The proposal to build a large CVS pharmacy on Forest Avenue is troubling on several levels.

What Portland stands to lose are five unique, older buildings (three of them historic), several affordable apartments and three well-liked, locally owned small businesses, all of which have been in business for over 60 years. Besides providing important services, a neighborhood gathering spot and affordable housing, all of these recycle their money back into our local economy.

In exchange for these losses, all the city gets is just one more national chain mega-pharmacy. One more bland, over-lit box store with a large surface parking lot.

Really? There are already four chain pharmacies nearby on Forest Avenue and some eight within a one-mile radius. Does this neighborhood really need one more?

And what happens to the building if CVS closes the store in a couple of years, as happened with the Rite Aid on Brighton Avenue or the original Wal-Mart in Falmouth? Years later, they are still big empty eyesores, too big and unsuitable for any new local businesses, the true drivers of new jobs in Maine.

Look. Portland’s recent growth is exciting, but we must ensure that it happens in a planned and sustainable way that supports both established and new local businesses, provides more housing, is bus, walk and bike friendly and which preserves the city’s unique history, architecture and stunning beauty.

I urge the Planning Board, Greater Portland Landmarks and the City Council to reject this development.

Kris Clark

Portland