Affordable Housing on Lawrence Road
To the editor:
I write to correct some of the statements in Edina Kopits’s March 17 letter to the editor [“For a ‘Workers Village’ ”] about the affordable and community housing planned for 95 Lawrence Road in Wellfleet.
The developers, Preservation of Affordable Housing and the Eastham-based Community Development Partnership, are both nonprofit organizations committed to creating a neighborhood that meets the needs of the people of Wellfleet.
The six-acre site contains more than two acres of undisturbed woodland that will be preserved. The proposed construction will take place on portions of the parcel that have already been cleared.
The 46 units will provide much needed year-round housing that is affordable to people who live and work in Wellfleet and the Outer Cape. The development’s net-zero design will be greener than most housing in Wellfleet. Solar panels will generate nearly all of the energy used by these highly efficient apartments.
None of the homes will “go to the developer.” All of the apartments will be made available for rent via a lottery to income-qualified applicants. The town will request that up to 70 percent of the units be reserved for local residents. The remaining units will be open to both locals and new residents. Wellfleet could use a few more young families moving to town to raise kids and work for local businesses.
Finally, 95 Lawrence Road is within walking and biking distance of downtown Wellfleet. Children living there will be able to walk across the road to get to school. There will be opportunities for the developer and the town to work together to reduce traffic generated by the 46 families living there.
Most important is that 95 Lawrence Road will more than double the number of affordable housing units for working families in Wellfleet — something I think all of us can agree we desperately need.
The writer is chair of the Wellfleet Housing Authority and a member of the Wellfleet Affordable Housing Trust.
Shocked by ‘Elitism’
To the editor:
I was shocked and dismayed by last week’s letter titled “For a ‘Workers Village.’ ”
Decisions made by town governments on Cape Cod, especially the Outer Cape, are grounded firmly in concern for our environment. To suggest, as did the letter writer, that the design for the 95 Lawrence Road affordable housing project ignores such concerns is incorrect.
The exhaustive permitting process for such a project is a direct result of that environmental concern. The innovative approach to sewerage for this project is an example of the primacy of environmental concern in our planning.
The statements that “only some of [the 90 beds] will be at Wellfleet’s disposal” and that the rest would “go to the developer” miss the point. The critical shortage of affordable housing affects all four communities of the Outer Cape, and all four communities will need to help each other out in this respect. We are, in fact, contractually obligated to make a certain proportion of this housing available to residents of other towns, and for good reason.
At least as shocking was the letter’s tone of elitism. Wellfleet has always been an egalitarian town. Wealthy sea captains and merchants shared neighborhoods with those who built and crewed their vessels and sold them supplies. Wellfleet has long provided homes for those of us who build houses, repair plumbing, prepare meals, and farm shellfish for our more wealthy neighbors.
Now we are told that housing such people will “tread on the toes of abutters” and “insult the environment,” and that they should be relegated to a “workers village” somewhere out of sight. I find this sentiment tone-deaf and totally out of character with our community.
John A. Wolf
The writer is a member of the Wellfleet Select Board.
Dysfunction in Wellfleet
To the editor:
Your March 17 letter from the editor, “Stepping Up in Wellfleet,” could easily have been titled “What Is Wrong With Wellfleet?” The problem is quite straightforward: dysfunctional government.
No business or municipality can function effectively without qualified and dedicated senior management. Wellfleet has been plagued with an unacceptable level of turnover in senior management, especially in the administration and accounting departments. As a result, we find ourselves in an almost endless financial mess, which the taxpayers are going to be asked to resolve through significant tax increases.
It appears that steps are being taken to fill the town’s senior positions, but the turnover will not end unless a decent work environment is provided to the new managers. That means they must be paid competitive salaries, and their departments need to be fully staffed by qualified and dedicated employees. If those things do not happen, the revolving door will just continue.
The turnover has had a serious effect on the town’s budgeting process. The acting town administrator has said repeatedly that budgeting through overrides is a path to disaster. This needs to change and soon.
In addition, each of the many town committees should be evaluated for its size and effectiveness. There is a continuing problem with staffing these committees. Reducing them in size and consolidating or eliminating some could help solve that problem while improving their performance.
The town meeting needs to be streamlined. Last year’s went on for over six hours. By the time it ended, few remained in attendance. This year, the plan is to break the meeting into two segments on separate days. A better solution would be to find a way to shorten the meetings.
For a New Police Station
To the editor:
When I began my 28-year career with the Provincetown Police Dept. in March 1970, the police station was located in the basement of town hall. In 1985, the police station moved to its current location on Shank Painter Road.
Over the years, the needs of the police department have changed tremendously, and the current station is woefully inadequate. I fully support the present design and proposed location for a new station. This new station will meet the present and future needs of a modern police department.
Paul C. Mendes