Eastham and the RTE
To the editor:
Josiah Cole writes that Eastham Select Board members who voted not to implement a residential tax exemption should be voted out [Letters, Sept. 14, page A2].
I have been a member of the Eastham Board of Assessors since 2012. Our board, all full-time Eastham residents, has researched this every year, and every year we have unanimously recommended against implementing the RTE. We have found no evidence that it would help our housing crisis, and we have sought other means to assist those in need.
The RTE cannot be targeted to people who need it. With a much greater percentage of year-round resident owners than Provincetown, the savings for Eastham residents would be minimal — a few hundred dollars on average.
Most second-home owners in Eastham want to use their homes on occasion. Would an increase in their tax bills make them more likely to offer them for rent year-round? More likely, they would rent short-term at higher rates, which does nothing for our housing crunch.
People who are lucky enough to have a year-round rental in Eastham would not get the tax break, as it goes only to the owner who lives in the property. Would that owner raise the rent to cover the increase?
Our select board is looking for ways to increase affordable housing options with targeted tools such as the Affordable Housing Trust supports, as well as zoning changes and assistance with ADUs. They are also looking into offering monetary incentives for owners to rent their properties year-round.
The expanded RTE, which Provincetown has implemented, would offer a major tax break to homeowners who rent their properties year-round. We need tools for this crisis. The standard RTE is not the correct one.
An Indecent Email
To the editor:
An email appeared in my inbox on Monday with a personal attack on a Wellfleet businessperson running for select board. The unsigned message, from “Pollinator Preservation,” said Curt Felix’s Mosquito Squad kills bees and other beneficial insects and questioned his “claim to be an environmentalist.”
“Vote for nature,” said the message. “Do not vote for Curt Felix.”
This email is troubling on several fronts. I am a nonresident property owner and not a Wellfleet voter. How did the sender get my email address, which is not readily available? Was it obtained from the water dept. or the transfer station permit list?
I don’t know Curt Felix, nor do I know his opponent. But anyone with a creditable message about town politics should have the decency to sign their work.
It seems amazing to me that anyone would want to serve the town either as an elected official or an employee with all the bickering and infighting that Wellfleet is well known for. That is sad.
To the editor:
How distressing to read that Truro Select Board chair Kristen Reed publicly derides opponents of building a large number of residential units on the Walsh property as people “who have a house and don’t think anybody else needs one” [“Walsh Property Plan Cut From 252 to 160 Units,” Sept. 21, front page].
Stress on our limited aquifer, the sole source of fresh water for Truro and Provincetown, sewage, and traffic are among the legitimate concerns of thoughtful citizens who do recognize the need for affordable housing while voting for phased development.
The Bike Trail Impasse
To the editor:
Thanks for your Aug. 17 article on the total lack of progress connecting the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Wellfleet to Truro and ultimately Provincetown [“4 Years On, Uncertainty Lingers at Bike Path’s End”].
The Wellfleet Bike and Walkways Committee produced an excellent report in August 2021 (it’s on the Wellfleet town website) with thoughtful alternatives to a bike path along the dangerous and unpleasant Route 6.
Wellfleet was correct in rejecting the Route 6 extension. We now need a permanent bike and walkways committee if we are to realize the goals of extending the Rail Trail and improving and publicizing the many walking trails throughout town. Residents, vacation-home owners, and the tourist industry would all benefit.
For example, the historic Old King’s Highway, popular with hikers and mountain bikers, extends from Gross Hill and Gull Pond roads all the way to Collins Road in Truro, passing through pristine woodlands and completely avoiding Route 6. Most vacationers are unaware that this beautiful scenic road exists.
The bike and walkways committee could raise money from local, state, and federal sources and foundations; organize volunteers for trail maintenance; provide trail maps and trail markers; and offer hiking and biking maps online. The committee could also coordinate its activities with the National Seashore, the Cape Cod Rail Trails Committee, and the town of Truro, and organize the many local volunteers and civic groups that support biking and hiking in Wellfleet.
A permanent bike and walkways committee would improve the quality of life in Wellfleet, expand recreational opportunities, and increase real estate values and tax revenues.
David A. Mangs
Wellfleet and West Hartford, Conn.
‘Heaven in a Wildflower’
To the editor:
I so appreciated Kai Potter’s Aug. 10 article on Queen Anne’s lace [“August’s Elegance in a Roadside Weed”]. I had been admiring a solid hedge of it along Gull Pond Road just off Route 6, but of course it was everywhere.
The piece inspired me to take a closer look at another wildflower that bloomed abundantly in August: sweet pepperbush. Each fragrant spike contains myriad tiny white flowerets that resemble dainty parasols.
Another wildflower that I look forward to seeing every year is fern-leaved false foxglove. The only place I have ever seen this plant is along Coles Neck Road, about a half-mile down from the transfer station. The low bushes thrive along the steep bank. Some years the town mows the bank and brutally crushes the plants, but they were spared this year. Bumblebees love the snapdragon-like flowers and creep in headfirst with their hindquarters sticking out. (You won’t see that driving by, of course; you have to be standing there, trying not to get hit by a car speeding around the bend.)
Down at the far end of Long Pond, there is a mini-forest of thread-leaved sundews growing in the damp sand. Last year, after trying numerous times, I managed to find them with their tiny pink flowers open. They are elusive, and timing is everything.
I am glad to find a fellow human being who really looks at things and values the often unsung but astounding achievements of Mother Nature.
William Blake had this to say:
“To see a world in a grain of sand/ And a heaven in a wildflower/ Hold infinity in the palm of your hand/ And Eternity in an hour.”