With a newly approved addition, Handy Boat on Foreside Road in Falmouth will double its indoor storage capacity. This side view shows how the new facility will be incorporated into the hillside. Courtesy / Ryan Senatore Architecture

FALMOUTH — The Planning Board Tuesday approved a two-story addition at Handy Boat that promises little visual impact.

John Marr, owner of the boatyard at 215 Foreside Road, told the board that his team has been working for the past two years on a design that would better suit the surrounding residential neighborhood and also be “much more in character” with what is already on site.

The goal for the 8,263-square-foot addition is to double the indoor storage capacity at the marina, which is surrounded by mostly private homes, although the Portland Yacht Club and Falmouth’s public Town Landing are also adjacent uses.

The expansion project previously received approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals during a June 25 meeting, as well as a required permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection on July 26.

Because Handy Boat is located in the Residential A zone, a conditional use waiver for the proposed construction was required from the ZBA before the project could go to the Planning Board for site plan approval.

Marr said Tuesday that when Handy Boat tried once before to create more indoor boat storage, the project received a lot of pushback from neighbors.

Originally, Marr said, the new indoor storage facility was proposed for Handy Boat’s upper parking lot. The newly approved project will be built into the hillside and designed to blend in with the buildings already at the marina, which includes the Dockside Grill, a year-round restaurant.

This week Marr described the initial proposal as being “too out of character” and said the new addition is “significantly different.” He also said it received neighborhood kudos before being brought to the Planning Board for review.

John Crowley, who lives at 219 Foreside Road and is the closest neighbor to the boatyard, said Tuesday he was “adamantly opposed” to the original plans for the indoor storage facility when it was first proposed two years ago.

Now, though, “I’m an advocate for the project. I’m very appreciative of the work John Marr and his team have done. They’ve done an excellent job incorporating (the new facility) into the hillside,” where it’s barely visible.

William Savage, principal at Acorn Engineering, Inc., said the current project “represents a more thoughtful design with very little visual impact” either from the land or water side, because “the project is designed to work with existing grades.”

While Savage said there would be no additional stormwater runoff generated by the new indoor storage facility, the project does add 4,800 square feet of impervious area, which will be offset by new landscaping elsewhere on site.

In a prior interview, Andrea Casanueva, director of operations at Handy Boat, said the marina stores between 10 and 15 boats inside and between 130 and 145 outside each winter.  She said the business could double its indoor storage capacity with the expansion.

The new addition “will not only 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.

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