A proposal to build a house on a Route 6A lot near the Twin Ponds in East Sandwich is creating some friction within the neighborhood.
The 2.5-acre property is surrounded by wetlands on three sides with a potential vernal pool in the middle—exactly where the home would be sited.
Last week, Peter B. Smith who lives next door to the property, raised concerns with the Sandwich Conservation Commission about this proposed single-family home.
“I would urge the commission to decline the application. One of the reasons that this lot has been investigated and abandoned so many times is not only is there wetland on three sides, but the area in the middle that the applicant wants to fill in is a vernal pool, where I have personally witnessed lots of wildlife including salamanders, turtles, and water fowl,” Mr. Smith said.
But Cary M. Casoli, the man wanting to build the home, said the wetland in the center of the lot is not a vernal pool.
He questioned Mr. Smith’s motives for asking the commission to deny the application. He said Mr. Smith himself had once considered buying the land and building a house there.
“I want to build the house in the same part of the lot that Mr. Smith had considered building a home. But he missed out on the opportunity. He can’t have it now and he wants to oppose my project. He loses credibility,” Mr. Casoli said.
Mr. Smith said he did not miss out on the opportunity but rather voluntarily abandoned the idea.
“I, too, investigated the idea of developing this lot. Like others, the conclusion that it is not a buildable lot was drawn. Experienced professionals have given up on this property, and that is indicative of Mr. Casoli’s lack of local knowledge and understanding,” Mr. Smith said.
Even beyond the issues of the wetlands and whether the lot is buildable, Mr. Smith took offense to a letter he received from Mr. Casoli regarding his application to build on the lot.
In that letter, Mr. Casoli stated, “I will try every way possible to get a home on this lot. Should the town deny a permit to build in the same area as you were going to propose, then I will ask for a permit to build near your shed. If you oppose this, and the town denies me, then I will ask to put a driveway along the lot line [between us]. The more you oppose me will only force me to ask to build closer to you. If the town still denies me, then I will move forward with plans for a 40B low-income housing on this lot. The state law will allow me to fill in the wet spot in the center of the lot and allow me more buildable area. I would then propose two two-family townhome-style houses but they would have to be low-income housing. I have done the math and I can make more money going this route instead of just one single-family home. I don’t think you would want a 40B project next to you.”
Mr. Smith said he considers the letter a threat and urged the commission to consider it one, too.
“Mr. Casoli is not only threatening me but this commission and the Town of Sandwich as well,” Mr. Smith said.
But conservation commission Chairman Christopher J. Kirrane refused to consider the contents of Mr. Casoli’s letter in the commission’s decision. After reading the letter, Mr. Kirrane told Mr. Smith that it was outside the jurisdiction of the commission and that the commission could only consider the issue of wetlands and disturbance of sensitive areas.
Mr. Casoli said he never intended for the letter to be a threat and was just pointing out that if the commission forces him to move the location of the home, his only other options would be to site it closer to the property line, and thus Mr. Smith’s home.
“I’m not interested in building a 40B project. I want to build a single-family home and I want to make it look like an old-style, single-family Cape home. I will put the house wherever the commission tells me to,” he said.
Though the commissioners did not weigh in on the issue of the letter, they did question why the driveway has to be sited in the center of the lot, running directly over wetlands, rather than closer to the east or west side of the property.
“We are trying to preserve the view of the site from Route 6A,” said John M. Vaccaro, president of Vaccaro Environmental Consulting, who represented Mr. Casoli at the conservation commission meeting.
The members agreed that they need to personally visit the property before making any decisions on the application. The conservation commission will meet again on Wednesday at 7 PM in the lower level meeting room of the town hall offices on Jan Sebastian Drive.