CALL TO ACTION!

The Dome at Woods Hole, Inc. was formed by a loose group of concerned community members who were drawn together with the express interest of preserving the Dome through a sensitive and thorough historic preservation process. Our mission is to rehabilitate the dome and its site for the highest and best use. Given the dome’s identity as the oldest surviving geodesic dome built by Bucky Fuller and his students, we believe the best use of the dome must acknowledge the incredible legacy that the structure embodies.

Regardless of the dome’s future use, the plan must recognize and take into account the historic significance of the geodesic dome as well as its attached wings.

We have been working for over two years to secure site control of the historic geodesic dome in Woods Hole, in order to ensure its preservation. That effort began with the previous owner, who supported our organization with seed money and expressed interest in donating the dome and a modest parcel to our organization. The new owner, Woods Hole Partners LLC, which is run by Mark Bogosian of Longfellow Design Build and an investor, made a number of promises to work with The Dome. We entered into collaborative discussions with Bogosian to ensure that our vision to rehabilitate the structure into an inter-disciplinary arts center could be realized alongside his residential development.

Although we believed that our discussions were moving in a fruitful direction, the developer has backed away from his promises to collaborate and has put forward his own plan for an “arts center”, composed of ideas cherry-picked from the Dome’s concept. This plan has now been formally submitted for review by local agencies as he seeks permission for construction. We believe that the plan threatens the dome’s integrity as a mid-century modern icon. 

You can read more about our perspective on these negotiations in these recent articles:

Falmouth Enterprise Friday, Dec. 7th

Cape Cod Times Monday, Dec. 10th

Boston Globe Saturday, Dec. 22nd

Our concern with the proposed project is purely out of concern for the dome. Without a plan that respects the dome’s significance and legacy, we feel that we have no other option but to oppose the project publicly.

Our offer to work collaboratively with the owner still stands. We have also offered to purchase the entire 5.4 acre parcel, or a larger parcel for the dome, and both offers have been rejected.

We urge community members to get involved by attending the hearings at the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board in January. If you cannot attend, your comments can be made directly to these boards by email. Send letters and make your voice heard!

  Zoning Board of Appeals

Thursday, January 17th at 6:30pm

Selectmen’s Meeting Room, Town Hall, Falmouth

falzba@falmouthma.gov

Planning Board

Tuesday, January 22nd at 6: 30pm

Selectmen’s Meeting Room, Town Hall, Falmouth

planning@falmouthma.gov

WHY WE OPPOSE THE PROJECT

No thorough historic structures report, and no detailed structural analysis, has been done on the Dome or its attached wings. This is the first step in a careful historic preservation project. The dome is a unique and fragile wooden structure, which demands thorough and sensitive study by an expert familiar with structures of this kind. The attached wings, one of which was designed by Gunnar Peterson, must be included in this study as well.  Ironically, our application to the Falmouth Community Preservation Committee for funds to execute these studies was denied due to lack of site control.  The developer has not produced any evidence of having taken these basic steps. 

The owner proposes to demolish the building’s wings without proper study. The kitchen wing was designed by Gunnar Peterson, the local modernist architect who owned the Nautilus Motor Lodge and the Dome Restaurant, and its demolition cannot be assumed without a proper historic analysis. The entry wing, while not original, sits atop the Dome’s original entrance stairs, which any proper historic analysis would factor in its significance.

Existing site, showing Dome Restaurant wings

Existing site, showing Dome Restaurant wings

Proposed site plan showing demolition

Proposed site plan showing demolition

The plan provides less than a half-acre of land for the Dome. This small area all but requires the Dome to stand alone, without its attached wings. For the Dome to thrive as a public facility, regardless of use, it must be part of a larger building on a larger site.

The plan places a 13-unit condominium building just 18 feet from the Dome. Hiding the dome behind a large building in this way will destroy the dome’s “view shed”, and will disrespect the structure’s legacy by reducing it to a minor subservient structure in the master plan. Other proposals, including the most recent approved plan (proposed in 2008 by Wise Living) are much more respectful of the dome and its historic significance.

The Dome’s current “view shed”

The Dome’s current “view shed”

Proposed plan showing second-class status and destroyed “view shed”

Proposed plan showing second-class status and destroyed “view shed”

OTHER REASONS TO OPPOSE THE PROJECT

The project is very dense. At a time when the village of Woods Hole is experiencing tremendous overbuilding and large and controversial projects at both the Coast Guard Station and the Steam Ship Authority, the developer has requested an increase in density from 6 units per acre to 8 units per acre. This is unwarranted and unnecessary, and would be an imposing and unprecedented feeling of bulk and overbuilding that the village can scarcely absorb.

The developer's project in context

The developer's project in context

Developer’s Site Plan

Developer’s Site Plan

Forest Habitat will be destroyed. The northern edge of the Nautilus property is home to an historic forested area, and much of this will be destroyed to construct the project. This will have a major impact on the abutting properties, including their natural views and shading. Other large and significant trees on the property will also inevitably be taken down to make way for the new buildings and infrastructure. The developer has not produced sufficient drawings to show where and how this landscape will change.

Affordable Housing is segregated. Banished to the extreme rear of the property, out of sight from the luxury condominiums, the affordable housing provided in the plan clearly ignores the spirit of all affordable housing requirements, wherein affordable units should be integrated into a development to avoid making affordable housing residents feel like second class citizens.

Scale and Style. The overall size of the buildings would dwarf not only The Dome, but also the neighboring houses on Fern Lane, the adjacent motels, and the Woods Hole Road streetscape in general. Additionally, the pseudo-New England style of the buildings is not in keeping with the mid-century modern design long-established in that part of the historic district, home to both Treehouse Lodge, the Nautilus Motel, and the Sands of Time. 

Traffic. No traffic study has been prepared for the impact the development will have on traffic on Woods Hole Road, which is already heavily burdened by ferry traffic and heavy summer tourist traffic.

Wastewater. How will the developer handle all the wastewater for a development of such bulk?