Meetings are being held in person again. However, a town policy allows a remote option alongside the return to in-person meetings. Go to eastham-ma.gov/calendar-by-event-type/16 and click on the meeting you’re interested in to learn more about meeting locations and any remote options that may be offered.
Thursday, June 17
- Harbor Planning Committee, 4 p.m.
Monday, June 21
- Select Board, 5:30 p.m.
- Elementary School Committee, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 22
- Nauset Estuary Dredging Project public meeting, 6 p.m.
- Conservation Commission, 6 p.m.
Thursday, June 24
- Board of Health, 3 p.m.
Easement Down the Road
A proposal to improve a right of way has the conservation commission questioning what rights the applicant has to town cove access from an easement that has been traced back to 1918.
Steven and Cathy Sanders of 75 South Eastham St. filed the notice of intent to make improvements to an easement they have deeded rights to, and which provides a right-of-way from Route 6 to the foundation of what was once a fish house on Town Cove. The proposal includes building a shed on the foundation for storage.
The easement traverses property owned by Maryanne and Richard Rossignol at 670 Route 6 and Gary and Anne Boudreau at 690 Route 6.
Having recently visited the site, conservation commissioner Janet Benjamins noted there were two trees with diameters of 14 inches on the right of way, which would have to have been there for 14 to 28 years.
Benjamins said she wondered why, after so many years, “all of a sudden there’s interest in this right of way that is heavily overgrown.” She noted that there was no access to the water from the proposed building.
Representing the Sanderses, attorney Ben Zehnder responded that the easement was a property right that exists in perpetuity, and that easements are often not used for periods for time.
“The fact that it wasn’t used was because the prior commercial shellfisherman, Luther Eldridge, got older and stopped using it for a while,” said Zehnder.
The Sanderses, Zehnder noted, would have pedestrian access “directly from this property which is something that doesn’t require conservation commission approval.”
Up to seven properties may have deeded rights to the easement.
Conservation agent Charles Katuska said that town counsel had indicated that the applicant, as a holder of interest in the property, had the right to submit a notice of intent for work in the right of way. But he asked that the applicant provide documentation on the right of access to town cove from the right of way.
“I see that the prospect of users from two cars or seven cars, walking, carrying, dragging kayaks, canoes, equipment, what have you, over what I view as private property, is a concern,” said Katuska.
Representing the Rossignols and Boudreaus, attorney TJ Hurrie questioned the validity of the easement and maintained the notice of intent was “administratively incomplete” and should be denied.
“If you do reach the merits,” said Hurrie, “we ask that you apply the town’s bylaws and the wetlands protection act and deny it upon those grounds.”
He added, “The area in question has changed a lot over the years and what was appropriate in 1918 simply isn’t feasible today.”
The hearing was continued to July 13. —Linda Culhane