North Yarmouth to hire Portland architect for development study

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen plans later this month to vote on hiring Stephen Blatt Architects to conduct a facilities study on three development options facing the town.

The vote, scheduled for Tuesday, was delayed because the town had not received a completed contract with a specific cost, board Chairman Steve Palmer said.

“It is not slowing his work down,” Palmer added, noting that the board would take up the matter again at its next meeting, scheduled for Dec. 16.

The town would pay the Portland firm about $18,000, which comes out of an economic development fund, Town Manager Rosemary Roy said Nov. 26. Blatt would likely deliver his findings next month.

North Yarmouth residents may vote early next year on which of two town-owned parcels to develop as a municipal campus: North Yarmouth Memorial School, which School Administrative District 51 closed in June and gave to the town, or the existing Town Hall.

Also to be determined is the future of the land where Wescustogo Hall stood before it was destroyed by fire in August 2013, and what level of development is best for the center of town, a well-traveled area around the intersection of Route 9 and Route 115.

Planning Decisions – a Portland firm hired by the town to consult on development of its key assets – presented a final report Nov. 18 on different scenarios and their potential impacts.

A municipal campus would be established at the current Town Hall at 10 Village Square Road, under the consultants’ Scenario 1. Public Works facilities would be located at the department’s existing site, and the fire station would be renovated where it stands.

Scenario 2 is split into two variations. In the 2A plan, the municipal campus would be located at the school building; the existing facility would be used, although part of it could be demolished if necessary. Scenario 2B would see the school demolished and replaced by a new building.

In all scenarios, the Public Works facility and fire station would stay as they are.

With the options in hand, Roy said, the Board of Selectmen now seek more concrete information from Blatt on the impacts – visuals on how each option would appear, more details on costs.

“We’re going to go a little deeper,” she explained, expressing the hope that getting residents additional data will guide them in deciding which path to take.

The regular board meetings on Dec. 16 and Jan. 6, 2015, will provide opportunities for residents to ask questions and comment on the proposals. A public presentation on the redevelopment options is to be held Jan. 7, and the board will mull that feedback in a workshop Jan. 14.

Selectmen on Jan. 20 may discuss a proposed special Town Meeting warrant and timing of that meeting, where voters would act on redeveloping the village center, along with how to fund those actions.

A Village Center Redevelopment Process Timeline is posted at

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.