2017 Open Space & Recreation Plan Update

TODAY is the Deadline to Submit Your Survey

Please take a moment to fill out the 2017 Open Space and Recreation Plan Survey HERE. This short survey is meant to better understand the importance of parks, trails, conservation areas, recreation programs and other opportunities to the Barnstable community. The information gathered will help update the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan. In addition to the above survey, the Town invites you to participate in one or more of the upcoming discussion sessions, designed to engage key community members and local officials in a discussion of issues relevant to the plan. Your participation and input will allow for your thoughts, concerns and priorities to be incorporated into the updated plan.

The Town of Barnstable is updating its Open Space and Recreation Plan, last adopted in 2010. The plan (view HERE) allows the community to identify and evaluate goals, challenges, opportunities and priorities for open space protection, land management, and the provision of recreational opportunities. Planning for our Town’s “green infrastructure” of water, land, forests, wildlife habitat, parks, recreation areas, and trails is important to our economic future, community identity, and quality of life.

The plan is being developed to comply with guidance from the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services and will be submitted to that agency for approval. An approved plan is necessary for the Town to qualify for certain land acquisition financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth. It is also an important opportunity to re-assess community needs and priorities for open space protection and the provision of recreational opportunities.

Session I: Land Management: The Functions of Open Space
DATE/TIME: July 6, 3:30 – 5:30 PM
Location: Selectmen’s Conference Room, Town Hall
Topics: Management issues and challenges, working landscapes, disposition/purchase of properties, protecting ground and surface waters, resource needs.

Session II: Recreation: Fields, Facilities, Trails, Parks and Programs
DATE/TIME: July 10, 3:30 – 5:30 PM
Location: Hyannis Youth & Community Center
Topics: Highlights since 2010, planned facilities and programs, programs and partnerships, outreach to improve access for all residents, use or maintenance issues, beaches and coastal access issues.

Session III: Resource Protection: Conserving, Preserving and Restoring Open Spaces
DATE/TIME: July 27, 3:30-5:30 PM
Location: Selectmen’s Conference Room, Town Hall
Topics: Highlights since 2010, priority acquisition goals, use of creative tools for land protection, habitat protection, connectivity, climate change and resiliency, improved access for all residents, stewardship issues, resource needs.

Please email Anna at Anna.Brigham@town.barnstable.ma.us to let us know which meetings you will be able to attend.

Precinct 7 Priorites

The genesis of these priorities flow from varied conversations and requests from the constituents whom I am honored to represent.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY/ EXCESSIVE SPEEDING Pedestrian safety and excessive speed is the most requested issue to address. I requested the Town’s Growth Management Department to prepare the “Cotuit Village Pedestrian Safety Improvements Plan”. This was accomplished with several citizen-visioning sessions held at Freedom Hall. The final implementation is planned for 2016.

Putnam Avenue safety and a meaningful pedestrian link to the ocean and village center continue to be a much sought after goal by the many residents of the Landfall, Presidents and Landsdowne neighborhoods. Growth Management is preparing a concept plan for citizen review and action.

The upgrade and repair of two major private roads in Cotuit continue to top the list. Old King’s Road connects the Town of Mashpee to Barnstable and is off Main Street. Since navigational systems have become an auto accessory this “private” road is used to bypass Route 28 and Route 130 and all the tie-ups that that intersection endures. Nearby is Santuit Road that generates the most complaints as it connects public roads at either end and generates a considerable amount of daily vehicle trips. Like many other private roads throughout the town, Santuit is primarily dirt and it is uneven with ruts and puddles making it difficult to safely navigate. After a good rainstorm its runoff spills onto School Street requiring constant cleaning. These two private roads also are the only roads that connect into a major development, Kings Grant, where all the roads are public.

It was very sad to hear that the Santuit River is devoid of the famed sea-run trout. This could be the result of several factors including the impaired water quality of the estuary where the trout feed. Another major priority is to look to partner with the State and Mashpee to have a review of the conditions affecting the river and create a program to alleviate the problem.

Numerous requests have been received to have the Town follow the appropriate protocol with regards to the American Flag. If the flag is to be flown at all times it should be properly illuminated. A request has been submitted.

A continuing priority is to ensure that the Town produces a Town wide plan for maintenance dredging throughout the waters surrounding our village.

