Letters To The Editor: Nov. 28, 2019

Letters to the editor.

Theater Drop-off Spot Needed

Editor:

It was not until I became “mobility challenged” that I began to realize the importance of “handicap access.” Chatham does a pretty good job of providing access to most things in town with a few exceptions.  One of the biggest exceptions is the lack of a handicap drop-off spot in front of the Orpheum Theater.

It wasn’t until I was forced to negotiate the bumpy, downhill sidewalk from the Rotary to the theater, using a walker, that I realized how dangerous it was.  I know how important parking spots are in Chatham but weigh that against the risk of a fall by one of our older citizens. Isn’t there some way that the town could facilitate a drop-off area for handicapped people so that they can easily give their patronage to local shops as well as the theater?

John Nostrand
Chatham

 

Airport Plan Should Have Advisory Committee

Editor:

I am very grateful to the Chatham Airport Commission for having their “listening" meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12 so the town manager and selectmen could attend and hear what citizens think about the draft airport master plan update.  It is clear from another standing-room-only audience, on a blizzard-like night, that a large number of citizens are very concerned about the draft plan, and in particular Alternative 3 in Chapter 6. They are worried about any plan that involves avigation easements.  I urge the selectmen and the commission to pay attention to the FAA circular for creating a master plan for any size airport, which recommends  forming a citizens advisory committee, which might include a selectman, a finance committee member, a commission member, a pilot, a neighbor, and at-large representatives.  This committee should be created early in the process before any significant decisions are made.  This process has not been followed and there has been very little response to the citizen's complaints from either the commission or selectmen.

Jane Moffett
Chatham

 

Flight Patterns Are The Issue

Editor:

The recent article in The Cape Cod Chronicle has brought great concern to those residents who own property and live adjacent to the airport. The necessity to modernize and maintain the airport infrastructure is not the alarming issue; it is rather the changes in approach and departure patterns that will bring airplanes closer to homes. With the planned addition of jet fuel storage tanks, larger jet planes may have an open invitation to use the airport. Noise and air pollution and a potential increase in traffic will lead to safety issues and ultimately to a poorer quality of life. Who and why is looking to change this airport from its functioning convenience to something that would change our lives and our life-long investments in not only property but in community? The airport in Hyannis accommodates all types of planes and is built on commercial property. We do not need a similar airport nestled among the homes and lives of tax paying residents. No to jets, no to expansion and no to changing plane approaches and departures.

Eric P. Williams,
Chatham

 

Choose Do-nothing Airport Option

Editor:

The Chronicle accurately captured the dynamics of the airport commission meeting last week. The large audience appreciated Shareen Davis, chair of the board of selectmen, when she reprimanded them for their conduct of the meeting. It showed that our representatives were taking our protests seriously. Thank you Shareen Davis!

Large, noisy, nine-passenger, five-ton commercial turboprop planes are already flying frighteningly low over homes and causing protests. The commission wants to introduce dangerously low approaches, using instruments in bad weather, for which the FAA requires cutting all vegetation to roof height in some cases. The major concern of the meeting was that this would force 46 avigation easements on property owners to have their trees cut down and have a permanent easement attached to their deeds. The cost estimate is $5.2 million, but an experienced litigation lawyer pointed out that the cost to the town in endless legal expenses could far exceed that amount. Also there would be a significant loss in property taxes from those and neighboring properties.

All the alternatives in the airport master plan would require avigation easements as well as the destruction of acres of wetland and woodland and greatly increase the number of homes in the overshoot zones. Homes and people are already in danger at the top of Great Hill and in the populated overshoot areas, and these would be greatly increased. The proposed option to do nothing would force the turboprops to use Barnstable Airport, but would not affect the small single-engine prop planes. This is an inevitable consequence of decisions made by the town in allowing residential development around the small Chatham Airport and runway facing a 70-foot hill and a business district, despite promises made to the FAA.

Margaret Tompsett, MD
Chatham

 

Airport Neighbors Need Help

Editor:

I know not everyone in Chatham cares about the proposed changes in the airport master plan. You don’t own an airplane, you don’t fly into Chatham, you don’t even hear the planes. I understand. That’s OK. It’s not your battle.

