The Blasch Project at “The Gut” on Griffin Island

A proposed 5,700 sq. ft. house on a prominent hillside at “The Gut” on Griffin Island has upset many residents because it would dominate the view of the dunes, the narrow neck of land leading to Great Island, and the Bay beyond as seen from long stretches of Chequessett Neck Road, the Herring River, and part of the Harbor. The site is in the Cape Cod National Seashore. The “Billboard House” at the site was an illegal replacement of a smaller house there at the time of the creation of the Seashore.

Here are overlay images of the project at its site (click on a photo to enlarge):

blasch-aerial-zoom-1.jpg blasch-overlay-5.jpg blasch-overlay-2b.jpg

Here are satellite photos of Wellfleet Harbor with the site circled (click on photo to enlarge). wellfleet-harbor-gis-2.jpg wellfleet-harbor-gis-4.jpg

Status of the Project:  The “Billboard House” has been torn down and removed.  Appeals of the building permit by the Wellfleet Selectmen, the CCNS, and Bound Brook Island homeowners were rejected by the Zoning Board of Appeals on June 26, 2008.  For detailed reporting on the ZBA hearing, see “Wellfleet Backs Decision for Disputed Building Permit”, D. Fraser, Cape Cod Times, June 27, 2008; and on prior ZBA hearings, see “ZBA Begins Deliberation over Trophy Home Proposal”, M. Miller, Provincetown Banner, May 8, 2008, or “‘Billboard’ House Draws Crowd at Appeal Hearing”, M. Miller, Wicked Local: Wellfleet, May 8, 2008.  The United States appealed the ZBA decision to Massachusetts Land Court on July 23, 2008.

News articles and commentary on the project and residents’ and officials’ responses to it include:

Supersized Home Design Has Wellfleet Couple in Doghouse“, S. Ebbert, Boston Globe, Sept. 1, 2008 (review of Blasch house dispute, zoning proposals)

“It’s Wellfleet AGAIN!”, Cape Cod Today, May 1, 2008 (blogger questions Selectmens’ appeal of Blasch building permit to Zoning Board of Appeal; mentions Selectmens’ legal claims and includes Town correspondence on notice requirements for amending zoning by-laws)

“Work has started at ‘Billboard’ House”, The Cape Codder, April 21, 2008 (work on septic system begins while building permit appeal is pending)

“Zoning changes eyed for trophy homes”, The Cape Codder, April 3, 2008 (Wellfleet Community Forum discussion on zoning and trophy homes)

Historic Opportunity for Wellfleet“, B. Harold, Cape Cod Times, March 25, 2008 (opinion columnist applauds Selectmen for calling on Planning Board to protect the town and the Park)

“Blasch house permit appealed”, Banner Online, March 13, 2008 (Wellfleet Board of Selectment, CCNS Superintendent appeal building permit to Zoning Board of Appeals)

“Blasch house is flashpoint for Seashore”, Banner Online, February 28, 2008 (CCNS Advisory Board discussion on scenic and environmental impacts)

Selectmen Rescind Vote to Refer Big House to Cape Cod Commission,” The Cape Codder, February 28, 2008

“‘Shoebox House’ Revamp Worries Selectmen“, The Cape Codder, February 15, 2008 (Selectmen review two projects for large houses in Seashore, refer one to Cape Cod Commission)

Ownership of the Project:  The property being developed is owned by a Delaware limited liability corporation, Blasch Del Mar, LLC.

Effect of the Project on Scenic Views:  The U.S. Senate Committee Report on the bill which created the Cape Cod National Seashore wrote about the views from and of this area:

Jeremy Point, Great Beach Hill, and Great Island, containing approximately 500 acres, were once separated from the Cape but are now connected to it by a narrow sand barrier called the Gut.  Aside from their intrinsic scenic qualities, these islands give one the feeling of isolation, not as a remote wilderness but as being separated from the rest of the peninsula.  From points on these islands one can view the traditional life and activity of the Cape–clam diggers along the beach, fishing boats in Wellfleet Harbor, sails in the cove, the north shore, and distant Provincetown.  (S. Rep. 87-428, 1961 U.S. Code Congr. and Admin. News p. 2212-2238 at 2214)

Do you think large-scale houses like this one, another one twice as large planned for a bayside site in the dunes on Bound Brook Island, and similar ones that could follow, will change the character of Wellfleet and the Seashore?

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One Response to “The Blasch Project at “The Gut” on Griffin Island”

  1. TonyS Says:

    If the large-scale house/McMansion trend continues, Wellfleet will look like the Hamptons. This is not what the Seashore was created for. Our properties will become acquisition targets for those wanting to build these trophy homes, resulting in higher assessments for all property owners. The present character of the town would disappear.

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