#20 Story
EXTRA! Town Council to Sell Inner Harbor for $10

In this view of Cape Charles Town Harbor, the new Yacht Center will utilize the rectangular cutout at middle back of photo.

Inner Harbor at left rear will be sold, but the new Outer Harbor at front will remain, as will Coast Guard station and new yacht repair facility.


April 1, 2014

Cape Charles Town Council has tentatively agreed in closed session to accept an unsolicited confidential proposal to buy the inner portion of the Town Harbor for $10. The original offer was $1, but was raised ten-fold as a demonstration of goodwill by the buyer. “Even though we don’t receive a whole lot of money up front, we can expect to benefit in the future from property taxes, water bills, and increased tourism,” explained one Council member who supports the deal.

The purchaser is J. David Schmick, originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, owner of Sketch-Along Resourcing LLC. Schmick, an international entrepreneur, promises that Sketch-Along’s investments in Cape Charles will invigorate the entire Eastern Shore, beginning with the Shanty, which will become a floating restaurant after the style of those in Hong Kong.

Drawing a sketch on a Shanty napkin, Schmick outlined his plan to relocate the Shanty onto a floating dock in mid-harbor. There will be a harbor taxi service to ferry customers, and Cape Charles Water Sports would be a logical supplier of the service, he said. There is also the opportunity for tourists to rent a jet ski to get to the Shanty, eat, and then zoom over to the public beach.

According to an official, the town’s newly increased transient occupancy tax will also be levied on customers of the harbor taxi. “What could be more transient than that,” reasoned the official.

However, at least one close observer is worried that Schmick’s development plans could destroy the small-town charm of Cape Charles. For example, it is already rumored that Schmick will take control of the Shanty and rebrand it as a McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant. Schmick is not known to be associated with the famous restaurant chain, but admits to an affinity for the company that shares his unusual last name.

Entrepreneur Schmick was able to convince Town Council to essentially give him the Inner Harbor to fulfill his vision for a water theme park replacing the current boat slips. Schmick claims to have financing already in place to build a Disney-style “Slip ‘n’ Slide” along with paddle boats, a competition jet ski race course, and an “Ol’ Tyme Ferry Boat” modeled after a Mississippi riverboat casino. (The ferry boat casino would come in Phase 2, with a yet-to-be-determined start date, operated by a separate firm doing business as Charade Adventures LLC.)


Schmick explained to Council members that the Harbor currently is a liability, not an asset. He pointed out that not only does it produce no tax revenue, but it is also in debt to the maximum allowed by law. “It’s time to liquidate the Harbor,” he said.

One Council member confided that they became sold when town financial advisor Wally Webber of Wally Webber & Associates endorsed the deal. Webber further claimed that the town might have obtained a much higher price for the Harbor were it not for “negative reporting in the Wave.” (CLICK for the Wave’s report on the “red tide” released into the harbor from the town waterworks.)

Meetings between Town Council and J. David Schmick were held without public knowledge. A notice was given of an executive meeting to consider an “unsolicited confidential proposal,” but there was no mention that the Harbor was involved. According to the same Council member, the fear was that if word got out prematurely, Schmick might have decided to buy a different harbor for $10. “Oyster, Willis Wharf, Watchapreague, Onancock – there’s a lot to choose from,” they said. “We’re lucky he got us first.”

But there is still the formality of a public hearing, which has been scheduled for 6 a.m. Sunday, April 6, at St. Charles Parish Hall. Three Council members who are St. Charles parishioners said they recommended the early hour for two reasons: first, it would not conflict with other scheduled activities, and second, members of the public were invited to remain afterward at St. Charles for early mass and to ask Father Mike what Jesus would have done about the Harbor. To encourage a large turnout, an ecumenical group will be serving bread and fish following the public hearing. Riverside Farms is donating five loaves, and Nottingham Seafood is providing two fishes. There is expected to be food left over.

This is not the first time the town has planned to give away a portion of the harbor. In 1988, a Port Authority grant was available to construct docks, but the town had no money for matching funds. Eastern Shore Railroad offered to take control of the north side of the Harbor, where the boat ramps are now, and supply the matching funds. The deal was ready to go through until newly elected Town Council member Frank Wendell organized opposition.

Almost 26 years later, Wendell is now trying to stop the Harbor giveaway to Schmick. He had planned to post large signs in his vacant building next to the Coffee Shop reading SCHMICK IS A SCHMUCK. However, under the new town sign ordinance this would be illegal.

CLICK for complete details of the Harbor sale.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Those reading this story after the initial date of publication should be sure to also read the follow-up story. CLICK HERE.)



