Letters to the Editor, May 2

May 02, 2024

Time To Pass Sea Camps Plan


For the past two years, I have sat on the Bay Property planning committee. We now have a plan. We need Brewster voters to come out and get it passed. It reflects input from community forums, surveys, meetings, tours, and emails, put together in a way that can move us forward, to guide what happens next, to start to use the property as residents have said they want. The process will be open, with continued input and decisions on funding made at town meetings. Help us get started.

Clare O'Connor-Rice


Airport Should Work With Neighbors


Once again there is conflict between the airport and the surrounding residential community. Instead of trying to work with its neighbors, the airport continues to press ahead by ignoring how its proposed plan of Article 40 affects the environment, destroys trees, devalues property, and allows toxic pollution from the planes.

I strongly suggest you consider voting no on article 40. Ask the airport to reconsider its plans and decide to work with its neighbors. Getting along with and listening to one another is always the best way to get things done.

Carol Gordon

South Chatham

Endorses Schiff For School Com


Brad Schiff is an excellent candidate for Chatham’s representative on the Monomoy Regional School Committee. He has served for many years on a broad range of boards and committees that address needs within the Chatham community. One of the most important was the Chatham 365 task force, formed in 2018 to address the needs for and of the younger family members with children in town.

Brad has extensive professional experience in communications and is an adjunct professor at Emerson College, having served as such for over 15 years. Such experience will benefit the contributions he will make in understanding and communicating with the community.

I have worked together with Brad on town issues, and fully endorse him.

Jean Hoyt


Schiff Valuable School Advocate


I support Brad Schiff for the Monomoy Regional School Committee. My conviction in his candidacy stems from witnessing first hand his dedication to Chatham during our collaboration on various committees such as the Chatham Tercentennial Committee, Chatham 365 Task Force, and the Eldredge Garage working group.

Brad's leadership, as chair, in reinvigorating our Independence Day parade demonstrated his ability to inspire positive change within our community.

With a background in communication, teaching and youth mentoring, Brad possesses the skills of a facilitator and long-term strategic planner. His commitment to Chatham is solid, and he embodies the essence of support for our town in every aspect. I firmly believe that Brad will serve as a valuable advocate for our community's interests on the school committee.

Shareen Davis


Note: The writer is a member of the Chatham Select Board.

Working Together To Clean Up Town


The Chatham Conservation Foundation gives our deepest thanks to over 125 Chatham friends and neighbors who took part in the Earth Week Town Cleanup last Saturday. These participants represented 20 local businesses, service organizations, youth groups and faith communities, and dozens of individual volunteers. Together we collected litter from almost 30 miles of well-trafficked Chatham roadways.

The sign of a vibrant community is people coming together, sharing resources and collaborating for the greater good. It was a privilege to work with these volunteers last weekend. See you next Earth Week!

Robert Lear, trustees president

Lauren Arcomano, executive director

Chatham Conservation Foundation

Don’t Go Changing


I recently renewed my subscription to The Chronicle. First and foremost, your reporters are exceptional. Second, your placement and display of advertisements — from If The Shoe Fits to Sotheby’s — entices. And finally, your crossword puzzle is always a chunk of challenge.

Thank you all, and don’t change.

Suzie Coon

East Orleans

Proposed Library Doesn’t Suit Town


Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Here is mine. The recent article by Ryan Bray outlines plans for construction of a new Snow Library for replacement of the 1950s one (“Task Force Presents Final Library Report,” April 18). After the old library is demolished, a new library is proposed to be built at the Snow’s site, 139 Main St. Included with the article is an overview of the plans for the new library and an architect’s rendering of a new, flat-roofed library building. The article describes the new building as “sleek” and contributing to the “quaint character of Main Street” and able to be covered with energy saving solar panels. Further, the new building is claimed to “mesh well with the adjacent green space” and “bring vitality to Main Street.”

In my opinion, the proposed building appears fashioned after a 1960s California Howard Johnson’s. Flat roof, lots of glass, and covered with solar panels, it is sure not to fit in well in a small New England fishing village. In my experience, classic buildings stay beautiful forever, and modern designs are soon old and dated. I am not averse to a new library building but believe an indigenous design is better suited to the town.

Campbell Barker


Candidate Offers Qualifications


I have been asked why I have chosen to run for Monomoy Regional School Committee. Because of my commitment to efficient and effective management, to education, to youth development and to the town of Chatham.

As I have been learning about the responsibilities of the committee and the issues that face the school system, I have been impressed by its strategic plan and its Portrait of a Graduate. But after touring all four school buildings and meeting with the principals, I have been especially impressed by the distinct heartbeat of each location. Nothing is more important than cultivating a place where youth can thrive. I would welcome the opportunity to be part of the implementation of fostering a flexible, supportive environment of rigorous academics, inclusivity, well being and acceptance so that graduates possess the skills to be successful in life.

I have the experience to help make this goal a reality: 45 years of a business career involving strategic planning, budgeting and communication, with an MBA degree; 17 years of being an adjunct faculty member at Emerson College; six years of being a board member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod, also a former Big Brother for 11 years; and five Chatham town committees as either a member or chair.

