Falmouth Focus, Volume 2, Issue 7

March 20, 2020

Focus Masthead

Please note:  This newsletter will be sent to subscribers of both The Falmouth Focus newsletter and Town News & Announcements. To subscribe only to The Falmouth Focus, visit E-Alerts.   


A Letter from Town Council Chair, Amy Kuhn

Dear Neighbors,

I hope that this letter finds you and your families healthy and well. This has been a difficult week for many.

Over the past several months, the Council has worked on a number of exciting projects, such as developing a solar array on the Woods Road landfill, kicking off a community-wide vision and values process to inform an update of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, and exploring conservation of valuable open space.

However, due to the COVID-19 virus, the Council is suspending current work plan projects for the time being. This will allow staff to focus on providing essential services to the community and keep residents from having to attend public meetings unnecessarily. In addition, the Council recognizes that it should be cautious about committing Town funds to new projects during this period.

All decisions by Town officials and staff are being driven by three key priorities:  the safety of our residents, especially our seniors, implementing social distancing policies and procedures, and safeguarding the health of our first responders and critical staff.

These are certainly challenging times, but please know that here in Falmouth we are in excellent hands. Our Town staff, Emergency Management Team and first responders are among the very best and they are doing everything they can to keep us healthy and informed. Plus, we have each other. We are fortunate to live in a community where we can count on friends and neighbors to lend a hand.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Council ([email protected]) or to me personally ([email protected]) if we can be of service.

On behalf of the Council, I wish you all the best.  

Amy Kuhn

News & Issues

EMA Logo

Update on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Town of Falmouth has created a COVID-19 information page on its website which includes all updates and information sent out by Falmouth's Emergency Management Agency. We strongly encourage residents to subscribe to our E-Alert emails in order to keep up-to-date on this rapidly evolving situation. Subscribe to Town News & Announcements and/or Emergency Management at www.falmouthme.org/subscribe.  Alerts regarding COVID-19 will be sent to both lists.

Current Priorities

The Town of Falmouth has identified three key priorities to help guide decisions related to Town operations at this time. 

  1. The safety of our residents, especially the seniors in our community and those residents with underlying health issues which make them particularly vulnerable to illness. 
  2. Implementing “social distancing” policies and practices as recommended by the U.S. CDC. Social distancing involves limiting mass gatherings, not congregating in large groups, and maintaining distance from others to limit the ability of the virus to spread.
  3. Maintaining a healthy work environment for our first responders and front-line employees, so they can perform their critical duties and continue to serve and protect our community.

Town of Falmouth Facility Closures, Cancellations, and Status of Services

As of 6:00pm, March 20, 2020

Building/Facility Closures

  • Mason-Motz Activity Center is closed to the public until further notice.
    • Before/After School Care located at the Mason-Motz Activity Center is closed until April 27. 
    • The Falmouth Co-op Pre-school located at the Mason-Motz Activity Center is closed until April 27.
    • Falmouth Memorial Library is closed. The book drop is locked and unavailable. Overdue fines are waived.

Note: Questions regarding these three entities should be made directly to these organizations.

  • The Falmouth Food Pantry is closed until further notice. Home deliveries will cease next week for two weeks. Town staff and Food Pantry leadership will meet next week to discuss how best to distribute food to those in need while also limiting exposure risk to clients, volunteers, and staff. If you are a Falmouth resident and you have no food and no way to access food, please contact our General Assistance emergency number at 807-2055. 
  • The Wastewater Treatment facility on Clearwater Drive is closed to the public.
  • Central Station on Bucknam Road will offer restricted public access only. 
  • The Police Station on Marshall Drive will offer very restricted public access only. The "drug take back" and fingerprinting programs are temporarily suspended.
  • Town Landing buildings will offer restricted public access only.
  • The Transfer Station on Woods Road will be closed until further notice. Curbside pick up will still occur. Trash and recycle bins must be placed curbside by 7:00am to ensure pick-up.
  • Town Hall on Falmouth Road and the Public Works building on Woods Road will be closed to the public until further notice. We are now implementing an operations plan that will rely on business transactions to be conducted remotely and electronically. Click here for more information on Town Services during this time.
  • Falmouth Trails are closed. The Town of Falmouth enacted its annual spring closure of all Falmouth Trails on Friday, March 13. This is done to protect the integrity of the trail system at this time. Several of Falmouth Land Trust trails are open as are trails at the Maine Audubon. Consult their websites for more information and respect their guidelines to maintain trail integrity.
  • Falmouth Playgrounds are temporarily closed following CDC guidelines to promote social distancing. The Town of Falmouth does not recommend using playgrounds at this time due to the fact that they are not manually or chemically sterilized.

Note: For our Town buildings that remain open with restricted public access please do not enter them if you are feeling sick, or have known contact with someone who may have the COVID-19 virus.

Meetings, Events & Programs

  • All Town meetings (including board and committee meetings), forums, and events have been cancelled until further notice, except for:
    • March 23, 7:00pm Town Council Meeting. The Falmouth Town Council will conduct its first virtual meeting using emergency legislation, Sec. G-1 MRSA §403-A, that allows cities and towns to conduct meetings online. The Town will use “Zoom” to conduct this meeting. This application will allow attendees to connect via computer or phone. A meeting link and instructions will be provided on Monday, March 23, via the Town website homepage, e-Alerts, and social media that will allow you to join the meeting via computer or phone, as well as, a phone number to dial in. If you have questions, please call (207) 699-5329. Follow this Link to See the Agenda
    • April 1 Budget Meeting. Note: The Town Council will consider an order at their virtual meeting on March 23 to cancel the April 1 Budget Meeting.

