Camden Herald letters to the editor Feb. 4

Feb 04, 2021

Short-term rentals: let the voters decide

In reviewing the invective which short-term rental owners heap on the current draft of the Rockport STR Ordinance, one would have to assume that it bans STRs outright. Quite the opposite. In essence, it grandfathers in current STRs and merely requires that they register with the town, provide adequate parking and comply with building and plumbing codes. This is in contrast with other communities in Maine and elsewhere with more stringent regulations, some completely barring non-owner occupied STRs in residential neighborhoods.

With respect to the impact on long-term rentals, one only has to talk to students and young working people. They lament the lack of long-term rentals or if they secure a rental, that they are kicked out during the summer to make way for the more lucrative rentals to folks from away. As the owner of a long-term rental in Rockport, I would never be so heartless as to kick out good long-term renters to benefit from the tourist trade. Obviously, others feel differently.

Finally, the STR owners are trying to delay consideration of the STR ordinance so it will not be submitted to voters on the June ballot and perhaps be subordinated to other matters thereafter. Let the voters decide in June what kind of Rockport they want.

Robert M. Hall

Rockport

Fishing community weighs in on offshore wind development

Maine fishermen are deeply committed to clean energy and protecting the environment. We draw our livelihoods from the ocean and recognize the fragility of our shared marine environment. Maine fishermen understand and support the need to develop clean renewable energy sources, but do not share the Governor’s vision to achieve this through rushed offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

While the Gulf appears vast and without borders, it is, in reality, an area well‐managed by generations of fishermen who feed our nation with healthy, sustainably harvested seafood.

“The Gulf of Maine is a rich and nourishing workplace and Maine’s fishermen have long been stewards of its tremendous resources. We advocate that Maine continue our industry’s long tradition of protecting, rather than industrializing, our precious ocean resources,” said Executive Director Ben Martens of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.

Maine’s fishing community is deeply concerned that wind development will end our fishing heritage, which has sustained coastal communities for centuries and is integral part of Maine’s identity. Without dedicated research proving otherwise, we are skeptical that offshore wind can deliver on its promise of affordable clean energy as promised by global energy companies.

Nineteen‐year old fisherman Josh Todd of Chebeague Island said, “I'm an 11th generation fisherman, and I am very proud of my family's legacy. I don’t want to be the last generation in my family to fish because we are replaced with another industry.”

As professionals with a deep understanding of our ocean environment, Maine fishermen have specialized knowledge, experience and perspective that should be fully understood before planning any offshore wind project. Undue haste in a time of a deadly pandemic will not foster this collaboration with fishermen, and ultimately, will result in an unreliable and untrustworthy basis for future planning efforts.

President Rock Alley of the Maine Lobstering Union notes, “The fishing community has taken care of the sea for generations yet our knowledge is continually disregarded or minimized. We need time to do this project the right way or not at all.”

Maine’s fishing community does not support offshore wind implemented through careless timelines and uncertain technology, and feels there are better ways to achieve Maine’s clean energy future. We will continue to engage in conversations and demand accountability through the use of sound science, adequate planning timelines and thorough economic, environmental and cost benefit analyses of proposed projects.

“The state of Maine should be wary of trading its fishing heritage by entering a race to fulfill empty promises from international energy companies,” warned Executive Director Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

Patrice McCarron of Maine Lobstermen’s Association

Ben Martens of Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association

Annie Tselikis of Maine Lobster Dealers Association

Rocky Alley of Maine Lobstering Union

Paul Anderson of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries

Sheila Dassatt of Downeast Lobstermen’s Association

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