Letters to the Editor, Feb. 15

Kudos For Coming Forward

Kudos to Meg McCarthy and Alan Young for their terrific Jan. 18 letters and to Ms. McCarthy for her courage to come forward at her own expense! Though women are still relegated to second class membership in the Catholic Church, it took a woman to speak out so forcefully and publicly! This is my first letter written to The Cape Cod Chronicle and I've lived here for almost 15 years but felt impassioned to respond to their letters.
As a lifelong and still active Catholic despite significant life changes, my heart goes out to Ms. McCarthy. Our Catholic Church is indeed hierarchical and patriarchal and still an “old boys' club.” So if the bishop won't listen and take action, then our only choice as active Catholics is to vote with our feet and our pocketbooks.
A dwindling congregation and revenue will be the strongest message.
Fortunately we still have several very good Catholic parishes nearby to Chatham.
Though I am a member of St. Joan of Arc in Orleans, I live closest to Holy Redeemer and I've gone there occasionally over the years. I feel that we are one Lower/Outer Cape family so must support and encourage each other, especially at these times.
Geographical parish boundaries are no longer important. Catholics should go where they feel comfortable and most importantly spiritually nourished.

Brian Michaelan
East Harwich


Speak Up, Silent Majority

I have attended this parish for over 25 years and have had two of my daughters married there. Regarding Ms. McCarthy's ads on Father Sullivan, our pastor, I want to make a few points.
Holy Redeemer Church has been noted for the past several years as a drive-though 30-minute mass. Is this what a parish should be noted for? The mass has been said without the vestments at this parish, unlike all other parishes. Why? Did we not have them? Were they worn out? Father Sullivan wanted to replace them and did so with private donations without any cost to the parish and wears them at all masses. Is this the issue that seems to be troubling Ms. McCarthy so much?
It has been refreshing to have the new pastor meet and greet parish attendees outside after each mass. This has not been done for the past seven or so years. It is great to go to mass and hear a homily which has been absent for a few years at the masses here as well as other important prayers of the mass. Interesting that Ms. McCarthy said to make changes and interview candidates to be pastor so they would “fit” into the parish – who would do that? And why?
I hope the silent majority will speak up. This is also their parish. When a new pastor or president takes over and changes need to be made, he or she should make them now and not wait for a year to pass. I believe that changes needed to be made and done quickly. I applaud our new pastor for having the courage to do so.

Larry Donoghue
Chatham and San Antonio, Texas


Housing Bylaw Benefits Developers


Finding ways to increase full-time affordable housing for moderate income families, empty nesters and seniors is important. However, the proposed accessory dwelling unit  bylaw (ADU) will not accomplish that objective.  It allows "by right " the addition of one 1,000-square-foot, two bedroom ADU  with unfinished attic on most single-family properties, and additional ADUs by special permit with no maximum number specified, effectively eliminating all single-family dwelling districts and neighborhoods in Chatham. 

There's no requirement to rent ADUs, no ability to cap income or rental prices, limit the number of occupants or cars, or enforce the period of rental. A six-month rental period won't help families and would instead be used as high-end summer rentals and for unlimited  seasonal worker occupancy with as many cars, without homeowners required to be in residence to monitor activity.

Chatham doesn't have the infrastructure to absorb the consequent increased density. Our population rises to 2,100 people/square mile in the summer. The already limited parking, increased  traffic,  strain on fire and police services, and our  critical water shortage and sewer limitations are the collateral damage, particularly since we sold off a quarter of our sewer capacity to Harwich. 

Engineering property values downward to make Chatham more affordable to the detriment of all property owners who will lose equity they have built up for years for retirement and end of life needs is not the solution. The economic and natural environmental consequences  for  Chatham will be profound and, in the end, won’t accomplish the intended purpose of this bylaw.

The only ones to benefit from waiving/circumventing protective zoning bylaws by markedly increasing density will be developers.

Elaine Gibbs



Chatham Needs ADU Bylaw


Chatham is like many wealthy communities in the commonwealth in that it has embraced “snob zoning.” There are no places in town that allow for apartment creation. Virtually every lot is now smaller than what the laws allow to build on.  Our zoning has certainly done its job in ensuring that we will never make the mistakes of towns like Yarmouth which allowed too much without reasonable restrictions.  Chatham is well restricted, and now the question is have we gone too far? 

