YOUR TURN: Get involved now to save Twin Brooks

·3 min read

The ruins of the Baths of Caracalla lie south of the Roman Forum. The baths operated from about AD 216 to AD 530. Rich granite and marble that graced the baths vanished in the 1,300 or so years of disuse following the closure of the baths.

In the late 19th century, the Italian government took ownership of the Baths and began to protect them from further deterioration. Today, the Baths of Caracalla are a prized tourist attraction.

In 2018, McDonald’s launched a plan to build a drive through restaurant beside the Baths of Caracalla. McDonald’s thought Italians would cheer the 60 jobs the restaurant would create; instead, the announcement was met with so much outrage that the mayor of Rome stepped in to stop construction in 2019.

The mayor appealed to Italy’s culture minister to revoke permission given to McDonald’s to construct the restaurant. The culture minister did just that. However, McDonald’s had completed every process required and had met every national, regional and local law and regulation needed to construct the restaurant.

McDonald’s went to court. When the dust settled on Dec. 28, 2021, Italy’s Council of State, the highest Italian administrative court, ruled against McDonald’s. The court said its decision was based on “protection of cultural heritage.” There would be no McDonald’s next to the Baths of Caracalla.

I share this story because on Jan. 5, 2022, the Cape Cod Commission determined that the development agreement application submitted by Lennar Multifamily Communities (LMC) for the 312-unit multifamily residential development at 35 Scudder Avenue in Hyannis is complete. There will be a public hearing and the Cape Cod Commission staff will review the proposed development for consistency with the Cape Cod Commission Act, the Regional Policy Plan, and Barnstable’s Local Comprehensive Plan.

The property identified as 35 Scudder, but probably better known as Twin Brooks Golf Course, is not the Baths of Caracalla, but it is an enormously special place for Hyannis and the town of Barnstable. It is the last truly open space in Hyannis. The rolling land sits between two brooks and fronts on a marsh, which leads to Nantucket Sound. How it has survived this long as open space is nothing short of miraculous.

Please visit the Save Twin Brooks website (www.savetwinbrooks.org) to learn how you can actively participate in the Cape Cod Commission process. Yes, we need housing but not on this precious land. The unique land forms that comprise Cape Cod, the vistas to and from them, the water running through them, the animals relying on them — these are all parts of Cape Cod’s living cultural heritage. We must protect what is left of them for the generations to come.

Lennar, LMC’s parent company, earned $27 billion in revenue in 2021, as reported in its recent press release on the prnewswire web site. LMC has the resources to easily move on from this project and build scores of other developments profitably for years to come throughout the United States. The development on the Twin Brooks golf course is just another source of revenue for LMC, but for Cape Codders, it is the destruction of one more piece of our cultural heritage.

Stand up for your Cape Cod heritage, as the Italians did. Once this last open space is gone, it will never, ever come back.

Betty Ludtke lives in Barnstable.

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Lennar plans to build 312-unit development in Hyannis

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