Dear Tribal Members,
There is an important public forum tonight at Mashpee Town Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. and another one next month that you need to know about.
The town of Mashpee is looking to designate 500 acres of town-owned land – land that once belonged to our people – for various uses.
The town acquired these lands years ago through non-payment of taxes. We strongly encourage tribal members to attend tonight’s forum to learn more about the town’s plans and to voice to any concerns you may have.
These town sponsored public forums are being held ahead of the October Town Meeting to decide what to do with this land. The town is considering a Town Meeting article that specifically identifies 283 parcels that make up approximately 517 acres, valued at $27 million.
Selectmen Andrew Gottlieb and other town officials have been working to put a proposal together on how the land should be used. The land is mostly undeveloped now and Selectmen Gottlieb said the town’s plan at the moment is to designate most of the parcels for conservation. Other parcels they are thinking about using for other purposes such as affordable housing, wastewater treatment, recreation and parks, and possibly some for sale.
Similar plans in the past have failed because parcels were brought before Town Meeting voters on an individual basis instead of one “master list,” according to Mashpee Selectmen Gottlieb, who briefed the Tribal Council at a special meeting last night.
A map of the project is up on the town’s website for viewing with a color-coded key identifying the proposed uses. There you will find that the proposed plan includes: a 65-acre parcel on the eastern section of Falmouth Road that could be reserved for town playing fields, affordable housing, conservation and a sewer pump on Samson’s Mill Road; 53 acres that includes the town landfill and transfer station that could include a wastewater treatment plant and effluent discharge area; 28 acres off of Red Brook Road with sections reserved for open space and for a waste treatment plant east of the fire station with a possible discharge area for wastewater as well.
Affordable housing is being considered for the western section of Mashpee along Falmouth Road and on Old Barnstable Road near the Quashnet Valley Country Club. Individual parcels for open space are proposed all over the town including plots around Santuit Pond, off Great Neck Road North, off Route 130, parcels between Mashpee-Wakeby Pond and Peters Pond, and near Winslow Farms.
There are other parcels that would be reserved for sewer pumps near Joint Base Cape Cod, Santuit Pond, Mashpee Neck, Great Neck Road South and other areas.
The forum tonight will be held at Town Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. A second forum will be held on August 25th.
The forums will include an explanation of the process used to determine the plan, an explanation of the project categories, and the process moving forward. Residents will also have an opportunity to review maps of the parcels.
Board of Selectmen Chairman John Cahalane has said the forums are an opportunity for residents to understand the reasons behind the project and to make sure there are no surprises or confusion at the October Town Meeting, as there have been in the past.
Even if it’s only to learn more about this, please be there tonight to show the Town that we, as Tribe members, have a deep and abiding interest in how land that once belonged to our people will be used in the future.
Qaqeemashq (Running Bear)