31 Responses to “#20 Story
EXTRA! Town Council to Sell Inner Harbor for $10”

  1. Wane Credence on March 31st, 2014 11:21 pm

    As everyone knows, I opposed selling the old school, but the harbor is a different story. It was becoming a hangout for rich and famous yachting types – why should the town support that? And I’m excited about a “floating” Shanty. How about rigging up some outboard motors and offering moonlight cruises on the Shanty out in the Bay?

  2. Mickey Kuzpa on March 31st, 2014 11:22 pm

    @ Wane Credence: Why should a communist like you support moonlight cruises? There’s not enough light to read Karl Marx!

  3. Tony Sax on March 31st, 2014 11:23 pm

    Once again the town council is singing off-key. They should have sold Schumck the old technology building for $1. He could build a moat around it and have his jet ski races there.

  4. Donnell Asku on March 31st, 2014 11:24 pm

    The whole idea is insane. We need a McCormick & Schmick’s in the Harbor like we need an Applebee’s on Mason Avenue. I hope the voters will pull the plug on yet another crazy developer’s plan.

  5. Deb Binder on March 31st, 2014 11:24 pm

    Here we go again – why don’t they just give away the whole town and be done with it? I’ll offer 10 cents for the fun pier – oh wait, it needs repairs, so maybe the town will give me $100,000 if I buy it.

  6. Jonny Stevensonn on April 1st, 2014 12:37 am


  7. Larry Beckett on April 1st, 2014 1:09 am

    Let’s support Frank Wendell, people, and not give away another valuable town asset. It’s clear that the Town of Cape Charles is for sale to the lowest bidder. Surely the elected officials can’t be this ignorant continuously!

  8. Amy Nottingham on April 1st, 2014 1:58 am

    Didn’t know that Nottingham Seafood will be donating fish on April 6, when we do not open until April 29. Lol!

  9. Craig Richardson on April 1st, 2014 2:02 am

    Attention Kmart shoppers: there’s a blue light special on real estate in Cape Charles! Our prices are so low — IT’S CRAZY! Just come see our crazy town council and walk away with whatever you want! And for the really rich, we’re throwing in free water connection fees, and any other concessions you ask for! And don’t worry about who will be picking up the tab, we have plenty of elderly, and fixed income residents who will pay it for you. But come in quick, because these prices will only be in effect as long as the current town council is in control!
    Almost $11 million in debt, and they want to build a Disney-like theme park in the harbor — Baldwin’s pipe dream on one side, and now Schmick’s hairbrained idea on the other. RESIDENTS OF CAPE CHARLES, STOP THIS INSANITY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

  10. Chris Stewart on April 1st, 2014 2:12 am

    Ha ha! Nice one! But you gotta get up pretty early to fall for this!

  11. Chip Moore on April 1st, 2014 7:26 am

    I read that Mr. Schmick was a producer on MTV’s Jersey Shore. They plan to film a reality show in town with Snookie & J-Wow as soon as the changes are made to the harbor. Should be a good thing for the town.

  12. Joseph Corcoran on April 1st, 2014 8:05 am

    If this is an April Fools Day trick, it is not funny. Send that schmuck back to Russia.

  13. Charlene Brady on April 1st, 2014 8:11 am

    Let’s repeat history here. First, Dick Meyers purchases the property years ago for his clam boats right at the mouth of OUR beautiful harbor and now it sits fenced in and rundown. Second, Cape Charles High School is sold for $1. There it sits right by the park area and no basketball courts etc. for the kids to use. Third, Inner portion of the Town Harbor to be sold for $10 from $1 that was originally proposed?

  14. Wayne Creed on April 1st, 2014 8:21 am


    EXTRA! Fewest Words Ever From Wayne Creed! –EDITOR

  15. Ron Rookie on April 1st, 2014 8:32 am

    Now everything makes sense – I overheard a conversation at Kelly’s that Schmuck was also negotiating to buy the old school house for a pile of money (nice profit for someone!), tear it down to the foundation, and build a Performance Center modeled after Branson, MO. The building’s façade will be architecturally compliant with Historic District “standards,” however. The adjacent town park will be acquired for the construction of a 3-story parking facility to accommodate all the visitors being drawn to the area by the new Harbor center. What’s next — gambling on a harbor “riverboat”?

  16. James S. West on April 1st, 2014 8:48 am

    The “Red Tide Slide” & Paddle Boats — exactly how is this “Disney-like”? Why not add a roller coaster that zips you through Bay Shore Concrete? This has to be an April Fools Prank — I mean selling the Harbor for $10 — yeah it’s a prank … ummmm … right?

