Concerns of Neighbors on or near 35 Scudder Ave.

Prepared by neighbors, Brian Hughes and Kim McGuire, 234 Greenwood Ave, Hyannis          2/13/2021

Significant features of the development

  • Lennar Multifamily Communities, LMC, proposes to build 13 three story apartment buildings, housing over 650 residents on approximately 20 buildable acres of the existing 40-acre Twin Brooks Golf Course, part of the 53.9 acre parcel known as The Resort and Conference Center of Hyannis, also known as 35 Scudder Ave.
  • The sale of the 40-acre Twin Brooks Golf Course property requires a variance from the zoning board that would allow the seller, The Finch Group, to separate the golf course from the total 53.9 acre parcel
  • The current hotel and conference center will continue in operation on the remaining 13.9 acres. A lawyer for The Finch Group stated that the owner would like to sell the hotel to a hotel developer.
  • The project would have a total of 312 units, composed of studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units
  • Per Barnstable’s regulations, 10% of these units will be affordable housing
  • The project will have 468 parking spaces, below the Town requirement of 2 parking spaces per unit, excluding visitor parking
  • The golf course is currently zoned for single family homes. The project will require a major zoning variance from the town of Barnstable with regard to dwelling height, lot area per dwelling and property use
  • The single entrance/exit to the development will be at the conference center parking lot, across from Cape Way Towing on Scudder Ave, near the intersection of Scudder and Greenwood Avenues, bordered by wetlands
  • LMC is submitting permitting paper work to the Cape Cod Commission, Barnstable Planning Board, Zoning Board, Town Council, Conservation Commission
  • They expect that all permitting will take 2 years, and expect the project to be shovel ready in 3 years
  • A required study of traffic impact done by LMC is part of the Cape Cod Commission’s review process
  • LMC met on 12/1/2020 with Scudder Ave Neighbors to hear their concerns.  The Greater Hyannis Civic Association is partnering with LMC to set up Zoom Calls.

The NeighborsConcerns

Impact on Wetlands and Wildlife

  • Twin Brooks Golf Course is one of the few green spaces left in a highly congested area – there’s almost no public recreation space in this part of town – and it should be saved
  • Proposed development will significantly reduce the amount of green space that would absorb rainfall; significantly increasing non-permeable areas leading to increased flooding in the area and decreasing the amount of nitrogen that will be safely filtered out by ground vegetation
  • Proposed development at juncture of Stewart’s and Joshua’s Creeks risks runoff of pollutants from the roadways and pavement flowing into the creeks
  • Part of the property is in a Wellhead Protection Overlay Zone
  • Abutter reports that at 35 Scudder Ave, the Conference Center and Twin Brooks Golf Course were built on a marsh and wetlands in the 1950s. Marsh was backfilled and developer did not obtain permitting from Town and Conservation.
  • New housing development should not be allowed to proceed based upon the possibly non-compliant conditions used to build a golf course. Current Conservation Commission regulations should be followed to preserve the Wetlands.
  • Part of the 40-acre property is in the AE and VE flood zones
  • Proposed buildings are near flood zone and must meet the setback guidelines for wetland
  • Golfers report that parts of the golf course is flooded for days after a rain storm, questioning the viability of locating an apartment complex in this location
  • The property is listed on topographical maps as Conservation Land
  • Stewart’s Creek Neighbors for two years worked closely with Town Council, Dept of Public Works, Conservation Commission to clean up and restore Stewart’s and Joshua Creeks to natural habitat and wildlife. Development could reverse their efforts.
  • Abutter reports that Scudder Ave floods in wetlands on both sides of Scudder Ave near proposed development entrance
  • Current effort to manage runoff at Conference Center not effective.  The Conference Center built a drainage pond a few years ago next to the proposed development entrance, to meet a town requirement. Abutter reports effort is unsuccessful and flooding continues and flows into Creek entrance.
  • Abutter who lives on Joshua’s Creek across from the golf course opposes project as it “specifies large amounts of impervious pavement, replacing trees and other vegetation.  It is a formula for additional, excessive storm water run-off into Joshua’s creek.”

