HARWICH — A major waterfront improvement project is being proposed for the Wychmere Beach Club, including the reconstruction of existing facilities and the addition of a new restaurant, small restroom, retail building and a pavilion extension.
Wychmere Harbor Real Estate filed an application with the board of appeals to alter the existing special permit or to issue a new special permit for the waterfront property. The appeals board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31.
The project has already been before the conservation commission, which approved the work. The planning board is scheduled to address an application seeking to amend the site plan review special permit for the club on Aug. 13.
According to the application, the plans involve improvements to the existing beach club, including replacing the existing restaurant/pool equipment building; two swimming pools, the pool decking and other site improvements with a new restaurant building, a small restroom and retail building; a pavilion expansion, two smaller swimming pools, a new concrete pool deck, and various beach amenities.
Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh said the alterations must adhere to floodplain standards for the location.
According to the narrative accompanying the appeals board application, “The proposal has been designed to aesthetically compliment the overall property.”
The long-time uses at the property have previously been determined by the town to be pre-existing nonconforming because they predate current zoning regulations, according to the application. Site coverage and amenities coverage of the property—parking areas, pools, spas, basketball court and similar impervious amenities and facilities—are also pre-existing and nonconforming.
The building coverage will remain conforming and there will be no change in the number of parking spaces. Shared parking will continue for the non-residential uses, including the previously established parking management plan which also incorporates off-site parking and shuttle van service during the summer season. The residential condominiums have separate, dedicated parking.
There will be no change in the currently permitted occupancy of the property, which allows 650 restaurant seats in multiple buildings and areas of the site. There are 26 hotel bedrooms, plus office space in the Snow Inn building; six hotel bedrooms in the Channel House building; and 43 bedrooms in the 11 residential condominium units.
As previously reviewed and approved by the appeals board, the restaurant seats are shared between the various venues on the site with the maximum number of authorized seats in use not exceeded at any given time, according to the application.
Conservation Administrator Any Usowski said the commission approved the project but has not voted the final order of conditions yet. She said the proposed work remains within much the same footprint but that facilities are being rearranged. There are sections that have to be put up on pilings to comply with floodplain requirements, she said, and there is a roof extension over a portion of the wood deck. The kiddie and adult pools are swapping locations, and the building on the west side, adjacent to Merkel Beach, will be much larger and higher, she said.
It was also discovered that the tiki bar and three storage lockers were not permitted and the commission is weighing whether those should be allowed to remain, and if so what mitigation should be provided for them, Usowski said.
“It’s a huge project,” Usowski said. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by next summer.