “just waiting to happen,” hot in the hands of our local constabulary. [Read more…]


Two County Supervisors May Have Conflict of Interest

June 15, 2015


The June 9 meeting of the Northampton County Board of  Supervisors was rather lively.  As this would be the last time that residents could address the BOS before staff sends the rezoning scheme out for public comment, many speakers took to the podium to relay their opposition to the widespread plan to industrialize our farmland, among other changes. Those commenting included three former planning commissioners, a marine scientist, two heads of local civic organizations, and other landowners who feared their investments in this county were being jeopardized.

Nearly all of the speakers questioned the Board’s motives for changing the land use rules which currently protect property rights and our limited natural resources (the aquifer and clean coastal waters), all without our consent.  Near the end of the citizen comment period, I addressed the Board with what I thought might be in part driving the changes, and I appreciate this opportunity to more fully flesh out my presentation.

Shortly after buying our building next to the Post Office in Exmore in 2008, during a meeting of a local citizens group we became aware of a project called the Exmore Energy Project.  The plan was announced at that meeting by a representative of the Bay Coast Railroad.  The proposal was called a “Bio Diesel plant” and would manufacture a diesel additive by refining waste oil from the Norfolk Oil Transport Company.  The waste product would be railed to the site (next to our shop and in the middle of town), mixed with methanol and other additives, heated, filtered, and stored.

As I had experience with these oil refineries while working for county government in our rural upstate New York county, I quickly concluded that the project was not a good fit for the middle of a business district.  Working with other citizens in the town and Virginia  DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality], we encouraged Bay Coast and the Norfolk concern to abandon their plans. [Read more…]

LETTER: Respect Animals by Not Eating Them


Thank you for publishing Wayne Creed’s thoughtful and informative article, including the shout out for International Respect for Chickens Day May 4 and every day. For many people who want to be vegan, including me 30 years ago, cheese is the biggest hurdle. One day I sat in my car in front of my favorite Italian restaurant in College Park, Maryland, crying because I could no longer have pizza with extra (or any!) cheese. I had a good cry in the driver’s seat. Then I dried my eyes, went inside, ordered rigatoni with mushrooms, and never looked back.

I wish that in childhood I had made the connection between eating and animals, but I didn’t. Growing up in a Pennsylvania town where schools were (and still are) closed on the first day of hunting season, where ring-necked pheasants are pen-raised to be released into the woods to be wounded and shot for pleasure, I hated those things, yet I didn’t connect animals and dinner. I don’t hold myself responsible for what I failed to realize growing up, although I regret it, but once my eyes were open, I was responsible.

To this day I consider my decision to respect animals by not eating them to be the single best decision I ever made. For me, being vegan is the opposite of renunciation. It is a totally positive, deeply satisfying diet and dietary decision that has influenced my attitude and behavior in other areas including household and personal care products and in trying to act consciously instead of just conveniently.

If I have any advice for people who want their food to be animal-free, it is to stay firm in your commitment, be happy about it, eat well, and don’t apologize. I invite everyone getting started to sign up for the daily recipes and gorgeous photos featured on One Green Planet. Remember the animals whose lives you are no longer ruining just for a meal. For me, this is the most powerful incentive.

President, United Poultry Concerns


WAYNE CREED: How to Bring Avian Flu to Northampton

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

June 15, 2015

As Northampton County continues to grapple with the ramifications of the proposed zoning changes, still lurking in the shadows is the subtle opening of the door for the poultry industry, including CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), as well as chicken litter waste incinerators. Having less available expansion options left on the northern Delmarva, the industry finally hopes to gain a foothold in Northampton County.

While the special, and even conflicted, interests continued to gather in the back rooms of Northampton to plot their next moves in efforts to make the county “more profitable” through proposed zoning changes, it was reported in the New York Times by Stephanie Strom that the deadly avian flu had struck some of the largest egg operations in the Midwest where millions of chickens will have to be euthanized.

The Center Fresh Group, a top U.S. egg producer must kill (using carbon dioxide or foam) and dispose of about 5.5 million laying hens housed in 26 metal barns on their property. For the last month, the daily ritual of the Agriculture Department has become to report how many more hens must be destroyed. On extreme days, the number can be several million. In Iowa, where a good bit of all eggs originate (including liquid egg products), nearly 40% of the egg laying hens have been affected by the flu.

This is creating a monstrous disposal problem, as carcasses have filled barns; poultry farmers have been pleading for state and federal assistance to deal the disposal effort, as “workers in masks and hazmat gear attempt to clear the barns.” Part of the issue is the way the battery hens are crammed in, with the battery cages stacked on top of each other, usually filling almost every square inch, top to bottom, of the barns. [Read more…]

Chamber of Commerce Applauds School Resolution

June 15, 2015


I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber of Commerce has served businesses on the Eastern Shore for 62 years.  Representing more than 450 businesses, our mission is to “serve, promote and connect businesses and communities of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.”

The Board of Directors would like to commend the Northampton County Board of Supervisors for the Resolution they adopted at their meeting on May 12, 2015.  We wholeheartedly agree that education should be viewed as the cornerstone for the county’s economic future. We encourage the Board of Supervisors to remain focused on education and to keep all the educational declarations listed below in the forefront of their decision making.


WHEREAS, it is well established and recognized that the future of our local, regional and even global society hinges on an engaged, informed, and educated youth; and

WHEREAS, it is also recognized that a well-educated and inspired student body is the engine that drives, and will continue to drive our local and regional economy; and

WHEREAS, Northampton County is fortunate to enjoy world-class teachers who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that their students are equipped and prepared to become productive and beneficial members of society in business, academic and leadership roles; and [Read more…]

WEDNESDAYS: Trivia Night at the Oyster Farm with Jeopardy! Star Eric Hack

All trivia enthusiasts are invited to spend Wednesday evenings at the Oyster Farm (Trivia Question: What well-known Cape Charles restaurant recently changed its name to “The Oyster Farm”?). The games start at 7 p.m. and are hosted by local Jeopardy! star Eric Hack. (Don’t worry — he won’t be on the other team.) Hack describes the games as “laid-back and the atmosphere is fun while teams of contestants have three or four minutes to come up with their answers to tricky trivia questions while enjoying dinner and drinks. [Read more…]

TUESDAY 6/23: Civil War Historian Kellee Blake at Accomac Library

Fourth Tuesdays at the Library, an initiative of the Friends of the Eastern Shore Public Library, presents a program by Civil War historian Kellee Green Blake, “The End of the Civil War and What That Meant for the Eastern Shore,” on Tuesday, June 23, at 7 p.m. at the Accomac  Library, 23610 Front St. [Read more…]