The Falmouth Town Council voted unanimously last week to approve a development agreement for 49 units of workforce housing – a major milestone for a project that proponents say is crucial for keeping Falmouth affordable for middle-class households.

The development agreement with Scittery Woods Partners indicates the town’s willingness to move forward with the developer’s proposal and “establish certain terms upon which the parties will proceed,” according to the town’s attorney. Scittery Woods Partners of Portland was one of four developers to a submit proposal to partner with the town on workforce housing.

As currently outlined, 49 two-bedroom townhomes would be built on 25 acres of town-owned land near the police department on Marshall Drive off Woods Road. They would sell for $425,000 each.

Development at this specific location has been a long time coming, Town Manager Nathan Poore said in a recent interview with the Northern Forecaster. “The town has been talking about that location for affordable housing for probably 30 years.”

The townhomes will be available to households making up to 120% of area median income. For a family of three, 120% of area median income is $137,000, according to Adam Causey, the town’s long-range planning director, referencing figures put together by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The town has agreed to sell the land to the developer for $500,000, contingent on the developer receiving all necessary approvals for the project, according to the agreement.


The project has yet to go through the Planning Board process.

Multiple people at the meeting last week supported the project as a step toward combating the housing crisis and as a way to encourage economic diversity in Falmouth. John Crowley said he hoped that Falmouth would not go the way of municipalities like Cumberland, which had an affordable housing project fail at the polls earlier this year.

John Wasileski, the owner of OceanView at Falmouth, urged the Town Council to vote “yes” on the development agreement, saying that community leaders have been talking about the need for more housing for working families since he started doing business in town more than four decades ago.

Wasileski recently wrote in an opinion column expressing his support for the Marshall Drive project.

“A typical commute for one of our employees is anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, and they come from as far as Kennebec County,” he wrote.

Those against the project took issue with the location and traffic impacts, among other issues, and some said the development agreement itself is flawed.


Barbara McLeod, referring to Woods Road, said the project would “increase traffic on an already dangerous street.”

Three candidates running for Town Council, Sean Burke, Alisa Conroy Morton and Jack Uminski, either spoke in person at the meeting or submitted something in writing regarding the project. Uminski and Burke indicated they are against the Marshall Drive project, while Morton, emphasizing she supports developing workforce housing, said she has some “concerns and questions” about the plan. Only one council candidate, Sean Mahoney, recently told The Forecaster that he’s broadly supportive of the project.

At the meeting, one person suggested that town officials were keen to vote on the development agreement before the June 11 municipal election, when the configuration of the Town Council will change.

Prior to the vote on the development agreement, councilors spoke passionately about why they were in support of it.

“The people who make your coffee; the people who wait on you at Walmart and Shaw’s; the people who pick you up from the floor when you’ve had an aneurysm and rush you to the hospital; and the people who teach your kids … these are people we value. Let’s find a way to have them live among us,” said Councilor Janice de Lima.

Council Vice Chair Jay Trickett said pushback to a project like this is par for the course.

“I’ve never seen a project that required this level of political approval that didn’t have significant opposition from the folks who lived close to it. It just happens every single time,” he said, though he noted that doesn’t mean the concerns aren’t valid.

But he said that the council’s job is to look “at the town as a whole” and push this priority forward.

“We need to do something about the diversity of housing stock and in Falmouth, this is the only parcel that the town owns in the entire town that’s appropriate for development of this type,” he said.

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