North Yarmouth Comp Plan update nears finish line

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The town is soliciting input from residents on an update of the plan that guides the community’s growth.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee will host a public hearing on the draft document in the Town Office meeting room, 10 Village Square, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4.

The Planning Board will hold a hearing Tuesday, Oct. 9, on zoning elements.

A special Town Meeting to approve the update is scheduled at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 247 Walnut Hill Road (Route 115), at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The update, which Town Manager Rosemary Roy on Sept. 27 called “a nice, easier read than ones in the past,” has consumed the last 2 1/2 years. The current Comprehensive Plan was completed in 2004.

A draft copy of the update can be viewed online at northyarmouth.org.

“The town seeks to guide residential growth while attracting appropriate commercial growth and maintaining the appeal of its country character by preserving natural, historical, agricultural, and cultural resources,” the plan’s vision statement notes.

Furthermore, the document adds, North Yarmouth “desires to encourage the development of a Village Center, to protect natural resources, preserve the quality of the town’s public water supply, and encourage recreational use of the town’s extraordinary network of public parks, forests and trails.”

“We want (the document) to be more in tune with economic development in the Village Center, that the town has wanted for a long time,” Roy said.

That direction would align with North Yarmouth’s first tax increment financing district, the establishment of which is due to go to Town Meeting next April, she added.

In shaping the update, the Comprehensive Plan Committee worked with the Greater Portland Council of Governments, Yarmouth Water District, the select and planning boards, and Vanessa Farr of Maine Design Workshop, the town’s economic consultant.

The committee has meanwhile held monthly public meetings, a public opinion survey, and community summits composed of members of various town panels. A brewery or pub topped a wish list of businesses to bring to the Village Center at a gathering last November.

The Comprehensive Plan is not an enforceable mandate like an ordinance, but rather a guide, Roy noted: “Here’s where we are, here’s where we’ve been, here’s where we want to be.”

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.