Indefinite Postponement Recommended for Controversial Falmouth Beach Article

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Falmouth Heights Beach

FALMOUTH – Falmouth Selectmen heard from a number of residents Monday putting forward petitions for the town’s Fall Town Meeting this November.

One controversial article, seeking to strictly limit certain activities allowed on Falmouth public beaches, will now be indefinitely postponed at the request of the petitioner.

The proposal, put forward by resident Howard Grosser, would have put restrictions on ball playing, music, drones, kites, tents, and certain types of umbrellas.

At their meeting last night, selectmen were only empowered to ask questions and determine whether or not the article will receive the recommendation of the board, and no public comment on the measures was permitted.

During his presentation, Grosser informed selectmen that he was satisfied with an article being put forward by the board which would authorize selectmen to promulgate rules and regulations for public beaches and parks and determine penalties for violations.

“I want to tell you that I prefer your number 12 to my number 11,” Grosser told the board, “Yours was made public on September 11 and had it been proposed by the August 25th deadline that I was obligated to meet, we wouldn’t be discussing Article 11 because I wouldn’t have submitted it. I wish to defer to and support Article 12 the article put forth by you, my elected officials.”

Grosser’s proposal, however, goes further than the one put forward by selectmen.

According to the language of the article, Grosser’s plan would ban audio devices audible beyond a 15 foot radius from any public beach or parking lot. It would prohibit airborne devices including, but not limited to, kites, drones, planes, and personal jetpacks.  

Projectiles of all types would not be allowed either. Those listed by name in the article are baseballs, softballs, footballs, tennis balls, volleyballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls, golf balls, dodgeballs, rugby balls, bocce balls, Frisbees, horseshoes, and lawn darts.

“Being forced to move or leave the beach bothers many people, I suggest the majority of people,” Grosser told.

“Those are the folks that have wanted something done about it for years now. Article 11 was submitted on their behalf.”

The plan also calls for a strict limits to umbrellas as well. Center poles would be limited to 7 feet 6 inches in height with a circular diameter no greater than 9 feet, and shading devices no larger than 36 inches high by 36 inches wide and 36 inches deep.

All shading devices including but not limited to tents, tarps, pavilions, cabanas, sports-brellas, or other devices similar to sports-brellas, or any material mounted on supports are prohibited entirely.

Finally the article, number 11 on the warrant, would deem it unlawful to disobey a directive from a lifeguard, beach monitor, or town official whilst on the beach.

Despite the fact that Grosser is backing away from his measure, the article will still receive a vote at town meeting. State law mandates that once a warrant article is executed, it may not be withdrawn.

Grosser, who is president of the Falmouth Heights – Maravista Neighborhood Association, said that his decision to originally put the article forward came after he heard numerous complaints from fellow residents, adding that it had received majority support of the association.

He also is quick to point out that his proposal is taken, in many cases, word-for-word from Dennis Town Bylaws.

An opposition group working to defeat the proposal had been making the rounds on social media with hundreds of supporters.

Selectmen heard about a total of nine articles at last night’s meeting, including a measure to encourage the Commonwealth to divest of all publicly-traded securities of thermal coal companies, as well as various funding and zoning measures.

Falmouth’s annual town meeting will take place on at the Lawrence School Auditorium on Monday, November 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


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