Yarmouth taking steps to link waterfront, downtown

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YARMOUTH — The town is looking to establish a tax increment finance district while connecting the village to the waterfront to create a cohesive downtown.

Town Manager Nat Tupper said Yarmouth is applying for three TIF districts, one downtown, one on the northern half of Route 1, and one on the southern half of Route 1. In order to include the waterfront and marinas in the downtown district, the Town Council first had to officially combine the two areas.

Councilors in a special meeting June 26 approved adopting a study and report from 2012 called “Reconnecting Village to the Working Waterfront.” The report, by Baker Design Consultants., described ways to make the waterfront a continuation of the downtown area by bringing in new businesses and making the area more pedestrian friendly.

Tupper said although the village and the waterfront are zoned differently, and the waterfront is mostly commercial, not residential, it’s all considered to be the downtown area.

The report went before councilors in November 2012 and was received, but not adopted. Tupper said it wasn’t adopted before because there was no reason to integrate the two areas until now.

According to the June 26 council agenda, a requirement for establishing a TIF district is “the town must have developed a ‘downtown redevelopment plan’ addressing various planning issues relating to the area the town intends to designate as a downtown TIF district.”

Tupper said the town is in the process of demonstrating to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development that it is addressing planning issues.

Tupper said there are no definite plans for new businesses coming to the waterfront, but there will be “in the long run.” He said the town will be working to make the area more pedestrian friendly by putting in new walkways and parking lots. 

Tupper said he is unsure when the town will know whether it can establish the TIF districts.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.