Thursday, the Town Council refused to vote on amendments to Cape Charles’ zoning ordinance allowing for General Business/Light Industrial H-1 on a parcel Coastal Precast Systems wants to purchase from Southport. The matter has been deferred for 30 days as some members attempt to glean more information from Coastal Precast. The sale of the parcel is contingent upon the approval of zoning changes.
Coastal Precast hopes to expand operations, which in turn should create more jobs for Northampton families. According to the company, up to 100 jobs could be created as more work comes online.
Council members Andy Buchholz and Steve Bennett were the lone members that wanted to move ahead and vote on the measure. Buchholz stated that nothing is going to change by deferring the process–nothing of any relevance will appear, and Town Council will have no reason not to approve this application. “You are not looking at the big picture…we can’t just be dependent on hospitality, we need jobs that last all year. We need to diversify our workforce…what are we doing? The concerns are so far out of scope, it is not what our job is here,” Buchholz said.
To Buchholz and Bennett’s point, the Zoning Administrator, the Town Manager, and the Planning Commission have so far determined that everything is legitimate. The area around the harbor has gone through similar zoning changes in the past, most recently for the area now occupied by the Cape Charles Yacht Center.
The Mirror has reviewed the changes. Nothing in the proposal seems extreme or out of order. These are generally very simple text changes that would allow for a continuation of work that has been occurring there for over 60 years. GBI H-1 already allows uses that could be far more problematic than allowing ‘light industrial’. The parcel is still guided by Town review and determination through Conditional Use Permitting.
Town Council will take up the pending motion at the next Regular Meeting in August.