Town Council Meeting – Thursday, July 20, 2023
The July 20, 2023 Meeting of the Barnstable Town Council was conducted in person. The public was able to attend in person or participate remotely in Public Comment or during a Public Hearing via Zoom. The public was able to view the meeting on Barnstable Government Access Channel 18 (now available in High Definition on Comcast Channel 1072) or live stream through the Town website. Town Council President Matthew Levesque called the meeting to order and Massachusetts Town Clerk of the Year Ann Quirk took the Roll Call. President Levesque led the Pledge of Allegiance. Councilor Jessica Rapp Grassetti offered the Moment of Silence for Deacon Paul Roma, a former Building Commissioner and longtime Cotuit resident who recently passed. President Levesque went down to the podium to recognize Ann M. Quirk, 2023 Massachusetts Town Clerk of the Year, who received a standing ovation.
President Levesque announced that Mr. Ells’ Town Manager Communications for the period of June 16-July 20, 2023 has been recorded and was shown on Channel 18 prior to the meeting. The recorded version of Mr. Ells’ Town Manager Communications can be viewed here and the itemized list is shared below:
- Some of the preliminary Fiscal Year 2024 tax bills recently mailed to Town of Barnstable taxpayers were incorrect. The Fiscal Year 2024 preliminary tax bills should equal one-half of a taxpayer’s Fiscal Year 2023 tax but in some cases it was more or less for approximately 1600 real estate accounts; with a majority of them being under billed. This appears to be associated with taxpayers that either received an abatement or exemption against their Fiscal Year 2023 tax bill or some other adjustment. Town staff is working with our software vendor to identify the issue. There will be no fees or interest charged to taxpayers impacted by this matter on the preliminary tax bills if paid by 11/1/2023. The Town’s Tax office mailed letters to impacted taxpayers on July 19th indicating the correct amount of tax due by November 1. Additionally, town staff will provide mortgage escrow companies with the corrected tax bill information so that escrow accounts are not impacted. In the meantime, anyone who thinks their preliminary tax bills are incorrect can contact the Tax Collector’s office at 508-862-4054 for further guidance.
- The Town Manager’s Office held a second public hearing on proposed Grant of Location regulations on July 12, 2023. The regulations address procedures and standards for the placement of wireless communication facilities in the public rights of way. The full text of the proposed regulations, revised to address comments submitted in connection with the first public hearing on March 23, 2023, and a recording of the July 12th hearing is available on the Town of Barnstable website at https://townofbarnstable.us/Departments/TownManager/Projects/Draft-Grant-of-Location-Regulations.asp. Written public comments on the regulations will be accepted through close of business on Friday, July 28, 2023. Submit comments in writing to: Elizabeth Jenkins, Director of Planning & Development, firstname.lastname@example.org 367 Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601.
- On July 14, 2023 Nina Coleman, Director of Natural Resources, notified me that the draft Beach Management Plan for the Protection of Piping Plovers at Craigville and Covell’s Beach for Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) has been submitted for review.
Upon approval, the permit will be good for 5 years and will allow such activities as:
- The town could rake for seaweed/debris removal before April 1.
- The town could rake for litter control bi-weekly starting July 1st.
- The town could remove excessive storm wrack for “health concerns” at any time of the year.
- The town could install beach amenities and host special events.
All these activities will require Natural Resources staff to monitor Piping Plovers and report to Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) at the end of the season. Director Coleman will provide a recorded update regarding this draft plan. Staff will also proceed with Beach Management Plans for other areas requiring MESA permits in Barnstable.
- Discussions continue with state officials on the regulatory changes to Title 5 and Watershed Permit and state funding support to communities for the implement the regulations. The regulatory changes have been approved and did go into effect on July 7, 2023. We continue meetings later this week with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the application process for approval of Barnstable’s Nitrogen Management Plan. Separate discussions are continuing with the State regarding funding assistance to communities that are proceeding with implementation of their Nitrogen Management Plans. We will keep you advised of our progress on this matter.
- Comcast recently informed the Town of upcoming channel lineup changes. All Comcast customers will receive notice of these changes but as the changes will affect our Government Access Station as well as our Public Access Station. Starting on or around August 17th the Town of Barnstable’s Government access channel will no longer be found on Comcast Channel 18. It will be on channels 8 or 1070 after August 17th. As previously reported, recent upgrades to the Town’s Government Access television station programming can be found in high definition on Comcast Channel 1072. As always, government access programing can be accessed 24/7 on the Town website via the livestream or our video on demand archives. Other changes include our Public access channel, otherwise known as the Cape Media Center, which will be able to be viewed on Comcast channel 9 after August 17th.
- We have had a successful launch of My Barnstable, a push notification mobile application powered by GOGov. The app is a great source of information for town news, events, service interruptions and updates, and important links to the town’s website. Town staff can streamline important community communications and information to citizens in more efficient ways. The addition of this app to the Town’s communications tools is in direct response to requests through last winter’s Communications Survey. To date there have been almost 2,500 downloads of the app.
