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).
ANNUAL CLEANUP HEIGHTS & MARAVISTA:  Sat., April 28, 2018, 8:30-10:30 AM. To volunteer, email cleanup@fhmna.org
“SPRING INTO SUMMER” SOCIAL:  June 10, 2018, 3:00-5:30 PM, Falmouth Yacht Club. Adult members and others Heights and/or Maravista residents considering membership are invited. 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).

Director Openings

3 Director Positions Open (all ending 8/20)
1 Director Position Open (8/19)
1 Alternate Position Open (open dates)

The Conservation Commission (ConCom) met for the 2nd time to discuss the 40B project at Helmis Circle just north of Alma Road.  See FHMNA previous article covering the ConCom 4/4/18 meeting.

The 5/2/18 meeting can be viewed on FCTV.   Scroll to 1:34:42 through 2:39:15.

The hearing was continued to Thursday, 5/23/18, but later requested to be heard on 6/6/18 (watch for updated agendas on the Town website).  At that time, ConCom will review a report (to be ordered) from an independent consultant specifically regarding the project’s impact on the coastal bank.  Nothing more is required of the developer at this time.  A report on water run-off by an independent consultant is already in the file.

REMINDER: Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals, Thursday, June 7, 2018, 6:00 p.m. CONTINUED: #090-17-Helmis Circle, LLC 40B off Worcester Ct. Alma Rd. can also be watched live streaming on FCTV. (This meeting may be continued again if the ZBA needs time to review the ConCom 6/6/18 meeting.  Again, watch for updated agendas on the Town website.)

Summary:

The developer reported changes made to the plans as requested at the 4/4 meeting.  The most significant change to the plans is that after many months of implying the road through the project would be acceptable to Falmouth as a town road, it does not meet town specs.  All references to “public road” have been deleted from the plans. Also deleted were references to chemical stabilizers (not needed). They added references to storm water drainage and Home Owners’ Covenants.

The developers also reported that one mature tree had fallen prior to an inspection on 2/28/18, before the March nor’easters. The bank is well vegetated.  North of lots 1-5 and 11-12 there were no additional downed trees by the March storms.

ConCom members were stilled concerned about:

  1. the amount of roof runoff due to density
  2. the coastal bank because plans using 100 year storm history may no longer be adequate given current weather patterns. If the ground is frozen or saturated, where would the runoff go?
  3. tree roots, from trees clear cut on the site, which go beyond the site boundaries will be disrupted, leading to further disruption.

However, one member did state that 40B regulations do allow the density applied for in an area where otherwise it would not be allowed in Falmouth.  All the board can do is be as comfortable as possible with all the issues raised.

One abutter was concerned that what we are hearing when the developer says “in general” is an “educated opinion vs. the loss of an irreplaceable resource”.  He noted that the Cape Cod Commission and the Wetlands Protection Act do not want any activity within a 100’ buffer.  11 houses (lots 1-7 and 10-13) are within 50’ of the coastal bank.  He requested a guarantee that there will be no adverse effect.

This abutter was also concerned about future finances.  If each homeowner pays $200-$300/year, this might break even for the first 3-5 years.  How will they pay for future repairs and maintenance of the very long private road, wastewater system and other common areas?

Another abutter concentrated his comments on the disruption to the surrounding area due to construction vibration and excavation which could take years before the project is complete.  Only 1 tree was lost this year, but it was surrounded and therefore protected by many other trees.  Once the site trees are gone, there will be less protection.  Some garages are only 2’ from the fence and 1 home is only 3’.  How can homeowners even clean their gutters when there is no room for a ladder?

A third abutter added wind as a concern.  Once the site is clear cut, it will be easier for the wind to blow down other trees.  The 40B regulations call for “public safety”.  Trees may be blown down on top of houses or into the swamp or vernal pond, causing more disruption.  Once roots are gone, protection of the remaining trees is lessened.  He asked if a consultant can analyze the area for an appropriate density of homes to protect both the owners and coastal banks.

The ConCom agreed to order an independent study to review the project’s impact on the coastal banks, but not to analyze the area for density.

On Wednesday, April 18, the Beach Committee (BC) reviewed their suggested Beach Policies.  They had emailed the list to all Town Meeting Members for comment and the Enterprise article on April 13 asked input from the public. The Cape Cod Times published articles on April 16 (“Proposed beach rules”) and April 19 (“Falmouth Hopes to Avoid Beach Buzzkill”). The FHMNA emailed our members on April 13 requesting input which included their draft of Beach Committee Regulations.  The BC received 49 emails in response.

