Falmouth councilors pick Farber for chairwoman

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FALMOUTH — At its first meeting since Election Day, the Town Council elected a new chairwoman, reviewed a zoning ordinance amendment, and made a cost-saving change to its five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

On June 18, Karen Farber, a former School Board member who has now served two years on the council, was unanimously elected chairwoman, replacing Teresa Pierce, who termed out and was unable to run again.

Farber previously served as vice chairwoman; Councilor Dave Goldberg was elected vice chairman last week. New Councilors Caleb Hemphill and Charlie McBrady, who defeated Erin Mancini and incumbent Councilor Chris Orestis on June 10, were also sworn in.

In other business, the council reviewed an amendment to the town’s zoning and site plan review ordinance that would relax zoning provisions for the replacement of utility infrastructure.

The amendment was inspired by the planning stages for the replacement of the Mill Creek pump station on Route 88. It was found that the design for the overhaul of the station, which serves both Falmouth and Cumberland, would have trouble meeting setback regulations.

“This is a relaxation of the setback standard,” Town Manager Nathan Poore said. “There’s potentially some town-wide impact for private and public development.”

The ordinance change would enable Public Works to approve a culvert replacement, for example, through the town’s code enforcement officer, rather than going before the Planning Board, Community Development Director Amanda Stearns said.

The Planning Board will hold a municipal review authority hearing on the amendment on July 1.

The council also amended the town’s capital improvement plan to save $19,000 over the next four years.

Councilors eliminated $80,000 from the fiscal year 2018 budget for lighting systems for the open-air skating rink planned for Village Park. Instead, the town will invest $61,000 this year in lighting, storm-water treatment and other infrastructure improvements associated with the rink.

After a summer break, the council’s next meeting will be July 14.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.

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