Letters To The Editor: Sept 1, 2022

Letters to the editor.

Airport Traffic Increasing


Airplane traffic interferes with the quality of life in Chatham neighborhoods the most during the summer, when throngs of people are here, house windows are open, and people are socializing out on their decks and yards. This is when noisy late-night and early-morning charter flights most disturb sleep, and the repeated roar of flights most interrupts daytime peace and social conversation. 

Looking at FlightAware's official and consistent counts of arrivals and departures at Chatham's Airport (CQX) shows an alarming growth in flights. This contradicts the reports and projections of the airport manager of no growth, and points to an ever-growing problem for the community. 

Let's look at some busy times at CQX:  

  • On the Fourth of July, there were 41 flight operations, for an increase of 141 percent this year and 173 percent over 2020.  

  • During the week of June 11 to 18, there were an average of 41 operations per day, for an increase of 100 percent this year and 212 percent over 2020.  

  • During the week of July 31 to Aug. 6 there were an average of 50 operations per day (that is a disturbance every couple of minutes during mid-day), for an increase of 39 percent this year and 146 percent over 2020.

What will happen in the coming years, as COVID concerns disappear and more people want to fly to Chatham? Will they land at Logan and Hyannis, or will they bring more noise and jet fumes to our homes? Enough is enough! 

The airport commission wants to control community conditions at both ends of its runways with RPZ zoning overlays. It wants to welcome more charters and make landing patterns easier for large planes, as well as expanding airport infrastructure for them.  

Will the Chatham Planning Board accept the disingenuous claims of the airport manager and the airport commission, or will it develop its own planning approach for the future of the airport in the midst of our neighborhoods? Will it question projections of future operations and the designated design aircraft? Or will it consider alternatives like restricting airplane types or displacing the runway threshold? 

Carol Bliss
West Chatham 


Limitations Of Letters To The Editor


Readers sometimes relish the opportunity to voice their opinions, especially controversial ones, but the letters pages of this local paper, with its limit of 250 words, is ill-suited to the purpose.

Consider a recent topic. One writer urges that Roman Catholic doctrine become the basis for federal law on abortion. The letters page merely allows for the expression of a personal opinion on this challenging topic but not for a substantive, meaningful argument. Consequently, the letter simply evokes a set of counter opinions, a circumstance unlikely to persuade anyone to a new outlook.

More recently, another writer hinted that President Washington’s quelling of the Whisky Rebellion of 1794 might serve as a guide to resolve today’s social conflicts. This person asserts, citing no sources, that the president executed the leader of the Rebellion, thus ending the uprising.

The facts are wrong; there were no executions. Samuel Eliot Morison, in “The Oxford History of the American People,” tells us that after President Washington organized a large militia “… most of the rebel leaders fled and the rank and file quit. Two ringleaders were caught and convicted of treason, but pardoned by the president.”

The larger question raised in this erroneous summary of history – to what extent should past experience shape present social policy? – is too complex for consideration on these pages. Instead of an ineffectual letter, those so motivated might instead submit a guest editorial.

Joseph Auciello
South Chatham


The Garden Club Is Back


After being shut down for a year and a half, the Chatham Garden Club had an amazing rejuvenation this summer. We would first like to thank the voters of Chatham for supporting the re-design of the Sears Park Garden and the department of public works employees for all their hard work. We’re looking forward to seeing the garden fill in in the next few years. Second, thanks to the public for supporting our “Downtown Abbey” showing, the plant sale and the Hydrangea Festival fundraisers. Special thanks go to the Chatham Orpheum Theater and Agway for their financial support of the movie night out. The proceeds raised guarantee that we can continue to offer a generous scholarship and grant to two deserving individuals each year. Finally, our sincere appreciation to members Harriet Prout and Linda Halvorsen, who stepped in as interim co-presidents in January. Their leadership at board meetings and activities was outstanding.

Board of Directors
Chatham Garden Club


Pay Attention To Reg Revisions


Do you live within 100 feet of a marsh, shoreline or pond in Chatham? If so, please look at the conservation commission’s proposed new regulations on wetland protection. The commission is strengthening the regulations. Highlights include: 

  • The protected zone currently extends 100 feet past the edge of a wetland, but the Commission will be able to require an additional 25 foot buffer zone. This buffer zone will have a specific plant list and several rules on how it may be handled.

