Marriott Project for Falmouth Heads to Full Commission

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Vicky Lowell speaks before a Cape Cod Commission subcommittee that is reviewing the project to construct a Marriott Hotel on Main Street in Falmouth.

Vicky Lowell speaks before a Cape Cod Commission subcommittee that is reviewing the project to construct a Marriott Hotel on Main Street in Falmouth.

FALMOUTH – Issues of community character were front and center last night as the Cape Cod Commission subcommittee held their third public hearing on the project to construct a three-story 110-room SpringHill Suites Marriott on the east end of Falmouth’s Main Street.

After last night’s hearing, the subcommittee voted to send the project to the full Cape Cod Commission for review.

The subcommittee asked commission staff to put together a memo for the full 17-member body laying out the subcommittee’s concerns about the project.

The subcommittee met in the auditorium at Morse Pond School. More than 150 people attended the hearing.

Among those giving testimony at the hearing was Falmouth architect Jill Neubauer who said the style of the building does not fit in Falmouth.

Speaking of the shape of the building, she said, “These two large flat-roofed rectangles with a Logan Airport bridge have no articulation or character made through shape or change of scale.”

She said, “Nothing can improve the character of this 110-room hotel except reducing its size and making a change to its volume and its overall shape. Unless this building is redesigned with talent, I ask that the Cape Cod Commission deny this building, as it is an assault on the character of Cape Cod and of Falmouth.”

Richard Latimer said he is very familiar with the area, having moved with his family to a house on nearby Nye Road in 1958. He said that house had been owned by a local druggist and he said large corporations like Marriott have driven out local businesses.

“For all of this, we are promised $250,000 in taxes. I’d say that’s a sucker’s deal,” he said.

Also speaking was Vicky Lowell of North Falmouth, who was one of the first representatives to the Cape Cod Commission from Falmouth. She said she hoped the commission would improve its communications for hearings such as this one, because the public was confused at the outset, particularly with regard to the project’s traffic impacts.

During a workshop that the subcommittee held last week, subcommittee members expressed concerns about the size and scale of the building and staff said those concerns would be part of the memo to the full commission.

Those concerns, as well as the impact on the nearby neighborhood, have been the main complaint from the dozens of Falmouth residents who have spoken in opposition to the project at three public hearings.

The full commission will begin their review of the project on July 9. Two additional meetings will be held on July 23 and August 7.

The commission is required to close the public hearing before August 8 or 9.

The commission then will have 60 days to issue a decision on the project.

If the project is approved, it will need special permits from both the Falmouth Planning Board and the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals.

The full commission will take up the project on July 9 at 3 p.m. in the Assembly of Delegates chamber at the Barnstable District Courthouse.

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