Please take the opportunity to stop by and discuss any Village or Town issue on the second Wednesday of every month from 3-5pm at the Cotuit Library. The next scheduled meeting is January 13. You may also reach me anytime at (508) 360-2504 or weekdays at Town Hall (508) 862-4738. Email Precinct7@comcast.net.   I look forward to your questions and concerns and always welcome your suggestions and ideas! Be sure to check on your neighbors and friends and keep your pets safe too! Your Town Councilor, Jessica

Councilor Column

Written by Jessica Rapp Grassetti                                      

So much for escaping winter and having it quietly pass us by! As much as we could have done without Juno’s wrath, we were fortunate that most of us did not lose power, internet or phone service. The driving ban, implemented by the Governor was a great help in managing the blizzard of 2015 and with spring but forty-nine days away hopefully winter has lost its grip.

In February the Cape Cod Commission will hold a two-day meeting continuing with the update of the Area Wide Water Quality Management Plan also called the 208. The primary focus of which is to address excessive nitrogen entering our embayments, will bring together the region’s policy makers in an effort to collaborate in local water quality planning. In my opinion, the single biggest issues that this summit will address are the costs and the revenue needed to protect and preserve our quality of life. Hopefully this effort will produce substantive results as much has been talked about for a long time and an argument can be made that it is time for action. Unfortunately, if we don’t move ahead we may well find the Federal Government forcing our hand. I welcome any input on this complicated and sensitive challenge.

As the President of the Town Council it is my responsibility to vote on behalf of Barnstable with regards to resolutions proposed at the recent Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Annual Meeting. There three resolutions accepted were; investments in municipal capital projects that create economic growth and the protection of health & safety, ensuring strong partnership in FY 2016 and beyond between State Government and the Cities and Towns and a sustainable personnel management system to provide excellent services by prudent use of taxpayer dollars managed at the local level. This last resolution brings up the issue of what is called unfunded mandates. These are regulations that require the Town to provide goods and or services without having a revenue stream to cover them. For instance, a sizable obligation for a coastal community is the regulations on storm water systems. Barnstable is required to maintain over four thousand catch basins for storm-water run-off from roads at a cost in excess of $80,000 a year. For the Town to continue to maintain and provide these mandated services without adequate funding is unacceptable. We need to be clear with our Legislators that we cannot afford to accept these mandates without requisite funding.

Deteriorating infrastructure continues to create enormous pressure on the local taxpayer. We can thank the newly elected Governor for releasing the entire $300 million dollars in Chapter 90 transportation aid funding. Barnstable’s increased share, in excess of a million dollars, will certainly help in addressing the numerous projects from road repair, equipment purchases, engineering services and even tree planting within our community.

Focusing on Precinct 7, I would very much appreciate any citizen concerns regarding our Village. Every year the Town’s Department Heads do an onsite tour to identify and respond to safety and quality of life issues and the 2015 “List of Cotuit Concerns” is in the process of being drafted. I have my own list but welcome and need input from all. A major issue of pedestrian safety along our roads will have a follow up meeting in March or April at Freedom Hall. Planning efforts are underway for crosswalks and “traffic calming”. Draft regulations are in process by the Waterways Committee regarding the size and storage of vessels at Ropes beach. Simply put, there isn’t enough room for everyone to store any sized boat on the water’s edge. Let me know your thoughts. There is still time for public comment and suggestions regarding this issue.

Soon, the many efforts, lead by Jaci Barton and her team from the Barnstable Land Trust will come before the Town Council for a vote on the appropriation of funds for the acquisition of land surrounding Lowell Park. The first reading, on February 5, will give the public notice of the project to protect the 19 acres and the second reading will be open for public comment. This preservation project is arguably one of the most important quality of life and environment acquisitions for the Village. I unequivocally support it and urge my fellow citizens to do the same.

Please take the opportunity to stop by and discuss any Village or Town issue on the second Wednesday of every month from 3-5pm at the Cotuit Library. The next scheduled meeting is February 11. You may also reach me anytime at (508) 360-2504 or weekdays at Town Hall (508) 862-4738. Email Precinct7@comcast.net or for web updates and information follow me at www.BarnstablePrecinct7.com. I look forward to your questions and concerns and always welcome your suggestions and ideas! Be sure to check on your neighbors and friends and keep your pets safe too!

