As the Town prepares for the upcoming Town Hall regarding the rezoning and proposed sale of a parcel owned by Southport to be purchased by Coastal Precast, it may be helpful to look back and review Bayshore Concrete and the legacy of the Annexation Agreement.
In 1991, when Cape Charles petitioned to annex what was then Accawmacke Plantation, a proposed development owned by Brown and Root, the report from the Commission on Local Government recommended that the town also annex Bayshore. Bayshore, along with Mary and Vernon Martin filed an intervention opposing the annexation of their properties.
Although Bayshore Concrete was not a part of the A.P.A., special financial inducements were given to Bayshore to drop their lawsuit against the Town’s petition for annexation of the A.P.A.
There were two major economic deals struck. Both within the statutory powers and authority granted to the Town of Cape Charles in its Charter.
Bayshore Concrete was a ‘tax abatement’ with a defined 10 year statute of limitations. Brown & Root, its successors and assigns, including any property owner purchasing lots and property within the original Town (pre A.P.A.), was and were to be taxed at the then 1991 assessed values. At the time, Brown & Root owned over 50% of all vacant lots within the Town.
The tax (diminish values due to vacant, therefore unimproved lots) were mostly likely assessed at $1.00/acre. This $1.00/acre value is known. Brown & Root sold their property to Baymark Construction (1997 Installment Sale Contract), that was the agreed price: $1.00/acre).
Without a defined limitation on the continuation of the ‘tax abeyance’, Brown & Root and successor Baymark, Bay Creek LLC, its Subdivider- Bay Creek Marina and Resort, LLC, were assessed $1.00/acre for the vacant lands, until Certificates of Occupancy were issued by the Town.
Bayshore could in effect claim their vacant lands, not zoned industrial, would also be assessed at $1.00/acre as required by the Virginia Constitution Article X. It is not known how this or even if Bayshore had any parcels that were not zoned industrial.
Within the Town Agreement with Brown & Root, and it was strongly suggested by the Court of Special Annexation for Northampton County, that as a result of the report of the Local Commission on Government’s Report (February 1991 – pages 70, et al.), the Town Agreement with Brown & Root be Amended (those comments as a result of the County’s lawsuit against the Town’s Annexation Petition – Bruce Jone’s unsuccessful arguments). Five of those Agreements, meant any owner of property from Brown & Root unto today, could claim that the unimproved vacant property within the Town would only be taxed at $1.00/acre.
Even those lots not owned by Brown & Root .
Note: The Constitution requires all property of similar class be taxed the same within the taxing jurisdiction (Town of Cape Charles). There was and is no statute of limitation on Agreements arrived at during the annexation proceedings resulting in a Legislative Act: Court Order, unless there is a specific reference, like the 10 year abatement for Bayshore Concrete. The Supreme Court of VA Opinion in the Front Royal case is precisely this issue.
After another unsuccessful attempt by Bruce Jones, Counsel to the County, it was determined that only municipalities (Towns) can by their powers, determine when and if property is improved. They do that by issuing Certificates of Occupancy.
Vacant parcels in Marina Village or other areas within the original Town, should only be taxed at $1.00/acre.
As Town Council weighs the pros/cons of expansion, for historical context, it may want to review why the commission wanted the concrete plant annexed, and what occurred to allow that to happen.
REMINDER: A Town Hall style meeting to go over this topic with the public would be helpful. Town Hall style meetings are informal meetings, much like a work session, where dialog is encouraged to better understand the nuances of a particular issue. No formal action is taken at these meetings, rather it’s an opportunity to exchange information, voice opinions, and ask questions. The meeting will be moderated by the Mayor, and I will provide an overview prior to
starting the open discussion.
This meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10th, beginning at 6:00 pm, at the Civic Center.