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FALMOUTH — A draft of an updated long-term Comprehensive Plan passed a milestone Monday when the Long-Range Planning Committee approved it for the Town Council after more than three years of work.
“This was a momentous day in the work of the committee,” said Theo Holtwijk, the town’s long-range planning director, noting that the panel has held more than 70 meetings.
The draft consumes three volumes and includes more than 70 recommendations to the town on a range of issues for the next 10 years.
“My sense of it is that the committee has come out with a plan really based on a lot of consensus and recognized a lot of good things happening in Falmouth,” he said. “The prudent approach to managing town affairs and finances is something the committee has appreciated and strongly encourages the council to continue with over the next decade.”
The plan’s recommendations follow three themes: developing an economic hub, conservation, and creating diverse residential opportunities. The recommendations are intended to reflect the community and inform the decisions of the council, but not necessarily to act as a strict rule book, Holtwijk said.
Much of the plan provides guidance on how to plan for a community with an aging population, something that is a central issue to not only in Falmouth, but in the state.
“The median age will continue to increase and that will most likely create some demands on what the community offers to its residents, and that needs to be further explored,” Holtwijk said, noting that it could mean offering different housing options or transportation alternatives. “That’s a trend that’s not going to reverse itself.”
Another central feature of the plan, drawn from surveys commissioned by the committee, is the community’s appreciation for open, green space and the town’s trail network.
The plan will be presented to the council on Aug. 26, and then likely to a discussion at a special meeting on Sept. 16.
At that meeting, the council is expected to delve into the details of the plan and can either adopt it as drafted or make amendments.
This is the sixth Comprehensive Plan in the town’s history, Holtwijk said.
“It’s only the framework. Only time can tell what 10 years in Falmouth will look like and how people will feel about the community,” he said. “The plan is always a reflection of the time.”