2014-04-04 / Letters

Thanks for the notice, officials

To the editor:

(The following letter was sent to South Portland city officials.)

My name is Michael McKellar and I reside at 50 Grandview Ave. with my wife Heather and our young son. I am writing this email in regard to the new wastewater expansion project happening in our neighborhood.

The project began today, as I am sure you are well aware, with what seems to be the beginning stages of the development of the detention pond off of the east side of Sunset Avenue.

Let me start by saying that I am for the project and I understand the longterm benefits that it will provide the community in dealing with excess wastewater. I attended the meeting held in February at the town hall outlining the project, which was very informative, except for one important piece of information – at least where I am concerned.

As an owner of a property on Grandview Avenue, which is aptly named for its “grand view” of the train tracks and freight yard, the tree line that acts as border between Sunset and the tracks themselves has always been of great importance. It provided the much-needed cover between our small neighborhood atmosphere and the industrial waste land of Rigby Yard. If it wasn’t for the thunderous booms of the trains smashing into one another in order to lock cars, or the screeching sound of the brakes as the trains slow (which sounds like God scraping his nails on a heavenly chalk board), having that barrier of tree cover to protect our view from the artfully graffiti-decorated cars actually gave us and our guests the feeling that we are living in a normal neighborhood (aside from the seedy hotels at top of the street, where God knows what goes on, but that’s another story).

When I arrived home from work today not only was I surprised how much work had been completed but I was completely taken off guard when I realized all that work was spent demolishing the tree line that we so coveted. There it was, in all its glory, that gorgeous train yard. All could think of, other than holy sh*t!, was there goes my property value. It’s hard enough in this neighborhood to make perspective buyers get that oh-so-comfy feeling that allows them to open up their hearts and wallets and want to build their future here, without the help of the city taking liberties with the view from our homes.

Mention of the amount of clearing cutting being done on this project was never conveyed to the public. This is unacceptable.

I know that nothing will be done to repair the coverage of those trees we once enjoyed or to repair the hole that will undoubtedly be left in our bank account when we are forced to sell for less, now that our view has been enhanced. I just hope that this in some way shines a light on one aspect of this project that was overlooked, and will allow for some more in-depth planning and consideration for the interest and investments of the home owners for whom projects like this one are supposedly meant to benefit.

Michael McKellar
South Portland

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