Saturday, November 6, 2010

Plan B: How to fix our town buildings

On July 24, 2010, I wrote the following about the timing of putting a debt exclusion on the November ballot (read the entire post here):

Voting to put a debt exclusion on the November 2nd ballot is a big step; unfortunately a misstep.

This November’s election is a referendum on the White House, Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill. It comes in the midst of nine-plus percent unemployment and the worst economic recession in most people’s memory.

That’s quite a backdrop for asking voters for more money. “Let the people decide,” it was said during the discussion at last Thursday’s board of selectmen meeting. They will do that, for sure. You betcha.

Not many people object to maintaining and repairing our town and school buildings. I did hear some interesting comments at the October special town meeting about how the roofs were leaking less than ten years after the Oak Ridge and Forestdale schools were built and how we have a two-man facilities team with a $100,000 annual budget to maintain all of our buildings.

Why didn’t we go after the roof installer when the 20-year roofs failed in seven?

Why don’t we spend more on preventive maintenance in our operating budget?

At this point, the first question is water under the bridge, but the second question is key to convincing voters to support a capital improvement debt exclusion.

How we should proceed

I believe the selectmen need to do three things by the May town meeting to convince voters to support a building improvement override:

1)      Split the question into three categories:
a.       School roofs, which are eligible for a 40% reimbursement from the state. The article could ask for the net amount and be effective only if the project is approved by the state for co-funding.
b.      Building improvements necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our town workers and the public and to bring those buildings up to code.
c.       All other projects on the November debt exclusion.

2)      Make a commitment to fund preventive maintenance at a level necessary to stop the accelerated deterioration of our town and school buildings. Tell us what that number is.

3)      Roll out a plan to balance the operating budget for at least two more years without the need for an operating override. Getting that issue off the table will encourage voters to deal with our critical facilities needs without fear of being assaulted by a tax increase to fund wage increases that no one in the private sector is enjoying.

31 comments:

  1. Well, since we didn't win on Question 3.....I am signing up for this Plan B. There is a strong requirement for the town to define the work, it further defines those things that protect our employees and then separates the needs from the wants. The answer was in the selectmans' hands all along however, there seemed to be a desperation to get it done quick. We all know why. Plan B...I like this plan and I could support it if and when real costs are assigned to the work. At this point in time, we need to forget what Mashpee has and pay for what we can afford. Great Idea Plan B..

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  2. Carl Johansen Good morning to every one this fine windy day on Cape Cod.

    Greg the above, breaking out of the next debt exclusion, has many merits to it and unfortunitly those that presented the message on the capitol overide that just failed,should get a helpful lesson into what the taxpayers of Sandwich want to see going forward.

    I would like to see added an individual break down of every town opwned building with an appropriate schedule of repairs based upon actual needs and cost's that can be pluged into some sort of long and short range plan to actually get the work done.

    I also believe we need another committee that has no other adgenda other then supporting the maintenance of each and every town owned building, from a non biased point of veiw,

    We as taxpayers deserve to know precisly where are tax dollars will be spent on, and by stopping this past debt exclusion from passing, perhaps it may be a wake up call to our elected officials and change the tatics for the overide question at the spring
    town meeting.

    We also need the whole board of Selectman to be on board, as to what the financial needs are and speak with one voice to the citizens of Sandwich. We do not need conflicting statements being
    made that may counter act are actual financial problems.

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  3. Ponder this fine folks of Sandwich. It may just be that the Town of Sandwich resources are on the same track as the buildings, on a costly collision course for disaster. We have Forestdale Village, that obtained a waiver for conducting an environmental report prior to constructing Phase I. This project lies within a Significant Natural Resource Area due to presence of the endangered box turtle, a potential public water supply area, has two areas with prime agricultural soils, lies within Pimlico Pond and Peters Pond freshwater recharge areas, and abuts Peters Pond. Where are, at the very least, the plans to evaluate impacts on water resources? The Town ConCom approved an application for several enormous docks on Peters Pond recently with no environmental review or acknowledgement of the ongoing violations of the applicants. Our freshwater resources can only take on a certain amount of stress before costly repairs will be needed for them, too. Must we go down that road? Folks, our buildings and resources in the Town of Sandwich share something in common. Neglect. Will we be discussing an override to clean up these two ponds in the near future? Would it not be a better choice to hold accountable those that utilize the resources to benefit themselves, to take measures to ensure sustainability of them? What does that take? Leadership with vision and not looking the other way. Looking the other way costs the taxpayers. Addressing the issue properly places the costs where they belong...with the applicant of projects that impact. Town of Sandwich citizens are asleep while this injustice is occurring. This is not a joke...wake up your friends, neighbors and acquaintances....it is time for change or we are all going to pay the price! Let us look out and see brighter horizons for our dear Town.

