On Monday evening, June 17, town Planning and Development Department sponsored a community workshop. The issue addressed was to test the attitude of the audience to compact housing. The target area is along Route 130 from the point where Route 130 and Cotuit Road diverge to some point along the route to Mashpee.
Ralph Vitacco, the town planning officer, kicked off the workshop at 7 PM. Next, Heather Harper from the Cape Cod Commission outlined the evening event. Then Jeremy Lake went into detail about housing density and design alternatives. He is on the staff of the Union Studio Architects and Community Design of Providence, Rhode Island.
There is no doubt that our town needs to expand the mix of housing types from predominately single-family detached dwellings to higher-density affordable ones. We also need more affordable rental units.
I am writing this letter to inform the readers that Heather Harper laid out only some of the reasons that housing affordability is a problem in Sandwich. She did not identify the fact that Sandwich is in the wrong part of the community life cycle. It is in the retrenchment phase. Also, she did not mention the ever-increasing burden of local government costs we all shoulder.
I am told by a person in the commercial real estate business that demand is weak. Taylor White, our town clerk, conducts a regular population count. The new number is 19,330. According to White, the population hit a high of 23,317 in 2009. These are two indicators of distress.
This is the best time to address one of our biggest headwinds, the never-ending increases in property taxes and fees. Who among you, readers, have had incomes that keep up with the costs of living in Sandwich in the last five years?
Who among elected leaders will step up and address this important problem?
Old County Road