Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Sunday, July 24, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 27

home : letters : letters to the editor July 24, 2016

3/26/2014 2:03:00 PM
HERE IN OUR BACKYARD
Editorial

On paper, as we all know, Lincoln County is a wealthy place to live. On the surface it looks fairly affluent with the multitude of boutiques, art galleries, antiques shops, the thriving arts scene and the plethora of expansive summer homes, particularly along the coast.

The truth, however, is not hard to find. Fact is, times are tight, even for some of those folks with big houses. Almost everyone in the work force is either working long hours at their one job or, more than likely, juggling two or more jobs to make ends meet.

Truth is, almost everyone who doesn't live on Easy Street is more than likely closer to financial ruin than not. One missed paycheck, one serious illness, or injury, or worse, and all of sudden food pantries, general assistance and government programs go from an abstract to a vital support system.

This is to say homelessness is not a "them" issue; it is "our" issue. It is not a problem from away; it is only not a problem for some but for the grace of God.

We are cheered to see the folks behind Stepping Stone Housing Inc. make an attempt to address the problem. People need a place to live and if it is true some people prefer to live on the margins of society, we believe many more have been forced there by fortune and circumstance.

Providing a hand up for those who want it, who desperately need it, who plan to make the most out of it, is good and right. Where the government can't or won't go, private entities like Stepping Stone Housing Inc. have to step up, and that is what is happening here.

That said, we don't blame the potential future neighbors of the development for being a little upset at how the project has been presented to them. The first many of them knew of plans for the Blue Haven property is when we reported on it a couple weeks ago.

To this point, it feels very much like the principals of Stepping Stones were so convinced of the rightness of their cause they forgot to include the community in their plans and are now surprised to find out anyone objects.

The cause is right and the need is great, but there is a process to be followed and legitimate questions to be answered. We are confident the town of Damariscotta will review the project and ensure it conforms to the town ordinances. The neighbors will have their chance to be heard during the process, as they should.

Maybe the end result will be exactly what the principals intend. More than likely, we anticipate some accommodations will be made to account for the concerns of the community. Maybe unified oppositions will scrub the project entirely. Right now anything is possible.

Unfortunately, whatever the outcome, the need is not going to go away.



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