The Auburn Planning Board met on June 21 and assured citizens present that it would not put a McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts on neighborhood street corners. What a relief.

Then the board debated where residents’ stores should be placed … underneath living quarters, attached or in a separate building to the side. Not settling that, the board put up a map of Davis and Gammon avenues to figure out how many housing units could be squeezed into the gully.

Eric Cousens, director of planning, said the general idea is to move downtown planning up over the hill. That’s discouraging.

At that point I wondered, am I the only person who likes traditional, tree-lined neighborhoods? But I wasn’t. The room was filled with citizens as unhappy as I.

So where did this high density, less zoning, urban planning come from? I believe the teachings of Salim Furth, a consultant from the libertarian Mercatus Center who visited and advised Auburn on future planning; people can read his memorandum to Mayor Jason Levesque online on the city’s website.

Mr. Furth says that to push through multi-family units, you tell the citizens it will be “fancy” and garner lots of property tax. Mr. Furth also believes you shouldn’t have “hearing-based process” because it gives neighborhood defenders too much power.

The folks at City Hall got the last part right. They didn’t ask any of us what we thought.

Pamela Larouche, Auburn

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