Skip Navigation
Welcome to the official website for Harwich, MA
This table is used for column layout.
Harwich Town Seal
  • About Harwich
  • Town Departments
  • Town Calendars
  • Board of Selectmen
  • Boards & Committees
  • Agendas & Minutes
  • Reports, Data, Documents & Maps
  • Permits & Licensing
  • Community Links
  • Online Payments
  • Channel 18
  • Assessor's Searchable Database
  • Opportunities
  • Send Us Comments
  • Subscribe to News
  • Home Page

Minutes 01-05-2010
                        TUESDAY,  JANUARY  5, 2010 AT 6:00 PM



Chairman Dr. Stanley Kocot called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and noted that Pamela Howell has an excused absence.


Motion Ms Watson moved to approve the minutes of December 1, 2009 as presented with spelling of Larry Ballantine’s name corrected in first paragraph; Dr. Insley seconding; motion passed unanimously.

-Discussion –Rental By-Law program proposal—Health Director Paula Champagne noted this is a follow-up to the December Board of Selectmen’s meeting’s proposal that this Board reconsider a rental By-law program.  Chairman Kocot noted that Selectmen Angelo Lamancia led the discussion and that Ms Howell and Watson’s attendance at the meeting was very much appreciated.  What started as an idea to increase the revenue stream for the town has changed to being an enforcement issue, such as parking. Selectman Ballantine agreed the focus had clearly changed.  Health Director researched the Eastham project mentioned at the BOS meeting:  their Building Inspector enforces their by-law which is very similar to that presented this Board at their first consideration of the issue.  Harwich’s Building Department is also shorthanded; no department has the staffing to institute such a program at present; they share staff now.  The Health Director would be leery of certifying a rental property without ascertaining they comply with specific regulations, as a certification requires an approval by the Department of existing conditions. What if the building burns down?   It would take ten years to get through all of the rental properties in Harwich, doing 200 per year. You would need a dedicated staff to do just that.

There is a Harwich by-law, fine of $ 20 instituted in the ‘70’s, which is a “party house by-law” and is enforced by the Building Inspector as to the number of people who can legally be accommodated; the Certificate of Registration must be posted.  It does not address the number of cars allowed—10 people could mean 10 cars.  Three bedrooms means 6 people can be accommodated; given a party, who is to say who is living there?  The intent of laws is for poor quality housing, public health and the party house issue.  Not regularly enforced; when complaints arise of unsafe housing conditions, the Health Department addresses them.  The state sanitary code is also a requirement with which rental properties must comply.  Renters, neighbors can call at any time.  Chairman Kocot asked if an estimate of 400 rental properties were close.  Perhaps, but there were 50 applications for the Certificate of Registration and all of that information has been lost.  Assessor’s Department would know the number of 2nd homes.  Housing stock has been improving steadily.  Such a law could mean condemnation and putting people out on the street. Currently, it is not a huge problem—one property generated a third call in 4 years.
Dr. Hurst noted that tourism is Harwich’s industry; they rely on the Department’s inspections of restaurants, motels etc.  We have police; people can call them or the Board of Health at any time.  We do the best we can with what we have.  Mr. Ballantine will take the information back to the BOS. Best is Board to Board communication.

-wind turbine effects-- Selectman Larry Coe asked about the negative health effects of wind turbines at the BOS meeting.  A list of publications was given to the Chair with which he will follow up.  All departments are being asked to research the topic to give the Selectmen information from which to make decisions.  Health Director Champagne:  we did the research—sound in excess of 100 decibels has been found to cause harm psychologically and impacts heredity.  Concerns have been expressed about the wildlife in the Punkhorn area if a turbine were to be established near it.  From 500’ the sound has been measured at 40 decibels.  Less than 40’ is in the 300 to 400 decibel range.  Measuring sound appears to be the only scientific approach one can take.


A—Cove Road subdivision, Eastward Companies-continued from December 1—Bill Marsh:  our buying is contigent upon receiving all approvals necessary to being able to build houses.  The regulation which we learned of at your last meeting adds significantly to any costs.  We seek a 60-day extension.  Health Director:  the Board sought an update, not wanting continuation without their knowledge; there have been 3 extensions.  Dr. Hurst noted the Board does not grant variances for new construction.  There are old Indian burial grounds on the border when Harwich separated from Brewster.  If you find bones it is an archaeological site. Motion Dr. Hurst moved to continue to the March 2, 2010 meeting, noting it would be the last extension; Dr. Insley seconding; motion passed unanimously.
A-2—Health Director asked for an update on 137 Austen Road where the septic system is not in compliance when the lot lines were redrawn—Several extensions have been granted; but the issue needs to be dealt with.  Susan Ladue:  it has been pumped recently and it is working fine.  Mr. Marsh:  with no market for commercial space we have held off on building the next building.  We understood we would need to consider an I/A system with that next building’s construction.  I/A systems don’t function well unless there is sufficient flow.  When we subdivided the land we made the Subway system non-compliant and the Board refused to grant a variance.  There is a deed restriction that you can’t erase the lot lines or Subway would become subject to certain deed restrictions.  Agreed they will address this issue at the March meeting also.