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  4. OMG not Box Turtles...isn't that why we still have a very large sand pit behind Coca Cola on Route 130 instead of a nice tax paying big box store? Maybe we can support a Prop 2 1/2 override to dig an underpass beneath the roads over there so the turtles can pass safely while the rest of Rome burns! Sorry, for a second I thought I Heart Sandwich had a real concern for the town....one that didn't put ponds and turtles in a status higher than humans. Ouch, sorry, that was mean of me. It might be because Question 3 failed...give me time to recover folks.

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  5. Greg,

    It is good to have this forum to hash these issues out, isn't it? Your response represents the thoughts of many, I would imagine. I hear you on your perspective. I ask our community to take a look at www.Indianponds.org and see if you might understand where I'm coming from a bit more. This is an example of what happens when poor water quality goes unaddressed. It feeds on itself. How many people are going to wish to camp or purchase homes on either pond when they have issues like this? Look at the costs and effort they have gone to to address the issues at Mystic Pond. Our choices are to take care now or to pay later (Efforts to correct Mystic Lake will reach nearly $1 million before they are done). In my view, it is vital to protect water quality that sustains the 2 commercial businesses on Peters Pond and the property values of the surrounding residences.
    Granting waivers and opting out of critical environmental reviews will not enhance the economy of Sandwich. It is not humans vs. turtles and ponds...it is an unavoidable symbiotic relationship. This is a fact. FYI...I think Sandwich needs a big box store, too. I know it can be done with zero negative impact via careful planning. It's been done elsewhere. Green planning and development attracts businesses and increases property value these days.

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  6. I think that the entire board of Selectmen should be either recalled or resign. I think that the entire School Committee should either be recalled or resign. I think we should fire the Superintendent and each of the School principals. I think we should make the library town hall, build a new library, not take in children from other towns into our schools, do away with sports, do away with SUVs, do away with expensive equipment that never works, do away with one of the Human Services people (the highest paid), do away with an assistant town manager, do away with two police officers (Seargent or higher), not build 185K round about, not plow sidewalks, ask parents if they would like to attend Sandwich Public Schools or receive a grant from the Town of the amount the town pays for a child to be educated, have the dump employees work 8 1/2 hours with lunch instead of 8 hours without lunch (it is illegal to do it the way they are with the no lunch), on and on and on. This Town is done.

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  7. Ihrtsandwich, I knew someone would pick on me for my error in blogging with respect to political correctness. So, let me redeem myself. I know more about box turtles than you might think....having observed tracking them for years, they have quite a range for a slower than a hare critter......but I hear you on the ponds. I am a dedicated catboat sailor and I won't go into Popponesset Bay anymore due to the unbelievable algae growth that occurs there due to the runoff from all that beautiful grass lawn at Mr Krafts house...ooops did I do it again? So I understand your position entirely. I was trying to make a point of how some folks, in the past, would use the little critters to keep the taxable interests out of town.....OMG...my blood pressure is rising! The most important issue that you raise is that any development must be done legally....and if done legally all of your concerns must be addressed. In a perfect world! You make a great point for consideration.

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  8. Carl Johansen said
    IhrtSandwich, you have made many valid points in regard to our Natural Resources here in Sandwich,
    That is why we have a Conservation Committee and a Natural resource department. Unfortunitly over the years, both of these enities have looked the other way on many of the issues you have brought up.

    It will take far more tax dollars to recitify past damages then if they had taken the responsibilty they were given to be a regulatory body of our Natural Resources.

    Greg I do not believe the reason why we do not see any further development behind the Coke Plant is as a result of the box turtle?

    This process can be negotiated in matters of habitat for Box Turtles.

    The lack of development here in Sandwich is tied more toward the folks who do not want to see further development that may change the character of historic Sandwich. The days of the horse and buggy still alive here in Sandwich, at the expence of luring in new commercial tax base business. We talk a good game of economic growth, but fail to follow through with actions that will allow that to happen.

