Falmouth Heights-Maravista
Neighborhood Association

Mission Statement

To preserve and improve the residential character of the Falmouth Heights and Maravista neighborhoods.  To protect and enhance our beaches, parks and other public spaces. To encourage activities that promote civic pride and the healthful and peaceful enjoyment of our neighborhoods.  To provide a forum to identify concerns affecting our neighborhoods, make relevant information available to our members, and address areas of concern with appropriate Town bodies.

Current News, Issues & Events

TO READ OLD NEWS, click on dates under “Annual Archive” (left).
“SPRING INTO SUMMER” SOCIAL:  TBA June 2018. Adult members and others considering membership. Hors d’oeuvres; cash bar.
ANNUAL MEETING:  Saturday, August 4, 2018, 8:00 – 10:15 AM, Falmouth Yacht Club.  See 2017 Annual Meeting Minutes  
FALL SOCIAL:  TBA 2018. Adult members (free) and guests ($5, free if join).

On February 8, 2018, the Zoning Board of Appeals heard a request to license a bed and breakfast with 6 rooms at 25 Harbor Avenue.  The hearing was continued until March 1, 2018 at 6:00 PM.

This lot was bought by Maureen  & Timothy Kelly in 2013.  The house and garage have been renovated to accommodate a B&B.  Ms. Kelly is a member of the Lynch family, owners of contiguous holdings at 7 Harbor Ave. and on Grand Ave. including the Falmouth Heights Motor Lodge and adjacent parking lot on Grand Ave. and Falmouth Heights Rd. where cars park in the summer and boats are stored in the winter.

ZBA questions/issues – Ms. Kelly’s responses:

  1. the garage – there will be storage & garage spaces below, 2 rooms above
  2. marketing –  B&B will have its own website with a link to the Lodge
  3. connection to the Lodge – B&B will be distinct
  4. lighting – there will be downward pointing lights over all stairs and doors
  5. signage – there will be 1 lighted sign, location to be determined
  6. septic capacity – Ms. Kelly said she has a permit for 6 bedrooms
  7. possible advertising through Air B&B – there are no plans to do so; Air B&B is not regulated
  8. trash – will be stored with no view from the street
  9. year-round rental – probably not, seasonal planned
  10. use of expansive yard – tables, chairs, and lounge chairs for guests
  11. live-in managers – if required; currently interviewing an interested couple

One person spoke in favor, giving a testimonial about the Kelly’s commitment to their existing business.

Seven abutters spoke about their concerns regarding lifestyle issues on their street and to what effect having a bed and breakfast next door would have on their property values. They specifically expressed their concerns regarding:

  1. “commercial creep” up Harbor Ave. where a number of homes have been built or renovated in recent years.
  2. lighting – lights are bright, are on all night and point into their homes (Ms. Kelly said she will redirect lights)
  3. noise from future renters
  4. number of rooms available for rent and septic capacity, permit seen at the building department was for 4 bedrooms, not 6 (per ZBA and Ms. Kelly, permits are issued for 6)
  5. use of the renovated garage (ZBA administrator confirmed that bedrooms are permitted based on septic permit)
  6. use of the expansive lawn yard (Ms. Kelly responded that she has recently put in a sprinkler system and will install grass on the entire lawn area so has no plans to store boats or anything else there)
  7. whether or not someone is required by law to live on-site (ZBA will review the law)
  8. route access to the beaches (Ms. Kelly will direct guests not to trespass on neighbors’ properties.
  9. dumpster and construction equipment being visible
  10. permits which they claimed were taken out after work was completed.
  11. trash barrels being stored outdoors, rather than in a garage, which might attract animals to the area

One neutral person asked for clarification of the code (240-23A) under which the request is being made because that code states “commercial accommodations”.  The ZBA Administrator answered that all rental accommodation licenses are under this code and there is no other code better suited for B&Bs. To separate B&Bs from other rentals would take a vote by Town Meeting for a zoning change.  Kimberly Bielan, ZBA board member, stated that if the ZBA were to approve this license, it would be for B&B purpose only.  If the owners wanted to change the use, they would have to return for a different type of license.

Ms. Kelly further responded that she thinks a B&B on this lot would be a better use than Air B&B which does not require any licenses or supervision, or other private whole-home rentals; that she would be willing to change some of the lighting to motion detectors; that guests would be directed to the beach via the street and not through any neighbors’ properties; and, that she would have the lights adjusted again.

The ZBA found that:

  1. the lot coverage is under 10% for structure and under 25% for all when 20%/40% is allowed
  2. testimony was given that this B&B will be separate from and not an extension of the Motor Lodge
  3. this is a 1 acre lot, so the owner could add 4 more bedrooms and is not doing so
  4. this is not a request for a commercial zoning change
  5. there are a lot of summer rentals in the Heights
  6. this request generally complies with zoning rules and as B&B requests go, this was better than many others they have seen.

The hearing was continued to March 1, 2018 at 6:00 PM, at which time the applicant was requested to provide:

  1. a new landscape plan with additional greenery screening from neighbors
  2. a new lighting plan
  3. details about the sign and lighting
  4. an engineer’s report about storm water drainage runoff

To watch the meeting, see FCTV Video on Demand 

Also read the Enterprise article posted online on 2/20/18 entitled “ZBA hears Request for Bed & Breakfast In Falmouth Heights

 

On January 18, 2018, the Zoning Board of Appeals held the second hearing regarding the 40B proposal in Falmouth Heights (watch on FCTV). The hearing was continued until 6:30 PM on March 15, 2018.

