It’s better suited for the mountains. It doesn’t fit in with Cape style. And it blocks the view of the body of water the village is named after.
Those comments were among the feedback, most of it negative, on a new terminal design for the Steamship Authority in Woods Hole.
“The name of the town is Woods Hole, and I don’t see it anymore,” Rebecca Truman told representatives of the Steamship Authority and the project architects, after seeing the design of a new 37-foot tall terminal building. “You’re taking away the view of Woods Hole from Woods Hole. Although the SSA will have a great view.”
Truman was not alone. At a meeting that drew about 60 people to Falmouth Public Library Tuesday night, speaker after speaker offered feedback on the new terminal design, with only two of them saying they have no issues with the proposal.
“It looks like a lovely building. For those of us in Woods Hole, it’s not lovely. It does look a little like a ski lodge in Aspen,” Nawrie Meigs-Brown of Woods Hole said. “Why do we need such an enormous waiting area here?”
SSA general manager Robert Davis told the crowd that he and the architects were gathering feedback in Falmouth — and at a separate meeting in Vineyard Haven on Wednesday from 4 to 6 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse — and would consider whether any changes would be made.
But architect Chris Iwerks of BIA Studio repeatedly gave the impression the alternatives have been considered and the plan presented is the best option.
“There were compromises involved,” Iwerks told the crowd, ticking off the objectives the designers attempted to meet, such as improving pedestrian safety and traffic flow. “We couldn’t solve all the problems.”
Several speakers picked apart the design — complaining that stone siding should be replaced with shingles to fit in, and that a massive cathedral ceiling in the waiting area had too much glass.
“They weren’t even taking notes,” Perry Cappola of West Falmouth said after the nearly two-hour session.
Davis welcomed people to email him or Sean Driscoll, the Steamship spokesman.
Beth Colt, owner of several Woods Hole businesses, including the neighboring Quick’s Hole Tavern, was one of the lone bright spots for the SSA. “I just want to say in this process I was heard,” she said commending architects on the attempt to make a connection with nearby businesses and to build in a parking area for bicycles.
The design and location of the building is limited by the amount of space available, Bill Cloutier, SSA project manager, said. Cloutier appeared frustrated at times with the public comments, even waving dismissively while a speaker was making her point about wasted space on the second floor of the building. There was audible laughter when Cloutier said there had been no more than a 2 percent increase in vehicle traffic in recent years.
The building will be 100 feet from the slips, and is smack-dab in the middle of what is now the area buses traverse and the pickup/dropoff area. The temporary terminal must go because it’s in the floodplain. The SSA received a variance from the town’s building department.
The new terminal will be built 17 feet above flood level, in part by raising the grade four feet and the building floor 2½ feet, Iwerks said.
There are other buildings in Woods Hole that reach 35 feet into the air, Iwerks said.
The second floor will hold offices for the terminal manager, terminal agents, locker rooms for workers, and a training space that has perhaps the best view of Great Harbor.
Several people asked why the building could not be moved at a 90° angle so as not to block the view; another asked that the top floor be lopped off and added to a separate building on the site, and one outside-the-box idea was to design the terminal building so it would float in a storm. Others pleaded for a terminal more in keeping with the ones in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Hyannis.
One of the slides presented by BIA Studio showed the eclectic mix of buildings in Woods Hole, but Matthew Bumpus implored the SSA to reconsider using cedar shingles, like the buildings in close proximity to the terminal.
His wife, Catherine Bumpus, a former selectman and a frequent attendee at SSA meetings, said the administration and architects haven’t listened to past feedback.
“This view is cherished by the community, and it’s been falling on deaf ears,” she said. “This community still cherishes that view. It’s still going to be a huge problem looking at it every day.”