2013-10-11 / Letters

Planning board member urges a no vote Nov. 5

To the editor:

How South Portlanders want to govern themselves will be decided by the vote on the Waterfront Protection Ordinance in November.

I have served on the South Portland Planning Board since 2004 and put forth the motion (at the Aug. 13 planning board meeting) that finds the Waterfront Protection Ordinance inconsistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. To understand why this motion passed by a majority at that meeting, I encourage you to view the public hearing on the SPC TV website and pay particular attention to the planning board question time and deliberations. Please go to http://vp.telvue.com/player?s=spctv, select planning board, then select the Aug. 13 meeting. The question and answer session starts at minute 227:19.

There is no imminent threat of tar sands coming through South Portland. Why do we need an ordinance created by outsiders to tell us how to solve this problem? We can and should do this ourselves.

We have a history of self-governance in South Portland that allows opposing sides to sit at the same table to solve our problems, whether it be Long Creek Watershed, Sawyer Marsh or Willard Square. For example, two years ago, when a new project threatened to change the character of Willard Square, our city placed a moratorium on all development (with the applicant’s consent) until public deliberations and new ordinances (if needed) had been completed. The planning board was given this task — with a timeline — and the problem was solved.

If passed, the Waterfront Protection Ordinance may have widespread unintended consequences for our city. The tar sands issue needs to be solved through a thoughtful deliberative process. I encourage you to contact your city councilors and ask them to put such a process in place. Vote no on Nov. 5 so we can figure this out together.

Rob Schreiber
South Portland

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