Voters in Newcastle approved an ordinance banning single-use plastics, such as shopping bags. Credit: Mark Baker | AP

Newcastle residents approved a ban on certain plastics and rejected a new land use ordinance, or character code, on Tuesday.

The town voted 623-488 against the code, which the Newcastle Local Planning Committee began working on 2 1/2 years ago to replace the current land use ordinance.

The guiding principles of the code included more land use opportunities for residents, maintaining the character of the town, and lowering taxes through more land development.

In comparison to the present ordinance, the character code focused more on the size, form and placement of buildings, and on parking, committee Co-chair Ellen Dickens said at a public hearing on the code Aug. 16.

Since the character of Newcastle varies throughout the town, districts were created to preserve the character of each distinct area.

The code divided the town into 15 districts overall — nine character districts and six special districts — each with their own standards in the code.

Character districts included a conservation district, two rural districts, a residential neighborhood district, a neighborhood business district, a residential village district, a residential historic district, a village district and a town center district.

The special districts included a highway commercial district, a rural highway district, a campus special district, a marine special district, a fabrication special district and a civic special district.

Voters approved the plastics ordinance 756-419. The ordinance will ban the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food containers.

The local group kNOw S.U.P. gathered signatures to get the ordinance on the ballot. The group formed in January to raise awareness in the Twin Villages of the environmental risks posed by single-use plastics.