After reading the article. “Waterville mayor slams Planning Board for ‘cowardly’ car wash vote” on Aug. 12, I felt convicted enough to say my own two cents. I have lived in Waterville for the majority of my adult life and own Brown House Properties, which has been in business for 36 years.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mayor Nick Isgro and Councilor Sydney Mayhew that postponing this vote and creating too much red tape makes Waterville appear to be unfriendly and uninviting to businesses.

Isgro is quoted saying that there is a “broken business process in Waterville.” Who couldn’t agree with this statement?

Meanwhile, Planning Board members are hiding behind the process. For example, Alicia Barnes chalks it up to its just how they do things and how the process works. Has anyone stepped back and questioned if the “process” is effective? Does it create more hoops and red tape for business owners to maneuver?

What our Planning Board members really need to focus on is the best interests of city residents and following the mission of the city’s comprehensive plan. I read the plan cover to cover and thought that the overall mission was to bring businesses in — offering jobs, services and products to residents.

The theory is that creating jobs will help bring in homeowners to purchase available homes for sale, thus sharing the tax burden and creating residents with a “stake in society.” (Waterville is noted for having an unbalanced ratio of homeowners to renters.)

The article also stated that neighbors had complained that the 24-hour car was likely to “draw vagrants and drug dealers,” which is unfortunately not the most absurd thing I read in the article.

I have been purchasing distressed foreclosures for more than 30 years. The way the property stands now, it is nothing but a safe harbor for criminal activity and mischief. A functioning business with maintained buildings is not going to be an attractive place for these people.

In other words, our Planning Board needs to refocus its efforts into bringing in business, jobs and homeowners: all the things mentioned in the comprehensive plan. Does that include changing “the process”? I don’t know, but it’s a good place to start.

Sherwood Booker is a resident of Waterville.

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