Something unusual happened at Falmouth’s Town Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 24. The council voted 4-3 to approve an amendment to our land use ordinances which reduces the open space percentage significantly in all of Falmouth’s conservation subdivisions. This vote was in spite of the following facts:
• No one spoke in support of the amendment at either the public hearing or the public forum preceding the vote.
• LPAC, the Planning Board, and the Conservation Commission are on record as opposing the amendment.
• Several people spoke in opposition to the amendment at the public forum preceding the vote.
• Falmouth residents are on record as highly valuing open space preservation.
• It was pointed out that the amendment does not solve any underlying issues in the subdivision ordinance.
The Conservation Subdivision Ordinance, when written thoughtfully, will produce a subdivision which is marketable, profitable, desirable and preserves open space without requiring public expenditure. Other towns in our state and across the country successfully use this kind of ordinance to develop residential property while protecting natural resources and local character. Falmouth’s amended ordinance doesn’t meet the ” written thoughtfully” test nor does it represent the expressed wishes of the residents. My hope is that the councilors will reconsider their vote.