From the Boston Globe


Boston Globe, 7/18/2004


The Harwich Community Center on Oak Street has five activity rooms for residents' use. (Globe photos)

Miles from Boston: 80
Population: 12,386
Median house price: $344,950
Transportation: Routes 6, 28, 39, 124, and 137. Member of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.
Best things: Hawksnest State Park, public beaches
Worst things: Housing costs, and traffic
MCAS: Harwich ranked 95th out of 210 school districts rated statewide by The Boston Globe, sharing that ranking with Chatham, Falmouth, Ashland, and Beverly.
Census facts: Median age is 48.8 years compared to national figure of 35.3 years. Women outnumber men 54 percent to 46 percent.
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HARWICH -- Richard Waystack is a realtor, a former president of the town's chamber of commerce, a volunteer at the community food pantry, and a "washed ashore" -- meaning he wasn't born in this Cape Cod town.

He readily adds one more entry to his resume: "I am cheerleader for the community. I make no bones about it," said Waystack, who moved here 18 years ago and now runs his own real estate business, Waystack Realty Inc. "But let me say this to you: I live a half-mile from where I work. I love what I do -- and I get to walk the beach every day. It's just a great place to live."

It is also, like every other community on the Cape, an expensive place to live, at least for those trying to buy their way into this town with its four-year-old community center, long stretch of shoreline on Nantucket Sound, the Cranberry Valley golf course -- and 32 residential properties with an asking price of $1 million or more.

According to the Warren Publishing Group, during the first five months of this year, the median price of a single-family home was $344,900, up nearly 12 percent from the same period in 2003.

In the kindof action that Waystack says defines the townspeople, residents have dipped into their land bank and set aside nine acres on Driftwood Lane in South Harwich for construction of an affordable housing development, said Susan M. Leven, town planner.

"Housing is a huge issue here. If you own, it's great because it just keeps going up" in value, said Leven, who moved from Provincetown and was able to afford to buy in town only because the value of her Provincetown home had doubled.

She said the town will soon issue a broadly worded request for proposals on the parcel in hopes that a developer will emerge who can wisely use the acreage for what must become owner-occupied dwellings.

"We are trying to address the need of housing for people who live and work here," said Leven.

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