I will be on the school committee for the right reasons, ask the right questions and be thoughtful and caring about our entire school community.

Bradford Schiff


A Trifecta for Brewster


At town meeting, Brewster citizens can achieve a trifecta by electing Mary Chaffee and Amanda Bebrin to select board and voting to ratify master plans for the Bay and Pond (former Sea Camps) properties.

Seeking a third term on Brewster’s select board, Mary Chaffee offers educational, professional, and public service background without peer. A former navy nurse and captain with degrees in law, policy and nursing, Chaffee has demonstrated intelligence, leadership, and wisdom in serving multiple terms on Brewster’s select board, board of health, and as town delegate to Barnstable County’s Assembly of Delegates. Her thoughtful decision-making and work ethic embody the meaning of public service.

A first-time candidate for select board, Amanda Bebrin is a rising star in local political and nonprofit realms. She has ably chaired two complex town committees: Brewster’s planning board and the Bay Property master planning committee. By actively listening to community members, working with diverse stakeholders, and completing complex assignments, Bebrin has demonstrated the experience and intelligence to serve the selectboard and community well.

After an inclusive and comprehensive master planning process for the Bay and Pond properties (the former Sea Camps), two master plans are ready for town meeting approval. These plans are the culmination of extensive community outreach and input from hundreds of Brewster citizens. To be phased over multi-year periods, the plans will require subsequent town meeting approvals for all major funding outlays. A yes vote on the Bay and Pond Properties affirms the aspirations of Brewster residents and provides a clear, community-driven blueprint for Brewster’s future.

Fran Schofield


The Meaning Of Bliss


In these difficult times, we need a quiet time to ourselves with no upsetting news bombarding us 24/7. Joseph Campbell calls this our bliss.

Calvin, our golden, never disappointed. He ripped out of the car dashing to the water and flipped on his back, as is his custom, with four paws facing the sky for a happy wiggle in the sand. Then back in our car. A family let out their two tweens, with shoes in hands, heading right into the water where they pranced with abandon, so very happy.

But the most beautiful moment was a couple sitting in their beach chairs. The man was commandeering a kite, holding tightly to a large yellow circular gadget securing the string so he could control its movement. Not unusual, you might think, but on further notice there were two heavy leg braces in the sand next to his beach chair. His wife, close by, had orchestrated his happiness, setting up the kite to give him control of something in his life. This is bliss.

Thank you, Joseph Campbell.

Fleur Feighan Jones


Best Choices For Brewster’s Future


My husband and I are fortunate to be raising our children in Brewster. It’s a great community with strong town leaders who work hard for the best of the community. We are proud Brewster has won a number of awards recently that confirm how talented our elected officials and town staff are.

We’ll be voting this spring for Mary Chaffee (the incumbent) and Amanda Bebrin (now planning board chair) for select board. They both have strong records of public service and have shown how much they care about Brewster through the many activities they are both engaged in.

Our children’s future here is our priority. We know with leaders like Amanda Bebrin and Mary Chaffee of the select board, the town will be in good hands. They are the best choice.

Casey Mecca


Opposes Airport Approach Map


The Chatham Conservations Commission is only authorized to review 2.06 acres (a small protected area) of the 62 acres on and around Chatham Airport where trees will be subject to trimming or removal. With the unanimous vote of its members, the commission sent a letter (dated Feb. 21) to the Cape Cod Commission. That letter is “requesting” the CCC to review “more than 60 acres of land-clearing activities…likely to impact…upland woodlands, habitat, soils, hydrology and other key aspects of the ecosystem (because) there is no mechanism for requiring review and assessment of these impacts in unprotected areas, other than the Cape Cod Commission.”

The removal of these trees is included in the airport’s expanded approach zone plans. Warrant Article 40, Airport Approach Zone Map, should be withdrawn from the warrant. Wait for the Cape Cod Commission to proceed with its review, public hearing, and recommendation. The select board should not ask residents to vote on Article 40 without fully informing them of the circumstances of their vote. If the article is not withdrawn and the article passes at town meeting, the trees will be cut down.

Harriet Prout


Candidate Will Prioritize Capital Spending


Laurel Labdon, select board candidate in Brewster, recognizes that we need to prioritize capital projects and delay discretionary spending. Laurel cares what happens to children, seniors, and our sense of community. She is willing to pose hard questions about what is happening in our town.

Each year, I watch the continuous deterioration of the Stony Brook Elementary building. I see multiple trash barrels positioned under roof leaks in stairwells and hallways, bathrooms that are permanently out of order, and water pipes bursting in walls and ceilings. In winter, I see teachers and students wearing coats inside the building in rooms that are so cold they can barely hold a pencil. I see our custodial staff working hard to manage the building and its problems, while also trying to accomplish the things they were hired to do. What I don’t see is a commitment from the town to prioritize this project. It is long past time for our select board to be vocal about the state of our school and take action.

Of course I am excited to see how our town amenities will evolve. Yet some of the most pressing issues, such as creating a new site for the council on aging, may be contingent upon what happens with other infrastructure. Children and seniors in Brewster need to know now what is going to be done for them.

I support the candidate who will prioritize capital spending. That candidate is Laurel Labdon.

