Letter: Falmouth's reputation is on the line

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The town of Falmouth has a reputation: Excellent schools, an active and involved community, and a beautiful location. I know everything Falmouth has to offer because I grew up there. I graduated from Falmouth High School in 2002, and my brothers graduated in 2008.

This weekend I read Kate Irish Collin’s article about the difficulties currently facing the Town Council since it approved zoning amendments encouraging multi-unit and multi-family housing. Reviewing the Planning Board minutes, it seems residents have concerns about leach fields, the septic system, and soil stability, among concerns about home values and increased traffic. This is all understandable. However, the tone of article and the statements made by town councilors concerned me.

Councilor Karen Farber described the zoning amendments as biased in favor of multi-unit and multi-family housing and a “mistake.” She said they were well-intended, but contrary to the character of Falmouth as an “almost exclusively single-family” community and how important it is to preserve that character.

I am sure the residents of Falmouth are aware of the housing shortage in the greater Portland area and the general lack of affordable, entry-point rentals, condos, and single-family homes. While I understand Falmouth wanting to preserve the “character” of the community, the negative reaction over the encouragement of more diverse housing is disturbing. Falmouth does have a reputation. However, the town should be wary of developing a reputation of being exclusive and accessible only to those who can afford single-family homes.

Jacqueline R. Moss
Cumberland

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  • Chew H Bird

    “the town should be wary of developing a reputation of being exclusive and accessible only to those who can afford single-family homes.”

    Falmouth has had that exact reputation for decades. Falmouth was very different when I lived there as a child and we flew kites where Shaws is located on Route 1 and drove to Portland to shop. Somewhere along the way Falmouth “yuppified” and things began to change. Long gone are the days when a door to door insurance salesperson could buy a home in Falmouth and afford to have their spouse stay home and raise children, and a public servant could afford to own a home on Route 88 and do the same. Falmouth has developed into a town with a reputation of upper crust and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, if ever… I’m not placing a value judgement, just a recognition of the towns reputation. I will always love Falmouth and have always wanted to move back to Falmouth, but the prices and taxes have prevented me from achieving my goal.