While the Chairman of the Northampton County’s Planning Commission’s defense of the ongoing effort to rewrite our 2009 Comprehensive Plan is rather interesting, it reminds me of something my dad said to me in my youth while watching me trying to fix my bike with all the wrong tools. “Son, you can glue feathers to your arms and flap to beat the band, but you simply are not going to
Protests to the contrary, this new attempt to reshape Northampton County into something it was never meant to be should never have gotten off the ground. It’s goals and visions nearly identically match the 2014-2015 zoning fiasco perpetrated by the majority of the same Planning Commission, calling for; high density development of our waterfronts; commercial and industrial development around incorporated towns and along the Route 13 corridor; paving over of the only permeable soils that recharge our sole source aquifer; encouraging “by right” development in which no notice is given to adjacent landowners on future projects; creation of Planned Unit Developments (where anything goes); and many other arbitrary changes.
Contrary to the Code of Virginia which dictates the proper procedures governing land use planning, this new plan for OUR future seems to be fatally lacking in any evidentiary basis supporting the abrupt right turn for this county’s previously charted path. In fact, the new draft Comprehensive Plan being spoon fed the taxpayers of this unique peninsula seems to directly rebuke the
recommendations of the 2014 Competitiveness Assessment Study which warned against encouraging new industrial parks (like the failed STIP in Cape Charles which was a classic fleecing of our county coffers) and high density development (seeing there are nearly 7,000 vacant properties available in the county now). The study also warned that our sole source aquifer is our primary asset and overpumping of that resource only invites salt water intrusion (our freshwater “bubble” floats on saltwater, and as we over-pump, the freshwater is replaced by saltier reserves lapping at our coasts) the death knell for our sustainable future.
The Competitiveness Assessment Study charts a course for economic development that is sustainable, organic, and preserves and enhances the qualities of this lower Eastern Shore that attracts investors and encourages our real estate tax base to grow. Simply put, people invest in this county not because we are Virginia Beach or Ocean City, but because we are not. We encourage all to visit the Northampton County Planning Department website and pull up this study and compare it with the draft plan seemingly crafted by a handful of special interests that appear to be the tail wagging the majority of the body known as the Northampton County Planning Commission. See which one you think deserves to have lift beneath its wings.