Home News On a Cape Cod golf course, the region’s housing crisis comes to a head

On a Cape Cod golf course, the region’s housing crisis comes to a head

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“This is not about one apartment block, it’s about the sustained economic vitality of the area.”

Janet Milkman, Executive Director of Barnstable Land Trust, is pictured on a footbridge across a small pond on the sixth green of Twin Brooks Golf Course in Hyannis.

Barn — Here, a sense of peace permeates the air. swirling wind Above shady greens, among the bright orange foliage that lines the fairways, and under the wings of shorebirds that swim overhead.

Janet Milkman stops on a grassy ridge and takes it all in, sighs and shakes her head. “Why would anyone want to develop this?” she says.

exactly Serenity as Milkman walks the grounds of Twin Brooks Golf Course — 40 acres of greens and fairways Hyannis, about a mile from the Atlantic Ocean—on a pleasant autumn day. But even here, fierce battles are being fought over what this place will become, some say, over Cape Cod’s economic future.

Despite its charm and prime location, the 1960s-built Twin Brooks has long struggled to attract patrons due to its short layout. I’ve owned it since 2007 (Quarterra didn’t disclose how much it will pay).

Quarterra plans to build 312 apartments on the site spread across 13 residential buildings. – Quarterra

It plans to construct 13 buildings with 312 apartments.it’s kind of Housing advocates say Cape desperately needs to contend with its severe housing shortage. pressuring the workforce It supports the local economy at an alarming pace. 48% already local workforce I commute across the bridge that connects the Cape to the mainland.

However, the backlash from the community against the development is strong, and it is still swelling as we get closer to approval. hope that as a large band of Open space, ‘Central Park on Cape Cod’. There was talk of litigation if the project moved forward.

It’s a familiar story A place where residents often get hairy when mentioning large apartment complexes.

The emergence of apartments here would represent a significant departure from the Cape’s historical development pattern of single-family homes. For the past decade, the area has allowed four single-family homes for each approved multifamily unit.

At the same time, they served a deeply growing need. Recent reports More than 800 families with annual incomes under $100,000 are estimated to leave Cape Cod every year through 2026, according to real estate analytics firm Concord Group. Housing within your income. The area’s rental housing stock is 99% occupied, and the report finds it is shrinking.

Regardless of the outcome, the uphill battle for approval could take at least another year, and could lead to an even fiercer battle if developers forced the issue. 40B Appeal, a state law designed to encourage the construction of affordable housing in communities where it is not. And the intensity of the struggle provides a case study as to why even communities facing the worst of the state’s housing crisis are struggling to produce more units.

“We are at a critical point,” said Paul Nietzwiecki, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. And if there is no change in how we look at development, when? It is about economic vitality.”

It’s easy to understand why some residents want to preserve this place. Surrounded by two cascading streams and a thicket of trees, the course is a picturesque green strip just a short walk from Main Street.

save twin brooksA group of residents on the front lines of the opposition describe it as more than a golf course. Yes, say residents. urban wildlife sanctuaryDozens of bird and mammal species live along the protected wetlands. They argue that the proposed development will destroy habitats, pollute streams and erode wetlands.

Twin Brooks Golf Course in Hyannis. – Andrew Brinker

“If these apartments are built, it will be nothing short of an environmental disaster,” said John Ale, a former attorney representing the residents’ group. “We understand the desire for housing, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of a beautiful property like this.”

Buildings on Cape Cod are often messy. It is estimated that more than 80% of his land in this area is already developed or under protection restrictions. environmental concerns Around large projects, it’s virtually a given.

In the case of Twin Brooks, however, supporters and some environmentalists dispute claims that the site is particularly delicate and that despite its beauty, its environmental value is limited. I am chanting Report published last year Twin Brooks has been named one of the best locations in Barnstable for residential development by two major local advocacy groups.

That’s because the local government of the Cape decided to build a golf course. developed land Contaminated by long-standing chemical grass Treatment and careful landscaping can minimize the detrimental effects of new development on these plots and perhaps even result in less carbon dioxide runoff. Twin Brooks also has access to municipal sewers, unlike most of the Cape. This means that pollution issues are inherently limited compared to other properties that don’t have the same luxuries.

If built, the complex would be one of the largest new Rob Brennan, a managing partner at development firm Capebilt and a lawyer representing large multifamily projects on Cape Cod, said some multifamily developers could face bitter, almost reflexive opposition. He said that knowing the sex and avoiding this area is also a factor. cape.

“Developers should be scrutinized and the community should be listened to,” he said. “But at the Cape, I think people will be particularly furious. In many cases, that means the approval process can drag on for years.”

The creeks that make up Twin Brooks flow into the mouth of Stewart’s Creek, pictured here. – Barry Chin/Glove Staff

The construction of single-family homes is far Outpaced the pace of multifamily development Over the last 40 years in Barnstable County today single-family homes make up over 80% of the total housing stock in the Cape compared to 52% for the state as a whole.

Some local leaders argue that this kind of development is far worse for the environment than building larger, denser multifamily homes designed to coexist with open spaces. Niedzwiecki, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, said the widespread single-family building is like “death from 1,000 cuts.”

“We have seen what existing development patterns are doing for us in the Cape: on a very broad scale, fragmented landscapes, poor water quality, heavy traffic and a decline in vacant land. brings,” said Executive Andrew Gottlieb. Director of the Association to Save Cape Cod, an environmental group that helped produce the development report. “I have some minor concerns about Twin Brooks, but they pale in comparison to my concerns about how our area sees development overall.”

Milkman, executive director of the Barnstable Land Trust, a group working to protect environmentally valuable land parcels on the Cape, said: He said residents’ concerns go far beyond the environment. Some worry that the complex will exacerbate traffic problems in nearby roundabouts. Others characterize the golf course as the last remaining green space near downtown Hyannis.

They are happy to fight, regardless of their motives.

group of milkmen proposed an alternative This halves the number of apartments and frees up some of the property for open space. And in a public meeting, residents appealed to the Cape Cod Commission. Approve Project — Block. Save Twin Brooks are preparing to sue if the project moves forward.

The banks of the Stewarts Creek estuary are lined with reeds, an invasive reed species that grows in wetlands. – Barry Chin/Glove Staff

Dan Lee, head of Quartara’s New England division, said the developers had repeatedly attended public meetings and made many changes to the plan based on community feedback, including increasing the number of income-restricted units, You said you moved one building further. from wetlands.

Yale, a representative of Save Twin Brooks, which has a second home in Hyannis, said these concessions did not address what he described as a shortage of vacant land in the town. While he admits it is difficult to collect, he hopes to stop the sale and find a way for community stakeholders to purchase the course.・He suggested that a project like Brooks’ proposal was not necessary.

“A lot of the time people move to Cape Cod to buy a house. “And there are hundreds of new housing units recently permitted across the Cape.”

But in many ways, Alisa Magnotta, CEO of the Cape’s leading housing advocacy group, the Housing Assistance Corporation, said more was urgently needed and a place to build it on the scale of Twin Brooks. said little. She paints the argument in almost existential terms.

“People are beating out the Twin Brooks project, but these people are people who don’t have to think about our housing crisis or have a broader perspective,” she said. If we can’t contain our members, that’s it. Our society dies. Our community dies.”

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