RICHMOND — Richmond voters, faced with three different proposals on how to regulate subdivisions in the agricultural district in town, rejected all three of them in voting Tuesday.

The proposals made their way to the ballot via the citizen’s petition process, which requires supporters to gather signatures at least equal to 10% of the number of town residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election. The Board of Selectmen is obligated to put the proposal before voters if it meets that threshold.

“The feeling of the selectboard is they wanted to see how these would turn out,” Richmond Town Manager Adam Garland said Tuesday. “Obviously, these issues were important enough to have citizen’s petitions, so I think the selectmen will be discussing all these issues in the next budget/Town Meeting cycle for proposed land use ordinance review or changes.”

The first proposal, brought by developer Jeremy Purington, asked voters to endorse a number of the changes proposed by the Richmond Planning Board in its review of the town’s subdivisions regulations, which include — among other things — lifting the requirement that subdivisions provide common well and septic systems for rural subdivisions.

The Planning Board’s proposals had been sent to the Board of Selectmen in 2019 for review, but a majority of the board opted not to include them on Richmond’s Town Meeting warrant that went before voters in July.

Several members of the Board of Selectmen have gone on record saying they don’t want to see a lot of development in Richmond.


The second and third proposals, authored by Tom Brown and Corey Munsey, and submitted after Purington’s petition, offered up a different vision for subdivision regulation.

The first of the two sought, among other things, to impose a larger lot size for homes in rural subdivisions rather than clustered development, which was already a requirement for subdivisions and is intended to preserve open space and the town’s rural character. The second asked for a two-year delay in approving any new subdivisions.

Of the three, Purington’s proposal came the closest to passing. The vote was 936 to 984.

Voters spoke more strongly in rejecting the other two initiatives 758-1,154 and 796-1,112, respectively.

Purington had submitted a proposal for a subdivision on Brunswick Road to the Planning Board in 2018. While the Planning Board initially granted a series of waivers for that proposal, they were later withdrawn when it was learned the board was not allowed to grant them under state law. Purington’s proposal has been opposed by residents of a neighboring subdivision, including Munsey.

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