The Northampton Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to deny Axios construction’s proposal to put 12 “tourist cottages” on their 48 acre piece of farmland on Seaside Road. The farm also borders the bicycle path that leads to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to Kiptopeke State Park.
During the meeting, Supervisor Coker also made a motion to remove the word “tourist cottage” from County zoning ordinance.
The developers Angelo Manuel and Bill Parr attempted to save the project by reducing the number of tourist cottages to 6 and reducing the size down to about 400+ square feet. The issue with the application was that calling them tourist cottages does not change the fact that they were still dwelling units, at least in the Board of Supervisor’s opinion.
The applicants argued that the cottages were not actual ‘dwelling units’, and pointed to language in the current zoning ordinance. Parr noted that tourist cottages have been allowed by Northampton’s zoning ordinance since at least 2016, and the structures were “nothing new”. Parr told the board that it seemed new only because this was the first time this type of development was applied for.
Supervisor Coker argued that a tourist cottage is a Dwelling Unit. Dixon Leatherbury agreed.
The vote to deny the permit was unanimous; the board also submitted a request for the Northampton planning commission to take up amending the zoning ordinance, removing any text related to “tourist cottage” until they could get a better understanding of what the term actually means.