Newcastle residents will vote by referendum on whether to adopt a new land use ordinance, which it calls the Newcastle Character Code, and whether to adopt a ban on certain types of plastics Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The Newcastle Local Planning Committee began working on the character code, which would replace the current land use ordinance, about 2 1/2 years ago.
The guiding principles of the code include more land use opportunities for residents, maintaining the character of the town, and lowering taxes through more land development.
In comparison to the present ordinance, the character code focuses more on the size, form, and placement of buildings, and on parking, committee Co-chair Ellen Dickens said at a public hearing on the code Aug. 16. The new code aims to discourage urban sprawl.
Since the character of Newcastle varies throughout the town, districts were created to preserve the character of each distinct area.
The code divides the town into 15 districts overall – nine character districts and six special districts – each with their own standards in the code.
Character districts include a conservation district, two rural districts, a residential neighborhood district, a neighborhood business district, a residential village district, a residential historic district, a village district, and a town center district.
The special districts include a highway commercial district, a rural highway district, a campus special district, a marine special district, a fabrication special district, and a civic special district.
The full code is available on the town website at newcastlemaine.us/services.
Voters will also be asked whether to adopt a plastics ordinance, which would ban the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food containers.
The ordinance was proposed by the local group kNOw S.U.P., which created a petition and collected signatures to get the ordinance on the ballot. The group formed in January to raise awareness in the Twin Villages of the environmental risks posed by single-use plastics.
Unlike in neighboring Damariscotta, which considered a similar proposal before limiting it to bags only, the effort has attracted little attention or opposition in Newcastle.
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the fire station. The town office will be closed on Election Day.