Virginia Valiela, Vice Chairman of the Water Quality Management Committee, explained the flow neutral by-law (see Article VIII 180 51 & 55) that the town of Falmouth was required to adopt by the State in order to receive 30-year no interest loans from the Commonwealth.

The bylaw requires the Town to ensure that no additional wastewater is generated in the Little Pond Sewer Service area beyond that which existed prior to sewering. Allowing the proposed 28 houses for this project, instead of the 7 in existence at the time of the submission of the sewer service area design, would not be permitted under this bylaw and agreement with the State. The State wishes to preserve capacity funded under the wastewater project for use in serving other estuaries that will also require sewer service.

Several residents spoke in opposition to the project due to the proposed density and site coverage by impervious surfaces.

The developer has submitted recent plans (dated 1/5/2018, sheet 7 of 11) that show increasing site elevations by 1 ½ to 2 feet from existing conditions. They also show contouring the site to pitch towards abutters, town roads, and wetlands directing storm water runoff from the site. This is not permitted under town bylaws 240-112 B2 and others.

Read the Enterprise article “Falmouth Housing Project Draws Questions About Density, Sewers” published on January 19, 2018 and reproduced in full here:

‘The Little Pond Village at Falmouth Heights 40B project met opposition from abutters at a zoning board public hearing Thursday night, January 18.

The proposed project, from Helmis Circle LLC, places 28 houses on 4.9 acres of land off Alma Road and Worcester Court. Seven of these houses, or 25 percent of the development, would be sold as affordable units.

“The two primary types of homes are Capes and saltboxes,” said designer Randal Lilly.
These houses will be approximately 1,700 square feet each, containing three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. There are also three ranch-style houses proposed for the site, each containing three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The proposed plans also allow them to build sunrooms on 24 of the lots, as well as either a storage shed or garage on 10 of the lots. These are optional additions, at the discretion of the homeowner, Mr. Lilly said. Zoning board member Kimberly A. Bielan confirmed that none of the lots with garages were designated affordable.

Member Terrence J. Hurrie noted that all the lots designated affordable fell under the average lot size of 5,300 square feet.

“All seven lots were under 4,300 square feet, two were under 4,000 square feet,” he said, asking if they were the smallest lots on the plan.

Mr. Lilly said the affordable units were spread out across the site, in order to avoid having a row of affordable houses.

“Some of them are smaller lots, but they’re not all the smallest lots. They’re a mixture,” he said.

Several abutters spoke out against the project. A repeated concern was its density.
“The density of this project will ruin this neighborhood. You are completely destroying the work people have done,” Joseph Netto said.

Mr. Netto asked the developers to meet the neighborhood halfway and reduce the density of their 28-lot plan.

“We don’t want to be against affordable housing, we want it to fit in with the neighborhood we invested our houses in,” he said.

Virginia Valiela, vice chairman of the water quality management committee, suggested the project is too dense for a different reason: it exceeds the capacity allowed by the state-mandated Flow Neutral Bylaw for Sewer Service Areas passed at the November 13, 2013, Falmouth Town Meeting.

The goal of the bylaw was to ensure the amount of wastewater generated in the Little Pond sewer service area was the same before and after the installation of the sewer system, ensuring the amount of wastewater generated does not exceed the capacity of the town’s wastewater treatment plant. As there were seven lots at this proposed development, the flow neutral bylaw projected a maximum of 28 bedrooms at this site.

“What you have before you tonight is three times that amount,” Ms. Valiela said. “There are 84 bedrooms here, rather than 28.”

Howard B. Grosser, president of the Falmouth Heights-Maravista Neighborhood Association, also brought up a sewer-related concern.

“The development, as currently designed, would not be possible without our sewer system,” Mr. Grosser said.

The seven lots on this site are subject to sewer betterment fees, with each property owner paying a betterment fee of approximately $13,000. However, the seven sewer betterment fees assessed to the seven lots associated with this 40B project will now be split across 28 sites, averaging approximately $3,000 per homeowner.

“It is undeniably legal, but that doesn’t make it right or fair,” Mr. Grosser said. “And I suggest that this fractional betterment associated with the 28 lots makes these 28 properties simply out of character with the rest of the neighborhood.”

He suggested the developers could show their commitment to the neighborhood by paying an additional 21 sewer betterment assessments, approximately $271,000.

However, one speaker spoke in favor of the project. After noting she was not speaking on behalf of the planning board, Patricia H. Kerfoot argued the project meets the needs of the town outlined in the 2014 RKG housing demand study and needs analysis, the 2016 local comprehensive plan and the Cape Cod Commission’s Davis Straits reset study.

“It is a tiny little pebble being thrown into the big pond of need in Falmouth,” she said. She argued this was an appropriate site for increased density because it is on a sewer line, in a walkable area and near public transportation.

The zoning board voted to continue the hearing until 6:30 PM on March 15 at Falmouth Town Hall. They are seeking further information on the flow neutral bylaw and density.

“The big concern, clearly, is density. I would like you to consider if there is some way to reduce the density,” zoning board chairman Kenneth H. Foreman said.’