Plans like John Cacoulidis’ desire to erect a high-rise office building in Portland should be accepted with open arms. All too often, however, illogical opposition to such projects runs rampant. A global recession is as good a time as any to call this behavior what it is: nonsensical.
Around the Peninsula, seas of asphalt and unkempt grassy knolls dot the urban fabric. Surely, Portland can do better. Admittedly, community input is indispensable to the successful completion of any large-scale development. But, when it is illogical and inconsistent with principles of smart urban planning, such input only serves to threaten, rather than manage, important investments in our community. This particularly virulent form of the anti-development disease is not the proper function of public comment, and it should be rejected wholesale by those who value Portland and its role as Maine’s largest city. Cacoulidis’ plan may or may not be right for Portland, but the resolution of this issue necessitates sensible, impartial deliberation; it should not be decided summarily by a misguided but vocal “NIMBY” few.
Portland’s motto is: “I shall rise again.” It is not qualified by: “but not too high.” Although massive conflagration hasn’t flattened the city since 1866, our motto has continued relevancy as neighboring cities threaten to eclipse us. I urge all who care about the future of Portland to ensure an open, rather than clenched, municipal hand is extended to Mr. Cacoulidis. It would be imprudent to do otherwise.