    Just vote no again, will be the cry of people when another overide is presented in regards to our schools, especially after the new contract is announced for the Teachers. The Union leadership will be leading that battle, especially given the present factual process that the Majority of the School committee have taken.

    Box turtles, like Plovers will remain at the forfront of natural resource concerns into the future and how we deal with these issues
    long term, will determined our place in the society we all share and live in.

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  9. Carl, your memory surpasses mine by far. You are correct, the box turtles were used to keep the new jail out of sandwich...it was prevailing attitudes that kept the stores out. I really hope that changes and the town can draw some business to support the tax base. Then we can all look after the little critters. As far as voting 'no', I will absolutely vote against any school override...nay nay I say. If the Town Manager can lead the horses to water on the BOS and follow Plan B as offerred by our new State Rep...then, I will have to dust off my yes vote for a debt exclusion override. Its going to be an interesting spring town meeting for sure. After watching the BOS meeting on SACAT (remember I dumped Comcast so I lose the ability to see it live now!) there still appears to be an attitude that prevails, sort of a 'ram it down their throats' mantra about fixing things in spite of us. I think some of them didn't get the message. Plan B...something I can live with as long as it does not grow in scope and allows us to participate!

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  10. lhrtsandwich,

    You are correct, it is vital to protect the quality of our natural resouces. However, it has to be done with factual evidence, not ignorance and misinformation regarding docks and their effect on water quality. You mention the camp ground being one of two commercial ventures that we need to protect. Yes,the park is a big plus for the Town of Sandwich with an accessed value of 6.3 million plus the dollars spent locally by the campers. Some of the reasons why this campground is so popular is that it has waterfront campsites, beaches and boat docking. The docks at the campground have been there for well over two decades. However, they did not receive a permit for them until 2004. The permit allows for 21 50 foot docks. I have never heard them called illegal docks in the 1990's. I have never heard one fishermam complain about these or any other docks regarding chap. 91 access. I have never heard anyone refer to these docks as enormous. In fact, none of the recently approved docks by the HOA extended more than 30 feet this past summer due to the height of the water. The reason why they may go out up to fifty feet is to protect the botton of the pond against prop wash when the water level drops.

    If there are any private citizens or politicians who have a sincere concern regarding this subject I would like to make a suggestion.
    Go out on the Peters Pond and due the eyeball test, talk to some of the members of the HOA and get both sides of the story like Randy suggested in July of 2009 at a selectman's meeting. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. It would be nice if the citizens of this town would base that opinion on facts. It would not only be nice but an obligation for our elected officials to base their opinions and public comments on the facts and statements of both sides.

    Randy, I'm not sure how the docks got dragged into a blog about town building improvements but I have a feeling that you could be talking about Obama defunding NASA and Carl would work it in somehow.

    E Buzz Miller

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  11. To the last blogger. Peter's Pond is now a permanent fixtures with all those little trailer park homes. Yeh, really looks great (sarcasm). No one picked up on what they are doing. It's the equivelant of a sub division without the cape cod commission getting involved, and, yes, our planning people saw it, kept it quiet and now its there for good!

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  12. Anybody know how much tax B.J.'s pays per year to Hyannis? Average salary of the employee? I hardly think bringing a box store into Sandwich will solve all of our problems or make much of a difference. You may also want to consider if it will impact other smaller local businesses.

    As for the jail, it seems that that might have been considered a tax-exempt property and you'd have to work out some sort of pilot program to get any $$ from that.

    We need to face the facts. Even if we fully developed our remaining land, we will still be a primarily residential town.

    The suggestion that building a Costco would have somehow saved us from our current deficit is just wrong.

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  13. Oh heck Anon at 1:07 lets just not build anything in town and heap the taxes onto everyones back. I hate to say it Anon, I have been listening to your argument for 30 years and look where we are. Wait a second, we did let RHCI build, but, funny how its buried way out there on Service Road where it doesn't spoil the view of the village. We sent potential businesses packing and they went to Mashpee. Would you like to compare the taxable properties at Mashpee Commons? Shall we discuss the failed Shaws SuperMarket negotiations that has left us at the mercy of SandS pricing! My suggestion is that we just build something, anything to get us over the perceived barrier that has been developed over the years in Camelot oooops Sandwich! So lets just keep it a quaint little village with no visible means of support outside of, ugh, East Sandwich. OMG I have done it again....I am being rude.

