Property values in the Town Landing area of Falmouth depend on water views. All residents pay for them, in home prices and in property taxes.
The neighborhood is a diverse community of fishermen and professionals. Some have been here for decades, and some are new arrivals. When one moves into the neighborhood and attempts to construct in the view of a longstanding resident, is it any wonder that it creates acrimony?
Falmouth’s view ordinance was instituted in 2006 to protect all property owners from having the value of their homes damaged by abutters’ actions. Now, the town is reviewing its view ordinance, with an eye towards possible repeal. At the public meetings, 15-20 residents have spoken in favor of maintaining the ordinance. Not one spoke up in favor of repealing or weakening the ordinance.
Only three people have been denied construction because of the 2006 view ordinance. Of those three, two are town board members. The majority of residents affected by the issue support the view ordinance. A small minority has been using its local political clout to try to influence the outcome.
We commend the most recent efforts of the Falmouth Town Community Development Committee. Despite possible personal misgivings, they have listened to the majority and are elucidating a fair approach to mediating the issue of competing property rights.
A robust democracy requires governmental decision-making that is oriented towards the public good. Let’s hope our town councilors follow that path.
Julianna Nielsen and Jean-Claude Redonnet