The final BC’s recommendations to the Board of Selectmen will be reviewed at the BC meeting on May 16, 2018.  The Selectmen will then schedule open hearings after that.

The BC meeting was televised by FCTV   To watch the beach policies discussion, scroll from 0:1:10 through 1:04:59, after which follows a presentation requesting beach assess for kayaks and paddle boards (which was tabled for further discussion with beach staff members at 1:24:00).  The remainder of the meeting covered the Superintendent’s and Committee Reports.

Public Email Comments and Superintendent’s response:  Bruce Mogardo, Beach Superintendent, prepared a summary list of emails he received.  He also recommended that as soon as the Selectmen vote on a final version, a list of policies and other “expectations” should be handed out with each purchased beach license. He spoke at length about training the lifeguards to watch for both rules and expectations. The lifeguards rotate chairs, and when doing so will be instructed to meander through the beach to look out for infringements. “Directives must be followed” and if not, the lifeguards will be instructed to call the Beach House and/or police.  Mr. Mogardo will also train the parking lot attendants to walk the lot and beach area behind the lifeguard’s chairs when the lot is full and the attendant can step away from the entrance.

FHMNA presented some of our members’ concerns including the size and placement of tents and/or prohibition of any 4-pole structures, the prohibition of hard ball playing and the question of leaving responsibility for both water safety and beach rules to the discretion of the lifeguards.

Tents: The BC voted to limit the size of tents to 10’ x 10’, to be firmly secured and which must not obstruct the lifeguard’s view of the water.  There were conflicting opinions:  tents block beachgoers views and should be limited to the rear of all beaches vs. people come to the beach in groups and it is discriminatory to ask half a group to be relegated to the back while the rest want to sit closer to the water.  However, obstruction of the lifeguard’s view takes precedence.

Other issues:  Prohibiting glass bottles was discussed as a recommendation, not a policy.  Falmouth has no policy regarding drones, but if people are out in public spaces they can’t have an expectation of privacy. There was little discussion about safety; air space is controlled by the FAA.  Trash is a big issue and Linda Davis, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, spoke about that committee’s intention to create a comprehensive trash policy for Falmouth in conjunction with 15 other Cape towns, similar to US parks’ law of “what you pack in, you pack out”.  A no vaping rule was added to clarify the no smoking rule.

The Falmouth Spring Town Meeting was held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, April 9, 10 and 11, 2018.

Members might be interested in watching the Coastal Resiliency Action Committee report on Monday:  FCTV, 1:32:45 through 1:39:19. (For those interested in learning more and/or sharing their concerns with the Committee, please attend a “Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Community Listening” meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 in the Hermann Room, Falmouth Public Library, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, or view their web page on the Town website.

For background information on Articles 32 and 34, see FHMNA’s article posted on April 2, 2018 regarding Articles 32 and 34.

Article 32 Indefinite Postponement:  “This petition is to place an article in the annual warrant to have the town of Falmouth authorize a second water meter for each residence affected by this new sewer system. The town to provide the additional water meter and the homeowner would pay for its installation. On petition of Stephen C. Bazycki.”  Indefinite Postponement recommended.

This article was “held” for discussion, which can be viewed on FCTV by scrolling from 56:20 through 1:07:50. The petitioner was not able to appear, but sent a representative to ask for an amendment to widen the petition to all of Falmouth rather than just the LPSSA.  This was not allowed.  There was a concern that there was no funding noted; the moderator explained that if the petition passed, the petitioner would then return with a request for funding.  TMM Sandy Cuny said she had received some calls from Precinct 2 residents who volunteered to pay for their own meters.  She suggested the members vote for Indefinite Postponement and that the petitioners come back with more clarification.  This was done.

Article 34 Passed as Printed: To see if the Town will vote to amend the Zoning Bylaw by deleting Section 240-142 (as amended in 1983) and substituting the following updated Section 240-142 regulating cooking and housekeeping amenities in commercial accommodations guest units: §240-142 Cooking and housekeeping facilities. Commercial accommodations units may contain amenities for private cooking and housekeeping only as the Board of Appeals allows, by special permit, upon the Board’s determination that the allowed amenities are customary to guest units and will not change the nature of the use as commercial accommodations. On petition of Kevin P. Klauer, II.

This article was not “held” by any Town Meeting Member for discussion and was voted as recommended by the Planning Board: “That the Town vote Article 34 as printed in the warrant.”