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  14. You make me laugh, Greg! (Not sarcastic.) I guess, we are all just attempting to bring about the best quality of life here and that is not a clean process with so many varying backgrounds. Sometimes there's just no avoiding getting rude! I'm learning from everyone's thoughts here...and keeping a flexible mind as much as I can. E Buzz Miller...water quality as a whole was my point...not just illegal docks. My apologies for not being more clear on that. I see that we all share the Town buildings and resources. We share the image problems when they are in disrepair and the burden of costs to repair them. Our leaders have not planned for and conducted preventative maintenance. We are now all about to suffer financial effects from the neglect. Our leaders must learn to utilize good business sense to protect the citizen taxpayers. We must ask why our Town leaders have not produced a maintenance plan for buildings and why they are not implementing Town By-Laws and State Laws designed to protect our resources (which in turn protects our finances.) The price tag for corrective measures of a pond the size of Peter's Pond (and add in Pimlico Pond)will be over $1 million. Much cheaper to require conformity to the existing laws now than to have everyone in Sandwich pay to clean up later...and why shouldn't we all be conforming to the law? Poor water quality, once achieved, does not go away on it's own. Do we need to experience its wrath to learn just how financially devastating the experience can be? Let's get a hold of it now before it is too late. Same with buildings...cheaper to not allow disrepair to go on too long...or we get compounded problems with profoundly greater expense. Ask our Town workers and school employees for a story or two about what they are experiencing in those buildings now. How long can we go without someone getting hurt from failure to conduct proper building maintenance? Lastly, would love to hear thoughts on this opinion/ fact (perhaps); "Convenience of big box business attracts young professional families to communities. They view convenience as a quality of life factor."

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  15. Carl Johansen said

    IhrtSandwich, once again you have made some rather good evaluations of why we here in Sandwich all hurt from the lack of good planning over the years. The biggest problem long term will be how well we take care of our natural resources. These include both the salt and fresh water
    resources and the surrounding land that embodies them to protect them into the future for the next generation of users.

    It is not just about illegal placement of piers and docks, but rather the long term affect and mind set that goes with this private takeover of a public resource. Errosion,fuel conntamination,destroying plant and aquatic fish life, eventually destroying the balance of the whole eco system in and around this public waterway. It will have a catastrophic effect on the water quality and a loss of a valuable
    source of drinking water. Let alone the publics right to fish, swim and boat on its waters.

    How can we not afford to protect it?

    Greg also makes some good suggestions as well. One Box store will not bring a great deal of tax dollars here, but changing the philosophical mind set may bring more business here. Commercial business we have room for here that can be blended into the areas so designated under the present by-laws guidlines.

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  16. Greg,

    Because of their tax status, RHCI has a pilot agreement with the town, but does provide for some professional jobs which is great.

    I would argue that if a developer believed that Sandwich could support a Mashpee Commons-like development, it would have been done in the Golden Triangle. A lot of work was done to make that happen, but it all fell through. I think residents were supportive of this and you can't pin the failure on people trying to preserve the character of the town.
    I would also argue that if we don't maintain our town buildings and provide quality schools and public safety, we will not attract a commercial tax base to town. So I guess you may have to vote 'Yes' on the overrides and debt exclusions today as part of a long term strategy to attract business to town!

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  17. Ask around and you will find the majority of Cape Codders, especially with young families, take a few trips to Plymouth/month. They go to Wal-Mart and Target primarily. I'm not specifically advocating for those particular stores. Just thinking about how many families travel from as far away as Chatham to access these types of retail businesses. If a Target-like store located in Sandwich, our Town would capture this population and benefit from the periphery transactions. There is a market for big box business on this side of the Canal. Sandwich should capture it before Mashpee does! We should definitely not be letting it go to the other side. Also, often big box business can be an advocate for quality of life features that attract people. In top-rated communities they are often asked to provide a feature for the Town such as bike paths or ball parks and they more often than not cooperate. By not demanding, but rather, asking, communities are often served very well by these big businesses. I am not sure how a Target-like store would negatively impact local businesses. I can imagine those from the outer Cape coming to shop for family necessities and stopping along the way at the Mediterranean Grill or Marshland or one of our other fabulous restaurants...and perhaps exploring the Village. If I lived on the outer Cape, I might travel along 6A, to stop along the way to make a day of it (more business retained on the Cape!). Greg and Carl are correct in that we have an image problem...we need a new business success story in Sandwich.

