The three candidates vying for two seats on the Cape Elizabeth Town Council will rely on the guidance of a new committee to address the town’s affordable housing shortage, but the winners will play a key role in what action the council takes during their three-year terms.

David Hughes is challenging incumbents Caitlin Jordan and Penelope “Penny” Jordan in the Nov. 8 election. Caitlin Jordan is seeking a fifth consecutive term on the council while Penny Jordan is seeking a third consecutive term.

A recent consultant’s study showed a lack of affordable housing in town, with the creation of only two affordable housing units between 2010 and 2020. The town has been advised to set a goal of creating 200 affordable housing units in the next 10 years. The citizen-driven Housing Diversity Committee was formed to dissect the study and recommend goals and strategies to the Town Council.

Caitlin Jordan

Caitlin Jordan said the housing study is a “helpful tool,” but emphasized that the committee and the council must take their time in deciding what strategies to implement.

“We need to create more housing opportunities, but unfortunately, it’s not going to happen overnight,” she said. “We’re going to have to work through it and figure out what the state’s going to do with the new laws.”

Those new laws include LD 2003, she said, which is part of the state’s effort to create more housing opportunities through zoning and land-use regulations.


Penny Jordan said the Housing Diversity Committee will largely dictate how the town moves forward.

“It’s time for the committee to come together, dive into that work and add to it,” she said. “One of my objectives through this whole process has been engaging the community, and now we have a committee together to engage the community, and they have some really good work to build off of.”

Penny Jordan

Hughes is eager to see what the committee comes up with, especially before any drastic zoning changes are made.

“We need to take a very measured approach to make sure that we don’t detrimentally impact our community,” Hughes said. “We want to make it such that it adds to our community, so I want to hear from the housing committee first before we make any wholesale changes.”

All three candidates said it will take a multifaceted approach to address the town’s housing needs.

“I don’t think there’s any one tool in the toolbox that’s going to solve this,” Hughes said. “You don’t form a committee to not listen to them. I want to hear what the committee finds and what the town residents want.”



Penny Jordan emphasized the need for the committee to take the lead and not be overly influenced by councilors’ opinions in the early stages.

“I think when you limit a committee’s thinking by saying, ‘We only want to focus on these things,’ then, basically, you’re giving them the solutions,” she said. “I think we’ve pulled together an amazing group of people to work on this, and I’m looking to the community to come forward with what the solutions are that they would propose for Cape Elizabeth.”

Caitlin Jordan also wants the committee to take the lead, but she found the consultants’ proposed strategy of a housing trust fund to be a specific option she’d like to explore.

“We have the land acquisition fund; we could create a similar housing fund,” she said.

All three candidates identified the new school project as a major challenge in the years to come. A bond referendum for the $115.9 million project, which comes with an estimated 25% property tax increase, is on the November ballot.

“If it passes, we move forward with building a new building,” Caitlin Jordan said. “If it fails, then the town as a whole is back to the drawing board, and we’re going to have to figure out where we want to go from there. If we need to come up with a new plan, that’s going to be the next biggest challenge.”


Penny Jordan was vocal throughout the process of sending the project to a bond referendum and voted against doing so in August.

“I’m not opposed to the new schools,” she said. “I don’t want people to even think that for a second. But I think we need to do it in a way that recognizes that the town itself can afford to bond a significant amount of money, but that doesn’t mean that households can afford the additional dollars in taxes. So, I think one of our challenges is, how do we balance this?”

She also tied the potential tax impact to the creation of affordable housing, and how that 25% increase could thwart that effort.

Hughes agreed.

“It’s counter to the desire for affordable housing (and) that’s only going to make it more unaffordable in this community,” Hughes said.

He also argued that his background in municipal engineering would make him a solid addition to the council, especially if the school project is voted down by residents.


“I understand the municipal environment with regards to how budgeting works and projects that need to get done,” he said.

Hughes, 61, an engineer, has been superintendent of the Scarborough Sanitary District for the past decade and was a consultant in the private sector prior to that. A registered Republican, he came in fourth last year in a seven-way race for three Cape Elizabeth school board seats. He has been the leader of Cub Scout Pack 30 for five years.

Caitlin Jordan, 39, is an independent who has managed her family’s Alewives Brook Farm business since 2006 and maintained a private law practice since 2009.  She was first elected to the council in 2010, and reelected in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Penny Jordan, 69, is a registered Democrat and fourth-generation farmer in Cape Elizabeth, operating Jordan’s Farm alongside her siblings. She also has 30 years of experience in project management and business planning. She was first elected in 2009 to an unexpired term. In 2016 she was elected to her first full term on the council and she won reelection in 2019.

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