  • Wildlife habitat will need to be considered, so no work, recreation or fencing will be permitted within 100 feet of an active den (or 200 feet of certain birds' nests).  

  • Under certain circumstances, the commission will be able to require permanent, ongoing maintenance of invasive plants and vines.  

  • The new regulations instruct the commission to look at all human activity near the wetland – past, present and the possible future – when considering an application for building or replacing structures. This will give the commission a lot of leeway.

You may support these regulations. You may oppose them. Either way, it’s important that property owners look at them and get feedback to the conservation commission soon. Attendance was sparse at a recent hearing. To find the documents, navigate through the town of Chatham website to the Aug. 17 meeting of the conservation commission, and click on “Agenda and Documents.” Please get involved!

Alison Kaar


A Closer Look At Airport


Like the 24 Chatham residents voicing alarm in a recent “Enough Is Enough” guest piece, I witnessed the B18 taking off from Chatham Airport. Standing in Shop Ahoy parking lot on a quiet August morning, I too was scared and alarmed as I watched a large World War II vintage bomber training aircraft struggle to gain altitude, its massive engines screaming and spewing toxic exhaust fumes, flying low over homes and businesses barely above treetops. I was thinking if that large plane crashed on takeoff, it would devastate an entire West Chatham Center neighborhood.

For too long, airport authorities have ignored their neighbors. Chatham Airport today no longer is the quaint, little, small-plane airport it used to be, symbolic of our small town. Chatham Municipal Airport is rapidly becoming a commercial airport, rivaling nearby Hyannis Regional Airport for business. Large commercial passenger planes flying low over our neighborhoods when approaching and taking off, frequently in fog and poor visibility, come to Chatham routinely, close to 300 last year. On track for more this year. 

Not all Chatham residents sense the danger. But if you eat, shop or simply drive through West Chatham Center, or visit friends there and in Agnes Lane and Great Hill neighborhoods, you are exposed to danger from large, low-flying commercial aircraft. This practice violates FAA rules and threatens public safety. Chatham Airport deserves greater attention. The public deserves a thoughtful response from airport authorities to improve public safety. Merely changing zoning won't fly.

Rick Leavitt
West Chatham


Listen To Parking Limit Request


My sisters and I have owned a home on Stony Hill Road for 30 in Chatham years. We walk Emery Lane often to enjoy beach walks and swims at Cow Yard.

In July the beach seemed more like Fort Lauderdale with the noisy party crowd. I'm happy those property owners spoke up and hope the town will listen and set limits on parking.

Carolyn Atkins Lathey
Chatham and Arlington, Va.


Senior Center Envy


This week I had the pleasure of participating in a class sponsored by the Orleans Senior Center. I had never visited this site and from the moment we approached the intriguing entrance and tastefully landscaped grounds I felt an anticipation of something great to happen accompanied by a pang of envy which only heightened as we walked through the glass doors into a bright, spacious, contemporary lounge and glass office space of a greeting area and welcoming receptionist. As my eyes took in the comfortable couches and the connected meeting room area with a large official table and comfortable cushioned chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows I started to notice the beautiful local artwork on all of the walls very professionally hung and identified. We were directed down a long corridor also used as a display for watercolors and other works of art and I noticed rooms off the corridor for varying functions including a kitchen with the aroma of something being prepared. We arrived at our destination which was a large multi-purpose room set up with a number of tables and a wall of windows overlooking the beautiful grounds and another parking area. The space was so conducive to uplifting work, sharing, socializing, and comfortably gathering for a multitude of purposes. Oh, did I envy these seniors of Orleans!

How can the beautiful town of Chatham deny that we need to offer this sense of community to our seniors who comprise more than half of our population in Chatham? I immediately signed up as a friend to the Orleans COA so that I could receive their newsletter and visit this space again for one of the many programs they have coming up. A visit to this space makes one realize we are very remiss in providing our community with a space such as this.

