Economic Development

Northampton County

Competitiveness Assessment Report

YOU'LL LOVE OUR NATURE!                   ESVA Tourism Logo: You'll Love OUr Nature

With a rich heritage in industry and agriculture, Northampton County is a place of exceptional balance between quality of life and economic opportunity in the new global economy. Its southern tip is home to globally significant natural habitat for shore life. Northampton is also a place where people, as far back as the early 1600s, have found prosperity and opportunity. Today its people are from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and have an entrepreneurial spirit. Its culture is hard working and thoughtful. People are interested in civic collaboration and a balanced growth to preserve the Shore's unique natural and historic attributes while developing economic opportunity.

Development Resources

A broadband spine has been completed by the Broadband Authority connecting to multiple providers for global access. The distribution of access to this network is completed in towns and is under construction to the rest of the County. WiFi distribution of broadband is now being designed for the remote regions along the Bay and Atlantic coasts.

Water and Wastewater resources are available at commercial and industrial sites ready for immediate use. However, much of the county is served by well and septic systems residentially.
Transportation infrastructure within the county includes all modes except air (25 miles away at Norfolk International Airport / ORF). The entire county is no more than five miles away from a service level "A" four lane divided highway, US 13, with an average travel speed of 55 miles per hour. Highway US 13 connects Northampton County to the Hampton Roads MSA and its ports via the internationally acclaimed Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. To the north via US 13 and US 50, Baltimore is only three hour's drive and Philadelphia is four hours. The road is rarely closed for inclement weather.

Sites and Buildings

There are 80 acres of industrial land available with water and sewer in the Town of Cape Charles, a port (18' authorized draft) and rail center (with dual Class 1 connections in Maryland and Norfolk). Fronting the harbor is a 20 acre port side parcel with rail. In the Cheriton area there are both land and buildings available (up to 100,000 square feet). In Exmore there are large parcels fronting US 13 for tech and office use. In Nassawadox the health care complex has sites with ready access to utilities including fiberoptic connection. Other sites are available.

For a listing of available sites and buildings, please go to: Sites and buildings database on Virginia Economic Development Partnership .

Labor Market Facts

The labor force in Northampton County is regional. The county's unemployment rate is 7.7% as of 2015, but that doesn't begin to tell the story. Commutation data indicates Northampton County has a significant out-commute of talent (4,202 workers according to U.S. Census Bureau, OnTheMap Application and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics, 2011). Some 900 workers commute to work in the Hampton Roads market across the bridge tunnel. Most jobs available in the community require only a high school education, yet the labor force is better trained. Underemployment is a major source of talent for more advanced work force needs. Average weekly wages in Northampton County are two thirds of those in the Hampton Roads MSA. Industry turnover in the manufacturing sector is 4.4%. Additional details are available in the Virginia Employment Commission's Community Profile.

An area profile for the Eastern Shore of Virginia is available at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership website. Please also see Labor Market report on Northampton County (PDF). 

Major Employers

Major employers in the county are diverse including over 10% in the manufacturing sector. 


The Eastern Shore Community College provides a variety of educational opportunity. Its programs range from traditional college to specific programs designed for industry. Both private and public k-12 school options are available within the county.

Incentives for Expansion or New Locations

Northampton County has a designated Virginia Enterprise Zone covering most all commercially or industrially zones parcels. In addition, tax exemptions are available for revitalization of historic structures.

All of Northampton County is a Federal HUB Zone beneficial to Federal contractors.

Virginia offers numerous incentives including grants for jobs and investment.

JOINT INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTY AND ITS INCORPORATED TOWNS, now known as the "Economic Development Authority of Northampton County and Towns"

JIDA Rules and Procedures PDF

The Joint IDA, formed by resolution in March 1995, renamed in August 2020, was created to enhance and promote industrial and commercial development in Northampton County. Typical duties include assembling land, raising funding for infrastructure construction, administering design and construction, managing property, administering industrial revenue bond financing for qualified applicants, supporting recruitment and development of corporate tenants, coordinating development of incentives, and facilitating coordinated unified development activities of County and participating towns. Current members are:

Board Appointments

Bill B. Payne
103 Arnie’s Loop
Cape Charles, VA 23310

Paul Grossman
506 Randolph Avenue
Cape Charles, VA 23310

Joshua E. Lattimore
8531 Wellington Neck Road
Franktown, VA 23354

Steve Sturgis
P O Box 178
Eastville, VA 23347

Exmore Appointment

Mrs. Kerry J. Binard
5320 Chesawadox Drive
Exmore, VA 23350

Cape Charles Appointment

John Burdiss 
117 Mason Avenue
Cape Charles, VA 23310

Cheriton Appointment

Timothy Rapine 
2531 Sand Hill Drive
Cape Charles, VA 23310

For Assistance

Contact the County Administrator for one stop support in establishing your business in Northampton County, Virginia.

Contact Information

Charles Kolakowski
County Administrator

757-678-0440 ext. 515

[email protected]

PO Box 66
16404 Courthouse Road
Eastville, VA 23347

Hours of Operation
9 AM - 5 PM