The Falmouth council’s workforce housing project, at first blush, appears a well-intentioned shot at easing the current housing crunch. However, the trends causing this housing shortage sprang up from the pandemic and, most recently, high interest rates. These events are transitory in nature, and, according to leading economists, their influences appear to be easing (New York Times, “Market For Housing Looks Poised To Improve,” March 25). The housing project, however, will be a permanent fixture and its effect – an immediate influx of 64 new housing units, together with 100-150 additional residents, all dependent on access to Woods Road – would seem, at the very least, concerning.

There are safety concerns: Woods Road is relatively narrow, with two lanes and no sidewalks, and is frequently used by bicyclists and the nearby Falmouth High School track teams. There are environmental issues: The proposed site for the housing project is marshy and often flooded. There are also perplexing pricing issues: The proposed cost of a housing unit seems out of reach for the typical Falmouth “workforce” individual or family.

Finally, there is the cost to Falmouth taxpayers: The development of roads, sewers and other infrastructure for the housing project has been barely discussed, and will the added congestion to Woods Road require new, costly construction to widen the road and add sidewalks? These and other concerns cannot be dismissed as merely “not in my backyard” grumbles. Rather than fast-track a housing proposal of this scope, the council should tap the brakes, recognizing that pressing concerns persist, that the goal of the project seems dubious and that, rather than a win-win solution, the project threatens to permanently alter the character of Woods Road and its accompanying neighborhoods.

Robert Millen

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