Falmouth’s Comprehensive Plan Committee is currently addressing residential growth in the town’s near future, a topic that has raised concerns for some residents in town.

Work to update the comprehensive plan appears to be putting too much emphasis on adding housing when that’s not what most residents want, according to resident Lisa Joy, who has regularly attended meetings on the update. Instead, it should focus on keeping residential growth the same or at a slow pace, she said.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Joy told The Forecaster. “The next 10 years are going to be very different. Slow the train down. Take the time to do this comp plan right. Do us right.”

She also says the town is working too fast under an “artificial timetable” to release the plan by June.

“In the past, it’s taken (long-range planning advisory committees) longer, they’ve had much more time,” she said. “If they slow the process down, that will help.”

Joy recently led the petition drive for a referendum on building heights in the town center that voters overwhelmingly approved in November.


The Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee, or LPAC, and the Comprehensive Plan Committee have been meeting for the past few months on updating to the town’s plan, as is required by state law. The plan ultimately must be approved by the Town Council and sent to the state for review.

Councilor Jay Trickett, a member of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, said the LPAC has based its work on the results of the Visions and Values report generated through surveys in 2021. The surveys focused on developing a town vision and identifying the town’s key values for the future. The report identified six “pillars” representing important topics for the town to focus on in the future.

“LPAC has been working to take those pillars and create a series of action items consistent with those pillars,” Trickett said.

The fifth pillar, improving infrastructure and services, is the main concern for residents like Joy because it calls for residential growth, she said. The Comprehensive Plan Committee was scheduled to take up that topic at its meeting Wednesday, after The Forecaster’s deadline.

The town’s compliance with LD 2003, a state law that mandates municipalities increase housing opportunities through zoning changes, among other initiatives, is already drawing unwanted developers to Falmouth, she said.

“Developers know LD 2003 is here, and they’ll go after it in Falmouth, as they always do,” she said. “LD 2003 doesn’t serve us if we don’t have a need for housing.”


Resident Lee Hanchett, citing a 2023 state report that said the population in Cumberland County is expected to increase by 1.6% over the next 10 years, said Falmouth does not need more housing.

“I don’t think Falmouth has a housing issue,” Hanchett said. “I think the council is trying to manufacture one.”

The recent severe storms on the Maine coast could have an impact on future population growth, Joy said.

“We don’t know if there will continue to be a housing crisis in southern Maine,” she said. “Something just happened that made us turn a corner viewing climate change and the impacts.”

If climate change continues to batter the Maine coast, oceanside towns like Falmouth may not continue to be a preferred destination for single-family homes or second homes, Joy said.

The LPAC will meet again in February.

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