Cape Charles Town Council approved amending the zoning map for parcel 83A3-11-2 from the current Harbor District designation to the proposed Industrial M – 2 District, opening the way for Cherrystone LLC’s new South Harbor Marine Terminal and Boat Yard planned for the south end of the harbor. Industrial M-2 designation replaces the previous STIP designation, yet handles the same land uses. This approval falls directly in line with current Comprehensive Plan (2009) and its desired goals of “revitalizing industry, and the historic Port of Cape Charles.”
Council also approved conditional use permits (CUP) for industrial and port conditional uses including, Concrete plant; manufacturing, sales, and distribution of concrete and related products, Port facilities; marine, rail, trucking, and/or intermodal terminals, including transfer, storage, handling, inspection, processing, and/or transport of containerized, bulk, and/or other cargo, Marinas, docks, and wharves, if contiguous to the Cape Charles Harbor, Railroad tracks, sidings, yards, or roundhouses.
The CUP also requested outdoor storage which the applicant plans to cover with wax myrtle on 4-foot centers and evergreens on 15-foot centers.
There was virtually no discussion aside from an objection by Councilman Bennett over the request in the CUP for “Structures, other than buildings, exceeding 50 feet.” The language was not so much meant for buildings, but to indicate the desire for a crane or lift. Language was inserted to require a special use permit to construct a building over 50 feet.
Note: How the proposed anchorage outside the town harbor will effect the new terminal is yet to be determined. One of the advantages for the terminal is the ability to market a deep water harbor with free and easy access; if the entrance to the harbor is clogged many large container ships, this may no longer be the case.
With the harbor dredging nearly complete (dredged to 18 ft.), the timing appears optimal to reinvent the Port of Cape Charles. According to Eyre Baldwin, bringing maritime industry back to Cape Charles will not only create a rich economic landscape that will bring jobs, it will also be simpatico with the town’s rich maritime heritage.
In a previous conversation with Cherrystone’s Dan Brown, after receiving the green light from Council, the firm hopes to begin breaking ground for the new facility sometime this fall.