Stop blaming Rockland residents for housing shortage

The Aug. 23, 2021, article by Steve Betts addresses the complexities of the housing shortage in Rockland. The crux of the problem, as Betts sees it, is that: “Efforts to build new housing for lower income residents is often met with opposition from neighbors. That opposition continues in Rockland. Even in the midst of the crisis.”

After this premise, he cites reaction to the Midcoast Habitat for Humanity proposed project at 165 Talbot Ave. as the prime example of NIMBY’s who oppose affordable housing solutions.

My opposition to that project is based on environmental issues, but there are larger issues:

  • The opportunities for low-income housing are restricted by Rockland due to a lack of coherent planning and zoning.
  • Little progress has been made since 2000, despite numerous attempts to form citizen groups to address opportunities such as converting the McClain School.
  • Midcoast Habitat for Humanity has, understandably, stepped into the void to attempt to help.
  • They were successful at single house rehabs, but are now in the business of building housing developments.
  • The Philbrick Commons development completed two houses in two years. This is not efficient use of resources.
  • The Philbrick Commons site violated state construction standards: by exposing large areas of bare ground with no erosion controls, such as sediment fences or hay bales; creating a deep, open water pit with no protective fencing; and building structural supports not properly supported by footings. I photographed these site conditions and they can be viewed on the Facebook “Friends of Lindsey Brook” group page.
  • The larger project at Firefly Field faces serious environmental challenges. If clearance of wetland soils and exposure of bare surfaces is allowed for several years without erosion controls, the wetlands there will be damaged, sediment delivery to Lindsey Brook through runoff from bare surfaces and storm sewers will increase, and more sediment will be delivered to the harbor.

Given the lack of environmental concern demonstrated at Philbrick Commons, I don’t buy Midcoast Habitat for Humanity’s assertion that Firefly Field will be treated with respect.

Milan Pavich

Rockland

A response to Bett’s Rockland codes story

Reading Bett’s article should let taxpayers in Rockland understand how ineffective our codes are.

If a homeowner keeps their property up by regular maintenance, it is very disheartening to learn that the abutting property will be rented without proper inspection. The owner of these neglected properties, as well as the non- permitted short term rentals care about one thing and that’s getting money.

There’s some landlords that care about the units, their tenants and neighborhood, and then there is the so-called ‘slumlord.’ They live somewhere else, so the only time you see them is if the rent is overdue. If you are unfortunate enough to own property beside these neglected properties, not only does it devalue your property, it degrades the quality of life.

After reading this article, it would be a waste of time to go city hall and ask for help.

Francis Mazzeo Jr.

Rockland

In consideration for Maine seniors

At Spectrum Generations, it is our mission to promote the well-being and independence of older and disabled adults, with the support of their care partners, to live in their community of choice. For the vast majority of seniors, that means remaining within the comfort of their own homes for as long as it is safe to do so.

That’s why, through Healthy Living for Maine, a statewide network of providers, we have offered free or very low cost falls prevention workshops to more than 1,000 Mainers who wish to age in place.

Given the proper precautions, falls are often avoidable. That’s why we were so happy to see Sen. Susan Collins’ recent announcement that the federal government will invest $1 million to help Maine seniors with home modifications to help prevent falls. This is enough funding to install grab bars, railings, non-slip strips for tubs and other low-cost updates for 308 homes. This funding will be available through the Maine Housing Authority.

Aging is inevitable, but falling is not. Please join us in thanking Sen. Collins for her efforts to make aging in place possible for more seniors, and if you or a loved one are interested in learning more about the falls prevention programs offered through Healthy Living for ME, visit our website at healthylivingforme.org or call 1-800-620-6036 today.

Business Manager Maija Dyke

Healthy Living for ME