Much has been written on the issues surrounding Camden’s Fox Hill, on almost every conceivable argument, pro and con, to the possibility of rezoning a property for a McLean Hospital rehabilitation facility.

But a topic that is perhaps most important of all has received scant attention – the impact on our property values.

We are all very eager for a more robust local economy and more jobs, but let’s not lose sight of how critical it is to protect the value of our single largest asset: our homes. Many of us count on our home values as collateral for college loans, as financial security, as a way to fund retirement. We simply assume that our houses will retain their value should we wish or need to sell them.

I fear that allowing a drug rehabilitation facility to open in the heart of our residential area – not necessarily the facility McLean has proposed, but the others that will inevitably follow – threatens the stability of Camden’s property values.

Let’s be honest: Potential buyers do not look favorably on drug addicts as neighbors. Nor do they wish to invest their life savings in a home or neighborhood that is open to hospitals, clinics or rehab centers.

I’m frankly worried about Pandora’s box. If we allow this one exception, it won’t be an exception for long.

If you doubt the very serious downside of altering our zoning to allow rehab clinics, I encourage you to visit responsiblezoning.weebly.com/national, where 37 links take you to unsettling news accounts from communities across the country struggling with the chaos in their previously tranquil neighborhoods, towns and cities. It will scare you.

Charlie and Julie Cawley

Camden