The $63,000 Falmouth Visions and Values project, which officials say will help shape the town’s future, is heading into a final phase. 

Officials want residents’ input on topics that may change town rules and its master plan. Group discussions will be critical if residents’ views are to be aligned with the town’s next steps, officials and community members say. 

Starting this weekend through the following week, residents are asked to join online meetings on topics including residential and commercial development, recreation, cost of living, the town’s relationship to Portland and neighboring communities, inclusivity and resident experience and more.  

“This is the last opportunity for the next 10 years maybe to have a say in the direction of our town,” resident and community organizer Lee Hanchett said. 

[mtm-related-link url=”https://www.pressherald.com/2020/10/26/looking-ahead-falmouth-launches-project-to-guide-future-development/”]Read about the Visions and Values project[/mtm-related-link] 

The project started in October 2020 based on a needed update, and resident concerns about developments that came after the 2013 comprehensive plan. Residents said they worried town leadership didn’t know what residents wanted regarding development.

Hanchett hopes more residents will get involved in the project, citing “meager yet interesting input” so far. 

Resident and former school committee member Danielle Tracy said she is most interested in the meetings focusing on education scheduled for Sept. 23 but plans to also attend a number of meetings, including the discussion on the town’s relationships with other communities. 

“We need to continue to look at our relationship with Portland and our surrounding community,” Tracy said. “There is a ton of impact. As much as in Falmouth we’d like to think we can just stay Falmouth and stay small and quaint, I don’t know that we can stem the tide of influence of surrounding communities.” 

Conversations so far have been dynamic, Tracy said, and will become even more productive with more participation. 

“We want people from all walks of life to participate in this. It’s been a great process so far,” Tracy said. “I think the council has done a good job at staying neutral.” 

[mtm-related-link url=”https://www.pressherald.com/2021/02/09/survey-shows-most-falmouth-residents-ok-with-pace-of-development/”]Read about some preliminary survey findings[/mtm-related-link] 

Council Chairwoman Amy Kuhn said the Vision and Values project will influence future policy decisions, as well as help the re-craft the town master plan, which sets the direction for town development. 

“As councilors, we want to create laws and policies that line up with the vision of residents in Falmouth,” Kuhn said. “From beginning to end, resident voice has been at the center, and I wish we could meet in person to have one-on-one conversations. The initial survey was a large scale, this is a chance for neighbors to talk to each other about these important topics.” 

Visit falmouthme.org for more information. 

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