Town Council Meeting – Thursday, September 7, 2023

The September 7, 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 8 (formerly Channel 18) or in High Definition on Xfinity Channel 1072 or live stream through the Town website. Town Council President Matthew Levesque called the meeting to order and Assistant Town Clerk Janet Murphy took the Roll Call. Next was the Pledge of Allegiance and a Moment of Silence.

Next was Public Comment which was followed by Council Response to Public Comment.

President Levesque announced that Mr. Ells’ Town Manager Communications for the period of August 18-September 7, 2023 has been pre-recorded and was shown on our Government Access Channel prior to the meeting. The recorded version of Mr. Ells’ Town Manager Communications can be viewed here and the itemized list is shared below:

  1. We are proceeding with the budget action calendar for FY 2025. The action items in the budget calendar include the meetings of the Town Council and School Committee Joint meeting to be held at the second Town Council meeting in October.  We are also preparing the budget instruction for FY 2025 with planned distribution in September and have attached the FY 2025 Budget Action Calendar for review.  For information on our fiscal year budgets please view the Town’s Open Budget website at
  2. At the September 21, 2023 Town Council meeting we anticipate two workshops regarding the Taking of Private Roads and Flow-Neutral by-laws
  3. This past Monday September 4th Recreation completed the last official day of beach operations for the season. I would like to thank all of the staff throughout multiple departments and seasonal staff for their efforts in ensuring a safe and enjoyable summer.  Please be aware that we no longer have lifeguards or other staff, and bathroom facilities will not be open.  We have portable bathrooms at most locations, scheduled to stay out through October 9th.  Similar to the preseason, the Town of Barnstable’s D.P.W. will secure gated beaches beginning at 9pm and will begin opening the gates at 5am daily through October 9th.  Gated beaches include Kalmus, Sea St./Keyes, Covell’s, Craigville, Dowses, Hathaway’s Pond and both parking lots at Long Beach.
  4. On September 1, 2023 the Town of Barnstable filed its application for a Watershed Permit, in accordance with 314 CMR 21.00, Watershed Permit Regulations. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection approved revision to Title 5 and Watershed Permit on July 7, 2023.  Filing of an application for a Watershed Permit is the next step in the process for our community to determine future actions required under the revised Title 5 and Watershed permit regulations.  This application consists of a request for a Watershed Permit covering the entirety of the Town and its identified watersheds, in accordance with our Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan’s (CWMP).  We are also planning to meet with the Town of Mashpee regarding our application as it relates to the Inter Municipal Agreement with Mashpee and Sandwich for Shoestring/Popponessett Bay.  We await further discussion with the Mass DEP regarding this application and will keep the Town advised of our progress.
  5. The Town of Barnstable is now a Complete Streets community with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s approval of Barnstable’s Prioritization Plan. By receiving this approval it makes Barnstable eligible for state design and construction funding.  Complete Streets are designed for people of all ages and all abilities that prioritize safety, comfort and accessibility. In adopting a Complete Streets Policy, a municipality commits to plan, design, maintain and operate right-of-ways, as determined feasible and practical, to improve the quality of life for their community.
  6. The Department of Public Works provides the Town of Barnstable Water Resource Management planning in coordination with the Water Districts in our Town. The DPW has completed a New Source Evaluation Report in 2019 for drinking water in Barnstable.  The specific focus of this study is on the Hyannis Water system but the information is important for long term water supply in our entire community.  In the report a water deficit is discussed which has led to further discussion as to what that means.  It means that the system in Hyannis needs additional options for water supply in the event that we experience loss of some of our existing water supply wells.  This is primarily focused on planning for redundancy in the water supply system so if we need to take a water supply well off line we can do so when needed and as needed.  DPW is preparing addition information regarding the efforts and our community will be hearing more about this in the future.  Concurrent with that study we have proceeded with design of a filtration system on the Straightway well with design/permitting complete in 2025 and construction thereafter.  We will keep you advised as we progress on this effort.
  7. PFAS, the “forever chemical” remains in the forefront of our discussions. We expect that new regulation will be proposed by Mass DEP in the near future that will have significant impacts on Cape Cod as we draw our drinking water from the aquifer that we live on.  Every resident of our community should be aware that as detection ability and regulatory threshold advance relative to these emerging contaminants, it is not only fire foam that introduces these chemical into our environment but also household items that we as consumers commonly use.  Therefore, we are accelerating our municipal education of the public of what these emerging contaminants are, where they come from, how they impact us, and what can we do to remove them from our environment.  Many residents ask me questions regarding a water supply well or a wastewater treatment plant being the source of emerging contaminants.  I answer that water systems and wastewater treatment plants are simply the conduit through which water passes containing these chemicals.  The source of the contamination varying depending on land use but in many cases we who live here contribute to release of these chemicals or even expose ourselves through produces we purchase and use without any knowledge of that impact.  We plan to continue this discussion in future communications to better inform our public as to this important matter.

