Sandwich Historic District Bulletin

An excerpt from the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission’s bulletin

Over the past five years of service as a member of the Sandwich Board of Selectmen, and most recently in the last year as the chairman, I have never felt more compelled to write to the Enterprise than I have over the last two weeks. During that time, members of the board have been accused of skirting a local board’s rules and law, accused of corruption by a member of the public (who also serves the town on several boards), and even this newspaper dove into the fray. These statements are in reference to our beloved boardwalk and were not taken lightly.

All members of the current board of selectmen have their own cherished memories of the boardwalk. Even for this washashore, the boardwalk is ingrained in my memories. While dating my now wife, she introduced my family and me to the boardwalk traditions she enjoyed with her grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, including floating the tides in the creek and jumping off the boardwalk.

Mr. Hoctor is chairman of the Sandwich Board of Selectmen.

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(6) comments


The excerpted regulation proves the opposite of what Mr. Hoctor is arguing. If there were a building permit within the 12 months of the Certificate authorization, then the expiration would be whichever permit expires later (building permits expire in 6 months unless extended). However, there was no building permit, therefore the certificates expired in 12 months from approval. This is no different than a Zoning Board of Appeals Special Permit or Conservation Permit which expire unless extended prior to their expiration. The Court decided a similar case when the Barnstable Housing Authority appealed an Old King's Highway decision. "The Authority contested the applicability of the one year expiration date and this issue was resolved by a prior decision of this Court holding that the Committee was correct in declining to renew the certificate after it had expired and obliging the Authority to again apply for a Certificate" (note 6 under Robert D. Stewart et Al v Old King's Highway Regional Historic District Commission).


It's public knowledge that at least 2 members of the Board of Selectmen don't buy Mr. Hoctor's argument either. What's most troubling is that he wrote this personal opinion piece as if he is representing the viewpoint of the full Board.

Robert Thomson

It would be helpful if the town would cite an example of the applicant getting to decide whether a government-issued permit has expired. After reading the letter from the select board chair, I’m kicking myself over all the times I went to renew my driver’s license just because the government put an expiration date on it.


If the town is not required to reapply to the HDC if its permits are expired, why did the town do exactly that in January after the Wing School demolition permit had expired?

And since when does an applicant dictate permit terms to an elected town board?

Selectmen Patrick Ellis and Bobby George are correct. The one-year permits are expired. Expired permits cannot be resurrected from the dead.

The town is not above the law.



What's being omitted from this impassioned explanation of the legitimate challenges and risks every developer faces, especially those with projects in historic districts, is the fact that the Town didn't rubber stamp itself an illegal building permit until after the expiration of the demolition certificate of appropriateness. So in this particular instance "WHICHEVER EXPIRATION DATE SHALL BE THE LATER" applies to the demolition certificate of appropriateness only because no associated building permit had been issued prior to it's expiration.

I suggest the Selectmen demand that the Town put any future projects into the hands of someone who has graduated from Project Management 101.


Selectman Ellis was correct in his warning that any project that has had to go to Town Counsel every step of the way to get to the next stage should raise the red flags high enough to guide the Town off it's current path of self-undoing. (Select Board Meeting - 5/25/2023 - 1:04)

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