CENTERVILLE — They’re neighbors however did not actually know one another till the 11-acre cranberry bathroom at 1246 Bumps River Street bought, and the brand new proprietor introduced plans to place up a sequence hyperlink fence.
That is when Helen Banevicius, Mary St. George, Ellen LaBerge and Nancy Murphy joined forces in hopes of preserving the 20 acres adjoining to their houses. They are saying it is likely one of the final open areas in Centerville.
“This must be conservation land,” Banevicius mentioned. “It was my grandparents’ home for the reason that ’60s. They bought a part of it within the ’80s, which broke my coronary heart. Individuals stroll round with their canines on the sandy highway. We would wish to hold it open for all.”
The bathroom gives alternative to share the historical past of the cranberry and spotlight the historic significance of small, multi-generational household companies to the city’s financial development. For these causes, the Centerville neighbors are attempting to protect the land regardless of its buy by a personal developer final 12 months via a course of they preserve is flawed.
“We are attempting to persuade the city that this property ought to go into land belief,” St. George mentioned. “We have been engaged on this since final August.”
“The Friends of the Centerville Cranberry Bog Preservation integrated final month,” mentioned LaBerge, who’s licensed to follow legislation in New York. “We have got a board and 300 individuals on the e-mail checklist. The Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee is backing us, and city councilors have heard about it.”
Assessed as a “61A” agricultural property, the bathroom was final harvested in October 2020. It went available on the market in November 2020 and bought in 2021. It is now owned by Bathroom Companions, an LLC owned by Sam Slater underneath the umbrella of Boston’s Tremont Asset Administration, LLC.
The chums group appeared final fall earlier than the Conservation Fee to oppose an software to place up a 6-foot-tall chain hyperlink fence about 1,800 linear toes round part of the bathroom. The group additionally testified in December 2021 earlier than the Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee to request help for preserving the Centerville bathroom.
“He filed the (fence) request two days after he purchased it, for insurance coverage functions,” LaBerge defined.
“No Trespassing” indicators conspicuously line the perimeter, and canine walkers have realized to steer to at least one aspect. “We will not meet on the bathroom itself as a result of it’s non-public property,” St. George mentioned.
“There’s lots of wildlife that makes use of this bathroom,” LaBerge mentioned. “It is linked to land belief property, and it is important for water high quality. Plus, Bumps River Street and Bay Lane are scenic roads.”
“It is a wildlife hall and an operational wetland that flows as much as Bay Lane Elementary College, and the stream working via it empties into Scudder Bay,” Banevicius mentioned.
In response to their analysis, Daniel Lumbert, a Centerville man, invented the primary cranberry scoop for harvesting the berries. Gorham, Samuel, Oliver, and Wilson Crosby and Andrus Bearse had been among the many first to construct bogs in Centerville. By late 1800s, the Cape’s cranberry tradition supplanted the waning maritime enterprise.
Nationwide Cranberry Journal listed Braley Jenkins of Barnstable as “one of many biggest cranberry growers within the 1850s.” He’s famous as the primary to market “Cape Cod Cranberries,” transporting his yield to market on his catboat “Pomona.”
Jim Jenkins took over his multi-generation household bathroom enterprise on the age of 19. He was a member of the Ocean Spray Cooperative and a director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Bathroom Affiliation and owned 56 acres of cranberry bogs till his demise in 2018.
“Mr. Jenkins let individuals stroll across the bathroom,” Banevicius mentioned.
The chums group is scheduled to fulfill with City Supervisor Mark Ells and lawyer Karen Nober subsequent week, after they plan to recommend “a do-over.” They preserve that the 61A designation gave the city of Barnstable the primary proper of refusal upon correct discover of an intent to promote the property.
Beneath state legislation, a discover of the pending sale or conversion of designated farmland should be despatched by the landowner by licensed mail or hand delivered to the city supervisor, the city council, the city assessor, the Planning Board, the Conservation Fee and the state forester.
In April 2021, the chums group mentioned, unbeknownst to the opposite licensed discover receivers required underneath Chapter 61A, the city supervisor despatched a letter indicating the city was waiving its proper of first refusal to accumulate, or to assign the correct to accumulate, the Centerville bathroom.
“The Associates turned conscious of this case solely in August 2021, when the brand new proprietor, who bought the Centerville Bathroom for $450,000, utilized to erect the fence and notified abutting landowners of the proposed challenge,” in accordance with a letter the Associates despatched to the city in March. “By a Freedom of Data Act request, we realized that the discover necessities of Chapter 61A had not been glad.
“The Associates implore the Council to help our efforts to protect the Centerville Bathroom as an open house,” the letter mentioned. “You may help us by demanding receipt of the required discover to make sure that the City can absolutely pursue and take into account its proper of first refusal at the moment.”
“All of us acknowledge that it is an asset,” St. George mentioned. “Throughout COVID, this turned a sanctuary.”
“As soon as it is gone, it is gone,” Banevicius mentioned. “Why!? We simply wish to see the open house preserved.”