FALMOUTH — The Town Council has suspended the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee in favor of developing a shared community vision for Falmouth’s future.

At its Nov. 13 meeting councilors unanimously agreed the step was necessary in order to get back to what Council Chairwoman Amy Kuhn called “a clean slate” when it comes to land use planning and development in town.

During a workshop held Monday, Kuhn said councilors decided the next step in the process should be completing a “vigorous vision and values process.”

She said the council will hold a hearing Dec. 9 to get public input on how best to pursue “values we can all mostly agree on.” Kuhn said the council is considering hiring a consultant to facilitate the process, but next month’s meeting will give residents the chance to weigh in.

“We’ll be excited to see what the community thinks about (how to) move forward on getting different viewpoints. We see investing in this process as critical,” she said.

At last week’s council meeting, Kuhn said after a “heated and emotional public forum” about the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee held Oct. 28, she and Vice Chairman Ted Asherman felt “we could not leave things at the status quo.”

So, in the interest of “being transparent and responsive … we are recommending that we suspend the work of LPAC for the foreseeable future,” she said.

At issue last month were questions about why the council decided not to appoint anyone new to the committee, even though several qualified residents were interviewed for open seats. According to Kuhn, no one was selected because the future of the committee was uncertain.

Kuhn said she and Asherman either personally met with or spoke to every member of the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee and they all agreed that suspending the group was the right thing to do.

Asherman said he attended multiple committee meetings over the past year and it became clear to him that not only was there a lot of confusion in the community, but on the committee as well, about the role of the group and its direction.

The overall mission of the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee is to advise the Town Council on land use policies and implement the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, according to the town website.

“I feel pretty strongly we need to have a fresh start and I want to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Asherman said. Otherwise, he added, “we could end up duplicating work or spinning our wheels.”

Councilor Jay Trickett said it’s clear the council made mistakes in its handling of the long-range planning process, as well as the committee.

He hopes “we’ll do a better job both substantively and in terms of appearance in the future” and said, “in creating a new Comprehensive Plan we need to be (careful) to solicit the views of the town as a whole.”

Trickett said it’s important not to do things the “(same) old way, when we typically only hear from a couple hundred people and often the same couple hundred.”

He also argued the town should not be developing land-use policy or collecting any data before “we’ve undertaken a good faith and effective process in relation to (creating) a vision for the future.”

“It would be a mistake to substantively advance the ball without knowing if the work will be consistent with what the public wants,” Trickett said, adding that suspending the work of the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee was necessary and something the council should have done earlier.

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