Rein In Airport Commission
The Chatham Airport Commission has submitted a proposed plan to the FAA which apparently has not been publicly posted, presented or approved. Gale Associates say that the five-year plan requires 22 easements. However, the Airport Layout Plan (ALP), a definitive document, includes the original 46 avigation easements and a ruinous 40:1 surface for instrument departures, which logistically would require removing the houses at the top of Great Hill!
Information presented at the public meeting in November indicated that avigation easements were not acceptable. An experienced litigation lawyer emphasized that any likely litigation for such easements would be extremely expensive to the town. A real estate developer (and pilot) pointed out that having an avigation easement in one’s deeds was the kiss of death to the property value. An excerpt from a sample easement agreement would allow “the unobstructed use and passage of all types of aircraft in and through the airspace at any height or altitude above the surface of the land. The right of said aircraft to cause noise, vibrations, fumes, deposits of dust, fuel particles, fear, interference with sleep or communication, and any other effects.”
These plans essentially benefit commercial flights, which should use Barnstable Airport, so why should 46 homeowners and other residents of West Chatham have their property values drastically reduced, be put at greater risk and be denied the peaceful use and enjoyment of their properties, for the benefit of a disproportionate few? Put yourself in their shoes!
Why should Chatham taxpayers pay any monstrous legal fees or share costs for these plans? We are the owners and sponsors of the airport and our elected representatives, should take charge of the airport, and control these disingenuous airport commissioners and ensure that these unrealistic plans are withdrawn.
Margaret E. Tompsett
School Com Got Off Lightly
The Attorney General recently informed the Monomoy School Committee and Superintendent Scott Carpenter that they stood in violation of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law. The confirmed violation of law resulted from a failure to properly notice public discussion of the Chatham Special Town Meeting results associated with an alternative site for the proposed new senior center. The school committee and the superintendent are extremely fortunate that the Attorney General did not find the violation to be willful and/or intentional, as I will explain.
The school committee moved against approving the use of the land for a senior center on Stepping Stones Road before it heard from Chatham’s voters. Many folks felt that the committee’s first-strike action showed disdain for the townspeople and a general lack of respect for their wishes. Anticipating what I believed the special town meeting vote would be, and prior to the actual special town meeting, I called Dr. Carpenter and asked that the matter be placed on the agenda of the first school committee meeting following the special town meeting. I subsequently went to the school committee meeting in question, expecting to speak in a properly noticed public forum about researching the use of the property and the wishes of Chatham’s voters. Arriving at the meeting, I found that the published agenda did not list nor include an item directed at my prior request of the superintendent. I immediately approached Dr. Carpenter. He acknowledged that he had neglected to place the item on the agenda and apologized to me. He went on to say that I wasn’t to worry, because he intended to bring the matter up during the “Superintendent’s Comments” agenda item. There was no doubt in my mind then, and there is none now, that the item was deliberately left off the agenda. Anything else is highly unlikely, albeit “anything is possible.” This is the mantra of all those who would subvert the public’s participation in government process, and it should be strongly discouraged by those who are responsible for defending the law and our rights as citizens. The AG let the school committee and Dr. Carpenter off the hook this time, but the subtext of the letter of violation lets them know that similar actions will be viewed harshly in the future. Let us hope that all members of the school board and the superintendent are attentive to that caution.
South Chatham Says Thanks
Heartfelt thanks to Jill Goldsmith and her staff for restoring the Forest Beach overlook to its present state. We certainly appreciate the work done to preserve the natural beauty of the overlook for all to enjoy.
More Testing Sites Needed
I want to thank the Chronicle, Julian Cyr, and Sean O’Brien for bringing to light the dearth of free COVID-19 testing sites on the Cape and Islands for asymptomatic people. Having worked in HIV counseling and testing in the late '90s, during that pandemic, free and anonymous testing was readily available for anyone who requested it at various sites throughout Cape Cod and Islands. We need a similar program for COVID-19, a more widespread and similarly serious virus. Stop the spread with testing, science, and knowledge. Thank you for your work in advocating for this to happen here.