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  18. Anon at 10:24, the water went over the dam years ago with Mashpee Commons and considering the state of the economy right now, I don't think anyone would consider a large scale developement, from the ground up, unless the return was hugh. Building another Mashpee Commons in Sandwich won't float considering the number of large name stores they have there. I don't think Talbots or GAP would open another store here. I can't think of one large store that could become the anchor in a Sandwich Golden Triangle scenario. I think there were a lot of reasons people walked away from the Golden Triangle and we will probably never know all of the reasons. No, not a conspiracy theory beginning here, its reality. I think RHCI is an outstanding facility but even it has sufferred from a lack of business? One wing temporarily mothballed....nope..its all timing and its all related to the tanked economy. Sandwich is hurting in more ways than large box stores. Ask the folks who used to be our cottage industry along Route 6A how their profit margins are. How about all of those little cottages fighting to stay alive in a part time business. Sandwich was bypassed because we didn't want to grow. Well, those great schools you want to fix and support...they brought an influx of people here. So we suffer with this problematic tax base. I don't buy your theory that I must increase all of the taxes again....or it will scare business away. It is the tax base that scares them away....along with our village mentality. Developing business in Sandwich is a tough problem. I sure don't have an answer other than we just have to start sometime...trying. One more thought Anon. We are all forgetting the big cigar on the canal. That old white elephant will kill any chance we have to fix our past mistakes. If only someone could pick up Jeff Perry's torch on getting help to convert that plant to a more efficient fuel. Yes, I know, were talking federal help here.....perhaps we can ask William Keating (elect) if he can broker a deal. I am not holding my breath...methinks we mostly voted against him. Anon, I don't want to pin the past failures on anyone, I really want to find just ONE business project that this town would support...just to get the ball rolling. We need to change the perceptions. I actually agree with you that RHCI and other medical facilities are a great fit for us and great jobs for our town! However, when you look at the problems Cape Cod Healthcare has had due to the renegade surgical centers I am not sure development in that professional area will happen. This economic rock we are all stuck under will prevent any large scale development.... so, how about we start small? A baby silver triangle?

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  19. Anon at 10:24, the water went over the dam years ago with Mashpee Commons and considering the state of the economy right now, I don't think anyone would consider a large scale developement, from the ground up, unless the return was hugh. Building another Mashpee Commons in Sandwich won't float considering the number of large name stores they have there. I don't think Talbots or GAP would open another store here. I can't think of one large store that could become the anchor in a Sandwich Golden Triangle scenario. I think there were a lot of reasons people walked away from the Golden Triangle and we will probably never know all of the reasons. No, not a conspiracy theory beginning here, its reality. I think RHCI is an outstanding facility but even it has sufferred from a lack of business? One wing temporarily mothballed....nope..its all timing and its all related to the tanked economy. Sandwich is hurting in more ways than large box stores. Ask the folks who used to be our cottage industry along Route 6A how their profit margins are. How about all of those little cottages fighting to stay alive in a part time business. Sandwich was bypassed because we didn't want to grow. Well, those great schools you want to fix and support...they brought an influx of people here. So we suffer with this problematic tax base. I don't buy your theory that I must increase all of the taxes again....or it will scare business away. It is the tax base that scares them away....along with our village mentality. Developing business in Sandwich is a tough problem. I sure don't have an answer other than we just have to start sometime...trying. One more thought Anon. We are all forgetting the big cigar on the canal. That old white elephant will kill any chance we have to fix our past mistakes. If only someone could pick up Jeff Perry's torch on getting help to convert that plant to a more efficient fuel. Yes, I know, were talking federal help here.....perhaps we can ask William Keating (elect) if he can broker a deal. I am not holding my breath...methinks we mostly voted against him. Anon, I don't want to pin the past failures on anyone, I really want to find just ONE business project that this town would support...just to get the ball rolling. We need to change the perceptions. I actually agree with you that RHCI and other medical facilities are a great fit for us and great jobs for our town! However, when you look at the problems Cape Cod Healthcare has had due to the renegade surgical centers I am not sure development in that professional area will happen. This economic rock we are all stuck under will prevent any large scale development.... so, how about we start small? A baby silver triangle?

