Urban sprawl has grown uncontrollable in southern Maine, especially in Cumberland County.

There are myriad reasons why this period of chaotic growth is occurring, such as Portland’s increasingly high cost of living and the desirability of southern Maine living. As far back as 2016, economic observers made a connection between Portland’s real estate dearth and bustling suburban development.

As a conservative, I am not opposed to prudent growth, but I do not want to see southern Maine transform into North Boston. I think land conservation is a healthy area of unity in Maine; I believe that most Mainers, regardless of our affiliations, want to preserve the natural beauty and unique character of our Pine Tree State.

As a Peaks Island native and “Mainer in exile,” I want to proffer a simple proposal for containing unchecked development: “Pave an Acre, Save an Acre,” or “Pave-One-Save-One.” The state of Maine should mandate that each project approved by county commissions or city councils must be balanced with land conservation of equal measure within their jurisdiction.

Local politicians often do not have the courage to say “no” to any development project; in 2017, we saw the allegedly progressive Portland City Council rezone the last substantial farm in Portland.

Mainers should loudly say “No!” to becoming North Boston before it is too late.

Benjamin Holmes

San Diego, Calif.

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