North Yarmouth’s town-sponsored village center development plan failed at the polls Tuesday, with a citizen petition winning instead.

Question 1 was defeated 935-526. The question was sponsored by the town select board, and proposed selling the current town hall for development, moving town offices into the vacant Memorial School nearby, and using the rest of the school building as a combination community center and replacement facility for Wescustogo Hall. To support the plan, it also proposed building a 1,000-foot sewer line between the old town hall property and connecting to the school’s existing leach field to draw developers.

Question 2, a citizen referendum petition initiated by three former town selectmen, won by a vote of 812-637. It will halt the sewer plans, keep the current town hall property, rebuild a freestanding Wescustogo Hall, and open the Memorial School redevelopment to proposals from developers in a public process.

The questions divided the town, and were among the most contentious issues facing North Yarmouth voters in a generation.

Question 2 proponents believed the town was acting out of emotion for its sentimental attachment to the Memorial School, and that the select board moved too fast and without enough data before placing the issues on the ballot. They raised concerns about the sewer poisoning the town’s water supply, part of which is drawn from a nearby well.

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