Letters To The Editor: April 18, 2024

by Cape Cod Chronicle Readers

Jazz Fest Was Amazing


We attended the All Cape and Islands Jazz Festival at Monomoy Regional High School last Thursday. We were treated to engaging performances by local high school jazz bands, featuring young musicians from a half dozen communities. The talent and dedication of these kids is amazing!

A special shout to director Wayne Naus, who conducted (and arranged!) many of the pieces we heard. The high school — and Harwich — are fortunate to have the benefit of his commitment and talents.

Paul and Kathie Baudisch

Harwich Port

Provide For Everyone


In last week’s edition of The Chronicle, the You Guest It column was much more than just informative. Bob Nelson’s description of how “Chatham has an opportunity to create a wonderful look into the future of environmental planning that will support 100 percent of our population, not 1 percent,” was not just good, it was magnificent.

Before the pandemic I was a member of a swim aerobics class at Liberty Commons. For 18 years I joined my friends in the rehab pool and had a wonderful time while exercising to music. When the pandemic started the management at Liberty Commons decided to fill in the pool to provide a hard surface for an area for outpatient physical therapy. I also participated in swim aerobic classes at the Chatham Health and Swim, which is no longer an option.

How magnificent would it be to have a beautiful Chatham town garden with walking and bicycle paths? A new COA building, instead of spending $6 to 9 million fixing up the existing old building, room for affordable housing, and a swimming pool? A swimming pool we have talked about for years.

Do we want to provide the needs of 1 percent of the Chatham residents who use the airport, or 100 percent of our population?

Bob, I would like to discuss your ideas with you, and maybe other residents who feel as we do.

Barbara Segall

South Chatham

Attend Airport Article Hearing


At the last minute, the airport submitted a bylaw change to the annual town meeting warrant, although it has been planned for several years. The article would change the map of the airport approach zone, which defines where the airport is authorized to cut down trees. Despite acknowledging many questions and concerns about the impact of this bylaw change, the select board recommended this warrant article on March 12, shortly before closing the warrant.

The airport commission presented the bylaw change as part of their information session on April 10. Although claiming that the change of the map merely reconciles airport approach zone areas with current conditions, the underlying motivation and implications are more complex, as was revealed by the many questions residents raised.

It appears that for a couple of years the airport commission has already been contacting homeowners in the expanded part of the map, requiring that they cut down trees, and threatening them with avigation easements or eminent domain even though these properties are not subject to the bylaw until and unless the revision is passed at town meeting. Apparently, many of the trees the airport commission is asking the conservation commission about are also in the expanded map area, where the commission has no authority yet.

At both the select board meeting and the airport’s information session, it came out that the concealed motivation for the expansion of the map and the associated tree cutting is to clear the way for a new airplane approach: LPV non-precision straight-in instrument approach. The airport manager has wanted this to bring in more turbojet commercial charter business, a central focus of the controversial 2018 Airport Master Plan Update. This could have major community impact in terms of noise, pollution and risk, with planes coming into an airport without a control tower in conditions of lower visibility.

The select board will hold a public hearing on Article 40 on April 23 at 5:30 p.m. This will be the only opportunity to find out whether this is just an update to current conditions or a step toward increased airport impacts on the Chatham community. This may not be a change we should rush into.

Carol E. Bliss

West Chatham

Straight-in Approach Safer, Quieter


Statements in the April 11 letter (“Response To Airport Comments”) need to be clarified to avoid misleading the public.

First, straight-in approaches are far safer than circling approaches no matter if a control tower is present or not. Circling approaches require the pilot to descend to a minimum altitude and navigate visually to the runway. Leveling off at the minimum altitude requires a higher power setting and therefore more aircraft noise. Accident records show that pilots can become disoriented on circling approaches while visually maneuvering the aircraft to align with the runway. In some cases, fatal accidents have resulted due to controlled flight into terrain. A straight-in approach aligns the aircraft to the runway using positive navigation guidance enabling the pilot to concentrate on executing a safe landing. Vertically guided straight-in approaches have the added benefit of enabling the pilot to fly a controlled descent to the runway at a lower power setting, which reduces fuel burn, carbon emissions, and noise. Improving the current approaches to CQX to straight-in with vertical guidance would be a significant improvement in safety and noise reduction.

