The Yarmouth Town Council has approved and endorsed the Imagine Yarmouth vision statement, which will serve as a foundation for the town’s next 10-year comprehensive plan.

The statement calls for Yarmouth to enhance its “defining characteristics – beauty, history, inclusivity, abundant open spaces and recreation opportunities, and commitment to volunteerism.”

It was developed as the result of close to 20 pop-up events to gather residents’ opinions along with a town-wide survey, although town councilors said they had hoped for a greater response from the community.

Director of Planning and Development Erin Zwirko told the Town Council at a Nov. 17 meeting that residents were a large part of the process, particularly because of the pop-up forums held through summer and fall.

“We were able to reach people that way,” Zwirko said. “The information about this initiative got out into the community.”

More than 75 written comments from community members at the pop-ups helped shaped the development of the four community values – natural environment, connected community, town history and culture, and a welcoming and inclusive environment.


“I think the combination of those four community values plus the draft vision statement really provides the foundation for future conversations that we’ll have with the community,” Zwirko said.

Of the 123 responses to the survey, 51% of respondents said Yarmouth should grow and change incrementally, 30% said it should stay as it is, and 14% said the town should be open for significant growth and change.

The town hired Berry Dunn, a Portland-based consulting firm, for $23,940 to assist with the Imagine Yarmouth project.

Councilors, while unanimous in approving the vision statement and the work behind it, said they wished more community members had been involved.

It’s “wicked exciting,” Councilor Randall Bates said, but he is concerned residents will come forward to say they knew nothing of the creation of the vision statement.

“It’s what happens to us these days, which is too bad because these were all over the place, and it was well advertised,” Bates said.

Councilors Tim Shannon and Heather Abbott emphasized their support of the document, but both called for more community involvement as well.

“I love the document, I love what you’ve put together,” Abbott said. “I’m a little surprised there wasn’t more engagement from the public considering the cry from the community for this to be started.”

The council will begin production on the updated Yarmouth Comprehensive Plan early next year. Updating the plan, a blueprint for growth that will be used to make policy recommendations for the next 10 years, likely will take 18 months, Zwirko said previously. The current comprehensive plan is certified by the state until 2023.

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