I have written a few words to present my position on issues that face our town for the upcoming election. If you agree with my platform please vote for me on May 1, 2018.
Regardless of whether you were born here or are a “come here”, whether you miss Old Cape Charles or embrace the new, the fact is that we are a small town in transition and have been for some time. Cape Charles fell into decline years ago when the bridge-tunnel opened, and the last ferry left Cape Charles. After that Dickey Foster acquired the land surrounding Cape Charles and built Bay Creek which changed the character of our town forever.
This election is not a popularity contest; it is about making the right decisions now to ensure a great future for our town and everyone in it.
How we manage this transition will tell whether we have a town that has a sustainable year-round economy, is attractive to full-time residents and tourists, or just a beach town that caters to a seasonal population. What we need is smart growth. The key to smart growth is capitalizing on our current assets while improving our infrastructure and attracting new diverse businesses.
Among our assets are the variety of housing choices from traditional neighborhoods, to gated planned golf community, to the marina village. We have one of the largest collections of historic homes (526) on the National Historic Register. In fact, according to the US Department of the Interior, the entire original street grid of Old Cape Charles is considered a National Historic Place. We need to create and enforce strong regulations to preserve and protect the historic character of the district. Bay Creek and the Marina Villages are upscale venues that offer comfortable living in a secure gated minimal maintenance community. These are all marketable assets that draw people into our charming town.
We have something for everyone!
For those who enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, sports, we have the Beach, the Harbor, Central Park, Bay Creek Golf Courses, the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and Barrier Islands waterways. We need to promote these venues to attract new residents and seasonal guests.
We have a strong arts and entertainment community that encompasses music, literature, the visual and performing arts, as well as many extraordinary events, like the Free Concert Series in Central Park, the Museum Shrimp Boil & Oyster Roast, the Crabby Blues Festival, the Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks and the annual Crab Pot Drop on New Year’s Eve to name a few. We need an organized effort to coordinate these events with our business community to take full advantage of the economic potential that a larger audience can bring to our town.
The town’s infrastructure, especially the Historic District, needs repair. We like to think of Cape Charles as a “walkable town”; however, there are many streets without consistent sidewalks or those in need of major repair. Some streets are so poorly graded that they don’t provide proper drainage during storms resulting in flooding and property damage. Many have said that our water system does not deliver drinkable tap water without the addition of expensive home filtration systems. These problems can be solved if we make them a priority and pursue infrastructure grants to help defray the cost.
Angled Back-in Parking
Parking is key to maintaining an economically viable commercial district. Shoppers need convenient spaces to park that provide close access to stores for customers to transport their purchases. As the summer approaches traffic will double or triple making this problem more apparent. Back-in parking does increase the number of spaces on Mason Avenue, but the same result can be achieved with front in parking and it is something we are all used to. We need a parking plan that supports future growth and works for everybody.
Our harbor is one of our greatest assets that too often is overlooked. It is a deep-water port that has the potential to bring jobs and income to Cape Charles in terms of freight, ship building/repair, commercial fishing, boating and recreational activities. We must invest in harbor infrastructure, provide the necessary incentives to developers, and secure grants to ensure we have a workable harbor that will blend with the Historic District of the town. The harbor can be a major source of future jobs and can generate income to help fund other infrastructure projects while keeping our taxes low.
High-Speed Communications can provide a major boost to our economy as well as our educational system. Bringing fiber optic service to the home and business will put Cape Charles on par with other progressive communities and encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups to locate in here. In addition, our children will have access to the same opportunities as those from more affluent cities across the country. I strongly support bringing this service to Cape Charles as it is a job creator, especially for those who work from home.
New businesses will create a demand for affordable housing for workers to serve these enterprises. Unfortunately, our success as a vibrant economic community can work against us in this regard. Housing prices and corresponding rents have steadily risen in recent years due to the increased conversion of houses to summer rental properties. The number of available building lots is decreasing as more new homes are being constructed. I support mixed-use developments with stores at street level and rental units above to address this issue.
Let me summarize my main points:
• I am for smart growth, a vibrant downtown, a working harbor and safe beaches
• I support sensible, safe, well-lit parking for the Beach & Commercial District
• I support affordable housing thru mixed-use development on Mason Avenue & the Harbor District
• I am for strong regulation & enforcement to preserve and protect our unique Historic District from blight
• I support infrastructure improvements to meet the water & sewage needs of our growing community
• I support high-speed fiber optics to help our children compete nationally for higher paying jobs
If you agree, please vote for me on May 1, 2018 – Thank you.
David Gay for Town Council
This message has been approved by the candidate 3/25/18