We are a town that sticks its nose in the air at apartments as their creation is virtually outlawed. Hence our very young, our workers and our elderly are left with few options at high prices that result in a mass exodus leaving Chatham with far too many blue bloods and far too few young bloods. While Harwich embraces weekly dancing in the streets in the summer time, Chatham is considering outlawing singing (busking) in its streets. The direction of our town is clear and in my view needs changing. 

I applaud the efforts of the group that has advanced this most sensible accessory apartment bylaw. This is the very best way to help locals who are property rich and cash poor. These are residents who need the income from an additional apartment and the resulting units create a place to live for those whom we wish to stay. This was tried several years ago and the same folks are once again are trying to scare people into believing this is a “developer's dream. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we do not embrace a solution like this that costs the town nothing and does not sacrifice our precious open space then most assuredly the selectman will soon be seeking another big piece of publicly owned land and will allow a developer instead of our citizens to profit for the right to build and manage 50 or 60 units on one lot. Is this really what people in the town want? 

My only hope is that the planning board will not make the same mistake twice. If they once again attempt to appease the unappeasable by adding restrictions to the proposal then just like the last time zero units will be created. In order to get the support of the community my suggestion would be to cap the number of units per year. This ensures that those against will not be able to create fear in the community by falsely warning that the sky will be full of hideous, character-destroying apartments. When the naysayers are the only ones who show up at the meetings this is very often the result. Our leaders need to lead, not appease. 

Regular folks need more housing! And as an aside, we also don’t mind singing and dancing in the streets. Those against ought to give it a try. It's good for the soul!


Sean Summers



ADU Bylaw Forward Thinking


We applaud the planning board and the board of selectmen for initiating a serious discussion about how to provide reasonably priced housing for all people who work in Chatham.  The planning board’s proposal for accessory dwelling units is an important step in rethinking our zoning laws to improve housing availability for young workers, small families and seniors, and in the process to improve quality of life for us all by adding vitality to our community.  Undoubtedly the ADU proposal needs to be thought through carefully so that it does not stimulate random and excessive development, but limited to targeted areas, it can stimulate healthy village centers that have the charm and walkability we all have long valued in historic Chatham.  

Without this kind of forward thinking, Chatham will be hollowed out, a seasonal and retirement community only, a pale shadow of its past.

Madonna Hitchcock

Tom Hitchner



Lots Going On In February


Despite Donna Tavano’s dislike of February (“February Perks,” Feb. 8), it is my favorite winter month.  Cold it is obviously, but it comes between the first  month of the year, January, and the most unpredictable month, March, and is the shortest of all months of the year.   It is the month in which two of our presidents were born:  George Washington, the father of our country (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator (Feb. 12), both now bundled into Presidents' weekend, which does not seem to appropriately recognize  each one . How well I recall the prints of the pictures of both presidents on the wall above the full blackboard in my one-room schoolhouse.

February is also the month in which  Susan B. Anthony was born (Feb. 15), the day after Valentine’s Day, when children in that same schoolhouse would make and give valentines to every child, so no one would be left out.  Susan was born in North Adams  and her house still stands there.  In her later life she moved to Rochester, N.Y. where her house is now The Susan B.  Anthony Museum.  A Quaker, she was an abolitionist as well as a suffragist.  Although she advocated for the vote for women, she  was told “it was not women’s time.” She said “it will come”  and  she worked many years to  get the vote,  but she did not see the Suffrage Amendment pass, for she died in 1906, 14 years before the 19th amendment became part of our Constitution. She and three other women who voted illegally in New York State were arrested but never prosecuted.

February is also Black History Month, which started as Black History Week in 1915. It was Carter G. Woodson who deserves credit for that.   He had gone to Chicago for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of slavery.  There was so much enthusiasm there that he  and others, using the excitement and energy that developed, founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History(ASNLH).  The week became a month in 1976 and is proclaimed each year by the president.

March is Women’s History month.  Should we have a Black History month or a Women’s History month?  Why shouldn’t we  read  about  the achievements of blacks and women in all history books ?   After all, they are surely part of American history.


Juliet Bernstein


Chatham Recycling Update


Due to fluctuations in the global market, the Chatham Transfer Station cannot currently accept single-stream recycling. This means commingled or all-in-one-bin recyclables picked up from subscribed homes and businesses by local haulers, as well as the town’s own receptacles, and delivered to the Transfer Station. We hope this situation will be temporary and brief. This does not affect individual residents who bring their recyclables to sort and place in the transfer station’s recycling area. Please keep recycling!

Paulette Fehlig