NEWCASTLE (AP) – Voters at a special town meeting made Newcastle the third Lincoln County town to impose limits on the size of retail stores, effectively block Wal-Mart from setting up shop.

In a nearly unanimous show of hands, the town adopted a permanent cap of 35,000 square feet on new commercial buildings. The turnout was so heavy Monday night that officials had to scramble to find enough seating for everyone.

Last week, residents of Damariscotta approved the same size cap for so-called “big-box” retailers. Earlier this month, the town of Nobleboro voted to place a six-month moratorium on proposals that exceed 35,000 square feet.

All three votes were responses to Wal-Mart’s proposal to bring a “supercenter” to Damariscotta. Company spokespeople said in November they wanted to build a 186,000-square-foot store off Route 1.

Supporters of the Wal-Mart project in Damariscotta said the proposed store would create jobs, generate more than $200,000 in tax revenue and provide low-cost groceries and general merchandise.

The nearest Wal-Mart stores are in Rockland, Brunswick, Augusta and Auburn.

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