By Linda Cicoira — Interim Chincoteague Police Chief Mark Marshall was introduced Monday night by Mayor Arthur Leonard during a town council meeting.
Marshall retired in early 2018 in the middle of his second term as the Isle of Wight County, Va., sheriff. Before that, he was the chief of the Smithfield, Va., police department and previously worked for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. He lives in Cape Charles and is involved with his family’s business, Cape Charles Brewing Company.
Former Chief Randy Mills retired June 1.
Monday was Marshall’s first day on the job and he was dressed in a suit, not the standard uniform. Town Manager Jim West said later the job is an advisory position that will last about three weeks and cost the town between $3,000 and $4,000.
“We also have an assistant chief who is keeping all the administrative functions going — the day to day operations,” said West. Regarding Marshall, he said the town council didn’t want to rush the process and wants to do the best job it can at finding a new chief. West said Marshall is a former international president of chiefs of police and is going to review the department’s processes.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is also involved and will cost $2,400 at most. “They went with them for the technical expertise,” West said of the council.
In other action, islander LeRoy Andrews Jones was recognized by the town, the council, the mayor, relatives, friends, and other residents for his 100th birthday this week. Jones was born on Chincoteague June 6, 1919. He moved to Assateague Village when he was 1 and came back to Chincoteague 10 years later.
Jones “has remained a productive member of this community,” said Leonard who read a tribute. “Mr. Jones is a faithful member of Union Baptist Church and throughout his life, he has demonstrated in countless ways his dedication to the welfare of others and has earned the respect and affection of people from all walks of life and all ages … Hopefully, we can all Iive that long,” the mayor said. “We wish him many more days.”
Jones did not attend the council meeting.
Councilman Ben Ellis, who serves on the finance committee, reported that health insurance did not increase as expected and will provide an additional $40,000 for the town. An increase of 1% was proposed for the transient occupancy tax but will not be acted on until later in 2019 or early 2020. The committee is also considering providing an additional scholarship. This year Samantha Nicholson, who is going to UVA to study engineering, was awarded the $2,000.
Residents from the Oyster II development attended the session to ask for something to be done about a derelict house in their community. Leonard promised the waist-high grass would be mowed. “A letter has been sent out… it will be cut,” he said. “That’s the town’s procedure.”
Maria Paccioretti, who spoke on behalf of the community of 48 homes, said the parcel is known as the Callaway property, was built in the 1970s, and has never been lived in since she bought property there in the early 1980s. “Vermin” have been seen there, she said. The owners are several years behind in association dues. Paccioretti said she has been told they also owe back town and county taxes. “It is an eyesore and a safety issue for children and pets … other houses are well-maintained,” Paccioretti said.
“I have a breathing problem,” another woman said. “This for me is a health issue. It’s a black eye to the community.”
Margaret Nichols, a real estate agent, said prospective clients ask to leave the neighborhood when they see the house. “Raccoons are living in the house. It is getting ready to fall down. It’s affecting everybody’s property values.”
On another note, Paccioretti said, “Thank you for the dog park. It’s great. The dogs love it. I love it.”
The council also approved a zoning ordinance change that prohibits banners displaying vacation rentals or real estate for sale. No one spoke at the public hearing regarding the issue.