Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, Jan. 3

Jan 03, 2019

Concerns about proposed zoning changes

This letter addresses the proposed zoning change of multiple properties on Pleasant Street to the Business Park.  First, thank you to Community Development Director Julie Hashem, City Manager Tom Lutrell, and City Councilor Dorr for graciously listening and promptly responding to our concerns regarding this matter.

The development of these properties will impact residential areas along Pleasant Street, Holmes Street, and Broadway, depending on how the land is developed.  Along with the usual concerns of increases in noise, light and air pollution on our quality of lives and the reduction of our property values, there is a serious safety issue on Pleasant Street.  At the intersection of Pleasant Street, Hillside Ave. Ext., and Pleasant Street Ext., there are three driveways, a school bus stop, and a blind curve on a hill.  Also, within a few blocks of this intersection, there are several driveways and Luce Ave.  In recent years, traffic volume, speed, and close encounters between vehicles and vehicles and pedestrians have significantly increased.

The danger of entering traffic on this section of Pleasant Street from a side street or driveway has increased over recent years.  The risk of walking on the street is rising as we see more incidents of pedestrians and vehicles dodging one another.  The City has mentioned the possibility of a sidewalk on the south side of Pleasant Street and a crosswalk at Pleasant Street and Broadway.  These safety improvements would be welcome changes.  However, they do not address the safety issues specific to our intersection.  The addition of more traffic from another driveway entering from a different direction, specifically the south, into a blind curve on a hill with several egresses and an active bus stop would present an unacceptable risk for citizens.

We are sure with the City working with residents and traffic professionals, the safety issues of our citizens who drive Pleasant Street, for the children and pets who walk this road and for the residents who are impacted multiple times a day, the nightmare on Pleasant Street can be mitigated or even removed.

Ron and Nancy Comeau
Rockland

Efficiency Maine's electric vehicle initiative

This January, Efficiency Maine's  electric vehicle supply equipment initiative will begin to solicit proposals from communities along the Route 1 corridor for the placement of EV recharging facilities within their municipalities. This program represents a wise and strategic effort by the state to support the expansion of electric vehicle support infrastructure around the state, and especially in those areas of the state where tourism, and therefore tourist traffic, is likely to have a significant economic impact.

Situated right in the middle of the very heavily traveled Route 1 coastal tourist route, about halfway between Brunswick and Camden, and already providing numerous conventional automotive refueling businesses right in the heart of our Route 1 commercial district, what could be more natural than for Waldoboro to host a couple of DC fast charge stations, and level two chargers, with expansion capabilities to easily increase the number of fast charge stations, as demand increases, which it almost certainly will.

I can imagine several locations, on both the north-bound and south-bound sides of Route 1. For example, at the Hannaford Supermarket or the Irving station.

Fortunately, with a major CMP substation already located within this district, providing ample three-phase power would be both easy and relatively inexpensive.

And finally, how cool would it be for the town of Waldoboro to offer electrical power generated by our spiffy new (and forward looking), municipal solar power array to power these EV recharging stations? Talk about economic symbiosis!

I certainly hope that Waldoboro's town fathers (and mothers) have the wisdom to jump on this terrific opportunity. Since most of the funding for these EV charging stations is coming from the federal government, we are not looking at any major investment from the town either. As they say: it's the early bird that gets the worm, and municipalities reaping the benefits of deploying advanced technology is no exception. With the Efficiency Maine EV charging station RFP deadlines coming up this spring, we have no time to lose. After all, as with access to fiber-optic broadband, our community's economic future very likely depends on just this kind of forward thinking and action.

Seth Hall

Waldoboro

Shout-out to Public Works

A big thank-you to Public Works and all in the city of Rockland who do so much work! This year Public Works helped out with watering the public gardens that those of us in the Rockland Volunteer Gardening Group plant and maintain. It was a great help! I also want to thank Public Works for clearing the sidewalks and streets. I've lived places where the sidewalks didn't get cleared, and it's so much nicer here (but let's also work on getting more sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and better signage for the crosswalks in town).

I also appreciate the lights in town this winter. I know that some people were upset that they look a little lax. That may be -- but I enjoyed them. I would rather have the lights look like interesting avante-garde shapes tossed against the sky than the tightly-wound corporate tree lights found in many other places. I guess I wouldn't mind if they looked a little more intentional, but we have to be careful that we don't focus too much on aesthetics -- because that's a direct line to gentrification.

Ultimately, let's make sure we are spending most of our energy ensuring that people in our community have enough to eat, enough care, a great educational experience, safe homes, safe streets, living-wage jobs, mental health care, safe alternatives to incarceration, resources for substance abuse disorder, etc .-- rather than placing so much emphasis on how things look.

Becca Shaw Glaser

Rockland

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