- The town is pleased to announce that modifications have been made to a hiking and biking trail that starts behind the US Custom house property in Barnstable village and travels south through the abutting properties. A new boardwalk relocated the trail away from a wetland habitat and allows the public to enjoy this trail minimizing impact on this sensitive area. In the spring this habitat area is very wet, which resulted in limited travel through the area on the old path. The trail relocation and wooden boardwalk construction was completed in cooperation with the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA), who provided the labor. The Town handled the Notice of Intent, design and materials. Special thanks to Lev Malakhoff and his team of NEMBA volunteers for their labor and construction skills allowing this project to be completed.
- People of Action, the Barnstable Police Department and the Town of Barnstable are proud to announce the 7th Annual Barnstable Unity Day Celebration on the Hyannis Village Green, 367 Main Street, Hyannis on Friday, August 4, 2023, from 4:00-7:00 PM. The event is intended to welcome and engage the community and local police together in a fun, inclusive, and memorable celebration. Come show everyone that Barnstable is a special and unique place with strong and caring community bonds. We are excited that the Breakaway X-GRILL will be on hand again this year to cook up burgers and hot dogs. The event is free and open to all and will include food (and ice-cream!), music, dancing, and fun activities for all ages. Please bring your own chairs and blankets and join us for a beautiful summer evening on the Hyannis Village Green.
- Elizabeth Jenkins, Director of Planning and Development, will provide an update on the Local Comprehensive Plan.
- Kelly Collopy, Communications Manager for the Public Works Department, will provide an update on Water Resource Management planning including the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan. Ms. Collopy’s PowerPoint can be viewed here.
The Council voted to approve Public Session Minutes: June 15, 2023
Next was Communications from elected officials, boards, committees, and staff, commission reports, correspondence and announcements.
President Levesque started the Orders of the Day and took Agenda Item 2023-203 out of order.
2023-203 Amending the Code of the Town of Barnstable, Part I, General Ordinances, Chapter 168, Section 168-5, to conform to Chapter D of the Code of the Cape Cod Commission Regulations of General Application received a Public Hearing. Presented by Assistant Town Attorney Kate Connolly and Planning & Development Director Elizabeth Jenkins. Town Attorney Karen Nober assisted in responding to questions. A PROPOSED AMENDMENT to the item was approved.
By adding the following sentence at the end of Section 1:
“If there is filed with the Town Clerk a written protest against the zoning relief sought by a regulatory agreement, which is received at least four (4) business days prior to the opening of the public hearing by Town Council, and which states the reasons and is duly signed by owners of fifty percent (50%) or more of the area of the land proposed to be afforded such zoning relief or of the area of land immediately adjacent extending 300 feet therefrom, the vote of the Town Council to recommend execution of the regulatory agreement shall be a two-thirds vote of all members.”
By adding the following sentence at the end of Section 2:
“If there is filed with the Town Clerk a written protest against the zoning relief sought by a regulatory agreement, which is received at least four (4) business days prior to the opening of the public hearing by Town Council, and which states the reasons and is duly signed by owners of fifty percent (50%) or more of the area of the land proposed to be afforded such zoning relief or of the area of land immediately adjacent extending 300 feet therefrom, the Town Manager shall obtain a two-thirds vote of all members of the Town Council to authorize the execution of the regulatory agreement.
President Levesque passed the gavel to Vice President Cullum so he could speak to the item. Vice President Cullum retained control of the gavel until the item’s conclusion.
Director Jenkins showed a map of the Growth Incentive Zone and Regulatory Agreement District.
A motion to withdraw the item passed.
2023-196 Amending the Administrative Code, Chapter 241, Article III, Multiple-Member Appointive Organization, § 241-44.5 Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee
Presented by Ann Canedy, Chair of the Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee. The item was approved.
2023-197 Amending the Administrative Code, Chapter 241, Article III, Multiple-Member Appointive Organization, § 241-38.A, Hyannis Water Board
Presented by Dan Santos, Director of Department of Public Works. The item was approved.
2023-199 Amending the Code of the Town of Barnstable, Part I General Ordinances, Chapter 183, to remove the income limitations from the eligibility requirements for the Senior and Veterans Property Tax Work-Off Abatement Programs Presented by Mark Milne, Finance Director. The item was approved.
2023-200 Appropriation Order in the amount of $3,500,000 for portable classrooms at Barnstable Community Innovation School and Hyannis West Elementary School
Presented by Barnstable Public Schools Superintendent Sara Ahern and Mike Lambros, Director of Facilities.
Superintendent Ahern’s PowerPoint can be viewed here. The item was approved.
2023-202 Reappointments to a Board/Committee/Commission: Comprehensive Financial Advisory Board: Wendy Soloman, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/30/2026; Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee: Elissa Crowley, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/30/2026; Douglas Payson, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/30/2026; Shellfish Committee: Patricia Farinha, as a member holding a family permit, to a term expiring 06/30/2026; Zoning Board of Appeals: Denise Thorne-Johnson, as an associate member, to a term expiring 06/2026; Mark Hansen, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/30/2026
Presented by Councilor Paula Schnepp. The item was approved.
