Future iQ CEO David Beurle, bottom left, introduces results from the first Visions and Values survey at the Falmouth Town Council meeting Monday. Full results are available through the town’s website. Contributed / Town of Falmouth

FALMOUTH — The town’s Visions and Values survey shows most residents are squarely in the middle when it comes to the pace of local development.

According to the town’s website, “The Visions and Values Project is a months-long public process to identify Falmouth residents’ shared “vision and values” and to formulate a Town Vision Statement. The information will also be used for a scheduled update to the 2013 town’s comprehensive plan, which will begin at an unspecified date, Assistant Town Manager Amy Lamontagne said.

But it was also spurred by discontent with some outcomes of the current comprehensive plan, Town Council Chairperson Amy Kuhn said.

“I feel an urgency to it because since my time on the council starting in 2018, the community has experienced the implementation of the 2016 zoning as a result of the comprehensive plan,” Kuhn said. “We saw a fair amount of unhappy residents, whether it was with commercial development on Route 1 with the shopping center or with residential growth with condos on the west side.” 

David Beurle, CEO and founder of  Surveyor Future iQ, which the town contracted for $63,000, said at Monday’s council meeting that the response to the first survey was “about twice as good as most comparable community surveys.”

Of 11,185 Falmouth residents counted in the most recent census, 1,700 responded and 1,300 filled out all 39 questions. Beurle said towns tend to have half that response rate, around 7%. Residents did not need to fill out every question for their answers to count for the survey, which was conducted between November 2020 and January 2021.

“This (the high response rate) was in large part due to the community volunteers, the Community Connectors, who helped promote the survey and encouraged people to get involved,” Beurle said.

The data is broken down into demographics around age and ethnicity, where people live in town, types of housing and how long residents have lived in Falmouth. Just less than 70% of those who responded were between the ages of 40-69, according to the survey.

Respondents were asked about how they felt about the speed the town is growing and the current trajectory, with the majority feeling neutral, and about 90 respondents, or 10%, saying they are very uncomfortable with both.

Responses to questions about the trajectory and speed of change in Falmouth, with the larger bubbles representing a greater number of people. The bottom left shows the most uncomfortable respondents. The majority of respondents sat in the middle, with about 90 of 1,700 against change and trajectory shown in the bottom right quadrant. Future iQ

“We can look at this by cohorts as well. There is a very interesting correlation with the discomfort and age,” Beurle said, noting the group against change were the older residents, with approval increasing as age decreases. 

Residents were also asked what they would like the town to be like in 10-20 years, the importance of shared values and how they should be preserved.

“From a different lens you can go into neighborhood cohorts; there are three neighborhoods that stand out” against development and pace of change, Beurle said. “They are the western neighborhoods, Hurricane valley, Brookside and Highland lake are clustered over here in particular.” 

Neighborhoods elsewhere in Falmouth, particularly on the east side, were more approving of the ongoing trajectory of development and speed of growth, but the vast majority of the 1,700 respondents sat right in the middle.

Beurle said he hopes residents will give their input when the council delves into the data Feb. 22 and March 1.

“We appreciate the council let us get involved and I think this will make a huge difference,” said resident Lee Hanchett, a volunteer who promoted the survey. 

The results are available on the town’s website at falmouthmaine.org. Following further analysis by the council, additional surveys will be conducted along with a series of informational meetings and public forums.

Comments are not available on this story.