Town Council held two public hearings this week dealing with properties in and around the harbor.
Two bids have been placed for .41 acres, essentially the pad that houses the Shanty. The owners of the Shanty, the Hungry Crab, LLC. originally approached the town with an offer $262k. That offer has since been countered with by another offer of $300k in cash, as well as incorporating work paving the parking lot.
Public comments were all against selling the property at all. The only person who spoke in favor of the sale was Shanty owner Jon Dempster. Dempster mentioned that they were growing weary of investing in a property they did not own and that he promised he would not flip the land. He noted that in eighteen years his son would take over the business–unless he became a lawyer instead.
In conversations with the Mirror, most citizens seemed fed up with sweetheart deals for Cape Charles businesses–the Shanty lease is only $500 a month, and the offer to buy harbor front property at such a low price seems absurd. Almost everyone that spoke to the Mirror, the Mirror included, believe the town should not sell harbor property but instead give the Shanty a 50-year lease at the current rate agreement.
The other public hearing dealt with an obtuse right of way agreement between the Town, the County, VDOT and Mrs. O’Leary’s cow (and maybe a few others).
Northampton Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Spencer Murray spoke, or actually, explained the deal to the dumbfounded peasants on Town Council. It seemed awkward. Besides, we have attorney Cela Burge serving on Town C
The only other person to speak on this was Eyre Baldwin, whose business is directly impacted. Baldwin, as if on cue, had a mini temper tantrum as he attempted to explain the need. Someone should council Mr. Baldwin, explaining that public hearings are a State requirement, and not a personal attack against him (in general). Baldwin went on to make the case that access to the road is crucial. He noted that without the road, the yacht that caught fire in the harbor might have exploded like a bomb–or, at least if it did, it would blow up on land and not in the water.
Council will meet in closed session on Thursday March 21st to discuss the sale of real property. Both measures will be voted on at the March 21st Regular Meeting, 6:30 at the Cape Charles Civic Center.