FALMOUTH — The Long Range Planning Committee has begun discussions on what will become the town’s new Comprehensive Plan.

The last Comp Plan was approved by voters in 2000.

“A comprehensive plan helps the town determine land use regulations it wants to have,” said Theo Holtwijk, the town’s director of long-range planning.

The plan is meant as a guide for regulations, ordinance updates and policy changes, he said.

The document must be reviewed by the Maine State Planning Office and then approved by voters. The current Comprehensive Plan resulted in several resource protection regulations and programs, the new public safety building on Marshall Drive, and the elementary school that is currently under construction.

The 2000 plan also recommended exploring and expanding affordable housing options. While two studies were done on the subject, no homes were built.

“The Comprehensive Plan is the policy, not the rule book,” Holtwijk said. “It helps the town figure out where or where not to spend tax dollars.”

LPAC members have set a goal of having a completed draft of the plan to present to the Town Council in 2011. They are meeting twice a month in an effort to expedite the process, which, for most towns takes several years.

The committee is also asking for help from residents. There is a four-question survey on the town website, which asks residents how likely they are to recommend Falmouth as a place to call home or locate a business, then asks for open-ended responses to why a person would or would not recommend the town. It also asks what needs to change in Falmouth for that recommendation to change.

Holtwijk said more than 300 people have already responded to the survey. He said the committee has not yet determined how long the survey will be available online.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]

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