But if you don’t care, one way or another, I’d like to ask a favor. Please consider helping your neighbors who do care.
Parts of the master plan will bring changes to the community, not just to the airport. Let’s keep the current flight patterns, and method of landings that have been used safely for over 60 years. Please help prevent the approval of Alternatives 1-3 in Chapter 6.

If these Alternatives are approved, Chatham will have planes flying overhead in “inclement weather and low visibility.” These options will also force “avigation easements” on 46 properties, lowering their property values, which will have to be disclosed when their houses are sold.

These property easements would waive damages caused by the airport, allow aircraft to fly any height above the ground, allow flights to cause noise, fumes, and interference with sleep or communication, and prevent modifications to existing structures. If homeowners don’t agree to this, their land will be taken by eminent domain.

Please ask the airport commission to update the master plan, this time with community input, and not impose Alternatives 1, 2 or 3 on your neighbors.

We need your support. Will you help?

Jennifer Ukstins
Chatham

 

Take Long-term View On New Bridges

Editor:

There is a great opportunity for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to take a holistic view of transporting people to and from Cape Cod.

Use of the existing railroad bridge needs to be expanded many-fold to take people to and from population centers like Boston, Providence, with parking lots and connecting local buses on the Cape side of the canal. 

The two new bridges contemplated for cars, trucks and buses need to emphasize public transit. These bridges should be in service for at least 75 years so we need to plan for the long haul.  Express lanes for buses and HOV would help, together with easy access for buses to and from the bridges.  Environmental concerns need to govern the demolition of the current bridges, construction of new ones, and utilization of all three of them from now through 2100 and beyond.

I hope the Army Corps of Engineers, our state agencies and elected officials will grapple effectively with these issues.

Michael Westgate
Chatham

 

Community Center Best For Seniors

Editor:

Could someone please explain to us why the town of Chatham keeps insisting on inappropriate sites for the COA?

This latest choice has a small footprint with limited parking. This particular property will cost the taxpayers double because the builder bought the property for half of what he is charging the taxpayers. The latest proposed property location is on a very highly trafficked area of Main Street with difficult access, and, in addition, on a noisy flight path from the airport.

Makes no sense when we have a perfectly safe and convenient property owned by the town directly in back of the community center, for which we will pay nothing. The community center is the perfect location for the COA. And even better, it comes at no cost to the taxpayers for the land, which will be a savings of nearly a million dollars.

This is family. We need seniors to be part of the community, not shunned away in a highly trafficked area. Parking should not be an issue when two-storied parking can be built on the south side of the existing property. Plus an easy access will relieve congestion from the road out to Depot Road, next to the elementary school, dealing with any access to extra parking and traffic worries in general.

We need to protect the elderly and keep them part of the community together with everyone. As we all know, many of the rooms in the community center are not being used during the day and can be easily used by the senior center.

Children do not come to the community center until after school at 3 p.m. and will have access to the entire community center as needed. This will serve all ages of the community and we will really be a community of family as we should be.

Fleur Feighan Jones
Chatham

 

Thanks To CFD For Gift Of Life

Editor:

Again this year we all have much to be thankful for! Chatham is very fortunate to have such a skilled and compassionate group of professionals employed by our Chatham Fire and Rescue Department! Thank you, thank you, and thank you to Scott Long, Ryan Clarke and Seth Karter for saving my life a few months ago, and acting so proficiently that I have no lasting impairments, even after being med-flighted to a Boston hospital acute trauma center.

Over the years, I’ve known many who have sung the praises of these expert, caring CFD members; and before retiring, also had the privilege to work with them while teaching CPR and First Aid to our Chatham High School wellness classes. These professionals volunteered any time we needed their help!

This holiday season, please support the Chatham Fire Association, Inc. P.O. Box 751, Chatham, MA 02633, and their endeavors to remain the expertly trained department they are, and the compassionate department they have always been, supporting families who have sadly experienced serious trauma and/or illness (as they do with the annual April Fools' Plunge).

Thank you!

Paula McMahon
Chatham