An annual 15-permit building cap is now in effect for North Yarmouth’s Village Center and Village Residential zones.

A citizen referendum to limit permits passed at the polls 791 to 533 March 15, with just over 15% of voters turning out.

Effect immediately, no single applicant or developer can apply for more than six new permits a year, and since there is already a 15-permit cap in North Yarmouth’s Farm and Forest district, no more than 30 permits are now allowed townwide.

“The size of the turnout and the result of the vote makes it clear (residents) want changes and town officials need to move quickly to make them,” said Linc Merrill, a resident who supported the referendum. “The turnout and the outcome was due to the ceaseless efforts of a large and diverse group of residents. We are thankful to each of them for their contributions.”

The referendum was written by Rich Parenteau and four other residents in response to concerns that North Yarmouth does not have the infrastructure to maintain growing development. Before the amendment, there was no limit to the number of new buildings that could be constructed in the village center area.

Opponents to the cap said development was inevitable and by placing a cap on the village area, it would cause sprawl in the more rural areas of town. They also said growth is in line with North Yarmouth’s 2018 comprehensive plan, which encourages the development of Village Center.

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