2023-204 Order authorizing the Town Manager to negotiate and execute a 99-year lease with the trustee of the Parker Lombard Trust for the building known as the West Barnstable Train Station and the land on which it is located
Presented by David Anthony, Director of Asset Management. The item was approved.
2023-205 Order authorizing the taking of road easements by eminent domain for sewer and water purposes over certain private roads in Centerville and Hyannis known as Sunrise Road, Laura Road, Aurora Avenue, Wequaquet Avenue, Gregoire Circle, Portion of Midway Drive, Dacey Drive, Crestview Circle, Regatta Drive and Crosby Road
Presented by Charles McLaughlin, Senior Counsel. The item was approved.
2023-206 Appropriation Order in the amount of $195,000 for the purpose of acquiring by purchase or eminent domain a five-year temporary construction easement and a permanent easement for shared use path, sewer and water purposes in land abutting Bearse’s Way, with an address of 1174 Pitcher’s Way, Hyannis, MA, owned by Windmill Square LLC Presented by Charles McLaughlin, Senior Counsel. The item was approved.
NEW BUSINESS started with taking Agenda Item 2024-015 out of order.
2024-015 Resolution to dedicate town land that is part of the Bearse’s Way Shared Use Path Project to public use (
Presented by Charles McLaughlin, Senior Counsel. The item was approved.
2024-001 Authorization to reallocate the remaining $36,714 of Community Preservation Historic Preservation Funds granted under appropriation order 2022-035 for the restoration work at Sturgis Library to be used for the replacement of the failing climate control system at Sturgis Library was Continued to 08/17/2023.
2024-002 Rescission of previously authorized Loan Orders (May be acted upon) (Majority vote)
Presented by Mark Milne, Finance Director. The item was approved.
2024-003 Appropriation and Loan Order in the amount of $1,400,000 for purpose of funding Sewer Lateral Riser Construction Referred to Public Hearing on 08/17/2023.
2024-004 Appointments to a Board/Committee/Commission: Historical Commission: Robert Frazee, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/2026; Human Services Committee: Sheree Kay, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/2024 Referred to Second Reading on 08/17/2023.
2024-005 Reappointments to a Board/Committee/Commission: Human Services Committee: Representative Steven Xiarhos as a regular member to a term expiring 06/2026; Hyannis Main Street Waterfront Historic District Commission: Kevin Matthews as an alternate member to a term expiring 06/2026; Waterways Committee: Paul Everson as a regular member to a term expiring 06/2026 Referred to Second Reading on 08/17/2023.
2024-006 Resolve authorizing sale of surplus municipal property located at 259 Barnstable Road, as shown on Assessors Map 310, Parcel 171, in Hyannis, MA, to Bass River Properties Management Corp., Inc.
Presented by David Anthony, Director of Asset Management. This item was approved.
2024-007 Authorization to expend a Fiscal Year 2024 Jail/Arrest Diversion Program Component Grant in the amount of $103,236 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Mental Health
Presented by Barnstable Police Chief Matthew Sonnabend. This item was approved.
2024-008 Authorization to expend a Fiscal Year 2024 Jail/Arrest Diversion Program Co-Responder Grant in the amount of $106,757 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Mental Health
Presented by Barnstable Police Chief Matthew Sonnabend. This item was approved.
2024-009 Authorization to expend a Massachusetts Department of Transportation – Aeronautics Division Fiscal Year 2023 Grants for airport projects, authorization to sign the related grant assurances and delegation of authority to the Town Manager to sign future grant assurances
Presented by Charles McLaughlin, Senior Counsel, and Katie Servis, Cape Cod Gateway Airport Manager. Finance Director Milne was on hand to answer a question. This item was approved.
The Council voted to extend the meeting beyond 11: 00 PM.
2024-010 Appropriation and Loan Order in the amount of $75,000 for the purpose of funding temporary repairs to Rosewood Lane in the Village of Cotuit pursuant to Temporary Repairs to Private Roads Program for Certain Private Roads Referred to Public Hearing on 08/17/2023.
2024-011 Determination Under Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A Regarding Participation in Decisions Relating to Potential Changes to Employee Benefits
Presented by Karen Nober, Town Attorney. This item was approved.
2024-014 Authorization to Expend a Fiscal Year 2023 Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in the amount of $100,000 for the evaluation and design for the Mill Pond Dam Fish Passage Improvements Project
Presented by Dan Santos, Director, Department of Public Works. This item was approved.
2024-016 Resolve approving a letter to the Governor of Massachusetts in support of ensuring the long-term financial viability of the Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Fund
Presented by Town Council President Levesque. This item was approved.
The next regularly scheduled Town Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 17, 2023. The public is able to view through Comcast Channel 8* (Comcast High Definition Channel 1072) or Live Streaming on the Town of Barnstable’s website. Real-time public comment may be addressed to the Barnstable Town Council utilizing the Zoom video link or telephone number and access meeting code which will be included on the Agenda. Written Comments may be submitted to: https://tobweb.town.barnstable.ma.us/boardscommittees/towncouncil/Town_Council/Agenda-Comment.asp. The meeting Agenda will be available on the Town of Barnstable’s website (www.townofbarnstable.us).
*Effective around August 17th, Comcast has changed the channel lineup.