To the editor:
I am a relative newbie to Alna — six years — but I am a Mainer, if that helps. I consider myself fortunate and blessed to have found this little town in which to reside in retirement. I have found people here to be engaging and helpful as we have assimilated into the community. Despite my relatively recent arrival, I think I share an investment in and a commitment to the community with those that have lived here much longer.
With that in mind, I am writing to express concern with the petition to change part of the Alna shoreland zoning ordinance. Proponents argue that, as currently written, the ordinance does not fit with the times, that it has been improperly administered in the past, and that it is too restrictive.
While the ordinance may be in need of some minor updates, my opinion is that there should not be a rush to make those modifications.
The portion of the shoreland zoning ordinance that proponents are asking to change was first adopted by citizens of Alna in 1993 and left in place through revisions in 2010 and 2011. It has stood the test of time.
This shoreland zoning ordinance may be more protective of the river than the minimum required by the state, but that only shows how serious the town’s voters were in guarding and protecting the Sheepscot then, as I think they should be now. The ordinance has done a good job in protecting this vital watershed and caution should be used in modifying it.
Many in town agree that the ordinance should be “cleaned up.” I am not against such “cleaning up” at all, provided that the exercise is careful and comprehensive, but I am against rushing into these piecemeal changes that have the potential to overturn the long-standing intent and effect of the ordinance, while other issues are left unaddressed.
Let us take the time to have discussion and consensus on what we can only consider a legacy of all inhabitants of Alna in 2020.