Town Manager Mark Ells was asked to the podium to respond to Councilors’ questions. Planning & Development Director Elizabeth Jenkins provided some information regarding the Town’s Completes Streets designation and other topics requested by the Council.

The Council voted to approve Public Session Minutes:  August 17, 2023.

Next was Communications from elected officials, boards, committees, and staff, commission reports, correspondence and announcements.

Chris Gonnella, Director of Community Services, introduced a Presentation from Dr. Caitlin Coyle from the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston Age & Dementia Friendly Barnstable – An Action Plan. Kelly Howley, Council on Aging Director, provided the next steps and Patty Sullivan, Program Director Dementia Friendly Massachusetts, Massachusetts Councils on Aging, spoke to the support her program will be providing going forward.  The PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.

President Levesque started the Orders of the Day.  


AGENDA ITEM 2024-025 Appropriation Order in the amount of $141,655 to supplement funding for the demolition of the Osterville Recreation Building located at 93 West Bay Road, Osterville, MA  

Presented by DPW Director Dan Santos. The item was approved.

AGENDA ITEM 2024-027 Appropriation Order in the amount of $20,000 and authorization to expend a grant in the amount of $72,000 from the Natural Resource Conservation Service for the purpose of funding stormwater improvements on Clamshell Cove Road

Presented by DPW Director Dan Santos. The item was approved.

AGENDA ITEM 2024-028 Appropriation Order in the amount of $130,000 and authorization to expend a grant in the amount of $625,000 from the Natural Resource Conservation Service for the purpose of funding the Lake Elizabeth Fishway Design, Permitting and Construction Project

Presented by DPW Director Dan Santos. The item was approved.

President Levesque took a couple of New Business items out of order.

AGENDA ITEM 2024-034 Authorization to expend a 2023 Grant Round Massachusetts Dredging Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Economic Development in the amount of $300,000 for the Cotuit Bay Entrance and Embayment Channel Dredging Project

Presented by DPW Director Dan Santos. The item was approved.

AGENDA ITEM 2024-037 Order to petition the General Court of the Commonwealth to enact special legislation approving the change the use of approximately 3,400 square feet of land within the Craigville Beach parking lot

Presented by DPW Director Dan Santos and Town Attorney Karen Nober. Attorney Nober introduced the new First Assistant Town Attorney Tom LaRosa to the Town Council. The item was approved. The PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-031 Appointments to a Board/Committee/Commission: Disability Commission: Patricia Erickson-Taylor, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/30/2025; Zoning Board of Appeals: Emanuel Alves, as an associate member to a term expiring 06/30/2024

Presented by Town Councilor Paula Schnepp. The item was approved.

AGENDA ITEM 2024-032 Reappointments to a Board/Committee/Commission: Council on Aging: Ella Rollins, as a regular member to a term expiring 06/30/2026; Historical Commission: Barbara DeBiase from an alternate member to a regular member position to a term expiring 06/30/2026

Presented by Town Councilor Paula Schnepp. The item was approved. 


AGENDA ITEM 2024-035 Authorization to expend a Fiscal Year 2024 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action Grant in the amount of $199,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the development of a Hyannis Harbor Master Plan

Presented by Planning & Development Director Elizabeth Jenkins. The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-036 Order waiving inspection fees for public libraries in the Town of Barnstable for a period of one

year was referred to a Public Hearing 09/21/2023.


The next regularly scheduled Town Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, September 21, 2023. The public is able to view through Xfinity Channel 8 (Xfinity 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:  The meeting Agenda will be available on the Town of Barnstable’s website (