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I am writing to you today to express my concern about the upcoming citizens’ referendum to limit building permits in North Yarmouth. If passed, the referendum would cap building permits at 15 per year in the village center and residential areas of the village.

Currently, building permits are unlimited on this territory, encouraging growth to be concentrated in the center of the village, which avoids the spread and loss of rural landscapes outside the center, the specific objective of the overall plan of our municipality.

The plan was developed over several years with extensive public participation.

Supporters of the referendum speak of explosive and unsustainable growth in our city. However, census data shows that between 2010 and 2020 the city only grew by 507 citizens, an increase of 14%, and this is slower growth than three of the previous four decades. The reality is that these new homes and their value can help maintain our level of taxation. This group claims that capping growth will slow tax increases, but no independent study has been presented to verify this claim.

Maine desperately needs to attract and retain professionals. As the nation’s oldest state, we want young people to live here and help support our rapidly aging population. We shouldn’t be kicking young professionals and families out of towns like North Yarmouth by imposing a building cap.

On March 15, I will vote “no”. It is vitally important that Maine’s cities develop thoughtfully, rather than stagnate.

Elisabeth Bachelder
North Yarmouth

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