By Ted Shockley
The Northampton County Board of Supervisors has approved a 10-acre rezoning south of the Cape Charles Food Lion and Corner Mart stores that will allow construction of a Royal Farms convenience store and fuel stop.
The store, which will be Royal Farms’ third in Northampton County, will be located just off the northbound lane of Lankford Highway, across Bayview Circle from the Corner Mart store. It will be diagonal across the highway from the Cape Charles Milestone Lodge.
The rezoning application was unique because it was brought by the Northampton County Board of Supervisors, not Royal Farms’ parent company, which has eyed construction on the property for more than a decade.
Chairman Spencer Murray said Royal Farms has created 60 jobs in the county and been active in the community. Encouraging development sometimes means helping businesses through the governmental process, he said.
“We’ve got a partner in Royal Farms,” he said during a meeting on Nov. 14. “I think Royal Farms is a good neighbor.”
Granville Hogg, a former county supervisor, raised questions about the rezoning during a public hearing, calling the project a traffic safety issue. He said having the county request the rezoning, instead of the business, was an “extraordinary change.”
“This is an issue that needs the input from the constituents of the area,” he said.
County resident Ken Dufty, speaking at the public hearing, said he supported Royal Farms because “this county needs revenue.” He hoped the county would encourage the convenience store chain to create a permeable parking lot instead of stormwater retention ponds to encourage groundwater recharge.
Real-estate broker Bill Parr was complimentary of the county’s efforts to help economic investment.
“I think the board is to be commended for its leadership role in this matter,” Parr said. “This is what economic development is all about.”