North Yarmouth can do better

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As residents of North Yarmouth for the past 32 years and approaching retirement, we were initially excited about the proposed town center project for North Yarmouth. But after looking at drawings of the plan and studying the facts, we feel North Yarmouth can do better. Sure, providing for affordable senior housing fulfills an important need, but should a senior housing development be the focus of the town center? Our understanding is that the homes will sell for $320,000, hardly affordable for folks on a fixed income.

We encourage residents of North Yarmouth to take a close look at the plan. Unfortunately, the Town’s website only has a drawing of the new Wescustogo Hall and rebuilt gym. A rendering of the entire plan (which can be seen on the North Yarmouth Can Do Better Facebook page) shows 32 houses jammed together, along with parking lots, a playing field, a rebuilt Wescustogo Hall, and portions of the Memorial School. This is not the North Yarmouth we know and have come to love.

By voting no and turning down the proposal the town can work with a planner and town residents to come up with a plan for a vibrant town center.

Harry and Liz Nelson

North Yarmouth

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  • Lincoln Merrill

    Two items need to be corrected in this letter so that readers are not misled. The reference to a website where you can see a view of the proposed NYMS project is really a “cartoonish” misrepresentation of the proposal drawn by it’s opponents. The actual site drawings done by Architect Stephen Blatt who does work for the Town of North Yarmouth may be found on the Town website.
    The home sales price of $320,00 is also incorrect. As has been publicly stated at numerous hearings and in print, houses are to sell for $287,500. There are 20 houses for sale in North Yarmouth today in the multiple listings and only 3 sell for less than $287,500. That is the entry point in to our marketplace whether we like it or not so these will be about the cheapest homes in North Yarmouth. This project was never proposed as subsidized housing. If the Town wants to build subsidized housing, that is a different discussion.

  • Grace Lovell

    The proposed depiction of the site was childishly photoshopped to look super bad, thus enforcing the point stated in this letter. People are calling for transparency from the BOS & The Town and then render something so inflated that it is comical at best…..transparency? I think not.

  • Andrew DesPres

    As a former (albeit brief) resident of North Yarmouth, I haven’t followed this development proposal as closely as I would have otherwise. However, as a lapsed planner, I do want to raise a number of questions for consideration.

    Topic 1: Senior housing
    Is the purpose of this new development to retain older residents who can’t remain in their current homes, or to attract new residents who by virtue of their age may not place as many demands on local services? If the goal is to retain older residents, has the town done an assessment of what needs are forcing these residents from their existing homes? If the issue is one of escalating property taxes, other strategies such as the formation of a community housing trust may be a better solution?
    If the goal is to attract new residents, does North Yarmouth have comparable services to other towns that draw retirees? What are the recreation, shopping, and entertainment features that will draw people to the village center? Are there covenants in place excluding families with children from these new homes? As people delay having children into their 30’s and 40’s, we should expect an increase of 55+ residents who still have children living at home. If the new development allows for children, to what extent will education services (or other services) eat into the projected property tax revenue created by this project?

    Topic 2: Rural character
    As with many towns, North Yarmouth’s comprehensive plan emphasizes the preservation of rural character. However, it is unclear how the proposed village center will combat the blight of sprawling residential development. Is the increased density allowance of the center linked to a transfer of development rights from areas that epitomize North Yarmouth’s rural character? Is there the collective and political will to limit development in outlying areas, whether through zoning, permit limits, or other means?

    I confess that I haven’t studied this proposal closely enough to evaluate whether it merits approval. However, I am wary of the superficial claims that this project will protect North Yarmouth’s rural character or ameliorate issues pertaining to senior residents.

    • Gay Peterson

      These are excellent, well thought out points. I so wish you were still a North Yarmouth resident and could vote on June 14th. Thank you for taking the time to express your views.