When the joint meeting between the Northampton Board of Supervisors concluded October 18th, there was a general sense of self-congratulation, a feeling that both sides had met some form obligation. Whether both sides realized that they have been in, and still are in violation of the law is another matter.
On ¶ 4, p 3. of the Annexation Agreement between the Town and Northampton County, it clearly states that a committee was required to be formed as a way to for the entities to review “issues of concern”. This agreement, Law No. 27 is a legislative of the Commonwealth. It does not expire, and can only be changed by another legislative act.
This copy of the Annexation Agreement with written annotations was at one time on the Town of Cape Charles’ web site, but someone at the town took it down. An explanation as to why has never been given–a reasonable assumption is that the Town just doesn’t want the public to be aware of it. The handwritten brackets are from the Town’s copy–someone was concerned enough to make this annotation. While current politicians may feel that they are breaking new ground, the concept of a joint meeting was an understanding reached in the Settlement Agreement and set in writing. The annexation was contentious, and the county took issue with several points. Item 4 was contained in the Agreement for a reason and a purpose, more than likely to address bad blood between the Town and the County.
There is no documentation that would demonstrate that this 25 year old concept was ever addressed. Why did it take a quarter of a century to finally, albeit marginally, adhere to the law?
While it may seem like an oversight, what other parts of the agreement are also being overlooked? It should be noted that there was one person from Town Council that should remember all aspects of the Annexation Agreement, especially the water and wastewater requirements. Councilman Chris Bannon was a member of Council at the time, and was a proponent of the Annexation Agreement and Accawmacke (Bay Creek) Plantation. For Northampton, County Attorney Bruce Jones was also there–he was the attorney that challenged the Annexation for the County, and actually signed the agreements. Unless it can be established that aliens from outer space visited the lower shore and used a mind erasing ray gun to wipe out any recollection of the original agreements and covenants, we may have to come up with another way to account for this mass amnesia.
If Town Council and the County agree to meet again, maybe the agenda should include actually reading the Agreements. Whether the Town and County, as political instrumentalities of the State, ever intend to comply with the agreements, covenants and obligations as found in their agreements with the developer of Accawmacke (Bay Creek) Plantation is a question the Attorney General may eventually have to answer for them.
Perhaps someone from on high will actually convince our purported officials to also read the connector road agreement and the proposal for water and wastewater treatment…both of which were required under the Annexation Order, Law No. 27 November 26, 1991.