Falmouth voters will be asked whether to approve a referendum question that would limit the height of buildings in the town center.

A citizen petition to amend the Town Zoning and Floodplain Management Ordinance was drafted in response to two office buildings that were recently constructed in the Falmouth shopping center, proponents say. The proposed amendment applies to Village Center Districts and would reduce the maximum height of buildings to 45 feet instead of 65.

Lisa Joy, a Falmouth resident leading the citizen-proposed referendum question, said allowing buildings to be built up to 65 feet tall does not match the aesthetic of the surrounding neighborhoods, many of which comprise traditional and contemporary New England-style homes.

“Falmouth’s village center has such a history,” Joy said. “Style guidelines preserve the intention of keeping the style of buildings in an evolving commercial area village-like.”

The petition was filed on Sept. 18 and the Falmouth Town Clerk received at least 1,000 signatures to move the proposed referendum forward in accordance with the Town Charter.

While the Town Council voted to put the referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot, Council Chair Hope Cahan emphasized that councilors did not propose the amendment nor did they vote to support it.


“In my view, this change would decrease the town’s options to fulfill the community’s objectives of fostering the growth of businesses and housing options along Route 1,” Cahan told The Forecaster on Tuesday.

Some residents have expressed concerns about the proposed ordinance, noting that although it would limit building heights to 45 feet, it would not enforce a style requirement to keep buildings within the traditional New England aesthetic.

Those proposing the referendum disagree. By limiting building heights to 45 feet, the town would be encouraged to build small shops like boutiques and cafes, Joy said.

“Question 1 supports future development in our village center with a height and aesthetic complimentary to surrounding neighborhoods,” she said.

Polls will be open in Falmouth from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Nov. 7 at Falmouth High School.

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