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  20. Carl Johansen Said

    Greg you and I both agree on the image we have protrayed beyond the Cape Cod Canal. This image may never be reversed.
    One way we in Sandwich could benifit is by looking how to address long term assisted living operations here in town[GOlden triangle}
    I sat in on many of the planning open forums that were given in regards to the Golden triangle development. Many objective points of veiw were presented by an assortment of all citizens. Much planning went into the way the spin would be addressed, by those that did not have an open mind in regards to this property. Those that put the meeting before the people already had preconcieved ideas that they were pushing for, irregardless of what the audience would attempt to bring forward as an idea. That was my take on many of the meetings I attended. This was the same process that got this town in the place it is now, where no large corporation or business would be made welcome to locate here.
    Some how, we as a town need to find a better way to present ourselves to the outside world of big business, that is if we are serious about bringing new tax base here long term.

    Forget the marina expansion, that has been a dead horse for over 20 years and yet no one can agree on how they would overcome increasing the marina size, only to not realize any finacial tax base for the town[ As it stands today all money generated by the marina itself on the Army Corp Property stayes in that revolving account

    It would be better for the town to privitize the marina and then they could realize some benifit. I doubt that the Army Corp would allow that, but it is an idea worth investigating.

    Developing the Sandwich Owned land around the marina would be more workable and has a potentional to bring in more tax dollars. Just think of some resort hotel and what they could build that would provide jobs and a tax base. This idea would not meet approval by all the small motel business in town, but again worth addressing for long term benifits to our town

    The longer we fail to understand that survival mean changes and changes can be benificail for all if we look at every thing with an open mind.

    I would like to think that we as a town will realize the days of the horse and buggy are over and it is time to do some soul searching into our future as a viable cape town, that advances reform ideas that still keep the true spirit of our town into the next generation

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  21. Carl Johansen Said

    Greg you and I both agree on the image we have protrayed beyond the Cape Cod Canal. This image may never be reversed.
    One way we in Sandwich could benifit is by looking how to address long term assisted living operations here in town[GOlden triangle}
    I sat in on many of the planning open forums that were given in regards to the Golden triangle development. Many objective points of veiw were presented by an assortment of all citizens. Much planning went into the way the spin would be addressed, by those that did not have an open mind in regards to this property. Those that put the meeting before the people already had preconcieved ideas that they were pushing for, irregardless of what the audience would attempt to bring forward as an idea. That was my take on many of the meetings I attended. This was the same process that got this town in the place it is now, where no large corporation or business would be made welcome to locate here.
    Some how, we as a town need to find a better way to present ourselves to the outside world of big business, that is if we are serious about bringing new tax base here long term.

    Forget the marina expansion, that has been a dead horse for over 20 years and yet no one can agree on how they would overcome increasing the marina size, only to not realize any finacial tax base for the town[ As it stands today all money generated by the marina itself on the Army Corp Property stayes in that revolving account

    It would be better for the town to privitize the marina and then they could realize some benifit. I doubt that the Army Corp would allow that, but it is an idea worth investigating.

    Developing the Sandwich Owned land around the marina would be more workable and has a potentional to bring in more tax dollars. Just think of some resort hotel and what they could build that would provide jobs and a tax base. This idea would not meet approval by all the small motel business in town, but again worth addressing for long term benifits to our town

    The longer we fail to understand that survival mean changes and changes can be benificail for all if we look at every thing with an open mind.

    I would like to think that we as a town will realize the days of the horse and buggy are over and it is time to do some soul searching into our future as a viable cape town, that advances reform ideas that still keep the true spirit of our town into the next generation

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  22. Mr. Johansen,

    If we build a hotel on the canal, do you want the balcony over facing the canal or would you like to the one facing the canal? And, should we shrink wrap the cars.

    If they tear down the plant, then will there be balconies overlooking the clean-up site?

    Braless 32A

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  23. Anon 10:52. You are right on. I am a mom of 2 (obviously). Several time a month, some friends and I carpool and go to Plymouth or Wareham to Walmart and/or Target. While there we usually grab lunch or dinner somewhere. I know we are not the only ones. Not just in Sandwich but all over the Cape. I agree that people down in Chatham, etc would probably stop here rather than keep going to Plymouth or Wareham.

    However, to somewhat contradict myself, I do like the small town charm of Sandwich. I don't want the huge elephant. Does anyone know of a "quaint" town who has added a larger store? Did it open a can of worms or did it work out?