  17. William Dize on April 1st, 2014 8:50 am


  18. Dana Lascu on April 1st, 2014 8:56 am

    I agree with Donnell Asku – we already have Schmucks; we don’t need McCormick.

  19. Don Bender on April 1st, 2014 9:16 am

    Boy am I in the dog house. Took my morning walk and then read the first paragraph. Picture me running upstairs to wake up my wife with the BIG NEWS :-(

    Now I probably have to buy her more jewelry to make up for my faux pas :-(

    Shrimp feast at our house at high noon. Pool party too….suits are optional :-)

  20. Thomas D. Giese on April 1st, 2014 9:37 am

    As some of the Wave readers know, I have proposed four projects for Cape Charles since we bought our house in 1996. I personally do not have the funds to support these projects and have been looking for investers with deep pockets. Based on the recent devlopment propasals of Mr. Hand and Mr. Schmick, I think the time is right to solicit investors. If you are interested select one or more of these projects. (Please contact me through the Wave.)
    1. A topless, family, seafood restaurant located in the old Meatland
    2. A subway system for Cape Charles which will extend to Food Lion
    3. Establishment of a Little Italy section of our town including restaurants
    4. Creation of a Chinatown area of Cape Charles with Asian grocery stores

  21. Charlene Brady on April 1st, 2014 10:05 am

    April Fool’s joke indeed. Got me and too funny!! :) Now if we could put as much initiative into helping solve problems within the town life would be good. So that being said hopefully everyone won’t be blowing up the phones at the Town Hall and stopping them from doing their real jobs today after reading this “joke”.

  22. Gene Kelly on April 1st, 2014 10:15 am

    We are in the process of installing those new 18′ Stripper Poles as we speak….!!

  23. Stephen K. Fox on April 1st, 2014 10:23 am

    I’d like to see the Town leaders exercise more caution, and not be wowed by every fanciful idea that is presented. Remember, this is CCVA; it is not Ocean City, VA Beach or the like. Cape Charles does not draw the numbers to support some of the ideas that are being “floated”, and while it appears to have been discovered, it is not at that level — yet. Anything legitimate at the old Meatland would be an improvement!

  24. David Kabler on April 1st, 2014 11:04 am

    Finally our ship has come in!

  25. Joe McSpedden on April 1st, 2014 11:07 am

    The sad part of this story is you can almost believe it.

  26. Gordon Campbell on April 1st, 2014 12:08 pm

    While the above April Fool’s day article is obviously a prank, the Wave is evidently too humble to report the real major news of the day. It was announced earlier today that the editors of the Cape Charles Wave were awarded the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. The award, which carries a $10,000 prize, was created “to honor the journalist of integrity and character who reports with insight and clarity in the face of political or economic pressures and to reward performance that inspires public trust in the media.” The Waves fair, unbiased, fact-based investigative journalism was noted in the Payne Award press release. I personally want to congratulate the Wave on winning this well deserved prestigious award.

  27. Kearn Schemm on April 1st, 2014 12:51 pm

    Mr. Giese,
    Please, while doing these projects, see if anyone is interested in a “klein Deutschland” section as well — we need some good schnitzel in this town!

  28. Thomas D. Giese on April 2nd, 2014 8:56 am

    This is an excellent idea. Many northern cities had Germantowns; ie Cincinatti has an area called “across the Rhein”. But actually there is a very German area, my house, since my wife is from Munchengladbach Germany. And she makes a schnitzel that brings tears to my eyes. Not to mention sauerbratten . I will work to expand this ethnic area.

  29. Gwyn Coghill on April 2nd, 2014 9:08 am

    I know that this is indeed an April Fool’s joke, but it is entirely tasteless and disrespectful in the sense of true journalism. Yes, you have answered my question. The Wave is a blog and not a newspaper at all. Stick to the facts, report them accurately, and quit causing dissension among the ranks.

    Sorry we couldn’t tickle your funny bone, but we don’t accept your proposition that running an April Fool’s spoof disqualifies the Wave as a newspaper. CLICK for a rundown on April Fool’s pranks yesterday, including in the London Times, which reported that a German duke would have claim to the throne of an independent Scotland. The Times of London is considered the preeminent newspaper in the world — not a blog. And dissension among the ranks? Our purpose is to report it, not to cause it. –EDITOR

  30. Gwyn Coghill on April 2nd, 2014 2:39 pm

    Unfortunately, poor taste can be found everywhere — from the Wave to “preeminent newspapers.”

  31. Judith Kelly on April 2nd, 2014 5:12 pm

    You got us….and we loved it!!!! Look forward to next April1st!