Access Over Path to Beach Sparks Controversy on Cape Cod

Residents along the private way have complained of littering and vandalism by users of the path

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Use of a private road that leads to a beach on Cape Cod has created controversy within the town.

A cut-through off of a bike path in Falmouth leads to Black Beach, where one resident who said that he's had things stolen from his property believes that it is being overused in the summer.

His idea for a solution is a gate to the winding road that leads to a path of sand that goes directly to the beach.

"The garbage and the refuse that's left behind we've had significant increases in vandalism," said Brian Storms, who lives along the private way. "Last summer, we drove in. We were out to dinner and we came in and there was somewhere between 15-20 people sitting on our dock, sitting on our boat, coolers out, music playing. We asked them to leave and they looked at us like we were from another planet."

While Massachusetts' statewide mask mandate expires on May 29, they are still required in some places.

Empty beer cans and plastic cups, along with a liquor store receipt timestamped six hours earlier, were recovered along the path by NBC10 Boston during a visit on Friday.

Storms said that his proposed gate would be seasonal, three months during the summer, and redirect foot traffic to other beach entrances.

But not everyone seems to be on board with the idea.

"I don't think I've ever seen a project strike such a raw nerve," said Courtney Bird of the Falmouth Conservation Commission. "That path has been used by the public for a long, long time."

Storms and other neighbors brought the idea to the commission last week to see if it applied to the Wetlands Protection Act. On Wednesday, the commission determined the gate would not apply to the act, which would greenlight the move.

But as a whole, the commission voted against the gate, 5-2.

Storms said that they'll now have to go back to the commission with a more detailed description of their proposal.

"I'm not convinced that we're going to get that approval," Storms said.

The commission wants an environmental impact study done on the gate, and also want to approve the engineer that does it.

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