This newspaper, under the guise of objective journalism, recently published two pieces that I believe leave it in lockstep with every developer, real estate agent and speculative investor.    

The first (“Maine needs 84,000 new homes in the next 7 years, report finds,” Oct. 4) is a summary of a report by HR&A Advisors, a New York City-based real estate and economic development firm. To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To HR&A, the answer to every problem is more development. 

The question we all should be asking is, “Why are Maine agencies commissioning a New York City consulting firm to guide our development?”   

Do we want southern Maine to be more like suburban Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey? The answer is yes – if you want soaring housing prices and suffocating congestion. “Maine, the way life should be” evokes a starkly different picture than the policies put forth by HR&A. 

The second piece, the editorial board’s position of last Sunday (“Our View: Communities must step up on housing – or step aside,” Oct. 8), was even more brazen.  

Readers were effectively scolded, told that if we don’t support massive new development projects we should “step aside.” Neither the news article nor the editorial talks about how all this new development will benefit those of us already living in Maine. After reading this editorial, I was left with little doubt that the editors would enthusiastically support widening the turnpike again to relieve congestion created by all these new housing units.    


Lamentably, Maine no longer has a state planning office. Our state lacks the policies capable of guiding development in sustainable and beneficial ways. Our municipalities are left to fend for themselves, resulting in a patchwork of zoning laws that often are at odds with each other. New housing is necessary, yes, but where that housing is situated and how it is built is equally important. These are critical issues that were glaringly absent from these two pro-development pieces.      

Maine is going to face even more massive development pressures in the coming decades. With a temperate climate, 90% forest coverage and abundant freshwater resources, New England offers an attractive alternative to those in the South, Southwest and West who are already suffering from coastal flooding, scorching droughts, devastating storms, wildfires and the depletion of freshwater resources.    

It needs to be pointed out that these regions are also suffering the consequences of overdevelopment. Fast-tracking new development here in Maine will ensure we continue down that same failed path. Americans are taught from an early age that unrestrained growth is a good thing. Unrestrained growth can also be used to describe the growth of something else: a cancer. 

The adage borrowed by the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” still rings true to me: “If you build it, they will come.”  

Rampant, unguided development will attract more and more out-of-staters, drive up taxes, crowd out schools, congest roadways and further degrade the Maine way of life. I can’t believe that the editorial board wants this, nor the state agencies that hired HR&A. I’m disappointed that this publication didn’t offer a more balanced perspective.   

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