Willowbend is being asked to appear before the Mashpee Board of Health to resolve hotel/motel permitting issues.

Willowbend submitted a new hotel/motel permit to the health board in August 2020. Board members at the time wanted clarification on how long they had been operating as a hotel/motel before applying for the permit, Mashpee Health Agent Glen E. Harrington said.

Willowbend Villas was found to have 12 rooms for rent on a nightly to weekly basis that were being used as housing for transient individuals for an unknown amount of time.

With new members on the board today, Mr. Harrington said he wanted to resolve the issue after it slipped through the cracks due to the hectic environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I did a fair amount of research back in 2020 that revealed those buildings had been in existence for many years but could not determine how long they have been rental units,” he said.

Prior conditions of the new permit required an explanation to the board as to why WIllowbend did not seek out a hotel/motel permit sooner. No explanation was ever given to the board, and the department never issued the permit, Assistant Health Agent Christine Willander said.ma

Ms. Willander said her current concern is not the villas’ ability to make inspections but rather that they have a permit allowing them to operate legally.

“My concern is we have helped facilitate this, perpetuating them continuing to operate without their license because we did not serve them anything,” she said.

Chairman Brian Baumgaertel agreed the issue needs resolution.

“I don’t think they were entirely faultless, but I also don’t think they were entirely to blame,” he said.

A letter will be sent to Willowbend on the board’s decision to revisit this issue at its next meeting. In the meantime, the Mashpee Health Department plans to schedule an inspection as soon as possible.

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