Pump-And-Haul Permit Approved For White Raven’s Nest

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By Carol Vaughn —

A request for a pump-and-haul agreement for a farm market business was approved by the Chincoteague Town Council in a 5-1 vote March 17 , after the council had rejected the request in a 3-2 vote in February.

The agreement adds the business to the town’s general permit from the Virginia Department of Health, which requires council approval.

White Raven’s Nest, a small retail business that sells fresh, local foods on Maddox Boulevard, first applied in December for a pump-and-haul agreement. The owners said the store produces a small amount of gray water from a hand sink and a mop sink, but no sewage.

Burke Landon and Kimberly White-Landon have operated the store in the location for two years, leasing the property.

White-Landon at the March 7 Town Council meeting said when the Department of Agriculture inspected the store in November, the owners were told they needed to update the grey water drainage system in order to be in compliance with the Accomack County Health Department.

They reapplied to the town for the pump-and-haul agreement after the February vote.
Several people commented in support of the business at the March 17 workshop meeting, at the March 10 ordinance committee meeting, and at the March 7 council meeting.

Kat Helms, of Chincoteague, a nurse who has had cancer, said White’s Raven Nest provides important support for people’s health.

“They have such a variety. It’s farm-to-table. It’s the health of our community that’s going to lose out,” she said.

Town Manager Mike Tolbert read an email from resident Deanna Bredbenner in support of the business.

Attorney Anita Johnson asked the council to consider her clients’ request, saying it should be grandfathered in under the ordinance under which they applied.

The ordinance was approved in 2005.

Councilwoman Denise Bowden said Kathy Plant, of the Accomack County Health Department, attended the March 10 ordinance committee meeting and said the town had violated proper procedure according to the town’s existing ordinance.

“The people that have a current pump-and-haul now were never turned down by the health department. In my opinion, it makes me feel like the town violated its own ordinance by not going through the proper procedure,” Bowden said, adding, “…We need to do a serious cleaning up of that stuff.”

Bowden and Councilman Gene Wayne Taylor said the health department does not have an issue with the town approving the agreement.

Vice Mayor Chris Bott said the current ordinance states if installing a septic system on a property is denied, a pump-and-haul may be granted.

However, the health department is telling other people, in addition to the Landons, to request a pump-and-haul, Bott said.

“I’ve already talked to two others that have gone down there and they have told them the same thing, so we’ve got more coming and the health department is telling them to come to us and get the pump-and-haul, even though the very ordinance that they approved from us says that the pump-and-haul can only be done if you can’t get a septic system,” he said.
Still, Bott said the agreement with White Raven’s Nest should be approved.

Councilman Bill McComb quoted from the current ordinance and said, “I don’t feel that making another wrong makes us right in any respect, regardless of what was done in the past.”

McComb said he does not mean any hardship to the business or any others that might ask for a pump-and-haul agreement.

“This does not qualify,” he said. McComb later voted against approving the pump-and-haul agreement for the business.

The council later in the meeting approved a new pump-and-haul ordinance, which contains a set of policies not included in the previous ordinance.

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