What happened with Smitty Dize?
First of all, that is a personnel matter, and we don’t discuss that. I will say that Smitty left on good terms.
And the reason I ask that, and I’ll just be honest with you, people, more than one, have told me, and I asked you to find out if there is any truth in it. That Smitty, over the last year or so, has had some issues with Bob (Panek). Supposedly, Bob was condescending to him, putting him down, giving him a hard time about little stuff. And they also said you gave him the cold shoulder.
I have no idea what you’re talking about. They said I gave him the cold shoulder?
That is what was conveyed to me. That is what people are asking out there. I always thought you had a good relationship with Smitty?
I did too. I don’t know where that comes from.
What is the future for the harbor? Will the harbormaster job be advertised?
For the time being, we are going to go with the assistant, or acting Harbormaster, and as time goes on, we’ll be working on that. Perhaps putting out a advertisement. We have some time to put into it and do it right. It is an important position.
What is your opinion of Cape Charles by the Bay website? Do you think it played out the way it should have? Do you feel it is fair? Do you agree with the Cape Charles Business Association?
The concern I would have would be determining whether or not those people had the right qualifications, or those that apply have the right qualifications. The secondary concern is, there was certainly a strong reaction to the Southerns; the question is whether the website is still viable if all the businesses withdraw. That is not a financial viabilitity because the town does fund it. By the way the town does pay for marketing of which the website is a piece. If you withdraw all the businesses, then, well, that is part of the attraction of the town.
So, you consider that the businesses are the content and that is all gone?
Well, yeah, a lot of it is. We’re trying to find something that is workable that does not burden the town with too great a cost. This is going to be considered.
You’ve already let the season pass you by, there’s no sense rushing now. You’ve got a couple of festivals, and that’s about the end of it.
I think we can live with this being updated infrequently. I’m not a marketing person, I know some, but I don’t know that much about it. There are considerations, like where should it finally reside? With the Town, or an organizaton picks it up? Like the CCBA, there are all these possiblilities and we want to find the one that is the best.
Well, at this point, maybe the CCBA will finally get their act together, get the accrediations, and just let them take it over, with all the burden of cost, like they wanted to in the first place.
Reverse angle parking on Bay Avenue?
Okay (laugh). Larry DiRe has been doing car counts, and we are going to see what is going to be coming out of those counts. So, there are three possibilities, actually, four possibilities:
Reverse angle, Pull in parking, Parallel with painted spaces or leave it like it is. I would like to explore all of those. At this point, I’m not convinced we need angle parking, we may, but that will come out of Larry’s study.
How often has he been going, twice a week?
I don’t know. The other thing I will say about reverse angle parking, to me, it feels uncomfortable…
I does for me too. Probably for a lot of folks.
But, on the other hand, if you look at the way it calms traffic, and the businesses are happy that people can park in front of the stores.
In the case of Bay, I think you can make the case that if you have a trunk load of beach toys, an SUV, three kids in the back, and coolers and inner tubes, you’d probably rather back in than pull in. So I’m going wait and see what Larry comes up with, and then we’ll make a good decision on it. We can take a little time and do this with some care.
For Mason, I think people will eventually get through this. We do see some pulling in front ways, and we will be enforcing that. There will be more signs, more notice to drivers. And I think it’s going to work out okay. It’s uncomfortable for me, I’d much rather pull in than back in, but when I look at that street…
There’s no really good solution there.
There’s no good solution. No great solution.
The other thing I would say, if you count the parking spaces in town, and include the spaces behind the railroad after we get the lot finished, we probably have enough without angle parking, but it’s hard to be sure. But here’s the thing, people don’t like to walk like that. They’ll walk a quarter of a mile in a mall parking lot just to get to a mall, but they won’t walk less than a block to a store on the street. So, it will help the merchants to be able to have more people to be able to park in front of their stores.
Well, we needed the parking, we needed something, after losing the overflow across the street.
Yes we did, and that overflow is going away.
What is your opinion of the Neptune statue?
I love it! I get up in the morning, I can see it, my neighber, he loves it too.
How would you rate this summer against previous ones in terms of business, amount of tourist action?
I like that question very much. I talk to the merchants, and what I hear from everybody is that this summer has been much better than last. Of course, this is anecdotal. We’ll have a better shot of knowing more about this in October, or November; we should have those numbers at the council meeting. We’ll have a better idea by some of the revenues we collect through the town, like meals tax, or the Transient Occupancy tax. Here is the thing that is puzziling to me. My own impression is that we have had fewer people in town, except for the big days like Clam Slam or the 4th, but I felt there were less people than in other years. I’ve gotten mixed reports on that, some people will tell me there are people all over the place, others will say it does seem to be down a little.
One of the things I have been thinking about lately, talking to other members of council and to Brent Manuel about, is what are the limits of growth. We have a certain size, a certain area, with some bed and breakfasts, we have a beach of a certain size. There is a current notion in Virginia, being promoted about quality tourism versus quantity tourism and the idea is you can be like Ft. Lauderdale, which, is bringing in the college crowd, but it does not bring in much benefit (college kids do not spend money). Instead, in a place like Cape Charles, people are going to come in, they’re going to stay, going to spend more money, and they are going to have things to spend money on. How do we get to that point? The thing that is nice about this town, is that in many ways we are already on that path. You want a place to be walkable that has some high end stores to go to, we got art galleries. We have nice restaurants. Sometimes the job of government is to stay out of the way, other times it is to help things along. What do we do to keep that path going? So, I am very interested in how this summer turned out. I think its going to be good, but we won’t know for sure for a little while.
What is your opinion of dilapidated houses in Cape Charles?
That is something I’ll have to follow up with with Brent. Brent is getting his arms around things, but this is one of the things that is definitely on the list. But we haven’t done anything with it yet. I need to find out what the Commonwealth code allows us to do. Right now we can’t do much about it unless it is structurally unsound. There have been a number of houses torn down.
There are some you just can’t tear down.
That is true. You can’t.
What is your opinion of dogs on the beach? Do we need to change it, or is the current way that’s not being enforced okay?
It’s my impression it is being enforced?
Oh really? Last weekend there were a bunch of dogs, but I kind of like them. It’s pretty benign, most people just don’t know, they don’t see the signs and just bring them on out.
On the times I’ve been on the beach, I haven’t seen dogs. I don’t want to see dogs allowed on the beach, at the norrmal time when people are swimming, but I would like to see a little bit longer time when they can come out, to let them on at seven, that would be fine (instead of nine o’clock).
The other thing, people do need to clean up after their dogs, even if it is on the beach.
Oh definitely—Oh my God, especially on the beach.
What is your favorite thing to do during the summer in Cape Charles?
Other than going to council meetings?
Besides that, although I know that’s a lot of fun.
I have five grandchildren, and taking a little kid to the beach, and particularly to this beach, it’s the best. They see the little fish, and find these snails, and hermit crabs, and they look at the birds and everything is new and wonderful to them, and if you want to fly kites there’s not a better place in the world. I shouldn’t give a commercial, since I’m in public office, but there is a certain place in town, whose ice cream I love. I like to all the places in town, The Shanty, Kelly’s…
That seques into my next question. What is your favorite summer dish (made at home or going out)?
My wife’s crab cakes.
And favorite restaurant?
I’m not gonna go there. I like them all.