May 24, 2020

Falmouth landowner proposes cemetery for people and pets

FALMOUTH – A woman who claims the town is at “war” with her about her plans to build a subdivision of million-dollar homes is now proposing to build a cemetery on her property.

Mary Alice Davis wants to locate a cemetery for people and pets on 17 of the 180 rolling acres she owns along Woodville Road. The land is one of the largest undeveloped tracts in this fast-growing Portland suburb.

Davis already has proposed building a subdivision on another 60 acres of her land, a proposal that has sparked controversy in town and prompted Davis to call Falmouth’s zoning laws “un-American” because of restrictions on development.

The cemetery would be on the grounds of a home that belonged to Davis’ late father-in-law, H. Halsey Davis, the millionaire co-founder of Shaw’s Supermarkets. Mary Alice Davis, the widow of Halsey Davis’ only child, Howard, now owns the property and lives just down the road.

Davis would sell plots to the public, but the cemetery also would be the final resting place for the ashes of her husband, who died in 1996 at age 59, and of Davis herself and her little white dog, Brian, a miniature poodle mix. “I thought Howard and I and Brian could be buried there [in the cemetery] and then I thought, ‘Oh, no, what about Brian?”‘ said Davis, 58, a former cosmetologist who met Howard Davis in 1991 and married him a year later.

The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hear Davis’ request Tuesday night for a conditional use approval for the cemetery.

Cemeteries are allowed in that area of town if they meet certain conditions, including fitting in with the neighborhood, not having a significant adverse effect on nearby property and not causing traffic congestion.

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