Letter to the Editor: Proposed Town Ordinances Face More Criticism

Another Barnstable resident sounds off on several proposed town ordinances.

To The Editor:
I am greatly troubled about the about the harmful community impact which will be produced by the passage of five highly controversial Town of Barnstable ordinances which are scheduled for a December 6th town hall hearing.
As drafted in their existing form, the combination of proposed ordinances numbered 2013-031, -032, -033, -34 and -035 will result in gross violations of the federal and state fair housing rights of the most vulnerable members of our municipality, including the disabled, low-income persons, minorities and the homeless. Furthermore, they will drastically infringe upon the private property rights of local homeowners and business people alike.
Based upon their publicly presented oral and written statements, the proponents of these unsound measures are clearly motivated by a self-centered and unrealistic NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude filled with arrogant self-righteous indignation of what Barnstable should and should not be like. If they could have their way, these nosey busy-bodies would also inconveniently spread publicly assisted social service, human service and medical provider offerings from one far end of town to the other. They would aggravate an already dire homeless problem by trying to force the closure of the NOAH shelter in Hyannis, and they would try to impose their concept of how you landscape or decorate your private residence. Their unwise proposals to the Barnstable Town Council must be defeated!
Filled with grandiose self-imagery, these self-styled agents of change of the Greater Hyannis Civic Association are trying to sell the rest of us onto a bill of goods that simply is not what they would have us believe. They have been attempting to paint an altruistic and utopian outcome from passage of the aforementioned measures; however, such will not truly be the case. Intolerable infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed right to equal protection of the law upon many of us who have resided in this town for generations is what the actual result will be. For these reasons, a formal request has been made to the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the United States Department of Justice – Civil Rights Division to monitor, scrutinize and take all appropriate action necessary to protect community members who are being unfairly targeted by these controversial and discriminatory “vigilante-style” ordinances.
As mentioned earlier, a public hearing on the proposed ordinances is set for Thursday, 12/06/2012 at the Barnstable Town Hall. All are highly encouraged to attend and express their concerns.
Sincerely yours,
Ron Beaty
West Barnstable

RON BEATY November 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM
The following information was provided to me by another concerned Barnstable citizen: "...the proposed orders are all General Ordinances, hence they only require a majority vote of the council, not a 2/3 vote as a zoning ordinance requires. Perhaps that is why Legal took the general route rather than the zoning route." For the record, though the proposed "Problem Property" ordinances are being presented as "general ordinances" they are nonetheless actually "zoning ordinances." Why is this important? ...because if they are passed by the Town Council in their current form, then it is the grounds necessary for these local laws to be tossed out and declared illegal in any court challenge which will most assuredly come afterwards. It already happened last year in a case before the Mass. Court of Appeals involving the Town of Barnstable in which they lost the case...and thereby created new case law on the subject....Spenlinhauer v. Town of Barnstable, "When is a General Ordinance Really a Zoning Ordinance?" http://masslawlib.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-is-general-ordinance-really-zoning.html This is only one example of the many problems which exist with these proposals. It would be very wise for everyone to follow the sound advice previously enunciated by Council President Chirigotis in that the council should appropriately take its time to fully weigh and deliberate the proposals so they do not cause more harm than good...
bluefish November 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Mr. Beaty, being an avid reader of this online "paper" I see you comment from time to time. I just want to say, Thank you ! You always have our backs, you always check up on things the average person doesn't, you look under the wrapper and I, for one, applaud you. There is nothing worse than under-handed politics, and I am afraid that Barnstable is famous for that. Thank you, for if I had not read this, I would not be the wiser. I will be attending that town meeting after all.
BUTCH November 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM
There are five proposed ordinances before the town council on Dec 6th. http://www.town.barnstable.ma.us/BoardsCommittees/TownCouncil/Agendas/2012/11-01-12_AGENDA.pdf The ordinances are a serious challenge to all property owners in Barnstable. The town will have the authority to go after every property owner and make them fix problems with their property. Determination is subjective. If the property owner does not respond promptly, the town can make the repairs and bill the owner for the work. If they don’t pay the bill promptly, the town can lien the property and foreclose if the owner doesn’t pay! Will the banks require escrowing funds with mortgage payments to ensure they don’t get stuck in the event of a foreclosure? Will they require more detailed analysis of a property’s condition from appraisers thus increasing the cost and time of appraisals? These ordinances need work, and 2013-032 needs to go away. Barnstable should not have draconian legislation hanging over every property owner’s head. The town’s board of health presently has the power to deal with many issues. Please tell the council how you feel- your property is at risk. You can attend Dec 6th or send an email to the council at council@town.barnstable.ma.us and ask them to eliminate 2013-032, and send the others back to committee.


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