Brewster Outlines Possible Acquisition of Sea Camps

Credit: Town of Brewster

BREWSTER – Brewster town officials outlined the possible acquisition of the former Cape Cod Sea Camps property Tuesday with town residents.

The Sea Camp’s owners shut down the camp in 2020 and plan to sell off its two parcels: the 55-acre Bay Parcel which stretches from Main Street north to Cape Cod Bay and the 66-acre Pond Parcel extending from Long Pond Road to Long Pond.

During the presentation on the acquisition, select board member Cynthia Bingham said that there are a number of potential uses for the property, including improving beach access for residents, providing space for a community center and other recreational amenities, and as affordable housing.

She said that acquisition would also help conserve land by preserving coastal dunes and wetlands, alongside protecting drinking water.

Select board member Mary Chaffee said that the town was in negotiations with the property owners on acquisition of the parcel, but it is increasingly likely that the town will need to acquire the land through eminent domain, which would require authorization by Brewster voters at Town Meeting. 

The town has a history of utilizing eminent domain to acquire land, including Wing’s Island and the land now utilized for the Eddy and Stony Brook Elementary Schools.

Board member Ned Chatelain said that the town is most concerned with preventing private development of the land, and although current permitting only allows for a church, non-profit recreational facilities, and a few other forms of facilities, the only way for residents to have ensured control over what is installed on the parcels is through town acquisition. 

He also said that at least two major developers have already expressed interest in acquiring the property.

Parties such as the Brewster Flats Foundation have expressed interest in returning the property back into a recreational camp service, however Chatelain advised against it.

He said that the town has researched the feasibility of a potential camp, but found that declining yearly registration, upkeep and maintenance costs and competition with other possible uses makes a recreational camp a poor choice in the long run.

A Special Town Meeting will be held on September 25 for voters to consider the acquisition, which could be just one of the parcels rather than both. 

A debt exclusion will also be presented to Brewster voters at the Special Election on October 5.

To acquire each parcel, Brewster voters must approve both an appropriation and a debt exclusion.

If acquired, the town will immediately insure the properties, and arrange management and security to care for the town’s investment. 

The parcels would not be fully open immediately as future uses are considered. Long term, the town will facilitate public engagement on exact uses for the properties.

A dedicated web page has been set up on the Town of Brewster website for the issue, which can be found here.


About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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