Letter to the editor: Jim Kalloch

Hobbit-style housing in Rockland is not what residents want

Fri, 02/19/2021 - 12:15pm

My name is Jim Kalloch and I live at 41 North Main Street in Rockland. I would like to voice my opposition to the latest tiny house plan being put before the City Council again!

This plan to allow tiny houses, garage apartments and outbuildings to become houses is against the comprehensive plan being written as we speak. And is against the current plan.

One of the main goals of the comprehensive plan is to maintain current density of Rockland housing. Having been a member of the comprehensive planning committee, I have a good feel for what the residents of Rockland want in their housing stock and what they do not want. And trust me when I say, that a hobbit-style housing community IS NOT what the residents want popping up inside the historic district. This is from Broadway to the sea.

The City Council is not chartered to force their desires on the residents but to help run the city along with the city manager.

This tiny house issue has been dragged into the forfront of city council for six years. Most concerned residents thought that as soon as Val Geiger left the City Council this issue would die, (or at least we hoped) but no, now Davis has picked up the touch and is running full bore to get this through the council.

At a time when no one is allowed to gather and discuss and oppose this issue, Davis is pushing hard to get it through City Council.

This issue is so important to the character of the historic section of Rockland that it needs to be put on a ballot so that every voter has a chance to weigh in and have a voice on such an important change to the city landscape. 

This change will negatively affect the value of each abutting land owner property. When a tiny house is built next to a nice historic house, this will reduce the resale valve of our property.

First, because the tiny house was built outside of the comprehensive plan and because the new hobbit house increases the population density next door to the historic house.

I spend over $850 a month in city real estate taxes for a small lot (less than a quarter acre) with a house and garage.

Is the city ready to refund my taxes because of my neighbors building a tiny shack house that then decreased value of my historic house. I BET Not. 

Also, under the current zoning rule we have nice setbacks from our neighbors lot lines and road frontage. In order to accomplish these hobbit houses, these setbacks will have to be changed along with many other current zoning rules.

These zoning rules are the results of over 100 years of tried and true experience of city councilor before us. Do we just throw these rules out because Val Geiger and now Nate Davis has the latest and greatest idea, or do we listen to what history and the residents tell us.

We currently have one small house project in the works on Philbrick Ave. and another on the drawing board. This is the right way to get your tiny houses. Not turning the beautiful downtown historic district into San Francisco or Portland where neighbors have no green space and live on top of each other. 

This entire question needs to be shelved until after COVID when we can come together and discuss this face to face or placed on the next November ballot so the voice of the people can be heard.

Jim Kalloch lives in Rockland