Tentative Opening Set For Red Brook Harbor Club

A sign on the lifeguard stand at Queen Sewell Pond warns residents that the pond is closed to swimming.MICHAEL J. RAUSCH/ENTERPRISE - A sign on the lifeguard stand at Queen Sewell Pond warns residents that the pond is closed to swimming.

It is full steam ahead for the new Red Brook Harbor Club at Kingman Yacht Center in Cataumet. At least that is the impression marina owner Scott W. Zeien projected this week. The boating center’s website featured a page advertising the new housing development as “Coming Soon,” and Mr. Zeien said that the plan is to break ground on the new housing development sometime this winter.

Mr. Zeien said he is working with Real Estate Associates in Falmouth on presales with the idea that the first building will be ready to occupy in spring 2016, 10 years after he first brought his idea before the town.

“It’s a terrific project, and I’ve been working on it since 2006, so when these milestones happen, I get excited,” he said of the anticipated groundbreaking early next year.

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Red Brook Harbor Club will encompass 15 townhouses in four buildings built on a bluff overlooking Kingman Yacht Center. The homes will have “commanding views of Buzzards Bay due west into the sunset” as well as easy access to the marina and the Chart Room restaurant. Mr. Zeien declined to discuss cost for the homes, but did say that the prices would be “in line with upscale developments in Falmouth and New Seabury.”

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Sales of the townhouses will help pay for the cost of constructing a wastewater treatment facility to service the needs of the new homes, Mr. Zeien said. The treatment plant would be built with a large enough capacity to also service the Kingman Marina, the Chart Room and up to 50 homes in the nearby Cedar Point area. The aim is to clean up Red Brook Harbor, which has fallen victim to nitrogen loading due to the large number of homes in the area that rely on septic systems.

“This whole thing started because of Kingman Yacht Center’s desire to protect the water in Red Brook Harbor. When water quality degrades, people don’t want to go into it, and that’s bad for business,” Mr. Zeien said.

Nitrogen is leaked into Red Brook Harbor from the septic systems at private homes in Cedar Point that do not treat wastewater. The nitrogen encourages algae growth, which eventually robs the water of oxygen. The lack of oxygen threatens fish and causes degradation of shellfish habitats. Mr. Zeien said he is contemplating a public-private partnership with the Town of Bourne on construction and operation of a wastewater treatment plant. He said he is working with various organizations, such as the Buzzards Bay Coalition, on ways to develop such a partnership. He has submitted a grant application to the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency for funding of a study on how a partnership might work.

Mr. Zeien noted that if all 50 of the homes in Cedar Point tied into Red Brook Harbor Club’s wastewater system, 70 percent of the current nitrogen loading, or roughly a ton of nitrogen, would be removed from the harbor annually.

Toward that end, Mr. Zeien said that, in addition to helping pay for the cost of the wastewater treatment facility, Kingman Yacht Center will pay 50 percent of the cost for any Cedar Point homeowner to tie into the system.

“We hope it provides a model that is replicable for other areas like this, to provide wastewater treatment in a practical, affordable way,” he said.

He said that the treatment plant would not be placed on the marina property, so when the opportunity arose to purchase five adjacent acres, “it was too good to pass up.” Development of the townhouses was an afterthought as a way to pay for the treatment facility, he said.

Mr. Zeien said that he still needs to get final permitting from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for the wastewater treatment plant and licensing from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for a conduit that runs underground and beneath some railroad tracks to the treatment plant. He said all town permits are in place except for building and occupancy permits which are secured once construction is underway.

The Red Brook Harbor Club project was given final approval to move forward in September of last year, when the Bourne Conservation Commission gave its okay to the development. The conservation commission approval came less than a month after the Bourne Planning Board voted its approval. Then, on the heels of the conservation commission green-lighting the project, an appeal of the planning board’s approval was filed in Barnstable Superior Court by two homeowners in the area where the housing complex is to be built.

The appeal named the planning board and Mr. Zeien as co-defendants. Mr. Zeien said the appeal was dismissed earlier this year. He added that there has been no other opposition to the project.

“Everyone who’s had their chance to get their hands around this realizes, this is a win-win situation,” he said.

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