and The Boston Globe
both picked up the tiff that is going on in Rockland over Rock City Coffee Roasters odoriferous roasting facility. A neighbor filed a complaint with the city, which eventually determined that the roasting smell was in violation of Rockland's odor ordinance, established in 1988 in the wake of the Seapro Inc. stink. After a lengthy back and forth that became part political shuffle, part town popularity contest, the roasting smell has been resolved, for now, by the addition of a stack to dissipate the smell.
A similar saga is unfolding in Freeport where the Pet Pantry went purple not too long ago and the residents were in an uproar. According to today's Portland Press Herald article
on the issue, the Project Review Board of Freeport voted unanimously to add color to the criteria in their already existing design review ordinance. The goal: to preserve the New England village feel of this shopping mecca.
Though these town uproars appear trivial on the surface, both instances embody a conflict that is at the root of Maine. Known and loved for its symbiotic ruggedness and charm, how much control should we employ over aesthetics? And what is the "correct" aesthetic? Is purple "garish" but yellow charming? Rotting fish is too foul but burned coffee beans can stay? What is Maine charm? And how far are we willing to go to enforce it? I know that part of what I love about Maine is its eccentricities - the tacky lawn decoration stores and all - and I don't want to see us to go beige. I guess the question is how far is too far in our battle to retain our Maineness (and our businesses for that matter) as well as our outside appeal.