A proposal for a luxury campsite won favorable comments from the Falmouth Planning Board and property neighbors at a planning board hearing on Tuesday, February 26.
Blue Flag Development plans to turn the existing Sippewissett Campground into a camping retreat. The developers will add 98 Airstream trailers and 10 tents to the site. Existing cabins will be removed and they will add a 7,900-square-foot clubhouse at the center of the site, according to plans.
Each Airstream will have a bathroom, bedroom and living space. Airstreams come equipped with a queen-sized bed and a couch that converts into a bed. The tents have queen-sized beds as well, but bathroom facilities for tent guests will be located in the clubhouse.
The proposed campground renovations also include the addition of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant Airstream trailers and tent sites.
The plans show 14 fewer campsites than what is currently on the property. This will lead to a decrease in traffic, according to a report from MDM Transportation Consultants.
AutoCamp will run and maintain the property. The luxury campground operator has sites in Santa Barbara and Sonoma. AutoCamp’s Yosemite location is slated to open soon.
If the project clears all of the relevant town boards, the Sippewissett Campground will become AutoCamp’s first East Coast location.
Eliza Cox, an attorney from Nutter McClennen and Fish, gave a brief presentation at the hearing. She addressed remaining questions from the planning board and updated members on the project’s approval process.
The planning board last heard a proposal for the project on January 22. Since that date, the developers submitted updated fencing and landscaping plans. A new eight-foot fence will run along the northern property line and a six-foot fence will run along the eastern property line, Ms. Cox said.
“A significant amount of additional landscaping has been added to the plan, along the property frontage, along and within the parking area, and along the northerly boundary,” Ms. Cox said. There will be more than 1,100 new plantings on the site, she added.
The project initially met with frustration from nearby neighbors at the first planning board hearing.
Ms. Cox told the board that the development team had engaged in neighborhood outreach since that time. “We’ve had meetings on the site. There have been calls, email exchanges, and discussions with interested neighbors,” Ms. Cox said.
On February 7, the development team met with concerned members of the community after deciding not to present to a four-person zoning board of appeals.
Developers walked the property with members of the appeals board, members of the planning board, neighbors and town staff on February 16.
After fielding neighbor concerns about parking spaces located in the top right of the plans, Blue Flag Development opted to move the spaces so that landscaping could provide screening instead. The developers also swapped pole lighting in the parking lot for bollard lighting.
“I think it’s a great plan and I want to commend you for your responsiveness to the neighborhood and to the planning board. It’s just really admirable,” planning board member Charlotte Harris said.
Lewis R. Stern, president of the Sippewissett Place Homeowners Corporation, said that Blue Flag Development had been “extremely responsive.”
“The plan as it’s currently presented is fantastic,” he said, “We highly support it.”
During a brief public comment portion, one neighbor raised a concern about screening. Brad Guidi from Blue Flag Development offered to continue to work with her to ensure her property was screened.
The planning board unanimously voted to close the hearing, instructing Town Planner Thomas Bott to start drafting a decision for the board to vote on at a later meeting.