The newly formed Cape Charles Historic District Civic League held their Candidates’ Night this Thursday. The event included Adam Charney and Tim McLatchy competing for Mayor, and for Town Council Kenneth Butta, Paul Grossman, Tammy Holloway, and Ellen O’Brien.
This writer remembers years ago talking with then County Supervisor Spencer Murray after the 2015 zoning fight (fiasco), and he said, “Wayne, government should be boring.” If that is true, than this evening did not disappoint.
Let’s face it, do you really want Dangerous Dan and Bombastic Betty at the helm? Not really. You want Dull Darrell and Tedious Tina. One rule of local government is that it should be slow–the turtle always wins the race. Small towns will always be constrained by finances, as well as staff ability and availability. The ability to prioritize, while not sexiest skill, is the most important.
Cape Charles is fortunate in that it has a good group to choose from, and one thing they all seem to have in common is that they all care about the town (the road to hell is paved with good intentions so be careful what you wish for).
The term homogenization comes to mind.
They all seem very similar, and the only real tension came from the new candidates inferring that the old candidates were lazy and out of touch, and old candidates inferring the the newbies were even more out of touch and ignorant of what the town’s priorities really are. It was all nauseatingly friendly and polite though. Essentially, it will come down to a popularity contest–do you prefer battle-tested experience, or do you want all new blood and a fresh start.
The theme that seemed to gather the most traction was that tourism and Airbnb short-term rentals were bringing in a bad element, and that it was destroying the feel of the town. This writer actually said this back in the early 2000s, but whatever. The town spent years and all of its effort to turn Cape Charles into a tourist destination, and now you have it. Did you really think featuring Cape Charles on all of those dumb HGTV shows was going to be a good thing?
It’s almost impossible to put the genie back in the bottle.
Money, and how the town is going to pay for all of its toys, such as the new municipal building allowed candidates to offer several versions of the same non-answer. Mayoral candidate Tim McLatchy did manage to really step in it when he admitted he would sell off the water and wastewater plants as a means to generate cash (probably should not have said that out loud). Oh, and as far as generating revenue, Council candidate Ellen O’Brien really stepped in it when she suggested charging non-Cape Charles residents to park on Mason and at the beach. So, if you live in Cheriton, you will have to pay to go to the beach? Girl, you best rethink that strategy.
There was some drooling blather about workforce housing and a lukewarm effort to try and convince themselves and everyone else that Cape Charles was somehow historic, but it all kind of spun into a great ball of nothingness.
The Mirror does not endorse candidates (so take this with a grain of salt), however, voters should note that Paul Grossman has brought a high-level of meticulous analysis to the job that council has not seen before and probably never will again. Grossman has never met a report or spreadsheet that he didn’t want to pour over for hours (he has a preternatural ability to find the most minute errors), and he has never met a board or committee that he has not wanted to serve on. He also gets that the town is part of Northampton County, and that the relationship needs to be better. Tammy Holloway has been an integral and fundamental, common sense element of the town for several years now. The short answer forum did not begin to illuminate her work over the last few years.
The Cape Charles Rotary Club will be sponsoring the next Candidates’ Forum on October 19, 2022, and it will be streamed to the Town’s Facebook page.
Town Elections will be held on November 8, 2022.
So it goes.
I think my quote to you was “government should be small and boring”. Small in that it does not soak up resources and boring in that it is efficient and totally tuned in to citizens’ concerns and desires.
The”fiasco” adopted some good changes but avoided rezoning thousands of Ag acres to residential. That was out of touch and certainly not boring, for me at least.
Note: Yes, that is correct, it was small and boring. Thanks.
At the May 19 Town Council Public Hearing and Regular Meeting, per the minutes, Councilman Grossman was the councilman who made the motion to approve the Planning and Zoning changes, which would have precluded home owners from using an accessory dwelling unit on their property, for personal use, for family members and/or friends. Councilman Grossman was also the only councilman who voted in favor of the proposed changes, proposed by Planning and Zoning. It should be mentioned that Councilman Grossman serves on the Planning commission, so he would have been part of the discussions that body had as far the use of ADUs NOT being allowed for family overflow from a main house.
Here is a copy of the transcript from the minutes of the May 19 meeting:
“Motion made by Councilman Grossman, seconded by Councilman Buchholz, to adopt the
zoning text amendments to Sections 4.2(J) and 2.9 as recommended by the Planning
There was much discussion as follows:
i) Councilman Follmer expressed his agreement with removing the conditional use permit requirement for ADUs and prohibiting the use as a short-term rental; however, he felt that it was government overreach to prohibit the property owners from using their ADUs for overflow housing for visiting family and friends.
He also stated that definitions needed to be standardized, adding that the definition of a kitchen as “a space within a structure designated for the preparation of food that includes a sink” was laughable and most bathrooms and laundry rooms would qualify as a kitchen under this definition;
ii) Councilwoman Holloway expressed her agreement with Councilman Follmer, adding that tax-paying property owners should have a by-right use to permit their family and friends to stay in the ADU;
iii)Councilman Grossman explained that the intended purpose of an ADU was to provide housing
infill, not to be an extension of the main house;
iv) Councilman Buchholz stated that the intentwas for long-term if the property was being rented and he was okay with a minimum 60-day requirement, but family stays should not be restricted.
After some further discussion, Vice Mayor Bennett called for a vote.
The vote was 5-1 against; motion failed.
Roll call vote: Bennett, no; Buchholz, no; Follmer, no;Grossman, yes; Holloway; no, O’Brien, no.
Vice Mayor Bennett acknowledged the amount of work done by the Planning Commission and
asked for direction from Council regarding changes: i) The 60-day minimum stay did not pertain
to family and non-renting guests;”
Since the changes were put in place, Councilman Grossman has been very quick to speak in favor of “by right use” of ADUs for family overflow.
Note: thanks for the in-depth analysis, nice work