To the Editor:

Most people from away come to Maine, I believe, because of the raw beauty Maine provides. Otherwise, why would Maine and its beautiful coast be such a draw for artists and photographers and "just getting away from city life" vacationers?

Some of us come to Maine to retire, certainly not because of the tax structure, or the job market. I believe we come for the peace, quiet, natural surroundings and beautiful land and seascapes as well as the friendly people. I admit that some come and try to replicate the area they came from with landscaped lawns, etc. Never understood why though. Must be the weather.

My first introduction to Damariscotta and the Pemaquid Peninsula was a fluke. It wasn't a destination but a chance encounter on a ride to nowhere. I came down the exit off Rt. 1, and was taken by the panorama of the beautiful little town of Damariscotta and the white spire of the church seemingly looking over the town with a watchful eye.

About 30 years later it became a destination when my wife and I came looking for a retirement home. We found it in New Harbor.

Damariscotta and its surrounding area has a long and interesting history and I hate to see the beauty and quaintness of the town taken over for a redundant, redo village development that would be better placed in Massachusetts, Connecticut or New Jersey where it would fit in. I happily left that life behind, with its continuing attempt to make silk purses out of sows ears.

What I see when I look at the proposed development is more pressure on a small town where additional traffic, police, Fire, sidewalks, traffic lights, plowing, paving, water and sewage, schools, school busses, expansion of Miles Hospital and increase in taxes are all needed to beef up the infrastructure this development will require, but who is it for? People who already live in the area (beefs up the new real estate so older real estate has less value) or people new to the area, coming in to do what exactly, since there are not enough jobs in the area as is? How many permanent residents? How many summer residents?

The current businesses in the downtown will suffer with the new "strip mall" (I know, it's disguised as several businesses in buildings that are closely spaced with easy access to all) planned as a part of this adventure. The article admits as much. There is no guarantee that this development will be successful.

Its construction could make the current downtown a ghost town when it competes for the business there. We all know there is a window of opportunity for retail success that last perhaps for five months or so. The rest of the year is spent barely hanging on. That could make it impossible for both downtowns to support enough profitable business and one or both could then fail. Then again, it could be wildly successful and the area will turn into another Boothbay without the waterfront draw.

There has been talk of tying the two villages together with sidewalks/streets. How can this be done without taking property from existing homeowners or businesses that currently lie in the path of the new development?

I haven't seen the financials for this development as yet, I don't know who will be paying for the development, what tax incentives are being promised and who will pay should it result in failure. There is a very real conflict of short term excitement versus long term reality. What some people miss in all this is not so much what you might get (which is never, ever what is promised) but what you will lose and can never get back.

Think "Walmart" or "Boothbay;" overdeveloped and heavily utilized only in the vacation months, here. I don't see this development as any different, save the dramatic increase in infrastructure and taxes it will require the residents of Damariscotta to pay for.

George MacKinnon, New Harbor