Archive for the ‘2. Will Trophy Homes Change Wellfleet & Seashore?’ Category
A clamming, sculling, biking, and hiking blogger has described his winter walk along the Gut and on Great Island, with photographs of and commentary on the Blasch, LLP, “starter castle”.
On October 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Wellfleet Zoning Board of Appeals, and Blasch del Mar LLC agreed to dismissal of the federal government’s appeal to the Massachusetts Appeals Court of the Town’s issuance of a building permit to Blasch del Mar LLC.
Read the Appeals Court docket entries here.
The United States and Blasch del Mar LLC remain in settlement negotiations in the United States’ appeal of the Land Court’s dismissal of its challenge to the Blasch building permit.
The United States had previously been given an extension to file its brief in the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Beginning on June 25, 2010, court proceedings were stayed for 30 day periods to permit final settlement negotiations to proceed. A status report was filed on July 28, with the stay pending settlement negotiations extended to August 30.
On August 28, the United States and Blasch filed a joint motion to stay the appellate proceedings in order to go back to the Land Court to jointly request that court to vacate its decision and to modify its judgment. The parties had until September 28 to dismiss the appeal if the lower court decision is vacated or to report back to the Appeals Court if it is not.
On September 20 the parties filed another status report and request for stay of appeal and were granted an extension until October 25, 2010.
See the Mass. Appeals Court docket in case 2010-P-0385 here.
The United States of America filed an appeal on March 5, 2010, in the Massachusetts Appeals Court of the Massachusetts Land Court’s dismissal of its challenge to the Blasch LLC building permit.
A Land Court judge had ruled that the U.S.A. did not have standing to appeal the Wellfleet Zoning Board of Appeal’s approval of the Blasch LLC building permit.
The U.S. was granted a second extension, until June 28, 2010, to file its appellant’s brief with the Appeals Court.
The case is docketed as 2010-P-0385. Its status is online here.
At a Wellfleet Forum on the wind turbine project on March 1, 2010, CCNS Superintendent George Price, Jr., stated that the Seashore believes it would have legal standing to seek court review of a turbine siting decision on municipal property within the Seashore boundaries, just as it believes it does to appeal the Wellfleet Zoning Board’s approval of the Blasch LLC building permit.
Price had noted the CCNS’ missions of preserving the Seashore’s resources and conserving energy. Specific projects, such as the turbine proposal, would be examined in light of these goals. He will review U.S. Park Service analyses of this proposal and its effects on resources in forming the Seashore’s position on it.
On January 5, 2010, a CCNS press release said:
“Superintendent George Price stated today, ‘I am deeply disappointed that Cape Cod National Seashore received notice that the Massachusetts Land Court justice dismissed the Complaint of the USA v. Wellfleet Zoning Board of Appeals and Blasch Del Mar, LLC on December 28, 2009′ The complex zoning case commenced on July 23, 2008. The case concerned the upholding of a building permit for demolition and construction of a new, replacement dwelling triple the size of the previous dwelling at 1440 Chequessett Neck Road in Wellfleet. The Judge found that there was not a “particularized injury” and, accordingly, the USA lacked standing to appeal.
“Price said National Park Service staff will review the particulars of Judge Trombly’s decision and consider next steps.”
On December 28, 2009, Land Court Judge Charles Trombly, Jr., ruled that the Cape Cod National Seashore did not have legal standing to appeal the Wellfleet Zoning Board’s decision upholding the Blasch del Mar, LLC, building permit for construction of a large house at a highly visible site at “The Gut” in Wellfleet Harbor in the Seashore.
Read a summary by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly staff of the 16-page decision here.
“The size of the newly reconstructed Blasch house, which has 5,848 square feet of living area, is nearly three times the size of the original house on the lot, according to court records. It also is more than twice as high as the original house, court records indicate.
“The house’s bulk and location on a prominent vista within the Seashore boundaries had raised questions for federal officials about its legality.
“The house construction has also triggered a review by Wellfleet town officials of local zoning bylaws, with an eye toward limiting overall house size.”
The Town’s Natural Resources Advisory Board is reviewing the Town’s great ponds and is seeking homeowner input in its preparation of a management plan for these ponds. These ponds are within the Gull Pond and Great Pond complexes plus four others.
