A former neurosurgeon from Falmouth who is trying to transform his luxurious home into a bed and breakfast that offers high-end cooking lessons cannot open to the public until the business receives two town-issued permits, according to a ruling by a Falmouth town official.

The ruling by Code Enforcement Officer Justin Brown means the house’s owner, Marc Christensen, and his business partners must delay the start of a cooking class scheduled to begin Oct. 10 until the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals meets later that month to consider his application for permits to operate. Brown also ruled out other potential uses for the elegant home, barring the use of the property for weddings, as a production studio, or as a general event venue for corporate retreats or parties – uses that the business’ website had mentioned as possible options.

“The final goal was to bring this down to a bed and breakfast with a culinary retreat,” Christensen said. “So we’re kind of narrowing it down.”

Christensen’s 11,000-square-foot home sits on 3.65 acres at 200 Woodville Road, a tony, relatively undeveloped part of Falmouth. The area is in the Farm and Forest zone, a low-intensity designation that allows very few commercial uses.

But bed and breakfasts are considered to be a conditional use for the area, which means the zoning board must sign off on the plan. Christensen has not yet submitted the bed and breakfast proposal to the town.

Falmouth zoning ordinances say a bed and breakfast cannot have more than eight rooms available, can offer only breakfast food service, and must meet broader standards for venues open to the public, including parking and exterior lighting, and accessibility standards for people with disabilities.


Cooking lessons do not have their own designation in Falmouth’s zoning codes, but could fall into what is considered a home occupation, a designation that allows a profit-making enterprise as a secondary use inside a residence.

The zoning board will hear Christensen’s application for home occupation status at its next meeting Oct. 27.

The first cooking class was scheduled for Oct. 10 with Zapoteca’s Shannon Bard, focusing on tapas. Mirabelle House spokeswoman Amanda Howland said seven people signed up for the $200-per-head event, and will now receive a full refund.

If the zoning board approves the classes, they are likely to begin in November, Howland said.

“The most important thing is to do it right,” she said. “We would have loved to do some in October. But things move a little slower than you anticipate.”


Comments are no longer available on this story