North Yarmouth comp plan update goes to voters Oct. 30

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NORTH YARMOUTH — An update of the town’s Comprehensive Plan, along with changes to its land use ordinance and zoning map, go before residents at a special Town Meeting Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The 6:30 p.m. gathering will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 247 Walnut Hill Road (Route 115).

The North Yarmouth Comprehensive Plan Committee began work on the 2003 version of the plan two years ago; the original plan was developed in 1973. Feedback was gleaned through a public opinion survey, summits, the panel’s monthly public meetings, and an Oct. 4 hearing.

A 2016 public opinion survey showed that “the overwhelming majority of North Yarmouth residents want to retain the Town’s rural character while working to support well-designed development in the village center,” a town-issued advertisement of next week’s meeting states.

That desire is reflected in the Comp Plan’s revision, which is “designed to be more streamlined and straightforward than previous plans,” according to the town.

The document calls for clustered growth in the village in the face of a major population surge taking place around Greater Portland, but the plan serves only as a guide for North Yarmouth. The Planning Board will use its recommendations when editing the land use ordinance and zoning map, as will the Economic Development Committee in developing the town’s potential first tax increment financing district.

The amendments to the land use ordinance and zoning map to be voted on Oct. 30 would begin the process of channeling those recommendations into town laws. Revisions to the ordinance include a reduction in lot sizes in the Village Center District from 1 acre to 20,000 square feet through the use of a pocket neighborhood design or advanced wastewater treatment systems, according to the town.

More mixed-use buildings and diverse options for housing and commercial buildings would also be added.

Zoning map amendments include a slight expansion of the Village Center and Village Residential districts near Route 115’s intersection with Route 231 “to encourage a new rural hamlet with a mix of commercial, housing types, and lot sizes,” according to the town.

The ordinance and zoning map amendments, as well as the Comprehensive Plan update, can be viewed at northyarmouth.org and at the Town Office, 10 Village Square Road. Should the update be approved, other proposed revisions to the land use ordinance could go before voters next year.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.