Gail Tilton
North Chatham


Appreciates Brewster Coverage


I live in Brewster and have been a subscriber for 25 years and always look forward to each week's paper. Every once in a while, you would have a few articles about Brewster, but recently, you have had in-depth articles about Brewster. This is the only weekly paper that I subscribe to that has more articles than the daily paper I subscribe to. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Dottie Anderson


Questions Direction Of Country


What has happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Our founders were willing to draw upon great thinkers, including ancient Greek philosophers (Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle) and Romans (Cicero, Julius Caesar), the miracle of rebirth in Florence (Dante, Michelangelo, Leonardo , the Medicis), extricating mankind from the bigotry of the Middle Ages, France’s Enlightenment (Descartes, Pascal, Voltaire, Rousseau) and the great thinkers of Britain (Locke, Newton, Shakespeare), to create the first government in world history which recognized that the “creator,” not the kings, tsars, emirs or Kaisers nor accidents of birth and assassination, gave the people the power to control government, and not vice versa.

The selfless elite of that and following generations provided an opportunity for the people of many countries to form an integrated, diverse middle class rewarded for hard work, brains and creativity.

We are now in an era where ignorance, vanity, bureaucracy and greed have challenged, if not eradicated, the Bill of Rights, which is routinely disregarded by not the best and brightest, but the cowardly and ignorant power barons of our political parties. These power barons are replacing virtue and morality with “one size fits all,” which creates a country with its elite institutions (controlled by less than 5 percent of its population) yet demanding only  one opinion on everything, supported by 95 percent of academia, the media and the woke politicians who ignore free speech, belief in a creator, fundamental fairness, and a government that answers to the people. 

Recent examples of clear violations of the Bill of Rights include practically the entire media suppressing speech, speech codes at various universities, discouragement of religion at every turn (first amendment), violation of search and seizure restrictions (fourth amendment), attempts to deny citizens their right to bear arms (second amendment), and on and on, punctuated by “forgiving” student loans in exchange for working stiffs paying taxes in an unconstitutional power grab by our “middle of the road” president. 

May God help us!

Short of revolution, how can this be changed?

Michael D’Elia
Harwich Port


A Little Push Back


It goes without saying that private wells are an asset to every town by taking a heavy load off over-taxed town water wells during high-use summer months.

One size does not fit all, though. We are one of those places with “emerald-green lawns.” We do irrigate, with non-potable well water (determined by the town).

We know that the Cape Cod sole-source aquifer has several “lenses” which serve different areas. Think of them like paychecks. They (rainwater) get deposited in your account (aquifer), then get drawn upon to pay necessary expenses (town water, private wells), then whatever is left, if anything, may (sic) buy lunch (exits to the sea).

The overall depth of our well (23 feet) is nowhere close to the level of the water table which we know to be 100-plus feet down. (A neighbor, directly across the street, this summer had a well-drilling company attempt to put down a well. The driller stopped at 90-plus feet because he had not reached the water table.) This same well-drilling company, 20 years ago, discovered our underwater stream with a “dowsing rod.” That’s right, a dowsing rod. The narrow run-off stream was located half-way down the hill in our back yard.

Our well is within 50 feet of the termini of the stream (an abandoned cranberry swamp) which drains into the adjacent salt marsh. Further, it is also within 50 feet of our new Title V septic leach field "break-out" area. The town inspector determined its output to be non-potable (not for human consumption).

There is nothing, and no one, between our well and its exit to the salt marsh. 

Nothing in the Orleans bylaws appears to address water restrictions or regulate private wells, but I have been wrong before.

Pete Norgeot


Water Shared By All


In response to Jay Hunt’s letter (“How Our Aquifer Works”) in Aug. 25 edition of The Chronicle: your analogy is partially correct that an aquifer is like a stream with groundwater flowing, albeit very slowly, from the hydrologic high point towards the sea. However, the statement “When a private well owner draws water downstream, there is no impact on the availability of water upstream for the town” is erroneous and wishful thinking at best. Where is your data supporting this? Pumping of your private well, along with all the other private wells, lowers the groundwater level around the well causing a cone of depression. This increases the hydraulic gradient (the steepness of the hill the “stream” is running down in Mr. Hunt’s analogy) increasing groundwater flow from the high to the low (the ocean) as well as lowering the water level at the hydrologic high. There are numerous studies demonstrating this well-known effect (for example see www.usgs.gov/centers/new-england-water-science-center/science/assessment-potential-effects-water-supply and references therein).

A better understanding of hydrogeology by all of us is needed prior to justifying use from one’s private well during the drought. The Monomoy lens, like all of the Cape Cod aquifer, is a finite resource shared by both public and private wells that draw from it.

Chris Fuller
Menlo Park, Calif. and Chatham