Traffic Congestion and Safety

  • Potential for increased traffic congestion and accidents in the area
  • On 2/9/21 Traffic was counted during a 15 minute period on a weekday winter morning at the proposed development entrance during the COVID shutdown period. Traffic included over 60 vehicles; cars buses and trucks of various sizes; congestion at the West End Rotary due to regular deliveries to the package store by two tractor trailers; a car closely avoiding a rear end collision by a high speed vehicle at the entrance to the conference center; congestion at Capeway Towing as vehicles backed into or exited the property; congestion at the Melody Tent by a back loader entering and exiting the property; pedestrians walking in the roadway due to snow on the sidewalk; a confused elderly driver that cut in front of another vehicle while trying to locate the entrance to the Melody Tent Covid site. The manager of Capeway Towing stated that traffic would be 3 times heavier during the same day and time in the summer.
  • Increased traffic from the West End Rotary to the Hyannis Port Roadways from 650 plus residents including cars, school and RCA buses, pedestrians, bicycles, utility vehicles
  • Increased reoccurring traffic congestion including queuing and bottlenecks at the substandard West End Rotary, rated level of service “F”, congestion during commuting hours, Charter School opening and closing times, events at Melody Tent site and Conference Center
  • Increased demand for daily access to complex through residential neighborhoods to avoid West End Rotary, including narrow roadways between Scudder and Greenwood Avenues
  • Less predictable and longer journey times to downtown Hyannis district and area schools
  • Inadequate street lighting, especially on east end of Greenwood Ave where it meets Scudder Ave
  • Dangerous traffic area where Greenwood and Scudder meet near Conference Center due to blind view of roadways and no stop sign on Scudder Ave.  Manager at Capeway Towing observes several vehicle altercations daily, horn honking and potential accidents at this site.

Pedestrian Safety

  • 650 plus new pedestrians from apartment complex raises potential for increased pedestrian accidents in the area
  • Lack of sidewalks on Greenwood Ave forces pedestrians to walk in the street day and night
  • Inadequate street lighting, especially Greenwood Ave, makes it difficult to see pedestrians at night.
  • On 2/4/21 a request was made to Hyannis Fire Chief Burke, on behalf of the neighbors, to encourage the placement of more streetlights should the development move forward.
  • Lack of crosswalks, stop signs, pedestrian crossing signs, causes pedestrians to cross a roadway or intersection improperly
  • Threat to older neighbors who daily walk to beach on roadways without sidewalks
  • Greenwood Ave has continuous stream of walkers in roadway due to no sidewalks, walking their dogs, walking to the beach or taking daily walks in the neighborhood

Single entrance/exit to apartment complex

  • Location of entrance/exit is in a dangerous congested area with school buses entering from Scudder Ave, vehicles backing out of Capeway Towing, merging of vehicles from Scudder and Greenwood Ave, high speed drivers approaching from West End Rotary, vehicles going in and out of the Melody Tent, Hyannis Hotel and Spa and Conference Center
  • One way in and out of complex, while legal, may be a potential safety hazard for fire and emergency vehicles and residents if residents are also trying to leave the area
  • On 2/5/21 the Hyannis Fire Department confirmed that they will ensure that their vehicles will have adequate room to maneuver and appropriate amount of fire hydrants
  • Neighbors concerned that to safely enter and exit the property and accommodate traffic would require a road redesign. Scudder Ave is too narrow in that area for a road redesign with wetlands on both sides of the road

Development Plan

  • A number of planning and building regulations aren’t being met and require a variance
  • The property is zoned for single family homes
  • Building housing in a wetlands area impacts future viability of waterways and wildlife
  • Town height restriction for buildings is 30 feet or 2 ½ stories, whichever is less. Proposed apartment buildings are 47 feet high
  • Town parking requirement is 2 spaces per unit. LMC allocated 1 ½ spaces per unit, which amounts to 2 + acres of paved land, a significant reduction in green space
  • 50% of total upland area in a development must be kept as open space. Unclear if LMC is following this requirement as LMC is proposing building in the upland area
  • Concern about lighting in development should focus into the development, not up and out towards creek and area homes, disturbing nocturnal habitat
  • Concern that unit design/architecture be more along with the Cape Cod theme, versus three story rectangular apartment buildings
  • Housing density

Additional Concerns

  • Personal and property safety due to increased number of residents
  • Regulation and enforcement of rental units to avoid short term rentals, subleases
  • Disruptions to already established neighborhoods 
  • Decline in property values due to increased population and residential density, traffic, noise, and pedestrians
  • Impact on neighborhood business with increased traffic on roadway
  • Removal of a public recreation space open to all residents and visitors, replaced by a market rate gated apartment complex
  • Impact a development of this size will have on Town services, including schools, sewer, water, etc.