BRIDGTON — Residents voted Tuesday by nearly a 2-1 ratio against two petitions that would have banned fast-food restaurants and big-box stores in town.
Residents rejected Article 2, which would have amended the town's Site Plan Ordinance to block the approval of fast-food or formula restaurants, by a 931-472 vote. Article 3, which would have amended the ordinance to bar approval of retail developments larger than 30,000 square feet, was defeated by a 963-432 vote.
Scott Finlayson, who with the group Keeping Bridgton Local helped spearhead the effort to block big-box stores and fast-food restaurants, said he wished the vote had been closer and blamed the lopsidedness on an advertising and telephone campaign by the opposition.
He also cited Bridgton's economic situation for the outcome. “A lot of people are concerned about jobs, and rightfully so,” he said.
Still, Finlayson said the fact that a plan to shape Bridgton's growth is being a discussed is a victory. “Now, for the first time in 30 years, the town is talking about doing something; establishing zoning, establishing a growth plan,” he said. “If we hadn't started this campaign, none of this would have happened.”
Voters also rejected Article 4, which would have enacted the Town of Bridgton Property Assessed Clean Energy Ordinance. The vote was 679-421.
A total of 1,406 residents voted Tuesday.