To the editor:

The Island Institute has assumed a number of roles. However, the Institute says that its primary goal is to support Maine’s year-round island communities. The Institute calls these communities “the Maine coast’s most endangered resources.”

Threats to the sustainability of Maine’s year-round island communities are many, but one of the most pressing threats is the dramatic increase in coastal property taxes. Soaring property taxes on Maine’s islands have already led to decreased access to working waterfronts and threaten the fundamental character of island communities. Vinalhaven’s recent revaluation process highlights this threat, with some valuations increasing by as much as 400 percent.

Given the problems posed by increasing coastal land values, I am surprised that this paper continues to print real estate advertisements. It is my understanding that one key factor in determining land values is prices paid in recent real estate transactions. Given the large circulation of this paper, it is only logical that including real estate advertisements will further increase demand for island property, driving up land values, and consequently increasing property taxes. If this is so, then the Institute is not only encouraging but is also profiting from one of the very factors which threatens Maine’s working waterfronts and island communities.

I understand the need to offset the costs of printing this paper by including advertising. However, including real estate advertisements appears to be contrary to the mission of the Island Institute, which has vowed to protect Maine’s “endangered” islands and to preserve access to working waterfronts.

Robert O. Young


[editor: If more readers are concerned about this topic, they should let us know.]