The dirt-poor town that spends millions on a state-of-the art stadium at the expense of school supplies no longer shocks us. Still, Friday Night Lights—which Bissinger left his job as an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer to travel to the oil patch town of Odessa, Texas to research and write—will never be out of date. It still sets a standard for sportswriting as sociological commentary. Before his senior year, Miles carries with him both the hopes of the rabid local fan base and reams of recruiting materials from top Division I schools.
A Provincetown bylaw designed to subvert efforts to undermine local harmony carries with it a host of challenges, but the intent behind the rule makes good sense. In essence, the bylaw prevents the construction of a so-called McMansion, which might disrupt the character of an existing neighborhood.
Now Truro has launched a review of its permitting process, examining a possible limit on the size of future houses. The Provincetown rule requires that any proposed new house cannot be any more than 25 percent larger than the average size of structures within feet of the proposed building. For new buildings, that foot range is determined from the center of the structure itself; for renovations or expansions, the center point shifts to the middle of the new construction.
In addition, before an average is calculated, the single largest and smallest structures within that circle are cast out of the analysis. But what happens when there are only two structures within those parameters? Well, in the case of a house proposed by Stanley Sikorski, the assistant assessor decided to discard those two houses as reference points, using the argument that, by default, they represented the largest and the smallest houses and were therefore irrelevant to the calculation, essentially removing any size restriction from the design.
In that case, the Appeals Court argued that there was a reasonable expectation, based on the wording of the bylaw, that if there were only two buildings to take into consideration, then you needed to use them as the only basis for coming to a decision.
In the future, those wishing to build houses that face such unique limitations will have to apply for a special permit. Sikorski has not indicated as to whether he will pursue this approach, but has said that he feels there is little likelihood that he would be approved.
Just to the south, Truro officials are considering placing limits on the size of new structures in their community. The minimum lot size is already set at just over three-quarters of an acre, but a proposed zoning bylaw would limit new homes to no more than 3, square feet of total floor area.
A provision would allow for an additional square feet of floor space for each additional contiguous acre owned by the would-be homeowner. Furthermore, with a special permit, a property owner could conceivably build a home with up to 4, square feet of floor space.
Some of the impetus here is a spate of what some see as oversized development that has divided the town, especially during the past few years. In fact, of the 29 homes in town that come in at more than 5, square feet, more than half have been built since That includes the so-called Kline house, which has become something of a lightning rod for questions concerning development.
Built inthe 10,square-foot house sits on 9. Although any new bylaw would understandably not apply retroactively, some proponents of the measure say that it would help prevent another, similar issue from unfolding in the future. Obviously, questions related to development are not easy.
Property owners often believe that they have a right to develop as they see fit, just as planning departments, neighbors, and, in some cases, historic district commissions, have an interest in preserving the very qualities that make a community unique.
Still, so many local residents across the Cape have watched helplessly as the character of their towns have slowly eroded. Towns such as Truro and Provincetown have taken proactive steps in an effort to preserve the atmosphere and personality that helps define what it means to be a resident.
Such restrictions, if anything, are overdue. Still, when it comes to the intangible quality of character, such things are still worth fighting for.
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Small-Town America. Then there's small-town America. Before and after the war, America was all about reliability: the opposite of Vietnam.
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