I am writing today to express my concern about the upcoming citizen-led referendum to cap building permits in North Yarmouth. If passed, the referendum would cap building permits at 15 per year in the village center and village residential districts.

Currently, building permits are unlimited in this area, encouraging growth to be concentrated in the village center, which avoids sprawl and the loss of rural landscapes outside the center, a specific goal of our town’s comprehensive plan.

The plan was developed over several years with a great deal of public input.The referendum’s supporters refer to explosive and unsustainable growth in our town. However, census data show that between 2010 and 2020, the town grew by only 507 citizens, or a 14 percent increase, and this is slower growth than three of the four prior decades. The reality is, these new homes and their value can help to maintain our tax level. This group claims that capping growth will slow tax increases, but there have been no independent studies presented to verify this claim. Maine desperately needs to attract and keep professionals. As the oldest state in the nation, we want young people to live here and help support our rapidly aging population. We should not be turning young professionals and families away and pricing them out of towns like North Yarmouth by forcing through a building cap.On March 15, I will be voting “no.” It is vitally important that Maine towns grow thoughtfully, rather than stagnate.

Elizabeth Bachelder
North Yarmouth

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