Beach Committee Meeting 4/18/18 Report (posted 4/23/18)

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.

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