Incumbent Heather Abbott, former two-term Councilor David Craig and newcomer Chris Kamm are competing for two seats on the Yarmouth Town Council in the June 8 election.

All three candidates in recent interviews centered their conversation around growth and development in Yarmouth.

Abbott, seeking reelection to a second term, said she wants Yarmouth to bridge the gap between older and newer generations.

“I hope to preserve the historical qualities that make Yarmouth special while welcoming innovation to meet our needs for growth,” she said.

Craig said the growth in town is “a real challenge.”

“We are very small geographically, located on the ocean, and close to Portland with great schools. That puts a lot of pressure on us for development,” he said.

He favors looking at impact fees on expanded housing projects.

“We need to offset the costs that will be borne on the town,” he said.

He also aims to provide more representation to renters in Yarmouth, and is proud of the town’s work on affordable housing.

Kamm said it is important to maintain the character and village feel of Yarmouth and protect open green spaces while fostering its growth at the same time. He favors recrafting a new town comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 2010, with community input and a transparent process.

He said he does not have a distinct vision in mind for Yarmouth but would like to see how the town progresses and to keep all doors open in terms of development options.

“I don’t come with any agenda,” Kamm said.

The three candidates are proud of the town’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kamm was a member of the community’s coronavirus task force and said the committee was able to come to “common-sense solutions.”

“Getting our kids back in school is a great step in the right direction,” he said.

He said he advocates for the social in addition to the academic needs of students who have struggled during the past year.

Abbott said she was proud of the town’s emergency COVID-19 fund and the collaboration on the task force.

“Yarmouth has set an example for what is possible when we all work together,” she said.

Craig said Yarmouth has stayed ahead of the curve in terms of pandemic relief, and emphasized community members’ commitment to Yarmouth when they came together last year to provide $450,000 to support students’ learning needs during the pandemic.

The candidates are engaged in a number of causes.

Craig helped create the STAY program (Senior Tax Assistance Yarmouth), which is designed to help low and moderate income seniors stay in their homes and age in place. On the council, Craig has also worked to help budget for land acquisition.

“Helping people stay in their homes, giving them transportation, giving them new green space – that’s where local government plays a big role, and I really enjoy making that happen,” he said.

As a councilor, Abbott said she has advocated for student liaisons on town committees, promoted anti-racism training for town employees and residents and is in the process of selling a cell phone tower, with proceeds going to the town’s new affordable housing committee and COVID-19 emergency fund.

Kamm said he wants to translate the problem-solving approach from the pandemic task force to the council.

“There is no room for partisanship when dealing with issues that Yarmouth residents face every day,” he said.

He also seeks to create more inclusive town discussions and activities.

“Yarmouth should provide all citizens with a sense of community and an opportunity to be a part of that community, regardless of whether they have children in the school system,” he said.

 

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