Letters To The Editor: April 11, 2024

by Cape Cod Chronicle Readers

Academies Offer Insight To Citizens


Every year, the Chatham Police Department offers a Citizens' Police Academy to the public. This fascinating free 10-week course is usually held one evening each week from January to March. The topics provide extensive background on what goes on in police departments and how decisions are made both locally and nationally. All questions are enthusiastically welcome, and each three-hour session moves quickly with videos, discussions, and handouts. The classes are held in a comfortable classroom at the police station. Other towns offer similar programs. The Chatham Fire Department also has a program. Our local community-focused Chatham Police and Fire Departments do an amazing job. The course was fun, informative, and another example of why it is so great to be a part of our small town. I am grateful for their service, kindness, commitment, and efforts to reach out!

Danielle Jeanloz


Observations Of Recent Issues


I just returned to Chatham and read 10 weeks of The Chronicle’s articles and letters at one sitting. It gave a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in Chatham and the lower Cape:

1. By pursuing maximum density affordable housing, isn’t the Chatham Affordable Housing Trust (AHT) making the same mistake as HUD public housing in the last century? These maximum density developments were universally disliked, unsafe and are still a blight on the urban neighborhoods where they remain. Is that really what we want and appropriate for the Cape?

2. The select board is elected to serve the entire community. If a select board member also serves on the AHT, which is targeting one section of town for affordable housing, isn’t that a conflict of interest and serving two masters? And Chatham’s comprehensive long range plan, universally adopted by town meeting, specifies that affordable housing should be spread out in proximity to the five village centers! Why is that not a goal of the AHT?

3. The Chatham select board also serves as water and sewer commissioners (another potential conflict of interest). They are obligated to protect the basis on which the wastewater management plan was adopted, specifically that the costs would be borne by the taxes of all property owners, not by those hooked up to the sewer. How can those costs now be assessed higher to properties located in low lying areas of town requiring grinder pumps?

4. All the Lower Cape towns face similar problems such as insufficient affordable and attainable housing for a spectrum of needs for retirees, local workers and families. Shouldn’t we be looking at a regional cooperative effort to solve the problem.

5. Speaking of a cooperative effort, wouldn’t a properly-sized, year-round community pool be a wonderful asset for our school children, hard working residents and retired folks to gather, exercise and stay healthy?

John Sweeney

South Chatham

County Lost Its Way


What does it say about us as humans when a potbelly pig is left emaciated in a garbage bag to die? Who could be so heartless to dispose of an animal this way? I’ve said it before, that we are a “throw away” nation. It’s painfully true with the number of dogs and cats in shelters given up when sadly they don’t fit in. In the case of this potbelly pig, she no longer mattered if she ever did. Whoever is responsible should not only be apprehended but so too should any animals they have. We’ve lost our way in this country with more violence, rhetoric and indifference towards all living beings.

Juliet Brown

West Harwich

Response To Airport Comments


Huntley Harrison reads like a nice guy in last week’s You Guest It (“Responsibility, Safety Are Aims Of Airport Commission”), but he is pursuing goals that will be nasty to many people in Chatham.

The airport management plans, which are primarily for the benefit of the charter turboprops, emphasized with a 10,000-gallon jet-fuel tank. A statement in the environmental assessment also confirms “that not implementing this option would reduce possible revenue from car rentals and the airport’s role in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems,” which allows 2,500 passenger “boardings” annually. This document, not me, continues, “However, it strongly indicates that the goal…is to increase charter traffic…and create a ‘commercial’ airport.”

The new bylaw would allow the existing 1958 visual approaches to be widened to include more private property, subject to heinous avigation easements and tree removal. These wider approaches would allow turboprop aircraft to fly straight in, which is dangerous without a control tower, and land in poor visibility. The present so-called RPZ danger zones are eight acres and populated with 20 homes, although the FAA is adamant that these zones should be empty of people. However, these poor visibility landings, advocated by Mr. Harrison, could, unconscionably, increase these danger zones, and especially in summer, include hundreds of residents and visitors. This could lead to a major drop in property values, lawsuits, and an outrageous increase in the airport’s footprint on Chatham.

Despite what Mr. Harrison claims, I am assured by an experienced pilot that there are no FAA published approaches currently requiring wider approaches, only two visual circling approaches. An airport layout plan has been cited, but this only shows visual approaches as existing, with instrument approaches as “ultimate.”

Mr. Harrison agrees that, because of geographic constraints, the airport does not meet and cannot be designed to meet the safety standards, required by the FAA, for aircraft with wingspan plus or minus 49 feet, mostly the turboprops with approximately 600 annual landings and take-offs, so why are these planes being allowed to land, and why is a wider approach surface even being considered?

There are alternatives to removing 15 to 20 acres of trees on and off the airport with ecological and visual impact, reducing safety and increasing noise. The FAA approved alternative is to displace the runway thresholds, and send the turboprop aircraft to the much safer Hyannis Airport, or we could just pause and consider other alternatives.

Michael Tompsett


Editor’s note: According to the airport commission, the change in the approach map is an update to current conditions and will not involve more avigation easements or tree removals than already planned. We urge concerned residents to watch the April 10 airport commission public information meeting which was slated to address many of these questions.