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