“Village development” is new terminology for Eastern Shore planning areas, but the term is not new to urban development. The characteristics of village development include mixed uses, but not all mixed-use areas are a village.
There are more characteristics to village development areas. Today’s villages should look more like a suburban development that includes several housing options with plenty of social opportunities; therefore, they should be located where there are libraries, parks, schools, work opportunities, offices, walking and bike paths, and daycare centers. The key is to allow walking and transportation opportunities.
A good example of a village is Chincoteague. People from everywhere are drawn to Chincoteague and enjoy getting around on foot or by bicycle. This eclectic mixture of housing, businesses, eateries, public buildings, offices, churches, and parks of Chincoteague work together to celebrate the aquatic and equine life of their island.
Eastern Shore has an opportunity to evolve into a peninsula of distinct villages, but we need to plan responsibly. I challenge Northampton and Accomack County officials to create village development districts and allow public input to which current town would like to embrace the distinction. Each town must meet all characteristics of a village, and projects must enhance that community. With the rails-to-trails project, this would be an exciting time to look at towns located on U.S. Route 13. Not only would it help those towns, but it would be attractive when traveling through Eastern Shore.
We should not haphazardly approve village development areas. Captains Cove is a private community that is opposing village development within its community, mostly because it does not enhance the community’s goals, property owners association rules, and amenities. The proposed village actually threatens and works against the services paid by POA fees of their residents. Villages must enhance a community and meet the criteria set within the current zoning and planning codes, but I challenge our officials to create Village Development districts to responsibly enhance the Eastern Shore.
Teresa Birckhead, Greenbackville