Once again the runway protection zone (RPZ) is being called a “danger zone.” The FAA regulations have no such reference to a danger zone and it is misleading to characterize the RPZ that way, particularly since its purpose is to improve safety for aircraft and people on the ground.

The slightly wider approach surfaces at CQX and obstacle removal activities underway will hopefully enable the FAA to publish vertically guided approaches in the future. These approaches are for all instrument rated aircraft, not just turboprops, and should improve safety while reducing noise. If the concern is about noise reduction, the implementation of vertically guided straight-in approaches should be supported.

Leo Eldredge


Road Blocks To Dennis Project Unnecessary


As CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation, I appreciated the overall support for our family shelter program as stated in last week’s editorial (“No Local Review? Really?”). But I was dismayed by the stance that our plan should be forced into a review that is not legally required.

We have fully informed various town officials and departments of our planned reuse — not “redevelopment” — of the former Eagle Pond Nursing Home at 1 Love Lane in Dennis. We participated in two staff review meetings with town of Dennis department heads involved with land use. We submitted voluminous material describing our educational program and use. We then discussed it at length at the April 1 planning board meeting. As was noted at the meeting, our use of the site will actually have less traffic than the nursing home we are replacing.

The educational programs that have long been the heart and soul of our family shelters allow us to proceed under the Dover Amendment. This may be an “old state statute” but it is an important legal requirement that protects nonprofits of many types — and those they serve — from discrimination.

The Cape Cod Commission has clearly stated that our program does not rise to the level of a development of regional impact.

Let’s be honest here. We are not a for-profit developer trying to ram through a project to maximize a buildout that might overwhelm a neighborhood. We are using an existing building with no expansion of the building. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been working hard for 50 years to create places where formerly homeless people from our communities can find shelter and support and get back on track.

Many Cape families are in dire need of temporary shelter, in large part because of the extremely high cost of housing and dearth of available homes. So perhaps the question your headline should have posed is: Why throw up unnecessary obstacles to a much-needed solution?

Alisa Magnotta


Library Sidewalk Work Not Needed


As reported in The Chronicle, I was appalled to find news of a large tree removed from the front of the Chatham library. It still had years to live, but apparently no work-around could be imagined which would save the tree from being replaced by a new walkway. The tree’s removal crossed neurons in my brain. Were there not enough books in the library celebrating nature’s gifts? The tree’s removal felt like a betrayal of all that can be found in literature.

And here we are again. Harwich’s Brooks Free Library has an article before this year’s town meeting. The fund request (repurposing funds) would be used to remove two trees, one large, one not so large. The intention, apparently, is to re-establish the brick sidewalk (in a more level fashion at the base of the trees), and then replace the trees with deep-root saplings. Once a spade is put in the ground, this work would necessitate an absolutely level surface to meet ADA standards. Surely this project cannot be necessary. Library visitors, particularly the infirm, would use the alternate rear parking lot and the library’s elevator to access the book stalls. And if you are not “most people,” stopping at the front door to let people out (all the while adding a traffic issue) would afford a level surface between your car and the door. I believe that the library is presently ADA compliant (Nantucket would suggest so). If not, we might have the whole town to pave. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fit it” comes to mind. Admittedly, there are Brooks Park events from time to time where people use the library parking lot and walk to Brooks Park. Can this be justification?

Trying to get better informed about the tree removal prospect at hand, I have been told that the money for this pavement/tree work already exists. The money was voted a few years back when substantial work was performed on the library. Original plans for the brick sidewalk work were deferred at that time. So let’s use the money for something else. There are plenty of expenses before the town of greater import.

There was a time in history when a man lived in terror of falling off a flat world. Perhaps we are not beyond that.

Matt Sutphin

Harwich Port