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N. Yarmouth panel to present economic development plan next month

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N. Yarmouth panel to present economic development plan next month

NORTH YARMOUTH — A potential four-phase economic development plan for the town center is expected to go before the Board of Selectmen Dec. 4.

The Economic Development and Sustainability Committee has gathered ideas on how to make the most of 114 acres of town-owned land in the village center, and its recommendations could go to a public vote at the June 2013 Town Meeting.

Among recommendations in the first phase would be development of a triangular area of North Yarmouth into a more visible, inviting and active town center. That triangle, which in part houses Town Hall, runs from the intersection of Routes 9 and 115, down Route 115 to Parsonage Lane, and back along Route 9 to the intersection of that road and Route 115.

The woods and brush in that triangle would be cleared so that Town Hall could be clearly seen from Route 9 and Route 115, and a sidewalk would be built along Route 115 to Parsonage Lane, and then along Parsonage to Route 9, connecting to an existing sidewalk on that road.

An entry to Town Hall from Route 115 would also be installed, and a town center area would be established with a flag pole, garden and playground. Decorative street lighting would be installed at the center, and a walkway from Town Hall to Wescustago Hall would be built. The zoning ordnance would also be reviewed and updated to provide more flexibility for businesses in the center.

The committee suggests this phase be completed by June 2014.

The second phase, proposed to be complete by July 2015, would include development of a business park at the spent, town-owned Cassidy Pit, on Walnut Hill Parkway. A lot would be retained for a possible future location of Public Works.

A third phase depends on whether the School Administrative District 51 Board of Directors votes to close North Yarmouth Memorial School. If it does, the committee proposes the town obtain the title to the school building and develop it as a 37-unit elderly housing project.

A day-care component would be considered for the space, and public rights to the library and gym would be retained. A nearby property would be retained for future use as an elementary school.

The fourth phase would see the Public Works site vacated, with the department either relocated to the business park or regionalized. The area would be converted to affordable workforce housing, as well as cottage-style housing allowing people to downsize and retire to the town center area.

Information and comments can be submitted to Perkins at dperkins@perkinsolson.com, committee Chairman Al Ahlers (aahlers@maine.rr.com), members Andy Walsh (awalsh@gwi.net) and Katie Murphy (katie@univoicehistory.com), and consultant Gwen Hilton (ghilton1@myfairpoint.net).

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