When Falmouth changed the zoning along Route 1, it rendered existing buildings obsolete. The new law forces existing owners to expend extraordinary and unexpected capital to bring their properties into compliance. In addition, they added restrictions to the types of businesses that could occupy their buildings.
I believe these changes are no different than towns’ power to confiscate property by using eminent domain. The difference is towns must compensate for eminent domain takings.
I think Falmouth should have to financially compensate existing owners for their cost to bring their properties into compliance with the new zoning. The town could exempt or reduce property taxes for a period of time or provide TIF financing. The town would get a clear return on their investment by enabling the upgrade of its property base, and ultimately higher property tax revenues than they’re collecting currently on vacant property.