More Housing Is Good News
What Great News!
I saw that the developer who bought the Underground Mall in Orleans plans to turn it into workforce housing. This is wonderful news for the Lower Cape. I was hoping that space would be turned into housing and it seems that my wish has come true!
While the one- and two-bedroom units won’t help my family, who needs at least three bedrooms, it will help countless other people in the area. Given that the town has not shown any sense of urgency on any of the other housing projects that have been proposed (why are the old Cape Cod Five offices still not under construction?), I can only hope that this project will move along with more expediency.
Two Units A Minimum
It does not make sense to build affordable housing at 127 Old Harbor Rd. unless you can get two units. The current value of the property might be $600,000 and by the time you tear it down and build one unit it will be over a million dollars. It only makes sense if you get two units.
Protect Land, Protect Water
For 11 years I had the privilege of living on Goose Pond enjoying the beauty and serenity. As a washashore I learned about the surrounding area and its importance to our water supply. The 19 acres of forest will continue to ensure groundwater replenishment and natural filtration of rain and snowmelt. The forest removes excess carbon from the atmosphere which is stored in native plants. It is located within several sensitive water areas. Having a safe water supply protects 100 percent of our citizens as well as future generations.
I encourage Chatham voters to attend the annual town meeting in May and vote to instruct the select board to sign a conservation restriction to protect this last 19 acres of forest in perpetuity.
Please vote to protect our water supply for all of our citizens and future generations.
Opposed To Duck Hunting
With all the deaths and sickness surrounding our world today, it's hard to imagine why any person would take pleasure in shooting, maiming and killing the wildlife in our beautiful environment. But alas, for weeks now our community and families have endured the constant offshore and onshore bombardment of our wonderful and beautiful creatures at Cockle Cove, Ridgevale and Forest Beach.
I am sure I am preaching to the choir as these people probably don't even read or at least will never read this. We are walkers and have daily been finding dead and injured water fowl along the shoreline. I wish these people would sign up to repopulate Mars where there is currently space available for such “entertainment.” Today was the worst as my wife came running home crying and pleading for me to help her rescue an injured bird needlessly left to die. All I can say is wow – what a great sport.
There are other sports – try corn hole or the ever-popular tackle football. How about anything but back yard guns. I believe we live in an area that needs to be protected from this abuse. I like to think of myself as an inclusive person. However, killing for “sport” is not currently on my list.
Nathaniel B. Wordell
Address Airport Noise First
If you go on the internet and check what the real issues are in running an airport, they are noise pollution, the environment and maintaining property values.
Small airports like ours face lawsuits and closings when they are no longer compatible with the neighborhood. We have learned that noise from airports, up to four miles away, can hurt the brain and disturb cognition in adults and especially in children. Airport monitoring equipment positioned at take-off and landing points tells us if the decibel level of 65 has been exceeded, which harms human hearing.
Stop making fun of people that live near the airport and could be suffering from these issues. Treat it in a proper way – it's a health issue. The airport commission has never proven that we can expand the facility without solving the noise problems and never put forward any noise abatement program for the community. Selectmen were sold on an airport expansion program without a noise abatement program, which should have happened first.
Let's correct the mistake by postponing spending $20 million on something that might not work at all due to the issues, especially noise abatement.
Theatrical Light At End Of Tunnel
Be still my beating heart! It was with anticipatory excitement that I read Tim Wood’s story, “Should The Town Buy The Monomoy Theatre,” because that is something I have been advocating for years now. The Monomoy Theatre has been a theatrical gem that provided a summer stage for hundreds, if not thousands, of college students studying theater, and many of the students and productions I saw there were really top-notch, and I would like to think that some of those students are nurturing their craft on other stages and platforms across the country.
In my humble opinion, it was a shame that the town of Chatham let that property get away from them, and considering the discussions and controversy with Greg Clark over the last couple of years, maybe the town is beginning to see the light, with regrets. Obviously, there are numerous obstacles that would have to be overcome at this point in the program, but I, as a very avid theater goer, would love to have the town of Chatham take control of bringing the Monomoy Theatre back to being a jewel in the Chatham crown and a playhouse where aspiring future college students play summer stock.
The Monomoy Theatre drew its audience and “Friends” from across the Lower Cape and beyond, and I would like to think that the Lower Cape towns might financially support the acquisition of the Monomoy Theatre. And, I am sure something like a “Go Fund Me” account would be well supported by theatergoers like myself.
Come on Chatham, bring back the Monomoy Theatre.
Airport Com Responds To Ad
On June 24 last year, an ad was placed in The Chronicle with the headline “Just the Facts” relating to the Chatham Airport. This ad made many incorrect statements relating to the airport commission’s plan to modernize the airport with new, safer, GPS guided approach procedures. Subsequently, Airport Commission Chairman Harrison dismissed this ad as “not credible,” but certain citizens requested a detailed response to clarify the chairman’s statement. Although much delayed, a formal response and rebuttal was finally published by the commission and included in the airport commission meeting information packet for the Dec. 8 meeting. This document is posted at www.chatham-ma.gov/631/Airport-Master-Plan-Update-AMPU-February under “Responses & Correspondence”. For those who have an open mind about the airport but still have concerns, the document provides informative reading.
This rebuttal also contradicts a “You Guest It” article printed several weeks ago. The article would have citizens believe that avigation easements that may be acquired would “devastate” the town financially. Although I am not an attorney, I find it difficult to believe that agreements to permanently remove certain trees on 22 properties would be “devastating,” particularly when the costs would be funded almost entirely by federal and state grants, supplemented by airport funds. As for the threat of property value reduction, I have never seen evidence that property values for Chatham Airport neighbors have decreased, despite the loud “sky is falling” protests from a small but very vocal minority.
Finally, it is important for us to keep in mind that the airport is not expanding. Rather, the trees are the things that have expanded by growing into the airspace needed for safe landings. Trimming and removing trees is just maintenance to allow the airport to continue as it has for over 80 years.
Cultural Center Financial Facts Needed
Harwich voters began funding $125,000 annually in FY2015 “to minimally heat and minimally secure the old Harwich Middle School.” This funding amount appears to have been repeated for the next seven years (with the addition of “maintenance and repair”) through FY 2022 for a total of $1 million to evaluate if the cultural center option is sustainable. After a failed attempt to convince the board that affordable housing was the best use for the property (via a non-binding, advisory vote) and without any further input from taxpayers, the board in 2017 committed to a two-year “trial” of using the property as a cultural center.
At that time it was stated, “The board will continue to monitor the success and finances of the cultural center.” The “trial” period was subsequently extended by the selectmen, again without taxpayer input, an additional 5 years. So, we have contributed $1 million in taxpayer money to date to support this “trial” and haven’t seen any financial information on expenses (direct and indirect) nor on amounts collected for rents and fees, nor how the select board and the administration intend to measure “success.”
It is important to acknowledge that this activity is really a business and not an essential service of the town. It is a short-term rental business open to residents and non-residents with town staff acting as landlords. As such, a thorough analysis is needed to show that it is not going to be an unnecessary drain on taxpayer resources. The analysis should include any planned staffing additions, capital improvements and other costs to provide a complete and clear picture for taxpayers well in advance of the May annual town meeting. I believe I heard the select board members agree with this need and set a date of March 1 for delivery. If the board and the town administrator are sincere about “opening the discussion now,” taxpayers need the facts and plans as soon as possible. It’s about time.