The Rock Row honeymoon is over, thankfully. On Aug. 12 (“Noise from Westbrook concert site draws more complaints,” Page B1) and Aug. 13  (“Dozens complain loudly about concert noise coming from venue,” Page B1), the Press Herald published articles about the concert venue’s noise troubles that show the increases in both community disapproval and developer incompetence, if not arrogance.

While one neighbor accuses the developer of “trying to beat the people down,” the developer’s PR person (Lynda Adams, who abruptly resigned from the Westbrook City Council this spring, a year after voting to give her future employer a tax increment financing deal) cannot even comment. Instead, she invites people to her controlled meetings where she can, in fact, shut down participants.

Her sound engineer apparently is also under gag order by the Massachusetts strip mall developer that owns Rock Row.

The Press Herald previously reported on how Rock Row fast-talked its way into a big Westbrook TIF and how it duped Greater Portland Metro into leveraging its nonprofit status with a phantom “lease” so the developer could land sweetheart tax-free financing. That gives Rock Row competitive advantages over existing Maine businesses in the housing and retail markets.

We should be more cautious with this Waterstone/Rock Row group, whose website depicts it as a small strip mall landlord that is suddenly attempting to punch far above its weight with this ambitious project.

Honeymoons are fun, then we live the rest of our lives. As Maine is getting to know the real Rock Row, evidenced by the hubris on display at the last public meeting, we are learning that we are not in the positive relationship they want us to think it is.

Greg Forest

Standish


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