Heather Holcomb-Jones


Airport Proposal Misunderstood


Chatham Town Meeting Warrant Article 40, which updates the map of airport approach zones, has drawn the predictable response from the same airport complainers who have consistently demonstrated their agenda to close the airport. Unfortunately, their arguments are based on a fundamentally flawed premise, namely that the updated map changes the way that aircraft can approach Chatham Airport. Nothing could be further from the truth! In reality, aircraft have been using these areas for many decades, ever since instrument approaches were approved for Chatham Airport. The new map proposed in the bylaw just brings the town map into conformance with the FAA map that has existed for over 20 years. As such, these articles represent an administrative correction that should have been made years ago, and not an operational change.

Finally, it’s worthwhile to touch on the underlying safety issue. Critics have stated that aircraft have been landing and taking off at Chatham Airport for over 66 years, so why update anything? The answer is quite simple: safety. Why do we update electrical codes, or roadway standards or any of a million standards? Would you want a car that was built to 1958 safety standards? The airport commission is dedicated to improving the safety standards of Chatham Airport and effectively bringing it into the 21st century. This has been miscast by airport critics as “expanding” the airport, when there is actually nothing in the airport commission plans which would allow any change in the number and types of aircraft that can operate in Chatham. All that the commission plans would accomplish is to make the airport safer and quieter for the benefit of pilots, passengers and those on the ground. Ask any pilot or aviation professional.

Rene Haas


More Time For Airport Dialogue


If Article 40 is passed at the May 13 Chatham Town Meeting, the airport commission will be able to go forward with its plans to increase the area of the airport approach zones without further input from Chatham residents.

If Article 40 is not passed, then there is more time to have real dialogue between the select board, the commission and Chatham residents. This dialogue could lead to a compromise between the Chatham citizens and the members of the commission. And I would hope it would lead to a friendlier relationship between the town and its airport.

There has been little opportunity for such dialogue because the SB has not yet held a public meeting to discuss the article and the commission has held only one, which was on April 10.

Read Moffett


Time To Regulate Rentals


At the town meeting on May 11 at 1 p.m. at the Stony Brook Elementary School, Brewster residents will have the opportunity to vote on Articles 23 and 24, which deal with creating a registration system for short-term rentals and with setting limits on short-term rentals, respectively.

Both of these articles are important. Out of the 15 towns on the Cape, only three have no sort of registration system in place — Brewster, Wellfleet, and Sandwich. Some towns have had registration systems in place for decades, with Dennis and Yarmouth having implemented registration systems in the late 1970s.

Registering short-term rentals provides valuable data to the town about how housing in the town is being used. While the DOR keeps records of short-term rentals, ownership data is not publicly available.

A registration system also provides a way for the town to enforce local rules and regulations, providing neighbors with a way to make sure the rentals near them aren’t causing issues.

Limiting how many short-term rentals one owner can operate is a newer idea, but it has been done. Provincetown approved limits on how many STRs one owner can operate at its fall town meeting, West Tisbury approved similar limits at the spring town meeting, and similar limits are on the warrant at the Eastham Spring town meeting on May 4. Other towns are taking steps to address the detrimental impact that STRs have on year-round housing in the area; Brewster should be proactive in this regard.

While these articles are not a panacea to the housing crisis, they are a step in the right direction to creating balance in housing in this area. If Brewster continues to do nothing, things will continue to get worse.

I hope that my fellow Brewster residents will vote “yes” to approve Articles 23 and 24. For more information about the article, please visit ohmycod.org and go to “All Things Local” for more details.

Matilda Delano


Candidate Cares About Community


Brewster residents will be voting to fill two select board seats May 28 and I hope they choose to vote for Laurel Labdon.

Laurel is a lifetime Brewster resident and it is clear she cares about the community. She is responsive, intelligent, fiscally responsible, and I cannot think of a better representative for the people of Brewster.

Brewster can be a better town with Laurel on the select board.

Jed Delano


Strong Leadership Needed


The town of Brewster is in need of strong, local leadership, and Laurel Labdon is the woman for the job. She is capable, clever, and a great person. The town of Brewster would benefit from having her on the select board.

Brewster residents should vote for Laurel Labdon for the Select Board on May 28.

Lana Wright


Schiff Will Contribute To School Com


I enthusiastically endorse the candidacy of Brad Schiff for the Monomoy Regional

School Committee.

I have served with Brad on town committees over many years. He is a smart and

thoughtful listener, a consensus builder in a group and when needed a decisive leader.

He has a deep passion for Chatham. Whether it was through his service on the

Chatham 300 Celebration, the Independence Day Parade committee as chair for seven

years or his time on the Chatham 365 Task Force and other town Committees, Brad

drew on his diverse business and volunteer experiences as a leader and consistently

brought professionalism, constructive and creative ideas and a touch of fun to the tasks

at hand.

I am grateful that Brad is taking on this additional service commitment to our community.

Our region is evolving and the challenges of educating our young people are real and

growing. Informed policy requires longer range thinking to be effective. Brad brings a

great deal to the table and will be a valuable community voice in tackling the issues and

exploring solutions.

John J King II