Proposals Turn Back Clock At Airport
Starting in 1950, decisions – consciously or unconsciously – were made and re-made in Chatham to effectively prohibit the airport’s (CQX) growth – physical expansion as well as expansion of aircraft use. Those decisions manifested themselves by land use authorities’ allowing considerable residential development in “runway protection zones” established by law and in the airport approach zone. This development prevents a number of aircraft uses routine at larger airports.
The airport commission is now contemplating the impossible task of turning back time, to allow jets and commercial charters, and aircraft in poorer weather conditions, to land at CQX, by allowing potentially lower “non-precision instrument” aircraft approaches to the runway. This would require appropriating private airspace rights from private properties through “avigation easements,” requiring the town – likely in several contested court proceedings – to pay owners for these low airspace takings. These are expensive proceedings (watch tax bills soar), and homeowners receiving “compensation” would never be able to sell their properties in the future for more than a pittance. Who wants to buy a home where airplanes might fly so close to the ground that you cannot even hear yourself think?
I am not a homeowner earmarked for an avigation easement. But we must stop this madness – that tries to ignore 70 years of irreversible decision-making by public servants – which will increase our tax bills while effectively destroying the value of innocent neighbors’ homes.
Editor's note: Jets and commercial airplanes are allowed to land at Chatham Airport now. The length of the runway controls the size of aircraft using the facility, and that will not change under proposals in the draft master plan update.
Angel Flight A Valuable Service
I fly for Angel Flight. Angel Flight is a group of volunteer pilots who transport desperately sick patients in small planes to Boston hospitals for treatment. Over the past five years, Angel Flight pilots have used Chatham airport for over 250 flights.
This summer, I flew seven Angel Flights that originated from Chatham Airport. Four of these flights involved taking Margaret P. from Martha’s Vineyard to and from Boston Logan for her appointments at Mass General.
Margaret P. is 64, a schoolteacher, runner, and mom. She woke up one morning with a cold. She took vitamin C and Sudafed. No improvement. Next, Margaret went to a doctor who prescribed antibiotics. No improvement. Eventually, Margaret went to Mass General and was told that she had sinus cancer requiring treatment five days a week for six straight weeks at the hospital in Boston.
Margaret lives on Martha’s Vineyard. How could she get to get to Boston for treatment? Cape Air wouldn’t work because her immune system was compromised. Imagine driving round trip every day on the Southeast Expressway especially after treatment. And a Boston hotel would be prohibitively expensive.
Margaret called Angel Flight. Angel Flight provided Margaret with 60 flights between Boston and Martha’s Vineyard. She never missed an appointment and was always able to return home in the evening. This reliability was possible because both Boston and Martha’s Vineyard have modern GPS instrument approaches similar to those being proposed for Chatham Airport.
To anyone who opposes Chatham Airport’s modernization, I ask “What if you woke up with a cold?”
A Virtual Hug For Chatham
It is with sincere gratitude that we take this opportunity to thank all who have donated to the Chatham Food Pantry. You are too numerous to mention here, but please know that your generosity is much appreciated. Over these past months, our clients have experienced many hardships, but your donations have helped to ease their burden.
Because of your outpouring of support, we have been able to continue our mission of providing many much-needed food supplies. During the summer months, we were blessed with wonderful fruits and vegetables from so many of your gardens. What a treat that was!
We must take this opportunity to single out two very special businesses here in town. Both the Chatham Village Market and the Chatham Bakery have been wonderful to our cause. Each week, we receive 15 loaves of freshly-baked bread from Rick and Michelle Crean. What a delicious addition!
Also, the Village Market has been an integral part of our shopping needs for the past 10 years, and we are forever thankful.
We think our Chatham community deserves a virtual hug for all the charity you have provided to so many community organizations, and to our pantry in particular. You are forever in our thoughts.
Ted and Martha Miller, managers
Chatham Food Pantry
Not Always Easy Being Green
Dear Sarah Griscom, I submit that you are either blinded by the headlights from your Chevrolet Bolt or are unaware that your battery-powered vehicle, and all others using electricity for their propulsion units, are in fact driving coal-powered automobiles.
If you are interested in learning about the overall cost of operating a battery-powered vehicle, I suggest you Google any number of online sites that will break down for you the environmentally ruinous cost of producing the battery that powers your Bolt.
While you are perusing one of these sites you may discover the equally high price of disposing of these batteries when they have died. In addition, you will find out the high cost of the production and disposal of wind powered turbines.
Green thinking may not always be green.
