Cape Cod Commission to Review Proposed WHOI Building

FALMOUTH – The Falmouth Planning Board has referred a proposed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution facility to the Cape Cod Commission.

WHOI is seeking to construct a three-story, 50,000-square-foot building at its Quissett Campus on Woods Hole Road.

“The building is anticipated to support new and emerging technology in marine science, as well as house WHOI’s rigging group,” said Jean Kampas, an attorney for the project.

“It will also house a new incubator and innovation group and contain laboratory and collaboration space, as well as shelved space for future uses.”

Kampas said the plans could be altered in response to a review by the Cape Cod Commission.

The commission reviews projects over 10,000 square feet.

She said they anticipate questions and comments from the public when the site plan returns to the planning board after the commission’s review.

Planning board member James Fox expressed concerns for the proposed facility.

“Height, light and transportation are the areas that I am concerned about and I hope the Cape Cod Commission takes those into consideration,” Fox said.

Fox believes the development of the area has illuminated the sky at night.

“I’m a night sailor and now this area of town when you sail out it’s totally lumed up and lights up the whole sky,” Fox said. “I think it’s too much light.”

Fox hopes the commission looks at the town’s local comprehensive plan and makes sure the proposed facility fits into every aspect of that plan.

Planning board member Robert Leary also suggested the project include solar panels over parking infrastructure.

A few Woods Hole Road residents also expressed concerns for the proposed $27 million project.

Richard Hugus voiced an object to the whole project as an abutter.

“It’s a huge project,” Hugus said. “It’s taking place outside of Ring Road where WHOI originally said they were going to confine their development.”

Hugus has sent a letter of opposition to the Cape Cod Commission, which is on file with the planning board.

He is also concerned with the amount of development in Woods Hole with the current Steamship Authority terminal reconstruction project.

“Woods Hole is just too crowded nowadays,” he said.

The site plan will be brought back before the planning board after it is reviewed by the Cape Cod Commission.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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