Barnstable Town Council Tables Hyannis Growth Improvement Zone Action

HYANNIS – The Barnstable Town Council has postponed action on the expansion of the Hyannis Growth Incentive Zone until next month.

The move would have included the Resort and Conference Center and Twin Brooks Golf Course property on Scudder Avenue and paved the way for the planned Oceanside Performing Arts Center.

The property owner, The Finch Group based out of Florida, submitted a letter to the Town Council shortly before it was set to debate the proposal calling for its expansion request to be withdrawn.

John Kenney, a lawyer representing the property owner wrote, “The request to add the Scudder Avenue Property to the GIZ has created a distraction drawing attention away from this matter.”

The proposed zone expansion was controversial with concerns from residents about the way it was being pushed forward without public input.

Town Council unanimously voted to table action on the Growth Incentive Zone until March 1.

The designation of a Growth Incentive Zone simplifies economic development by eliminating the usual review process by the Cape Cod Commission for bigger projects.

The zone in Hyannis was created and approved by the Commission in 2006 for a term of 10 years. It has been extended twice and is set to expire April 4.

The town is working on a renewal application for submission to the Cape Cod Commission.

After Town Council voted to postpone action on the GIZ until March, residents continued to express concerns about how the proposal was being pushed forward.

“I’m not predisposed to opposing the inclusion of that 35 Scudder Avenue property on the GIZ, but I am predisposed to opposing anything that is not fully vetted,” said Peter Cross, a resident and chairman of the Hyannis Fire District Board of Commissioners.

“I was surprised when I went away on vacation for eight days to do some skiing and came back and found out that we were going to put 35 Scudder Avenue in the GIZ and that is something that surprised me.”

Resident Harold Robinson said the previous process did not feel fair and hopes the discussion of a new GIZ designation will be handled differently moving forward.

“I’m hoping we are going to start the whole process over and include the public comment section to what is now a new proposal,” Robinson said.

Town Councilor Britt Beedenbender said the GIZ expansion proposal did come about quickly but that there were no backroom dealings.

“I am actually very pleased that we are now at the point where we are where this is getting tabled until March 1 and there will be more opportunity for public comment,” Beedenbender said.

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