In the face of Falmouth’s housing shortage, development at 271 U.S. Route 1, with 46 apartments, is promising. The 40,000 square feet of stores and office space may also enhance the “Village Center.” However, it’s not sustainable to build all of this on a 4½-acre lot, almost an acre of which is designated wetlands. The two planned buildings/parking lots will seal in concrete 80% of the forested lot and disfigure a quarter-acre wetland/pond. And despite the 46 residences, hardly any buffer of protected green space is included – there isn’t room.

Sixty percent of the quarter-acre pond will be converted into a culvert under parking. The remaining 40% of the pond will be limited on one side by a retaining wall. The developers’ wetlands filling application reports the pond is “not to be associated with any stream,” though in reality the drainage meanders through forested land and eventually into Mill Creek and Casco Bay.

If you live in the five-story residence (no units of which will be workforce/affordable designated), you can step out into a large shopping plaza/parking with a few small landscaped areas. Indeed, there is currently forest on two sides, but this is zoned for development. In Falmouth’s residential zoned areas, a green space buffer would be required. Are there at least recreational or community meeting spaces in the building itself?

A well-designed mixed-use project of this size would be welcomed on a larger piece of land. One is left wondering why more of the abutting land was not purchased. If none is available, a more reasonably sized project could be designed. Both solutions would allow for green space and wetlands to enhance the project. I hope that Falmouth residents will express their views in this regard at the Planning Board meeting on Oct. 11.

Paul Rudenberg
Falmouth