All but one of these ponds in Wellfleet lie within the CCNS. Under state law, towns have jurisdiction over great ponds within their boundaries.
The NRAB has identified several issues for the management plan, including water quality, shoreline access, and shoreline and Town landing use.
NRAB Chairman John Riehl has written to homeowners on these ponds inviting observations, concerns, and suggestions for action. Responses may be sent to him at Town Hall or delivered directly at an NRAB public meeting, which occur monthly at Town Hall.
Several studies regarding the feasibility, impacts, and funding of the Town’s proposed wind turbine near White Crest Beach are available on the Town’s website, as well as a map of the site. They include a Preliminary Site Analysis by the UMass Renewable Energy Research Lab, a Feasibility Study by Black & Veatch, a Flicker [shadow] Analysis by the UMass Wind Energy Center, a PowerPoint presentation of the Funding Overview, and the 2008 Zoning Bylaw.
Several speakers raised questions about the proposed wind turbine to be built near White Crest Beach and about the CCNS’ position regarding the turbine.
See “Wind Turbine Plan Meets Resistance in Wellfleet“, by Kaimi Rose Lum, Provincetown Banner/Wicked Local:Wellfleet, November 29, 2009.
On October 5, 2008, an editorial urging zoning reform in Wellfleet appeared in The Cape Cod Times:
“To the unknowing, the Cape Cod National Seashore is nothing less than an ornate bridal veil that gently protects golden strands of beach, curling surf and bejeweled ponds and hills.
To the unknowing.
In fact, the National Seashore is an ageing patchwork quilt of public and private property, fraying at the seams, threatened by gaudy development.
And if Wellfleet and Truro voters, in particular, don’t move quickly to permanently protect the park from trophy houses and even commercial development, their inaction could change the very character of our National Seashore. …”
Read the full editorial.
“For years, the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee have been dotted with quaint, unassuming cottages, modest places to hang your hiking shoes or moor a boat after a day of exploring the beauty of central New Hampshire.
Nowadays, the cottages are still sought after, but in many instances, it is to tear one down to make way for something much, much larger, like the 6,000-square-foot, $3.9 million home being built on the site where a 1950s island cottage once stood.”
Substitute “Wellfleet” for “Lake Winnipesaukee” in the preceding sentences and realize why stricter zoning is needed for Wellfleet and its Seashore District.
Read the whole article, “A Golden Pond: Winnipesaukee’s New Mansions“, by Katie Zezima, The New York Times, Sept. 18, 2008.
The Wellfleet Non-Resident Taxpayers Association sent the following update to its members:
The Wellfleet Comprehensive Plan,
The Wellfleet Non Resident Taxpayer’s Association has been actively involved in the preparation and adoption of the Comprehensive Plan Update for over two years. An over-riding principle of the Comprehensive Plan expressed by both residents and non-residents was to retain the rural character of Wellfleet by protecting Wellfleet’s scenic and natural resources.
Before the ink was dry on the Comprehensive Plan, the Wellfleet Building Inspector issued a building permit for a proposal to enlarge the Billboard House-prominently located at the Gut, in the National Seashore, and very visible from
The Wellfleet Building Inspector issued the building permit because the proposal met the requirements of the Zoning Bylaws. The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) found no violations to the Zoning By-laws and upheld the decision of Building Inspector. The Wellfleet Zoning Bylaws deal with such issues as lot coverage (footprint), height and set-backs, not issues of retaining Wellfleet’s rural character or protecting scenic and natural resources.
Since the Bill Board house was enlarged over 20 years ago, the town had not made significant changes to zoning bylaws or developed other planning tools to review such proposals. Some of the changes that the town might have made include:
- Set limits on the size of additions and changes in lot coverage (in the rest of town too);
- Set tighter rules for tearing down and rebuilding non-conforming pre-existing houses;
- Conduct Site Plan Review (SPR) or Special Permit Review by the ZBA of new housing proposals that were very large in overall size and massing, and/or were dramatic increases in the size of existing houses;
- Create Overlay Districts to protect special sensitive areas of Wellfleet.