Falmouth seeks input on Comprehensive Plan

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FALMOUTH — In the future, the town could have a robust commercial center, diverse housing and trails, and roads and pathways accessible to multiple modes of transportation.

That’s generally the vision outlined in the long-range planning committee’s new Comprehensive Plan.

The plan, which was last revised more than a decade ago, provides 70 recommendations designed to provide direction for the town, said Theo Holtwijk, director of long-range planning.

“If you did all these 70 things, here is what we hope would happen,” he said, describing the idea behind the plan.

The plan is built on the abstract idea of “enhancing and growing community” and lays out ways for the town to achieve that goal, he said. “We tried to craft a picture, if you will, about what that might look like.”

After more three years of work, the committee is now seeking feedback from the public at an Aug. 5 public hearing.

The plan would then likely go to the Town Council for a tentative special hearing Sept. 16. It could be adopted later that month or in October.

“A lot of decisions will be made in the next 10 years and a lot money will be spent,” Holtwijk said. “This is an opportunity to recognize what have we’ve done well, but also to recognize what we need to do.”

The plan’s recommendations follow three themes: developing an economic hub, conservation, and creating diverse residential opportunities. The recommendations act as a decision-making guide for the council, according to the plan.

The themes are drawn from a survey performed by the committee to find out what is important to town residents, plus public input at different points in the process, Holtwijk said.

The 254-page plan is divided into three sections: the plan, appendices, and maps to make it more accessible.

Some of the recommendations include:

• Preparing a joint Route 1 development plan with Cumberland.

• Considering creating a Route 100 North tax increment financing district to help fund transportation improvements.

• Identifying productive clam flats for reopening.

• Seeking input from seniors about creating housing and housing programs for people 65 and older.

• Developing a bicycle and pedestrian plan to create networks throughout the community.

• Developing an energy plan for the town and School Department that will be updated annually.

• Investigating remediation of the last remaining overboard discharge system.

• And  creating a multidisciplinary task force to review existing ordinances and provide clarity for businesses.

For more information or to read the draft go to the town’s website or call Holtwijk at 699-5340.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.