Sadly, I wasn’t surprised by Scott Van Voorhis’ one-sided, Jan. 9 column (“Hope in Sight for Cape Crisis?”) about the proposed 312-unit apartment complex in Hyannis. Its story line was predictable: a developer and pro-housing advocates on the Cape confronting “ornery neighbors” and “NIMBY homeowners … in their gilded retirements, prepared to run pretty much anyone out of town who has the gall to propose new housing.” 

The 40-acre Twin Brooks site is the last large open space in central Hyannis. It’s now a golf course, classified as “open space” by MassGIS. Many believe it should largely be preserved rather than built on in the way this developer proposes. The writer claims the “logic behind the opposition is not clear,” yet he fails to cite any valid concerns voiced by individuals or groups opposing this development. A better starting point would be to ask: With this land for sale, what is its best use?  

On several levels, the proposed development fails a best-use test. It would add 8.7 acres of impervious buildings and pavement at the confluence of two environmentally compromised creeks that empty into nearby Nantucket Sound. By the developer’s own calculations, it would add 1,150 additional vehicle trips per day to a two-lane road going from quiet neighborhoods to downtown Hyannis. Recurring net revenue to the town of would be only $30,000 annually. Its design is a generic, off-the-shelf suburban product, unaligned with new form-based zoning proposed by the town. With its study, “Development Pressures on Agricultural, Recreational, and Institutional Lands,” the Cape Cod Commission will hopefully bring forth creative thinking as to how to best use land such as this.  

It is an exciting time for development on Cape Cod. A 270-unit apartment complex is planned just over 2 miles from this site and opportunities for smaller developments exist in downtown Hyannis. Let’s not stereotype Cape Cod residents who care about building the housing we need while also preserving open space that our families deserve. I’m a working single mom who supports more housing but also wants a livable environment enhancing our economy. 

— Betty Ludtke, Barnstable

Cape Project Doesn’t Make Sense

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min