North Yarmouth development question takes shape

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen was expected to vote Tuesday on a special Town Meeting warrant for a Nov. 3 referendum to decide the future of the Village Center.

Selectmen on Feb. 3 recommended that North Yarmouth Memorial School, closed last year, be redeveloped as a municipal and community campus. The town would sell its existing Town Hall for housing or commercial development, and a municipal sewer system would to be created to help facilitate new development.

Critical reaction delayed the initial date for the town vote from April to June, and a need for town officials to provide the public more information on the proposal further postponed the decision to November.

But momentum appears to picking up.

“Then the next thing for (the board) to plan is informing, educating, answering the questions of the public,” Town Manager Rosemary Roy said July 16, noting that North Yarmouth’s annual Fun Day event has been suggested as one forum at which to spread the word.

She noted that the town’s Economic Development and Sustainability Committee supports the board’s recommendation, and that the committee is looking into developing three-dimensional sketches showing design options at the school building.

Another issue going hand-in-hand with a potential new municipal campus has been the future of Wescustogo Hall. Fire destroyed the 1950s Grange building, a community centerpiece where Town Meeting and many other events were held, in August 2013.

The Wescustogo committee favored a replacement for the hall with Town Hall, and resembling the character of the original structure, Roy said. The school’s gym, where Town Meeting has been held the past two years, would not be a reworked Wescustogo, she noted; rather, the new Wescustogo would be its own space, either separate from the school building or attached, if a new Town Hall is developed.

A hydrological study, conducted by Sevee & Mahar Engineers to determine the feasibility and impact of running a municipal sewer system through the Village Center, is due to conclude Sept. 1.

“We definitely want to make sure it’s … going to be a good thing, and not cause any issues,” Roy said.

The town clerk must have the ballot language for printing by Sept. 14, and absentee ballots are to be available by Oct. 5. A public hearing on the proposal must be held no later than Oct. 24, and the special Town Meeting warrant for the referendum can be posted no later than Oct. 27.

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

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.