CAPE ELIZABETH —Valerie Adams will lead the Town Council for the next year after being selected by her fellow councilors during an informal caucus last week.

A formal vote confirming the nomination will be held Dec. 9, when newly re-elected Councilors Caitlin Jordan and Penny Jordan will also be sworn in.

Adams was elected to the council in 2017 and since then has served on the Ordinance Committee and represented the town on the Greater Portland Economic Development Commission and the Maine Municipal Association Legislative Policy Committee. She works as an attorney at a Portland law firm.

Cape Town Councilor Valerie Adams was chosen to chair the council for the next year during a Nov. 14 caucus. Contributed

Adams was the only one nominated, and, if elected she will take over from Jamie Garvin, who will chair the Finance Committee.

Adams said this week that she agreed to become the new chairwoman because she feels it’s an obligation that each councilor should fulfill if they are able. Although newly married and expecting her first child, Adams said she’s now ready to “take on the mantle of leadership.”

She was relatively new to town when she ran for Town Council two years ago and had never served on any town boards or commissions prior to being elected.


Adams believes people in Cape are “generally satisfied” with town government, but said there are definitely key issues, from developing a new Comprehensive Plan to creating rules around short-term rentals and establishing a master plan for Fort Williams Park.

Adams said the town is weighing how best to handle development pressure with the In terms of the Comprehensive Plan, while also trying to maintain Cape’s rural character. She also said there seems to be a general consensus about the need for a “more vibrant town center” and she hopes more “direct action” on that issue will be forthcoming.

Along with other communities in the region, Adams said Cape is also struggling with issues around affordable housing. “We’re not Portland and we’re not trying to be,” she said. But, “we do need to look at maximizing whatever affordable housing is available.”

In looking at short-term rentals, Adams said she’s advocating for an ordinance that would require all such rentals to be hosted, requiring either the property owner or an agent to be onsite during all rental periods.

Adams said she’s sympathetic to people who feel the need to offer short-term rentals as a way to subsidize their income and offset property tax increases. But said there’s a no doubt short-term rentals do impact a neighborhood and its overall character.

She said so far the Ordinance Committee has “done a lot of listening” and it will be another couple months before a draft ordinance will be ready for review.


Adams called creating a master plan for Fort Williams “pretty urgent,” particularly with the number of visitors continuing to be strong. She said the first summer of a pay-to-park plan went well and generated good revenue without impacting on the number of people using the park.

When asked whether she is hearing concerns about the suspension of a Cape high school student who accused another student of being a rapist, Adams said she has not.

Other issues requiring attention this coming year, she said, include working with the newly hired finance director to create more “forward-looking budgeting,” including a look at how the Fire Department should be restructured.

The School Department is also working hard on developing plans for upgrades at Cape Elizabeth High School, which will likely include new construction.

Adams said she wants residents to know that “their voices matter. I read every single email I get and the input definitely helps with council discussion and decision-making.”

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