What Would Mr. Rogers Say?
To the editor:
I appreciate Christine Legere’s “One Word Might Change Beach Rights Debate” [Sept. 23, front page] and applaud Sen. Cyr and Rep. Fernandes for their bill to restore public access to the coastline.
What was not mentioned in the article is that the Massachusetts Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647 were intended to encourage private property owners to build wharves in Boston for coastal commerce. That goal was achieved back in the 1700s, and the law could have been removed from the books at that time. Yet it remains, along with other outdated laws, such as one that apparently allows duels to the death to occur in Massachusetts as long as the governor is present.
When I was growing up in Maine, the public could wander anywhere along the coast between the low- and high-tide lines, as is the case in most coastal states. I was stunned to learn that, in 1989 (several years after I moved to Massachusetts), a wealthy land owner in Maine succeeded in excluding the public from the shoreline in front of his house by arguing that, in 1647, Maine was part of Massachusetts.
These past two years of Covid have attracted scores of wealthy new home owners to the Outer Cape. If Fred Rogers were alive today, he’d have something to say. Be nice. Be neighborly. Community matters.
Truro and Cambridge
Lawrence Road Housing
To the editor:
I have appreciated the Independent’s coverage of the process for selecting a team to make the 95 Lawrence Road project come to life. This development is a huge opportunity to make our ideals about affordable housing tangible.
The 11-acre site, which is town land, offers a massive subsidy: a 99-year lease at no cost. It should serve the highest public benefit. The town’s original request for proposals gave preference to projects where 85 percent of the units would be reserved for people who earn less than 80 percent of the area median income.
The POAH-CDP proposal uses the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which is designed to serve lower-income applicants, including those depending on seasonal work, lower-income seniors on fixed incomes, town employees, public safety workers, etc., more effectively than other proposals aimed at “workforce” residents.
The LIHTC can also subsidize the project at a deeper level, to help ensure that the full cost of development and construction are met and to provide for ongoing maintenance. As for sustainability — one of the key measures being evaluated — the POAH-CDP proposal is the only one that commits to passive house certification, and so is the only plan that could actually achieve net zero energy.
Other meaningful nonbudget factors in the selection include the diversity of the teams involved and their connections to Wellfleet. The POAH-CDP team includes Studio G Architects, which is notably diverse and whose managing principal, Gail Sullivan, has longstanding ties to Wellfleet and owns a home here.
The 95 Lawrence Road project is critical for the future of this community. It must offer viable options for families and individuals who have been priced out of living here. To me, that means choosing the POAH-CDP proposal to carry it out.
To the editor:
It is songbird migration time — many of our shorebirds have already left. These tiny creatures navigate to their wintering grounds using the moon and the stars. Light pollution can disorient them from their routes and can cause collisions with buildings.
You can help by turning off all unnecessary exterior lights. (Do you really need an outdoor light while you’re sleeping?) Also, shut your window shades so that indoor lighting stays indoors. Besides helping the birds, it will use less electricity, which will help mitigate climate change.
Our Postal Service
To the editor:
We arrived home just now, after a brief trip to Wellfleet, to find today’s Independent in our front hall. That’s right: the Sept. 23 issue arrived in Cambridge on Sept 23.
This is quite upsetting to our routine, because we are accustomed to receiving it the following Monday, Tuesday, or even Wednesday. I hope you can provide a good explanation.
Cambridge and Wellfleet
It wasn’t anything we did, except perhaps to thank the hard-working employees of the U.S. Postal Service. —Editor