Wednesday, February 21, 2024


West Cape’s Rigby Not Seeking Reelection


By Jack Fichter

WEST CAPE MAY — Deputy Mayor Dick Rigby announced Monday March 9 that he would not seek reelection.
“The next few years are going to be critical for the Waterfront Center, the non-profit educational entity Ann Breen and I founded in 1981. We are undertaking a major fund-raising campaign to establish an endowment for the Center,” said Rigby in a press release.
“On top of this we have several consulting prospects ranging from China to Washington State to Michigan. Our annual waterfront conference will be in Seattle in October and 33 speakers have to be recruited. On top of which there are two books at least we wish to publish,” he continued.
Rigby said it was clear he needed to rejoin Breen to help move forward this ambitious agenda for the Center.
“Unfortunately I cannot be an effective commissioner and a useful co-director of the Waterfront Center based in Washington D.C. at the same time,” he said.
Rigby said he had enjoyed his experience greatly as a member of Borough Commission, “Principally because Mayor Pam Kaithern and fellow Commissioner Peter Burke and I were able to work together harmoniously, a great deal has been accomplished. When the list of our actions over the last four years is compiled, it will be huge.”
He said his personal highlight was the successful defense of the borough in court, against the odds, to defeat resoundingly a planned 70-unit townhouse project on an inadequate lot on Sixth Ave. The judge ruled the project was “incredibly out of place,” that it was not designed in accordance with sound planning and zoning concepts, and that the project was “truly inconsistent with the surrounding neighborhood.”
Rigby said the judge must now rule on whether the borough’s plans to meet its affordable housing obligation are valid.
“If he finds in our favor, as we earnestly hope, the lawsuit against West Cape May will be over,” he said.
His biggest disappointment was not being able to acquire a parcel of land along Cape Island Creek as a natural area.
“We had a willing buyer and a willing seller, but they could not agree on terms,” said Rigby. “The prospect is still very much alive, in that the assessment on the lot in question by the borough has been dropped significantly, meaning another buyer may find a favorable price. It would be a splendid asset for the Borough and could perhaps link with land on the Cape May side of the creek.”
He said his hope is that whoever is elected as his replacement is someone he can work with so that this project and many others that have been set in motion can be successfully completed.
“West Cape May is a great little town whose character and independence want to be maintained. This election will be crucial in making sure this happens. I encourage everyone to vote and to do so with their eyes open,” said Rigby in his release.

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