North Yarmouth sets bars high in ‘summit’ poll

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NORTH YARMOUTH — A brewery or pub bubbled to the top of a wish list at the town’s second “summit” of boards and committees Nov. 30.

The gathering, held at the former North Yarmouth Memorial School, followed one held in May. The approximately 50 people who attended included members of the Select Board, Economic Development & Sustainability Committee, Comprehensive Plan Committee, Planning Board, Living Well in North Yarmouth, and other panels.

The idea behind the summits, Town Manager Rosemary Roy said last month, is “to get … these volunteers, who are working on all different aspects of the future of the town, to come together and share what they’ve been doing.”

A third summit will be held next May. Residents wanting to participate can reach Roy at 829-3705 or manager@northyarmouth.org.

One activity during the meeting – which featured a talk by Elizabeth Isele, a new resident recently named one of the country’s “50 Top Influencers in Aging” by a Public Broadcasting Service website – was a poll of what new businesses the town should have.

Elderly housing was excluded from the options from which residents could choose, “because we know (that) is something we do want to see; that’s a given,” Roy said in an interview Monday.

Some manner of watering hole – a brewery, pub or bar – topped the poll with 30 votes.

“Everybody would like to have their own ‘Cheers,'” Roy said.

A small grocery store came in second with 19 votes, and a restaurant offering evening dining options ranked third with 17.

On the subject of businesses, the participants discussed how a tax increment financing district could work in the town’s Village Center, using developer Jim Guidi’s Stone Post housing subdivision as an example.

“I wanted to show them what happens when you do capture the assessed value” within such a district, Roy explained.

As assessed in its undeveloped state in fiscal year 2017, the property was valued at $76,200, generating about $1,300 in property taxes, she noted. In the current fiscal year, which has seen the property subdivided into lots and begin to be developed, the assessed value has increased to $467,000, generating about $7,600 in tax revenue.

“That’s the value we get to capture,” Roy said, noting the nearly $400,000 difference in value would be sheltered through the TIF. It would consequently not be included in the town’s state valuation, “which has a direct effect on revenue sharing, state subsidies and county taxes,” she stated.

“It’s that original assessed value that is the key,” Roy said, adding that the property value is “only going to go up” as it approaches full build out.

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.