Handy Boat, at 215 Foreside Road in Falmouth, wants to expand its operation with more indoor boat storage. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

FALMOUTH — The owners of Handy Boat are considering an expansion that would allow them to store more boats inside during the winter months.

The project, at 215 Foreside Road, is in the early stages and many details still need to be worked out, according to Andrea Casanueva, director of operations at the privately owned boatyard.

But the Board of Zoning Appeals granted the boatyard a conditional use waiver June 25, in a meeting where no one from the public spoke.

An expansion at Handy Boat would fit in with the design of the current building and not obstruct site lines. Courtesy Ryan Senatore Architecture

Owner John Marr, who purchased the boatyard 11 years ago, said the proposed expansion of the building replaces an earlier proposal to build a new storage building in Handy Boat’s upper parking lot. The earlier proposal received some opposition, particularly because it interfered with sight lines down to the water, he told the zoning board.

“We feel this design is more appropriate,” Marr said last week. “Sight lines will remain the same and it’s downsized and more proportionate.” He also said the expansion would be on the same level as the existing building and would be consistent with the current design.

The next step in the process would be site plan approval from the Planning Board, Code Enforcement Officer Justin Brown said this week, although a meeting with the board has not been scheduled.


“We really aren’t looking at expanding the number of boats that we store, but shifting the focus to storing more boats inside,” Casanueva said this week. “In order to remain competitive in the marine industry, we need to add additional indoor storage so that we can attract better boats.”

Handy Boat in Falmouth offers a number of services to boaters of all types and also houses a year-round restaurant, the Dockside Grill. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

The expansion “not only will allow us to store higher quality vessels, but hopefully provide us with more service work,” she added. Right now the company has about 20 full-time employees.

Currently, Casanueva said, Handy Boat stores between 10 and 15 boats inside and between 130 and 145 outside each winter. With the expansion she said the business could double its indoor storage capacity.

Handy Boat is in the Residential A zone, and is surrounded by mostly private homes, although the Portland Yacht Club and Falmouth’s public Town Landing are also adjacent uses. Brown said a marina is an allowed conditional use within RA, but any alterations require approval from the zoning board.

Handy Boat has been in operation since 1934, and since Marr purchased the property, he said last week, he’s been working to restore its prestige and add services for boaters of all types.

Along with boat storage, the company services boats, provides overnight and long-term moorings, launch service, and sells marine supplies and parts. Handy Boat is also home to the Dockside Grill, a year-round restaurant.

Other changes in recent years include the addition of overnight dock space with access to utilities, along with showers, a laundry and a convenience store to better cater to boaters.

Marr told the zoning board he’s held two neighborhood meetings on the proposed expansion and that, for the most part, residents are supportive and appreciate the changes that were made.

Overall, he said the new addition would be “more consistent with the neighborhood.”

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