Bridgton rejects petition to block big-box stores, fast-food restaurants

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.

Tony Reaves/Sun Journal

Robert and Natasha Proctor leave Bridgton Town Hall on Tuesday after voting on the citizens' referendum about big-box stores and fast-food restaurants.

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.

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 's picture

Bridgton Rejects Petition

The fact of the matter is that MANY of Bridgton's CURRENT businesses Would Not have been able to come to OR expand with the way this was written up.The 30,000 area limit is NOT just the building area but ALSO includes outer buildings and parking space.
Why can't we vote for a straight out HONEST WORDED issue telling the COMPLETE FACTS?? In the past when we have voted and it has been WORDED so that an actual Yes Vote means No and an actual No Vote means Yes. Enough with the DECEPTION!!

Peter Morrison's picture

Lopsided advertising... have got to be kidding. Who got up at almost every selectmen's meeting and planning board meeting to push his groups agenda on the public access channel ever since December. That is 3 months worth of free advertising you are talking about.

Those against these petitions only took out two ads in the local paper and made several phone calls and got out and talked to the people at public places where they were allowed and were handing out flyers.

You also had the petitions and questions put forth on the ballot so confusing that most people voted no because they could not understand what they were reading if they had not already made up their mind.

 's picture

So, Mr. Finlayson...

...what you're saying is that the 1,500 people who DID vote were duped and had no idea what they were voting for or automatons, as it were. You don't think much of the people of Bridgton, do you?


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