Yarmouth town planner resigns to launch consulting business

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YARMOUTH — Town Planner Vanessa Farr is resigning after six years to start a private-sector business.

Farr, who will be stepping down April 17, is launching a new company called Maine Design Workshop. She said it is a “collaboration of freelance consultants” who will work from home.

 “I’m personally excited by the opportunity to work in a variety of different communities,” she  said.

Farr, along with Yarmouth residents Sarah Witte and Lynne Seeley, and Kara Wilbur of Portland, will be consultants for individual land owners, towns and cities, and public and private companies.

“For me, there’s this desire to advance planning in the state of Maine,” she said. “I’m incredibly dedicated to planning.”

In addition to working for the town, Farr also co-founded Build Maine with Wilbur last November. Build Maine is an annual event that brings together “people involved in the act of building community,” according to Farr.

In Yarmouth, Farr has helped create Planapalooza events and the character-based development code. She said she has enjoyed working with others in the Planning Department and in the rest of town.

“It’s a highly professional organization,” Farr said. “The people that work for the town are incredibly dedicated.”

Farr said she has seen the dedication in Yarmouth residents, too.

“There are so many citizens that give so much of their time to the town to make Yarmouth a better place to live,” she said.

Town Manager Nat Tupper said Farr has improved Yarmouth and will be missed.

“Vanessa … has brought about major changes in the way Yarmouth sees, appreciates and seeks to build on our best assets, and has introduced tools we might use to infuse new life into the community,” Tupper said Friday in an email to Town Council and the Planning Board.

Tupper said the town hasn’t started looking for Farr’s replacement. He said he first wants to talk with councilors and the Planning Board to decide what they want in a new planner.

“In the very near future, I will begin discussions … on the best way for Yarmouth to proceed to define the critical roles, needs and opportunities we need to consider as we decide our next steps,” Tupper said in the email.

He said the town will miss Farr’s insight and leadership, and that he hopes to find someone for the position who is just as dedicated as she was.

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

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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.