Thursday, Jan. 30
- School Committee, 5 p.m., High School
Tuesday, Feb. 4
- Conservation Commission, 6 p.m., Town Hall
- Airport Commission, 2 p.m., Airport Conference Room
Wednesday, Feb. 5
- Historic District Commission, 4 p.m., Town Hall
Thursday, Feb. 6
- Recycling & Renewable Energy Committee, 9 a.m., Town Hall
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m., Town Hall
Planning Board Okays Beach Hotel
The Old Reliable Fish House is one step closer to becoming a 31-room hotel and 108-seat restaurant and bar, plus four residential condos — and the town may also get a 264-foot recreational pier — after the planning board granted approval last Thursday night.
Developer Christine Barker, of Ecotekture Development & Design, won approval from the board despite objections from three neighbors: the owners of the Canteen, the Pennsylvania Company, and Marine Specialties. Two planning board members also objected to the density (double that which is allowed, with 31 instead of 16 hotel rooms) and the lack of green space.
The plan is ambitious.
The hotel, condos, and restaurant will all be set atop a platform 17 feet above sea level. Ground level at the site is 8.5 feet above sea level, so the pilings would stand 8.5 feet above that. The 38-foot-high three-story structure on the platform would rise over 50 feet; the town’s height limit is 33 feet.
According to Architect Jeffry Burchard of Machado Silvetti, the street visual impact won’t be noticeable, because as with the Old Reliable, the condemned restaurant that it will replace, the complex is set far out on the beach behind the Pennsylvania Company building.
The developer heads next to the Historic District Commission and Conservation Commission. If approved, Barker can begin construction, which is estimated to take one year for the exterior with much of the materials and staging placed on a barge in the harbor, said Burchard.
Arguing Over the Rainbow
Rainbow crosswalks could be in Provincetown’s future, but it’s still up in the air.
The select board this week heard the pros and cons of painting four crosswalks at the two main intersections on Commercial Street, at Standish and Ryder streets, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
On the positive side, Business Guild Executive Director Bob Sanborn said Provincetown is late to the rainbow crosswalk game. Rainbows symbolizing inclusion grace streets all over the state and throughout the country, he said, even in areas thought to be a bit conservative, such as Ames, Iowa.
“The other benefit of doing this is promotion and marketing, which would be priceless,” Sanborn said. “Any single image would go viral and there would be many.” He added, “We believe accenting the crosswalks would only enhance safety.”
On the negative side, however, stood Police Chief Jim Golden and Dept. of Public Works Director Richard Waldo, who both said that the safest crosswalks are those in the high contrast colors of black and white. Any deviation from black and white could be a distraction, they said.
“I cannot ignore a potential public safety issue for the sake of the commercialization of our crosswalks,” Golden wrote in a letter to the select board.
Waldo also brought up their need to be repainted, for $5,000 annually, an expense that will be borne by the guild this year, though not necessarily beyond that.
And finally there was an objection from Portuguese Festival Director Donald Murphy, who argued that painting rainbows on the two crosswalks on Lopes Square (the Standish Street intersection) would take away from the branding of the Portuguese Festival. Some of the main festival events are held on Lopes Square.
At Murphy’s suggestion, the select board directed Sanborn and Murphy to work with the DPW director to come up with a compromise. They will return to the board in a few weeks, at which point everyone will go over the rainbow again.
First Landing Park Plans Finalized
Renovation of Pilgrims First Landing Park got a green light on Monday after the select board heard plans by the public landscape committee for a $180,000 design that would trim away brush and trees.
“The most dominant aspect of this park is the view and we tried not to distract from the view,” said John Krajovic, a committee member.
The park is located in the middle of a traffic circle in the far West End. It contains many memorial paving stones that were sold to raise money for earlier development of the space and have been inscribed with the names of local residents. They must be taken out and reset, which is the most costly part of the plan, said Ray Dunetz, the landscape architect.
The architect proposed to add a lawn, because it can be used as a place to sit and to picnic while enjoying the view, Krajovic said.
The plans won support from the select board, though board members David Abramson and John Golden expressed displeasure with lawns, which can “become a dog park,” Golden said.
First Landing Park will also include a memorial for Native Americans who lived in Provincetown in 1620 when the Mayflower arrived here.
But there is no time to create a three-dimensional sculpture before the 2020 commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims this fall. So the committee proposed placing a large paving stone that could be inscribed with text honoring the Native Americans once that wording has been selected. This inscription could be done before the 2020 events.
Lise King, a select board member, said there is a request for proposals for a Native American memorial that is out right now, and a “plan B” to find an inscription for the paving stone if necessary.
Abramson said he wanted to be sure, so that the paving stone is engraved by the 2020 commemoration in September.
As it is, the renovation window will be tight. It’s scheduled to be completed over the summer, with construction starting in May or June. —K.C. Myers