CHINA — Two incumbents and a political newcomer won three seats on the Board of Selectman in the election Tuesday.

Meanwhile, residents also voted to approve eight of 12 referendum questions, which included ordinance changes and town purchases of land.

Business owner Jeffrey LaVerdiere, who never had been elected to a political office, won by the most votes in the selectmen’s race, with 1,119, followed by incumbents Joann Austin, with 1,001 votes, and Neil Farrington, with 985 votes.

The trio were up against four other candidates for the three seats: Robert MacFarland, the current board chairman; Albert Althenn, a Budget Committee member; Wayne Chadwick, a business owner; and Raymond Robert, an environmental health and safety specialist at L.L. Bean.

LaVerdiere, 55, owns LaVerdiere’s General Store and a gravel business. In a previous interview, he said he ran for the position because he thought he should get involved in the town.

He would like to look at potentially lowering taxes and using a more conservative approach when it comes to town spending, he said.

Austin, 77, was on the board from 1982 to 1990 and has been again since 1998. She also is on the China tax increment financing and Thurston Park committee. She has worked as a lawyer at the Austin Law Office for 35 years.

In a previous interview, Austin said there was value in the historical perspective she could offer during discussions. She wants to keep spending at a level rate, as she said it has been, and is looking at senior issues to help the elderly in China “age in place.”

Farrington, 66, has been on the board since 2004 and is president of the China Historical Society and a member of the school district’s facilities committee. He is a retired Navy chief petty officer, having served 24 years in the Navy.

“I appreciate the support from all the citizens in China, and I really want to congratulate it on such a heavy turnout,” Farrington said on the phone Wednesday. “Hopefully, I’ll serve you well in the next couple of years.”

Farrington said he wants to ensure both villages in China have their voices heard, saying in a previous interview that he keeps “an open mind” and listens to all ideas. He also said he has fought off taxes for years, and that most of the town’s taxes go to the schools.

The most talked about referendum question asked residents to amend the land development code. Residents voted to reject the proposal, 1,248-817.

The proposed changes would have aligned standards for measuring buildings with the state’s policy, which uses footprint as opposed to volume and square footage, and grandfathered in signs that were nonconforming prior to a different ordinance change in June 2010. It also would have required electronic signs be turned off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., unless a business is open during those hours.

Residents gathered for a public hearing on the proposal in July. Scott Pierz, the town’s former code enforcement officer, took issue with the town adopting state rules for seasonal conversion as well as handing over management of timber harvesting to the state in the ordinance changes.

Pierz said he was concerned about China giving up its “home rule authority” as a town.

Residents also voted to allow the town to buy two properties, as well as accept a gift of land. The three separate questions proposed buying land that abuts the Town Office for future growth for $12,000, which was approved 1,195-1,085; buying land along the causeway for parking purposes for $10,000, also approved, 1,249-1,031; and accepting a gift of subdivided lots off of Lakeview Drive that total 40 acres from Wachusett Properties Inc., also approved, 1,457-782.

Some residents expressed concern at a public hearing in October about taking land out of the town’s tax base, but others said they were good investments for the town, which could use the land to build a new fire station or an emergency response center in the future.

Residents also voted to reject proposals to amend the solid waste flow control ordinance, 1,223-930, and the solid waste disposal ordinance, 1,214-928. They also rejected a proposal to appropriate $100,000 from the unassigned fund balance for the town’s capital and equipment account, which is used to buy municipal vehicles or make major repairs, 1,354-911. The Budget Committee had recommended that the proposal not pass because the unassigned fund balance, which is intended for emergencies, had $1.1 million at that time and the committee decided it should have at least $1.2 million.

Town Manager Dan L’Heureux said at a public hearing in October that the fund can shift as money gets returned from projects that fall through, and it usually ranges between $1.1 million and $1.3 million.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour