Falmouth council rejects water line, will weigh farmers market rules

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FALMOUTH — In a 5-2 vote Monday, the Town Council closed the door on adding a water line to the second, northern phase of the Middle Road reconstruction project.

After a lengthy and angst-ridden discussion, only Councilors Andrea Ferrante and Aaron Svedlow voted against a resolution that moves the road project forward for this summer, as originally planned, without the water supply.

In advocating for the $500,000 water line, several residents of Middle Road told the council it made sense to do the project now while the road is going to be open, and also urged them to think about the long-term benefits.

However, the majority of the council said the high cost of laying a water line, along with the relatively small number of homes that would be served, didn’t justify delaying the road reconstruction.

And, in voting not to include public water in the road project, several councilors, including Caleb Hemphill and Claudia King, said the decision does not permanently close the door on a water line ever servicing the homes in that area of town.

Councilor Charlie McBrady got to the crux of the issue when he said, “I sympathize (and) I’m having a real struggle. I wish I had a magic wand and could just do it, but we have to look at it from an economic standpoint.”

With that issue put to rest, the council moved on to other goals, including a new ordinance to govern the operation of farmers markets. Councilors are scheduled to hold a public hearing on the new rules at their meeting at 7 p.m. on March 13.

In introducing the proposal at the Feb. 15 meeting, King said Falmouth has no specific language governing farmers markets and the new rules are meant to fix that situation.

She said the proposed ordinance amendments are designed to ensure that any farmers markets function safely and are regulated through an annual licensing agreement with the town.

In a memo provided to councilors at the Feb. 15 meeting, Amanda Stearns, the town’s community development director, said in developing the farmers market rules the Ordinance Committee took into account several key factors.

Those factors include allowing such markets to be allowed in all zoning districts and on town-owned land, having all market applications be reviewed by various departments, including public safety, and exempting vendors from a requirement to get a separate food service or victualers license.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.