    ALso, how about getting rid of that gross Stop and Shop on QMH and putting in a nicer store: Trader Joe's, Market Basket, Whole Foods....do we need 2 S&S? I'm sure they have a lease but there has to be a way to make that place more of a money maker.

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  24. Carl Johansen said

    To the one who inguired about the condo/hotel being built in Sandwich Owned land down at the water front.
    I envision enough parking space on the ground floor for about 75 vehicles.
    A building constructed with multiple floors in keeping with a high scale operation.
    The shape of the building would be like a triangle.

    A rotating resteraunt as the top floor, Where the view would change every hour

    By placing the triangle on the land in such a way that one side would overlook the canal,across to Plymouth. One side would overlook the State Forest to the base

    The other veiw would overlook the east end of the canal ,Cape Cod Bay, down to Barnstable.

    By building such a building in this manner one could choose the view they felt best enjoyable.

    By using solar power , it could become a green building to heat and air condition.

    Now if you want to get in on the ground floor, I could find some way to accomodate you, but you will need to be fully clothed. The management has strict policies in regards to dress codes

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  25. To Mom of 2 - Hanover, MA still retains it small town feel, even with the Hanover Mall. People drive to the mall off route 3, do there shopping and return the same way or down 53. P.S. Hanover is building a new High School. Marshfield quaint town, with commercial developments. Plymouth still has its small town charm, even with commercial developments. Could go on and on.... bottom line it can be done!

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  26. To Mom of 2,
    Sandwich is geographically spreadout enough that the Village effect could certainly be left intact. Perhaps land along the Service Road would be a perfect location for a Target-type store with easy access and eggress choices, or the Golden Triangle. I believe many folks living in Forestdale section of Sandwich would be open to a store or two like this. What stops alot of development on Cape Cod are developers that choose not to abide by regulations and local governments that support the corner cutting until the Cape Cod Commission or a State agency gets involved. Citizens have got to wake up to what the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen are allowing. If they continuously knowingly allow violations to local and state regulations, our Town does not stand a chance to fully flourish. We need intelligent leadership that seeks to attract lucrative businesses that serve the population that is here and that which would come. When an opportunity comes this way, our leadership needs to climb aboard and invite all entities (regional and state)to ask how we can work together to help make it possible. Instead, Sandwich leaders do not practice due diligence and, as a result, the Town has become a stagnant, nearly depressed Town. Many people seem to want out. With a location like ours, it seems to me that some ill-minded dynamic is working at making it that way. Those with authority (regional and state) over development in the Town are not looking favorably upon the decisions recently made by the Town. These are the very entities that must approve commercial development projects here. We need to be meeting and/or exceeding their expectations. Our leadership must stop the injustice of doing illegal favors for friends and begin waking up to just who is being hurt in that process...everyone else in the Town.

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  27. FYI to people who think RHCI is great. It doesn't pay one penny in taxes even though its assessed at 33 million dollars. Make this resource drain pay taxes just like all the riverview properties that are tax exempt.

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  28. Re: RHCI. Not true. Check with Ed Childs, town assessor, to find out how much they pay under their PILOT program.

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  29. What would be interesting is to find out how much other entities are not paying in pilot money.

    Also, if the 33 million is correct, isn't $25,000 a drop in the bucket.

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  30. Public charities, 501(c)(3)'s, which own real property file Form 3-ABC each year by March 1st with the assessors' office. The form shows the estimated fair value of the real property.

    You can obtain the assessors' valuation of the same property by going online: Go to www.sandwichmass.org, click on MAPS, then search for the property.

    The $33 million is accurate. And, yes, $25,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to multiplying $33 million times our tax rate. That would be in the vicinity of $300,000.

    Our previous board of selectmen requested that the assessing director, Ed Childs, make a concerted effort to request participation by nonprofits in PILOT programs (payment in lieu of taxes).

    This is a voluntary program and public charities are expressly exempted from paying property taxes, except for any activities that they would have to report on Form 990T (unrelated business income). So Ed's efforts in requesting participation in PILOT programs must be handled appropriately; that is, he can't be beligerent or demanding.

    Keep in mind that these public charities are not profit driven. An example is Heritage Museums & Gardens. Although the organization owns many acres of land and multiple buildings, it struggles to balance its operating budget, losing $1.2 million in 2008 alone.

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