Falmouth’s Town Council has chosen a consultant to develop a “vision statement” that will shape a new Comprehensive Plan that in turn will shape the town’s future. Their choice reveals the aggressively urbanized future they favor.

The fundamental question in a “visioning” process is whether the town wants to remain a small town optimized for quality of residential life, which has been its tradition, or whether it wants to abandon its idyllic character to become a densely populated, urbanized extension of Portland.

The chosen consultant is an international company that has served only big cities worldwide. It’s had zero experience with small Maine towns. It boasts of helping cities achieve economic renewal, development and growth goals. Significantly, one councilor was impressed with their skill in handling resistance to change.

Of great concern is the consultant’s intent to engage primarily with special interests (euphemistically called “stakeholders”) and grade 7-12 students, with only minimal effort to engage with the town’s electorate, ignoring that it alone has sovereign authority over the town’s future. Methods are available to obtain the opinion of every resident, but are being ignored.

This approach repeats the same elitist mistake that led to the reckless 2016 zoning changes. Profound changes were quietly made at the bidding of special interests, producing a boisterous rebellion as soon as unwary residents became aware of repugnant changes they hadn’t seen coming.

Falmouth’s residents will be left out again unless they rise up and demand full participation and control over this “visioning” process.

Robert D. King