A second neighborhood meeting on the controversial proposal to construct a 75 ft. cold storage warehouse in a location zoned for 45 ft. buildings has been rescheduled for Monday, February 27, 2017 at Reiche School, in the Community Room on the second floor on the west end of Portland. The time is set for 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.
The meeting will be an opportunity for neighbors to come together to discuss their concerns without any city officials present. The meeting will be moderated.
The meeting originally scheduled for February 13 was cancelled because of an anticipated snow storm.
At issue is an effort by the City of Portland to persuade the Planning Board to allow a change in the city’s ordinance that would permit Americold to construct a 75 ft. massive cold storage warehouse on the western waterfront that would support the refrigeration needs of EIMSKIP. EIMSKIP is a container shipping company to the North Atlantic that recently made Portland its North American headquarters. It has reportedly made expansion plans already because of its confidence that the proposal for a massive cold storage warehouse will be approved, although its general manager, Larus Isfeld, did not respond to an email from mhn.com requesting confirmation of this rumor. EIMSKIP was drawn to Portland because of its deep water port and because of an opportunity to be a big player in a small city according to a city official.
Representing the city in this quest is Bill Needleman, waterfront coordinator, for the city’s Economic Development office, of which Greg Mitchell, is the Director. Although neighbors are not opposed to the 45 ft. height for the building, they oppose the construction of the 75 ft. building – that could lead to future development of numerous buildings of that height in the same area.
The project is behind schedule. Originally, the ordinance change was expected to go to the city council for its first read on December 15, 2016. It was expected to go to the city council for a final read and approval in January of 2017.
City councilor for District 2 Spencer Thibodeau has said that he needs more information to decide whether or not he supports the building height increase request. He is a real estate attorney in Portland and a member of the Economic Development Committee that reviewed the proposal on November 1, 2016. At that meeting, Councilor Thibodeau expressed no concern for the proposed increased height of the building to then – 70 ft. The Committee is chaired by conservative Councilor David Brennerman. (Please see post herein dated November 1, 2016.)
The city’s planning board has on several occasions remained unified in its demand for a justification from Americold as to why it now needs a building of this height, even though the Georgia-based company won the Port Authority RFP that stated the height limit was 45 ft. high. Long-time Board member Carol Morrissetts has called for a “business plan” from Americold. Elizabeth Boepple, is chairwoman of the Planning Board. (see above photo)
For more background information, please see post herein dated February 11, 2017. For more information, please email Jo Coyne, at email@example.com.