B—continued from December 1—variance request to replace sewage system at 7 Meadow Lane, plan designed by Cape Cod Engineering, Inc. (1) 10’ required distance from property line setback fro the SAS, 6’ provided, 4’ variance; (2) variance from Part II of the Town of Harwich Regulations for the Subsurface Disposal of Sewage pertaining to the prohibition on granting variances except under exceptional circumstance—Bob Perry:  Bob Querfeld, new owner, is present. Seek two variances on a 3 bedroom septic system with two cesspools.  Since we last met, we were able to replumb the house to bring the soil pipe out to the front of the house, reducing the number of variances needed.  Health Director:  this is a better plan which addressed the concerns of the Board; the setback is for a side line and driveway drainage has been installed.  Recommend approval for a two bedroom dwelling.
Motion Dr. Insley moved to approve the variances for 7 Meadow Lane for a 2 bedroom dwelling septic system; Ms Watson seconding; motion passed unanimously.

V       NEW BUSINESS--None


-five-year financial plan-- We ordered an extra 3,000 flu vaccine for next year; there are no dollars for that so an article must be submitted.
-H1N1 death in town—the death was not counted as an H1N1 as the tissue sample to the CDC  was inconclusive for H1N1; the test it tested positive on was not an “approved” test. It is noted a death from Influenza A.  It is 1 of 20 in Massachusetts.
 -H1N1 clinics—a large amount has been delivered; we have it on Ch. 18 and have 4 clinics planned.  Monday afternoon at two elementary schools; Tuesday morning at Cape Cod Tech which was postponed due to the storm, and Wednesday the first public clinic for target groups.  On January 20th there will be a public one for all persons at the Community Center.  Staff throughout the town have been very helpful.  This has been at a huge federal expense; we fear complaceny may lower attendance.  A letter went out to employees to get the H1N1 shot.  Limitations have been lifted so CVS, WalMart will have distribution available.
-staff change—Mark Polselli has departed for personal reasons; this is a big loss.  He worked 4 days a week and had been completing training and getting up to speed.  At the meeting with Assistant Town Administrator told we must have it in writing from the Town Administrator that the position is to be filled.  January 6 is a meeting with him.  He already took the level step dollars out of the budget from Mark’s level of experience meaning it will be a step one hire.  Mark’s life experience in restaurant work and septic installation business made him very effective.  We will need assurance the dollars will be there in the July budget to be able to hire and retain someone.  There is not much leeway in salary already.  This is very difficult for the staff.
-smoking ban on Town beaches—e-mail received from the Town Administrator.  The Barnstable town meeting had little opposition when it passed.  Idea:  have Mutt and Butt mits dispensed at beaches.  Chairman Kocot: it is a basic health issue.  Health Director:  it is a trash issue for many.  Dr. Insley suggested we issue a statement supporting the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association—“Smoking shall not be permitted.”
-2009 Annual Town Report—Judy will submit the report that Dr. Kocot presented to the BOS as the Board of Health town report.
-Hall Oil Co. letter—Ken Foster offers food service on wheels for which he has had to apply for a license for each entity who engages his services.  He requested one permit to allow him to travel to different places to provide the same service.  Each community organization has been paying a $ 50 fee.  There is a Massachusetts state law that temporary permits must be issued when a temporary field site.  His are all in different locations.  Temporary site is considered no longer than 14 days.  Motion Dr. Insley moved that the Board deny the request of Ken Foster for an annual temporary permit for one fee for the reasons cited by the Health Director; Ms Watson seconding; motion passed unanimously.


-Massachusetts Department of Public Health re H1N1 availability
-Town of  Brewster re Brewster Comprehensive Water Planning Committee
-Ryder & Wilcox to Conservation Commission re 3 Sea Street Extension
-Cape Cod Commission re ocean management planning district of critical planning concern
--MA Dept. of Public Health re Harwich Police Department inspection
-Barnstable County Health Dept re 378 Great Western Road underground tank results
-Barnstable County Health Dept re 273 Queen Anne Road underground storage tank
-Barnstable County Health Dept re 328 Bank Street underground storage tank
-Cape Cod Commission re KeySpan Sagamore Line Reinforcement Project
-MA Dept. of Public Health public health laws and regulations manual
-Town Administrator re five year financial plan
-MA Dept. of Public Health re changes to Lyme case notification and follow up
-MA Dept. of Public Health re billing for services at public health clinics


Health Director recommended approval of the list of 221 permits dated January 4, 2010, noting new businesses were Ember Pizza(formerly dba Bank St. Grille), Land Ho Harwich Port L.L.C. (formerly 400 Club), Rooter Man septage hauler and stable permit for Ronald Daigle & Kristen Goulis. Relocation noted for Harwichport House of Pizza. Note that some businesses have multiple permits. This has been a very busy work time for Judy.  Motion Dr.Insley moved to approve the January 4, 2010 list of permits; Ms Watson seconding; motion passed unanimously.  



Dr. Robert Insley moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:28 p.m.

                                                        Respectfully submitted,

                                                        Sandra C. Howard

Next meeting is Tuesday,  February 2, 2010   at   6:00 p.m.  in the small hearing room.

Virtual Towns & Schools Website