Your Town Councilor, Jessica

Councilor Column

Written by Jessica Rapp Grassetti                           

Excessive speeding and pedestrian safety throughout the village of Cotuit was the topic of a recent village visioning session at Freedom Hall. Police Chief Paul MacDonald, Director of Growth Management, JoAnne Miller Buntich and DPW Engineer, Clay Schofield listened and responded to the full hall of passionate pleas from residents concerned over the habitual violations of posted speed limits and the safety of pedestrians along our streets. Once again Putnam Avenue was discussed as the cars travel at such a high rate of speed creating a pedestrian safety risk. Maps were displayed and citizens marked up and identified specific areas of concern and provided valuable input. Following that meeting I met with Town Staff to walk, photograph and discuss in further detail these areas. Once Staff has had the opportunity to survey and outline possible solutions, a second session will be scheduled to detail recommendations.

Now that the Town of Barnstable has settled on a ten-year contract to haul our trash from the Transfer Station it is time to revisit the recycling component of that enterprise. Realizing that one shouldn’t operate in isolation and wanting to learn as much as possible on the subject, I have paid close attention to our neighboring communities and to the often passionate debate over the methods of trash disposal.

At this past summer’s solid waste workshop, Dan Santos, Director of DPW, briefed the Council on the selection of the contractor, New Bedford Waste Services and its partner ABC Disposal Services and how the newly negotiated contract will impact the Transfer Station fees. Where it was once anticipated that the sticker price, currently $160 per year, was going to double or perhaps triple, Mr. Santos assured us that that was not the case and most likely we would see only a modest increase in 2015. He also spoke to the recycling component of the station and though he proposed no changes at that time he did represent that a change from multi-stream recycling (separating plastic, metal, paper and glass into four separate containers) to a single stream process might be recommended in the future. This makes sense as under the new contract, recyclables are not figured into the tonnage costs and will be hauled away at no cost to the Town. In essence the Town already has a pay as you throw PAYT method in that residents and residential property owners making individual trips to the Transfer Station are allowed up to 8 bags (30 gallon each) limit for $15.00 per entry with $1 per bag over the limit without having to purchase an annual sticker. In the new year Barnstable residents and property owners that currently use the Transfer Station to recycle only will be required to sign up for a zero cost sticker and “free” recycling will no longer be available for non-residents. This will allow for more accurate recycling data collection and Barnstable will no longer be subsidizing other communities. In theory everyone who disposes trash should be recycling to comply with the State waste ban regulation that prohibits recyclables from the waste stream. Seventy-five thousand dollars has been appropriated in FY15 for the study and improvements to the Transfer Station with particular emphasis on improving the traffic flow and to prevent the numerous near misses and fender benders that currently occur due to the less than efficient traffic patterns.

Solid waste disposal and recycling begs many questions that need to be answered definitively by the Town Manager and his Staff. Should the current system at the Transfer Station be changed to a PAYT model? Should the Town consider Town-wide curbside trash pick-up and recycling? A ban on Styrofoam, plastic bags and containers? Mandate that trash haulers who operate in Barnstable provide recycling? Should multi-family facilities be required to recycle? Should the Town have a comprehensive policy regarding the disposing of all trash and recyclables rather than a piecemeal approach? The Council will be looking for the recommendations along with the honest math that gives true costs associated with implementing any significant changes, including the benefit savings to the residents in energy, time and money. Regardless of what happens, efforts need to be made to develop public education campaigns that promote waste reduction in both the private and local business sectors. It has been interesting to follow the Town of Mashpee’s misstep with the issue of PAYT or Save Money And Reduce Trash (SMART) and how the citizens felt excluded from the choice to change.

Please take the opportunity to stop by and discuss any Village or Town issue on the second Wednesday of every month from 3-5pm at the Cotuit Library. The next scheduled meeting is November 12. I am also available at (508) 360-2504 (cell) or weekdays at Town Hall 8:30-3:30 (508) 862-4738, Email Precinct7@comcast.net or for web updates and information follow me at www.BarnstablePrecinct7.com.

I welcome your questions and concerns and look forward to hearing from you.