The Town of Falmouth has requested assistance from the Cape Cod Commission to conduct a planning analysis in the general vicinity of the Davis Straits/Route 28 corridor between Scranton Avenue and Jones Road.
This section of Route 28 is unique because it retains both an area of residential scale buildings and also commercial plazas that have significant redevelopment potential. The area has experienced an increase in redevelopment interest in recent years and it is believed to be ripe for change. Currently, zoning regulations do not treat this area differently from other large commercial areas in Falmouth. The town would like to differentiate this segment of Route 28 from others in order to give it a unique identity and to improve community vitality and economic development outside of the downtown area.
The project builds off the work of the Spring Bars Road Assessment, a planning study conducted by the Commission in 2013 that addressed land use issues beyond the boundaries of that town-owned property. The Falmouth Planning Board and Board of Selectmen have chosen to pursue several of the recommendations from the Study Area Analysis portion of the Spring Bars Road Assessment (final report issued October 2013).
The scope of the work for this project includes two parts: a redevelopment plan for Davis Straits and Worcester Court between Scranton Avenue and Jones Road, including means to encourage mixed-use development; and plans for a Greenway Corridor linking Little Pond with the Teaticket Park.
Spring Bars Road Report
Commission staff completed a final report of the Town of Falmouth's Spring Bars Road property and the surrounding neighborhood in October 2013. The work included assessing the infrastructure needs and financial viability of a 30-unit affordable housing project proposed on the property, together with an analysis of broader land use issues and opportunities in the adjacent study area.
Recommendations regarding zoning:
- Encourage mixed use development with condos and apartments for Worcester Court as transition between Route 28 commercial area and residential neighborhood to south and east. Use business redevelopment building and lot coverages here because they are lower than B2 coverage allowances.
- Create design guidelines for Worcester Court to move buildings up to the street edge and prevent parking in front yards. Suggest town clarity definition of “yard” in zoning bylaw to prevent parking in this setback area. Consider a build-to line and transparency requirement for buildings to foster pedestrian comfort.
- Develop master plan for large commercial plaza to guide redevelopment. Consider landscape buffers to residential areas, limits on curb cuts, pedestrian pathways, and active street frontage buildings.
- Retain smaller development nodes on Route 28 to reduce traffic congestion and prevent spread of strip development. Keep existing pattern of small buildings with consistent setback, but consider allowing more varied uses.
No inventoried historic properties in study area on the MACRIS database, though series of bungalows along east side of Route 28 (and some on west side) date from the early 1900s. A 19th century house and barn adjacent to CVS were recently demolished.
Historically a less developed area between clusters of development.
- 1858 map shows a few houses on east side of Route 28 between Falmouth Heights Road and Jones Road, while areas to north and west along Route 28 have many more buildings. Also shows a stream connecting Bowman Pond (now Falmouth Inner Harbor) with Morse Pond north of Recreation center complex. There must have been a bridge to cross on Route 28.
- 1893 map still has only a few buildings along this stretch of Route 28 (one was house recently demo’s by CVS), and nothing to the east. The map also shows stream between Bowman Pond and Morse Pond, with marshy area indicated north of Bowman Pond and south of Route 28. This map shows Falmouth Heights development begun near waterfront.
- 1938 aerial photo shows farmland and few buildings on both sides of Route 28 near Falmouth Heights Road intersection, with wet area between harbor and Morse Pond. Also shows the row of 10 houses along east side of Route 28 between Jones Road and Spring Bars Road. Spring Bars Road is laid out and appears to access farm land and cranberry bogs in the area of Worcester Court (no Worcester Court road yet), plus wooded area on much of Spring Bars Road site and south. Map shows road layout for Falmouth Heights established through mostly wooded areas north of coast.
- 1941 USGS map confirms what’s shown in 1938 photo, but with a few houses added along northern range of Falmouth Heights. Falmouth Inner Harbor is named on the map.
- 1952 aerial photo shows continued farmland (and farmhouse in center) east of Route 28 between Falmouth Heights and Spring Bars Road, plus behind bungalows on Route 28. More wooded areas to west of Route 28, and baseball field south of Morse Pond. Large building on north side of Route 28 below ball field. Many more houses along northwestern quadrant of Falmouth Heights, but northeastern quarter still all wooded.
- 1971 aerial photo shows large farmstead turned into large mall and parking area, and smaller farmed fields across street turned into smaller buildings with parking lots. Cranberry bogs still visible off Spring Bars Road, but large development site appearing north of them. Worcester Court built (likely following dirt track between previous farm fields) and some development on east side behind new mall. Connection between harbor and pond is paved over both north and south of Route 28, and large buildings face the harbor.
- 1984 aerial photo shows cranberry bogs replaced by Falmouth Mall.
- 1994 aerial photo shows expanded Falmouth Mall and new commercial development on east side of Worcester Court. Also shows new Recreation center set back from Route 28 and building removed from street edge.