FALMOUTH — Responding to a push by residents who say they want to be better informed about any potential development projects in their neighborhoods, the Town Council has proposed expanding abutter notification requirements.

A public hearing on the measure will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Town Hall.

Under the proposal, residents who live within 250 feet of a minor subdivision or 500 feet of a major subdivision or any project requiring site plan review would receive notification of such projects, whether they are residential or commercial.

Currently, the town rules only require that “direct abutters” receive notice, according to Planning Director Ethan Croce.

This year, the council took heat from residents who complained about not getting adequate or timely information about several large projects that came under fire. Those included a proposed 151-unit housing development in West Falmouth and a plan to significantly redevelop the Falmouth Shopping Center on Route 1.

Councilor Hope Cahan, who sits on the council’s Community Development Committee, said Oct. 28 that abutter notification requirements were “inadequate.”


Committee member Tommy Johnson called the proposed expansion of notice “significant.”

“We’re engaging many more residents,” Johnson said. “This is really a radical change.”

Croce said Oct. 28 that minor subdivisions are projects that consist of five lots or fewer on a public way or three lots or fewer on a private way. Major subdivisions are defined as any project requiring new streets, the extension of existing streets or construction and/or extension of public utilities, such as water, sewer and electric lines.

Under the town’s ordinances, major subdivision applicants must also retain at least a landscape architect “in order to ensure that the many elements of the plan are designed and built according to a coordinated and efficient development concept.” The town also requires both sketch plan review and site plan approval for any major subdivision.

In addition, all major subdivisions are subject to at least one public hearing at the Planning Board level. Councilor Chairwoman Amy Kuhn noted last week that the abutter notification requirements don’t apply to requests for a zone change, which first come before the Town Council for review.

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