On November 6, 2017, a majority of Town Meeting members voted against our petitioner’s Article 11 “To Amend Ch. 87 Code of Falmouth Beaches”. FHMNA President Howard Grosser gave a short history of what led up to this article (a synopsis of our 9/21/17 email to our members) and his FHMNA Board-approved request for Indefinite Postponement in favor of the Selectmen’s Article 12.
There was some discussion by Town Meeting and Beach Committee members which also explained the history and process by which the beach signs were recently changed, giving lifeguards some discretion controlling ball playing on the Heights beach.
To read the warrant article, click here and scroll to page 7.
To view the discussion online, click here, click on the red box in the center to start the video and scroll to 3:40:32. The vote was taken at 4:08:44.
On November 7, 2017, a majority of Town Meeting members approved Article 12 (to Amend Chapter 65 Code of Falmouth Beaches – Board of Selectmen) This amendment deletes “Ch 87-3 Ball Playing: The playing of baseball or softball on said public beaches is prohibited.” There is no longer any regulation regarding ball playing on the beaches.
However, Article 12 gives the Board of Selectmen explicit authority to regulate all Falmouth public beaches and parks. Although this authority is within the existing Selectmen’s responsibilities (to create beach policies based on recommendations from the Beach Committee), it highlights that the Selectmen, not the Beach Committee nor the Town Meeting members, are now the final decision-makers for beach regulations.
The article clearly encourages residents’ opinions by stating that the Selectmen “would hold a hearing to solicit public input before adopting or amending regulations.”
During the discussion, one Selectman noted that only Town Code Chapter 87-3 (ball playing) was recommended for change by Article 11 and only Chapter 87-3 is listed in Article 12 to be deleted.
Chapter 87 paragraphs 1, 2, and 4-9 deal with other issues which are not under consideration for change (fires, alcohol, smoking, dogs, littering, etc.)
Giving the Selectmen this authority will allow for quicker changes to beach regulations than having to wait for town meetings twice a year.
To read the warrant article, click here and scroll to page 8.
To view the discussion online, click here here, click on the red box in the center to start the video and scroll to 26:05. The vote was taken at 54:00.
There is no longer any Town Code regulating ball playing on the beaches.
We hope that the Selectmen will meet before the 2018 beach season to create a set of regulations regarding all sports activities on the beaches including projectiles (balls, Frisbees, etc.) and airborne devices (drones, kites, etc.). They may also consider tents and other public safety and civility issues.
The FHMNA is committed to working with the Selectmen to voice our members’ concerns and to communicate with our members, as best we can, giving notice of any hearings called by the Selectmen. You can receive direct notices of Selectmen’s’ agendas by signing up for Alerts and Notifications.
The Article 12 discussion included the fact that neither the Beach Committee nor Beach Superintendent (whose phone number we emailed and posted) had received any calls with complaints from individual beach-goers on a day when the beach was officially open. The complaints they did hear came from FHMNA Board members who regularly attend their meetings and a few beach-goers who also attended occasionally. This has been a sticking point whenever we have asked the Beach Committee for changes regarding civility on the beaches.
As a result, we encourage our members to appear before the Selectmen and/or write them letters/emails with requests for what they think should and shouldn’t be allowed on our beaches.
See Falmouth Enterprise article from 11/10/17: “Falmouth Selectmen Given OK To Create Beach Rules & Regulations“.