Letters To The Editor: Dec. 12, 2019
Good News On Theater, Airport
For me, the demise of the Monomoy Theater was a strong blow to my, as well as many other, theatrical experience on the Lower Cape, so it was a great delight to read that Greg Clark of the Chatham Production LLC had presented concrete plans for the redevelopment of the property with the intention of having it available for other theatrical productions beyond the summer theater program. I look forward to hearing more about the redevelopment plans and hope the property can once again be hosting live theater in 2021, if not 2020 (wishful thinking I know).
The second helping of kudos goes to the Chatham Airport Commission for its tentative compromise on the approach plan. The airport has gotten into the news and The Chronicle’s letters so much with the skydiving and approach stuff that I have gotten fed up with all the bickering over there and so wanted to drop in my two cents worth, which would have annoyed many Chathamites. But now, maybe the airport’s compromised approach plan will appease the most affected neighbors and residents. Somehow, I don’t think it will, because I suspect this “stuff,” and it is just “stuff,” will be very similar to the abutters opposing the Adventure Park at Heritage Museums and Gardens.
Move Ahead With Senior Center
It is time to move ahead with a new building for the council on aging. More delay means additional costs. The proposed West Chatham location provides an excellent mix of environments for seniors—an abutting conservation area of green space and close proximity to stores and restaurants.
The parcel you are being asked to vote on has been offered at $750,000 to the town solely for a COA building. The adjoining parcel, now a conservation area, was purchased for $650,000 15 years ago! Today’s price seems like a very good deal.
Show your support for our growing population of seniors by voting “yes” at the Special town meeting on Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. at the Monomoy Regional Middle School gymnasium.
If you need transportation to the meeting, call the COA at 508-945-5190 by Jan. 3. As they have in the past, the COA is providing free rides to the meeting.
DCPC Rubber Stamped?
With regard to the pending West Harwich District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC),
In my opinion, a disturbing observation has recently been made.
Whether they be appointed, like the Cape Cod Commission and the Harwich Planning Board, or elected, like the Harwich Board of Selectmen and the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, “rubber stamp public bodies” at any level of government are unhealthy and never a good thing.
The writer is a Barnstable County Commissioner.
An Overlooked COA Site?
For fear of appearing ungrateful regarding the selectmen vote favoring the West Chatham site, I would like to mention one other site that has merit. After reading several news articles in your paper, the two things that stood out were declining enrollment and town owned.
Looking down the road five years from now, would the elementary school be something that should have been investigated?
1. Town owned, could save millions? 2. Great year-round location. 3. Close to community center. 4. One floor, great parking. 5. New playground equipment. 6. Close to emergency services
Disagrees With Pilots' Assessments
We all drive to our destinations using GPS, but who drives through the gates using GPS, let alone at 100mph? Last week’s letters in the paper were by pilots, who ignore the basic fact that the FAA specifically recognizes the enhanced risk of instrument landings by requiring much more stringent requirements on the ground. AC 150/5300-13A requires a 3,200 foot runway, a 30:1 GQS, without intrusions and very much larger overshoot areas (RPZs), which the FAA urges should be kept empty, but which would include over 100 homes in Chatham.
One pilot invoked the concept of “controlled gradual descent” over 70 foot high Great Hill, but the safest descent rate, as described in the FAQs for turboprops is 3 degrees, at which slope, the planes wouldn’t land within their landing distance, unless they pass 40 feet above the houses. At the FAA maximum glide-slope, they would still be very close to the houses. With an instrument approach, a minimum height of 250 feet above runway threshold is permitted; the pilot could be 150 plus/minus 25 feet above the houses before seeing them. So maybe turboprops don’t fly so much lower in bad weather, because they fly so low just above the rooftops even in visual conditions. The same is also true in West Chatham.
We can all agree with the professional airline captain who advocates risk reduction, but the FAA unfortunately doesn’t agree with her at a small airport like Chatham as pointed out above. She also points out that she was used to having “the luxury of multiple pilots,” but “small planes at small airports like Chatham” don’t have that. Unfortunately that increases risk, which the FAA confirms by writing “A single pilot managing instrumentation and looking for the runway is a challenge.”
Based on FAA design standards for instrument approaches, there seems to be no possibility of compromise because of the geography of Chatham. Straight-in is also being advocated in these letters, but without instrument approaches and a control tower, and my observation of two accident scenarios, I believe this would significantly increase risk. We can all live with the simple “Do Nothing” as outlined in the AMPU, which would have minimal impact on local small-plane users, but would make the airport safer and quieter by having commercial turboprop and twin-engine taxis, and small planes in bad weather, use Barnstable Airport.
Clarify Airport Land Origins
Last week’s Chronicle contained a letter from Jerry Plante of Bourne which I believe is fundamentally incorrect. Mr. Plante stated that an individual named Berube gave the Chatham Airport property to the town on “the provision that it remain an airport.”
The deeds to the properties on which the airport is situated show that the land was acquired by the town by eminent domain in 1949, and that the town paid the landowners for their parcels. There are no deed restrictions on the use of the land by the town. Neither the Berube heirs nor any other private parties have exclusive rights or claims to the land. The land, and the airport, belong to the town of Chatham, and therefore all of Chatham’s residents.
Misguided Use Of Open Space
Lost forever, or kept sacred and safe for generations? Six “separate” dilemmas intermesh.
Harwich Conservation Trust, the good guys, is desperate to raise money before year’s end to save “the last lot,” a linchpin that would preserve a tract of virgin land for all time.
Habitat for Humanity has sponsors, volunteers, and a trust fund of money for their good work. HCT needs a third of what the BOS wants to give HforH: WTHell!
Board of Selectmen want to develop land given to Harwich as open space. This is wrong.
Where’s the imagination to repurpose what’s already built? We can use structures that exist. Why kill trees, displace wildlife from their homes, for “affordable-housing?” We can’t afford the environmental destruction. The BOS is boss, but their mission has strayed from what helps our town and our world.
No European nation would level the solid brick regional technical high school, nor a house, a church off Route 28 wants to level, damn its history, and future possibility.
We can save each, and more, and expand the parking lots upon existing lawn, not forest land.
Pave paradise put up a parking lot. No. No more. We town voters can stop this.