Voters in Cumberland on Tuesday rejected a referendum aimed at developing three 3-story buildings with affordable units on Drowne Road.

The proposal failed with 2,545 votes against, representing 69% of residents who cast ballots, and 1,162 in support.

The three buildings would have included 71 one-bedroom apartments, 36 of which would be reserved for seniors, as well as 21 two-bedroom units and 15 three-bedroom units for all ages.

The apartments would have been reserved for households earning less than 60% of the area’s median income, which is roughly $50,000 to $71,000 per year, depending on the number of people in the household. Rents would have been between $1,332 and $1,845 depending on the size of the apartment.

“Last night’s referendum on affordable housing sent a clear message as to what Cumberland residents don’t want,” Town Manager Bill Shane told The Forecaster Wednesday. “It may now be time to step back and begin to build a new Comprehensive Plan and vision for the future of the town.”

Affordable housing will always be a challenge, and a plan needs to be addressed, Shane said.

A new plan will most likely include a combination of housing and rental units with less state and federal restrictions, he said. It will also potentially include a new economic corridor with a roundabout and new business development on the Route 100 corridor.

“It will be a challenging few years ahead for Cumberland, but it will always be a resilient town,” Shane said. “Cumberland is a special place, but like many communities, we have a lot of work still ahead of us.”

Comments are not available on this story.