Town Hall is closed to the public. The meetings listed below are still posted but may change. Check the town’s website, eastham-ma.gov, for information on meeting schedule changes and how to view and take part remotely
Thursday, April 2
- Zoning Board, 5 p.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
Monday, April 6
- Select Board, 5:30 p.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
Tuesday, April 7
- Charter Review Committee, 5:30 p.m., Small Meeting Room, Town Hall
Wednesday, April 8
- Capital Projects Committee, wastewater meeting, 4 p.m., Small Meeting Room, Town Hall
- Finance Committee, 5 p.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
Riding Out the Storm
The town’s public safety officials shared the latest on the community’s response to the pandemic at the March 26 board of health meeting. Director of Health and Environment Jane Crowley praised her colleagues throughout the town as “a unit trying to fight this war together.”
Crowley followed that with thanks “to everyone in our community for your attention, understanding, and continued commitment to social distancing. It will take everyone doing the right thing to keep those most at risk safe, those over 65, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying health conditions. They are our family, our friends.” The health director praised the business community, volunteers, and school nurses for stepping up.
“All my members are healthy and all working at this time,” Fire Chief Kent Farrenkopf reported. “I have enough personal protective equipment probably for two weeks with a heavy load. We started purchasing a month and a half ago, and things are starting to trickle in.”
The fire station has locked its doors to keep the staff healthy. There’s an emergency phone at the front foyer which can be used to summon help. In another change affecting ambulance calls, one firefighter in full protective gear will enter the residence or business and assess the situation while the other responders wait. The department is conducting limited inspections, focusing on those that are time-sensitive.
Police Chief Adam Bohannon said he’s “not had any officers with symptoms.” The front lobby of the police department is closed to all nonemergency business; if you call the department’s business line, someone will come out to speak with you. Anyone with an emergency can enter the lobby. Building renovations have been halted and firearms licensing appointments canceled. “There’s only police staff in the building,” the chief said.
Bohannon thanked local businesses that have donated hand sanitizer and citizens who have brought in masks. He said a lot of businesses deserve credit for making changes to protect public health.
Crowley said the building inspector is asking that houses be vacant when inspected, a policy that extends to plumbing and electrical inspections. The health director got approval from the board to suspend the rental inspection program and the requirement for water inspection for the time being.
“Everybody has a part to play,” Crowley said. “If you’re in the high-risk category, please isolate yourself. Have others help you. Safe-distance yourself if you have to go out. Wash your hands. Think it through. With time, hopefully, this will pass.”
Condo Development Advances
The board of health gave conditional approval last week for the septic system to serve a planned 18-unit condo development at 4615 Route 6 pending approval of a stormwater plan by the DPW and further review by the planning board and zoning board of appeals.
Another project proposed by Coastal Companies CEO Tim Klink, a new mixed-used commercial-residential building at 4665 Route 6 with four apartments on the second floor and an accessory building out back, ran into tougher sledding. Its review was continued until April 30 to allow a site visit and a discussion with state and town officials and Klink about limitations on combining allowable septic flows on adjoining lots under common ownership.
“We wanted to do something to benefit the environment,” Klink told the board March 26. “That’s why we wanted to transfer flow across lots. It would be a better designed septic system and development for the town of Eastham.”
“We all know Eastham needs more housing and businesses,” health board chair Joanna Buffington said later in the meeting. “We want to support things, but also protect our groundwater and do things the right way.”
Shellfish Grant Cleanup Deadline Extended
John Milliken and Brendan Adams will have another year to remove unused and obsolete gear from their two-acre aquaculture site in Nauset Marsh. At the select board’s March 23 meeting, Shellfish Constable Nicole Paine asked that their license be revoked, as the shellfishermen had been given a one-year deadline in March 2019. “Very little effort has been made to get the site cleaned up,” she said.
Speaking to the board by telephone, Adams admitted getting a reminder letter in August that he didn’t open because he was busy during lobster season. “We did go out on the grant and clean some stuff up,” he said. “We did plan on doing more of that. Unfortunately, we’ve been busy…. We planned going out in early March to harvest out quahogs. There’s nowhere to sell ’em, and now we have red tide. That’s all locked up. I don’t know if anybody will be able to sell quahogs or oysters for months.”
Select Board Chair Aimee Eckman said she had “no desire to take anyone’s livelihood away at this point in time in world events.” She suggested a one-year extension of the deadline and urged Adams to work things out with the constable. Paine said she was happy to do that and “by no means do I want to take someone’s livelihood away. This grant needs to be cleared and started over. I want to keep the great working relationship with the Seashore and not have everything out there go to trash.” —Ed Maroney