Housing crisis

Falmouth Select board says housing crisis is at breaking point

FALMOUTH – Members of the Falmouth Select Board highlighted the priority given to affordable housing at a recent meeting.

Council members were asked to bring five strategic priorities to consider as the select council prepares to update the city’s strategic plan that will run through 2027.

Vice President Onjalé Scott Price said her first priority was to deal with the affordable housing crisis.

“I think we need to make some radical changes because we urgently need affordable housing,” Scott Price said at the August 27 small council workshop meeting.

She said that although the crisis is already in the city’s strategic plan, Falmouth is “at breaking point”.

She suggested targets for increasing the housing stock for both ownership and rental to meet the city’s needs.

Scott Price suggested looking at other Massachusetts municipalities to see what those communities have done to address similar concerns.

The Vice President noted that Cape Town has its unique challenges that other communities may not have.

“We have to keep coastal resilience in mind…we have to keep in mind waste water management and the lack of new land that we can acquire,” Scott Price said.

For the “radical options” Scott Price had in mind to deal with the crisis, she referenced a possible moratorium on Air B&Bs and tax benefits for landlords who rent long-term.

She also suggested reviewing the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) by-law and supporting unconventional housing options such as tiny homes.

Other priorities Scott Price listed for the strategic plan included managing the opioid and addiction crisis and coastal resilience.

It also included reducing pollution of waterways and waste water management and increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in all departments of the city.

President Nancy Taylor also mentioned the increase in affordable housing stock and the priority given to supporting public schools in Falmouth.

Board member Scott Zylinski echoed the need to pay more attention to the opioid crisis. He also mentioned wanting to provide social workers to the Falmouth Police Department.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter