Letter: Falmouth shouldn't rush Route 1 zoning decision

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The Falmouth Town Council is considering a zoning change for a section of Route 1. We are concerned that this proposal is too fast, too soon, without ample community input. This development would forever change the feel and look of our town center, would exacerbate the already existing commuter traffic jams on Route 1 and Interstate 295, and would threaten the environment via Mill Creek and adjacent Casco Bay.

The Falmouth Center developers state that only by changing the zoning, bringing in Seacoast United, and doing this quickly, can they follow through with their master plan of office space, walkways, hotel, living apartments and small stores, thus bringing in more people, money, increasing our tax base and revitalizing this area. To their credit, their master plan has evolved based on resident feedback during two recent Town Hall and Planning Board meetings. Yet, according to their presentation at the Planning Board meeting, their proposed zoning change doesn’t cover all of the proposed Seacoast United fields and opens up the possibility for warehouse structures, which were not in their strategic plan.

We have a moral obligation to stay true to the Route 1 strategic plan created through years of extensive input from Falmouth residents. To go against the zoning set out in our plan, the benefits must clearly and explicitly outweigh the risks and the community needs to be involved in a thoughtful and thorough manner. In this case, neither of these have been achieved.

Julie M. Schirmer & Dr. William F. Schirmer