Residents of North Yarmouth are unhappy. They approved a comprehensive plan and amendments to the land use ordinance to protect our rural character. Rather, they see intense development. Over the past three years, 131 new residence permits have been issued. Instead of analyzing what drives this activity and determining resident support, some of our city leaders are encouraging more of the same.
Nearly 400 residents have signed a referendum petition to cap the currently unlimited number of building permits allowed each year in the Village District. Residents realize that rapid growth is straining the ability of city facilities and taxpayers to support it.
We need new water pipes and a bigger storage tank. We need more parks, sidewalks and more. What we really need are companies that pay taxes and require fewer services, but our infrastructure does not allow this. Instead, we build houses.
More houses means more students. That’s not a bad thing. However, the property taxes paid by most new homes built in the Village District cannot be used to support rising school costs because the city has designated them as a TIF (Tax Increase Funding) district. TIF property taxes can only pay for municipal needs in the TIF district. The education bill must be paid by other owners. The growth of the students requires an additional school. This can increase your property tax bill by over 15%.
Our priority should be to develop a long-term plan to deal with affordable infrastructure and taxes. We need to be proactive, not reactive, as is the case when it comes to 131 new homes. The slowdown in growth will give us time to create and adopt this strategic plan.
North Yarmouth residents’ petition for a building cap will be voted on March 15. Postal ballots are available now at the municipal office. Please vote YES for a construction ceiling!