Around New England

When Failing Is Succeeding – The Curious Story of A Floating Dock

February 1, 2019

An odd set of circumstances has led to the approval of a floating dock in a Cape Cod town even though the applicants failed to get necessary approval for a permit.

Two men who live on the same road in East Falmouth sought a special permit for the floating dock in Eel Pond, which some of their neighbors opposed, saying the it would cause too much congestion of boats, according to the Cape Cod Times.

The Falmouth Board of Selectmen last year voted 3-1 in favor of the special permit – but that’s one less than the supermajority of four required for approval. (One selectman was absent, according to the Cape Cod Times.)

By law, the town manager’s office had 90 days to file the decision with the town clerk’s office, but never did, apparently confused over whether the permit had achieved approval or not. Two days after the deadline, a lawyer for the applicants informed town officials that the lack of filing with the town clerk by law resulted in “constructive approval” of the dock, according to the Cape Cod Times.

The town can’t appeal the matter, but neighbors can, and they have filed an appeal in Barnstable Superior Court.

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