Listen To The Experts
As a private pilot based in Chatham, I am in 100 percent agreement with the author that wants to keep Chatham Airport "quaint." Having served on the airport commission for three years, I can also attest to the fact that all the other commissioners were strongly dedicated to this as well. Certain folks who hate the airport are somehow twisting the commission's plan to modernize the airport and make it safer and quieter into a scheme to turn Chatham into a commercial jetport. Nothing could be further from the truth. The airport haters have even written letters stating that commissioners must be "in the pocket of" charter companies and also, of course, the wicked airport manager. It makes sense that they would make such accusations because why else would the commission conspire to such a dastardly mission? There must be something truly corrupt going on. But wait, there is only one problem, and that is, despite digging desperately for at least the last 10 years with thousands of public record requests, they have never uncovered any evidence of impropriety. In their ongoing attempts to undermine the airport commission, they even have the arrogance to claim that they know about FAA rules and guidelines better than the commission, its aviation consultants, aviators, and the FAA itself. These individuals have not a shred of aviation knowledge, but profess to know what's best for Chatham Airport (and the surrounding community's) safety. If you needed heart surgery, would you go to a heart surgeon, or an astrophysicist who has read the "Heart Surgery for Dummies" manual?
Read the documents on the commission website at www.chatham-ma.gov, and you will find that their plans address safety and noise without causing any significant increase in traffic. Let's stick with the heart surgeons.
Airport Can Help Kids Achieve Dreams
I would like to thank Kat Szmit for her article “Flight Program Helps Scouts Earn More Than A Badge” (Nov. 26). Her story captured the positive energy and curiosity of the children during their recent visit to the Chatham Airport.
As a retired airline captain, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to them, then listening individually to their questions. Yet it was one posed by a parent that allowed me to expand on the field of aviation. “Besides flying, what are other jobs in aviation?” There’s a wide variety. Design engineers, astronauts, mechanics, air traffic controllers, dispatchers, airport architects and managers, to name a few. As I answered that question, it clearly reminded me that as a student in the Chatham schools, from kindergarten to graduation, we all needed each other if we were to have a softball team, the school newspaper, or even a senior class play. That required cooperation from peers that was respectful, inclusive, and supportive of each other’s viewpoints, talents, and dreams. This resourceful type of mindset, despite our differences, allowed us a healthy camaraderie and enabled us to focus on solutions rather than problems. I owe a lot to this small town setting that fostered the values of being a team player.
My 2020 plan to give back to the community by stepping into the classroom and bringing my Southwest’s “Adopt a Pilot” background to the Monomoy students was curtailed due to COVID-19 and pandemic protocols. Yet, to see firsthand the kids’ expressions last week made me realize that their curiosity and desire to learn is brimming.
The time to act is now. It may not be the traditional schoolroom kind of interaction, yet ZOOMing with them sounds more like an active verb than simply a communication tool. It’s time to show them what’s possible: how I was able to travel and live all over the country with a fascinating career, then return home to share the fun with them. With CQX right here in our community, achieving their dreams is just a step away.
Katie Buckley Waters
Fix Post Office Entrance
The entrance to the West Chatham Post Office is an accident waiting to happen. Two cars or trucks cannot pass each other safely. I have been going to the West Chatham Post Office since 1982. Why would you make the entrance worst to get in and out? Also, when you take a right turn you now enter the other lane of traffic when leaving the post office. Since they're still working on the rotary, now would be a good time to correct the width of the entrance. Meservey's gas station has the same or larger entrance than the busy post office. Job Lot has a larger entrance than the busy post office. I would love to see this corrected before accidents happen since I visit the West Chatham Post Office almost every day. It will also help the flow and safety of traffic on Route 28.
Douglas W. Turner