As a member of the Falmouth Planning Board and Town Council in the late 1980s I was heavily involved in developing Route 1 guidelines. Both panels and town staff worked closely with residents and business owners to develop a long-range plan and ordinances that have successfully supported the evolution of the area from an eyesore into what it is today: a retail area easily accessible by the vast majority of residents who by need or choice arrive by car, but also attractively landscaped and containing sidewalks and features to accommodate other means of transport. All this was accomplished largely by local businesses, at their expense, as parcels changed hands. Seems like a success by any reasonable measure.
Apparently, however, leaving well enough alone isn’t part of the culture of the planning department or the current Town Council. Councilor Bonny Rodden, and maybe a few others, reportedly “ache” for a more urban village center where you can walk and ride your bike. I’ll bet the vast majority of town residents still value what they came here for: quiet suburban neighborhoods with elbow room, good schools and convenient services they can drive to. I’d suggest those that ache for a more urban environment consider Portland, only a short bike or bus ride away. For the rest of us I encourage a no vote on the referendum in June that not only encourages this sort of development, but mandates it. I’m sure was can find better ways to spend $11.7 million.
David R. Murray