Dump Complete Streets Program
I have been following the story about building a six-tenths-of-a-mile sidewalk from Saquatucket Harbor to Harwich Port that DPW Director Lincoln Cooper has been working on since 2015. Additionally, there have been several radio stations that have had guests on their programs to discuss the Complete Streets Program.
My first thought is “Complete Streets” has been bad for Cape Cod and I find it quite offensive that MassDOT has built in so much red tape that it takes longer than WWII to build a half mile of sidewalk. No wonder Massachusetts has one of the highest road costs per mile in the country. Additionally, Complete Streets blocks funding for many essential road and safety projects in Barnstable County. Sidewalks should be a big priority for a region that is driven by tourism. In many cases it is safer to walk along Route 6 than to try walking on Route 28 from Chatham to East Harwich to Orleans as many seasonal workers have to. Shouldn’t we expect a sidewalk on one side of the Route 28 from Orleans to Hyannis in our lifetime? When it takes six years to build six-tenths of a mile, it does not give us optimism.
Our elected state officials, in partnership with the Cape Cod Commission, county government, and the Cape’s 15 towns should work towards excluding all of Cape Cod from the Complete Streets Program. Many years ago I wrote a letter to the editor about the sidewalk that was added to the Muddy Creek Bridge project. I called it the “sidewalk to nowhere.” Now it seems like it will be the “sidewalk to nowhere forever.”
Don't Lose Out On History
First, we lost the CG36500 Chatham Coast Guard rescue boat – in which four men from the Chatham Lifeboat Station risked their lives in a brutal nor’easter with freezing temperatures and 60-foot waves to save 32 members of the crew of the SS Pendleton – to the neighboring town of Orleans. This wasn’t any rescue boat; it was labeled by the Coast Guard as the greatest rescue by a small boat in its history.
Now, we are in danger of losing the historic Stage Harbor Coast Guard boathouse, which housed that famous boat in 1952.
For a town known for its adherence to traditions and for its respect of the past, this is not a healthy trend. If the select board cannot find a location and use for the boathouse, should they turn to locally-based nonprofits such as Protect Our Past, accustomed to out-of-the-box thinking and solutions?
Bring Nauset High Into 21st Century
The Nauset Regional High School (NRHS) is an educational jewel in the crown of the Cape Cod, among top-tier educational districts in the state and country, a community resource and property value asset to regional households, and the cornerstone of our children’s future — ably preparing them to compete in an ever more complicated and competitive world. These achievements are remarkable given the deteriorated, obsolete, and substandard condition of the school’s 50-year-old physical plant — a condition which threatens the system’s ability to maintain the health and safety of its students and educational excellence for which it is known.
On March 30, we NRHS district residents have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring this critically important facility up to 21st century standards by voting yes on the proposed NRHS renovation and reconfiguration project and accepting $36.6 million in approved state funding by a May 31 deadline.
Given the COVID pandemic and prospects of spring annual town meetings postponements until June, the Nauset Regional School Committee voted unanimously to hold a simultaneous district-wide vote this spring for the project, as allowed by law, rather than annual town meeting votes in the four district towns, followed by annual election votes.
With $36.6 million in state funding and thus a total taxpayer cost of $95 million spread over 20-or-30-year bond terms among regional taxpayers, this is the least costly alternative for renovating our aging school facility. The project’s cost to a Brewster taxpayer household, for example, with a home assessed at $400,000 is approximately $25/month in the first year (the price of two fast food pizzas or one “special” coffee/week), with lower payments in following years. Surely, present day and future generations of our students are worth it.
Amazing Help From Community
It would be an understatement to say we live in unprecedented times. The effects of COVID-19 are multi-layered and far reaching. Many of the families in our communities are facing financial challenges that have only increased during the pandemic. But we have an amazing community of nonprofit and private partners who stepped up enthusiastically to help us provide warm clothing for the winter and gifts for the holidays. Our private donors are too numerous to mention, but you know who you are. Thank you. We would like to mention some of the nonprofits and businesses that also pitched in. Many thanks to The Harwich Fund of Cape Cod Foundation, which granted us $4,300 for winter coats and outerwear. Also, we express our gratitude to Power Yoga of Cape Cod, Cape and Islands United Way, Ruggie’s, Harwich Elementary Sunshine Fund, Cape Cod 5, Gannon Fire and Sprinkler, Harwich Cranberry Festival Committee, Harwich Employees’ Association and Pilgrim Congregational Church. Many blessings to all of you. Be safe and well.
Ann Marie Dooley
Harwich Children’s Fund/Friends of Harwich Youth