Note:  We will continue to assess the situation and may adjust current plans accordingly. Additional information regarding these meetings will be forthcoming

  • All Community Programs programming and events are cancelled until further notice.

Services

Schools

  • Falmouth Public Schools are closed until April 27. Falmouth Schools is providing updates regularly via their website at:  www.falmouthschools.org

Resources


Falmouth Trails and Playgrounds

Each spring, the Town of Falmouth closes its trail system for a period of weeks to ensure that the integrity of the trails is not compromised during the rain and mud season in Maine. This year, the closure occurred on March 13. Given the current situation, some residents have requested that the Town reconsider this closure. We understand the desire to get outside and stay active. However, this time of year the trails are particularly fragile. Several rain events are forecast in the next week. The ground is going through a cycle of freezing and thawing, resulting in a lot of moisture in the soil, making the trails extremely muddy and subject to severe damage. Additionally, the small parking areas at our trail heads make the practice of social distancing difficult. There are several areas in Falmouth available for open air recreation on multi-use paths (Route 1) and bike lanes. These areas are easily accessible and do not require parking in one location. We also encourage residents to ride bikes and walk in their neighborhoods. Pine Grove Preserve,  Falmouth Nature Preserve and Presumpscot Falls Park (Portland Trails) are still open. Mackworth Island is currently open though, as a state park, may be subject to closure at any time as are the trails at Maine Audubon. We encourage residents to consult Falmouth Land Trust website for updated lists of their open trails. Please use discretion and practice safe distancing should these areas become crowded. Staff will continue to assess trail integrity and open trails as conditions improve in the coming weeks.  

Falmouth has also closed all playgrounds temporarily following CDC recommendations to promote social distancing. The Town of Falmouth does not recommend using playgrounds at this time due to the fact that they are not manually or chemically sterilized.


Food Pantry Logo

Update on Falmouth Food Pantry

The Falmouth Food Pantry is closed until further notice. Home deliveries will cease next week for two weeks. Town staff and Food Pantry leadership will meet next week to discuss how best to distribute food to those in need while also limiting exposure risk to clients, volunteers, and staff. If you are a Falmouth resident and you have no food and no way to access food, please contact our General Assistance emergency number at 807-2055. 

At this time, monetary donations are the best way to assist their efforts. Although currently it is difficult to find supplies of some essential items, organizers would like to be as prepared as possible to be able to make purchases when supplies are replenished. Interested contributors may make tax-deductible monetary donations by writing checks to “Falmouth Food Pantry” and mailing them to:  Falmouth Food Pantry, 271 Falmouth Road, Falmouth, ME 04105.  Or donate online at: https://www.facebook.com/FalmouthFoodPantry.  

Upcoming Meetings & Events

Town Council Meeting, March 23, 7:00pm

The Falmouth Town Council will conduct its first virtual meeting using emergency legislation, Sec. G-1 MRSA §403-A, that allows cities and towns to conduct meetings online. The Town will use “Zoom” to conduct this meeting. This application will allow attendees to connect via computer or phone. A meeting link and instructions will be provided on Monday, March 23, via the Town website homepage, e-Alerts, and social media that will allow you to join the meeting via computer or phone, as well as, a phone number to dial in. If you have questions, please call (207) 699-5329. Follow this Link to See the Agenda

Other Meetings

The Finance Committee Meeting on March 25 has been cancelled. A Public Hearing on the Budget on April 1 is still scheduled but subject to change based upon decisions made at the upcoming Town Council meeting on March 23. Monitor the website, social media sites, and e-Alerts for updated information.

Take Note

construction cone

Route 100

Construction work on Route 100 (Gray Road) will resume on Monday, March 23. Visit the Route 100 Project webpage for more information. Updates are listed at the right of the page. You can also receive weekly email updates about this project and its impact on traffic by subscribing to the Route 100 Project E-Alert at:  www.falmouthme.org/subscribe


Pesticide and Fertilizer Ordinance

At its March 9 meeting, the Town Council adopted a pesticide and fertilizer ordinance which requires any sole proprietor, or business entity whose use of pesticides and/or fertilizer is provided as a service for which compensation is received, to register before any applications are made. he Ordinance also requires annual summary reports to be submitted by January 31 of each year. The Town has also created documents for the Annual Summary Reports, which can be utilized to track applications throughout the season. Lastly, the Ordinance prohibits the applications of fertilizers between December 1-March 31. For more information on the ordinance, registration, and reporting visit: https://www.falmouthme.org/business2


 

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Stay Informed with the Town of Falmouth Website and E-Alerts

There are many Town committees and boards that meet on a regular basis. The events calendar on the Town of Falmouth website homepage lists upcoming board, committee, and Town Council meetings. We send E-Alerts when Town Council, Planning Board, and Board of Zoning Appeals meeting agendas and minutes are posted to the website. Subscribe via E-Alerts to those that most interest you. Agendas and Minutes for these meetings are also posted online. Town Council, Planning Board, and School Board meetings are live-streamed on Falmouth Community TV Channel 1301 (Former Channel 2). Recordings of these meetings are also available for viewing online. Board of Zoning Appeals Meetings are not broadcast live but can be viewed online within 24 hours after the meeting. E-Alerts allows you to subscribe to specific email lists about Town-related issues that interest you. Over 70% of respondents to our Communications Methods Survey found E-Alerts to be an effective means of getting info about Town activities. The Falmouth Focus, this bi-weekly newsletter, is another way to stay in the loop. Subscribe via E-Alerts. Please let us know what kind of information you would like to see included in your town newsletter. 

Town of Falmouth, 271 Falmouth Road, Falmouth, ME 04105

207-781-5253
www.falmouthme.org

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