Rights & Responsibilities:
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the
Town of Cape Charles under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
Your FOIA Rights
- You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
- You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
- If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA. Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.
Making a Request for records from the Town of Cape Charles
- You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone. FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.
- From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request. It also gives us a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect to not put it in writing.
- Your request must identify the records you are seeking with "reasonable specificity." This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
- Your request must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of the Town, nor does it require the Town to create a record that does not exist.
- You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by the Town in the regular course of business.
- For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records
- If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with staff's efforts to clarify the type of records that you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.
To request records from the Town of Cape Charles, you may direct your request to Town Clerk Libby Hume. She can be reached at 2 Plum Street, Cape Charles, VA 23310, phone: 757-331-3259, fax: 757-331-4820, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact her with questions you have concerning requesting records from the Town. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.
The Town’s Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request
- The Town must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it. "Day One" is considered the day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays.
- The reason behind your request for public records from the Town is irrelevant, and you do not have to state why you want the records before we respond to your request. FOIA does, however, allow the Town to require you to provide your name and legal address.
- FOIA requires that the Town make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:
1) We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
2) We withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, we must send you a response in writing. That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld, and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows us to withhold the records.
3) We provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. We cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, we may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record. We must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld.
4) We inform you in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist (we do not have the records you want). However, if we know that another public body has the requested records, we must include contact information for the other public body in our response to you.
5) If it is practically impossible for the Town to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.
- If you make a request for a very large number of records, and we feel that we cannot provide the records to you within 12 working days without disrupting our other organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production or the records before we go to court to ask for more time.
- A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.
- You may have to pay for the records that you request from the Town. FOIA allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests. This would include items like staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying costs, or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. It cannot include general overhead costs.
- If we estimate that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, we may require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before proceeding with your request. The five days that we have to respond to your request does not include the time between when we ask for a deposit and when you respond.
- You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.
- If you owe us money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, the Town may require payment of the past-due bill before it will respond to your new FOIA request.
Types of records
The following is a general description of the types of records held by the Town:
· Town Council and Board meeting agendas and minutes
· Personnel records concerning employees and officials of the Town
· Records of contracts which the Town has entered into
· Building inspections, permit applications, and other information relating to construction projects within the Town
· Financial records of the Town
If you are unsure whether the Town has the record(s) you seek, please contact the FOIA Officer directly at Town Clerk, 2 Plum Street, Cape Charles, VA 23310; phone: 757-331-3259; fax: 757-331-4820, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commonly used exemptions
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. The Town commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:
· Personnel records (§ 2.2-3705.1 (1) of the Code of Virginia)
· Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work product (§ 2.2-3705.1 (3))
· Vendor proprietary information (§ 2.2-3705.1 (6))
· Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded (§ 2.2-3705.1 (12))
Policy regarding the use of exemptions
The general policy of the Town is to invoke:
· The personnel records exemption in those instances where it applies in order to protect the privacy of employees and officials of the Town of Cape Charles.
- The contract negotiations exemption whenever it applies in order to protect the Town’s bargaining position and negotiating strategy.
Dogs are not permitted on the beach between 9:00AM and 9:00PM April 1st through Labor Day.
Forms for reserving town facilities can be found online:
The public hours for the Town Hall offices are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
No we do not, you may contact Cape Charles Custom Carts 757-999-2278 or Kings Creek Marina 757-.331-8640.
There is a wait list for Annual and Seasonal slips at the harbor. To get on the waiting list one must fill out the waiting list Application
and submit to the Harbor Master with a required $50.00 non-refundable deposit.
A short 5 minute walk
- Annual - Is a rental period for 12 months beginning yearly on April 1.
- Summer Seasonal - Is a rental period for 7 months beginning May 1.
- Winter Seasonal - Is a rental period for 6 months beginning October 1.
- Quarterly - Is a rental period for not less than 3 month and no more than 6 months.
- Monthly - is a rental period for no less than one month and no more than 2 months.
- Weekly - is for a period of not less than a week.
- Nightly - is for the period of 5 nights or less.
Yes. Children may use select computers at the library. Children 9 years old and under will be permitted to use a computer only if supervised by an adult 18 years or older with a valid library card. Minors aged 10-17 may use a computer by themselves only if a parent or guardian has come to the library and signed the Internet Usage Agreement for Minors.
You have several options:
- Call the Library at 757-331-1300.
- Bring your item to the Library for renewal.
- Renew online at www.espl.org (you will need your library card and a PIN to access your account online).
Call the Library at 331-1300 or stop by the Library and we'll be happy to assist you. By creating an account at www.espl.org
, you can renew and request items. The website also has information on how to download your favorite e-books.
If you have not already given us your email address upon completing your registration, give us a call and we'll add your email address to your account. The Eastern Shore Public Library sends out courtesy notifications 3 days before an item is due and a reminder when an item is 2 weeks overdue. Don't forget to add your email address to your child(ren)'s account.
You have several options:
- Call the Library at 757-331-1300.
- Come by the Library and complete a request card.
- Go online at www.espl.org (You will need your library card and PIN to access your account online.)
Items circulate for 4 weeks. Exceptions include Best Sellers, movie DVDs and magazines which all circulate for 2 weeks. All items may be renewed up to 3 times only if it is NOT on hold for another patron.
In order to obtain a library card for the Eastern Shore Public Library system (which includes the Cape Charles Memorial Library, Nassawadox Free Library, Main Library in Accomac, and Island Library) you must fill-out a registration form and show proof of Eastern Shore residency and photo identification.
Interlibrary loan is a program that allows us to request items which we do not have in the Eastern Shore Public Library system from other participating libraries. Requests may take a bit longer than usual requests due to the fact that some items may come from across the state.
Planning & Zoning
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act identifies tidal wetlands, non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to tidal wetlands or water bodies with perennial flow, tidal shores, and a 100 foot vegetated buffer area located adjacent to and landward of any of the components listed prior, and along both sides of any water body with perennial flow as Resource Protection Area (PRA). Development in the RPA is allowed only if it (1) is water dependent, redevelopment.
An Intensely Developed Area (IDA) is a portion of the RPA or RMA designated by the Town Council where development is concentrated and little of the natural environment remains.
Please refer to Section 3 of the Zoning Ordinance to see uses that are allowed By-Right, and uses allowed by a Conditional Use Permit. Conditional Use Permits are reviewed on a case by case basis and are decided upon by the Town Council via a public hearing. If your desired use is not listed as either a By-Right use, or a Conditional Use, a rezoning may be required.
A construction of a new building, additions, accessory buildings, fences, tree removal, decks/porches, new concrete sidewalks or driveways, signs, and changes of use all require a Zoning Clearance. If you have any doubt as to whether your project does or does not need a zoning clearance, please contact the Town Planner for guidance.
Town Planner Rob Testerman
757-331-3259, ext. 15
Any work done on the exterior of a building located within the Historic Overlay District, including additions and accessory buildings require approval from the Historic District Review Board. Some minor projects may be approved administratively by the Zoning Administrator.
Any building or structure that is to be constructed or altered within the Historic Harbor Overlay District must first gain approval of the Harbor Area Review Board. Some minor projects may be approved administratively by the Zoning Administrator.
Any project which has a land disturbance of over 2,500 square feet requires an Erosion and Sediment Control Permit.
When work is to be done on a lot, it is important to verify that the proposed use, setbacks, heights, etc. are all consistent with the regulations set forth in the Zoning Ordinance.
Public Works & Public Utilities
The emergency phone numbers to call in cases of water and sewer emergencies after hours or on weekends or holidays are 757-695-1608 or 757-678-1025.
Public Works requires that any small, loose yard debris such as grass clippings, leaves, vines, etc. be bagged in biodegradable bags and placed between the sidewalk and the curb for pick up on Mondays and Tuesdays. Bags must not exceed 30 lbs.
The disposal company will not pick up large items. If you have large or bulky items, please call the Utility Administration Assistant at 757-331-3259 ext. 14 to schedule a time for Public Works to pick them up. A $25 fee will be charged for each item. Paint, hazardous waste and construction materials will not be accepted by Public Works or the disposal company.
Yes. However, you must register for the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Registration is quick, easy and free. Anglers can register by clicking here
or by calling 1-800-723-2728.