By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,392)
A coalition of “Concerned Residents” launched a campaign this morning to defeat a referendum that the “Souls,” a band of NIMBY’s on Munjoy Hill, have placed on the November 3rd ballot this fall. The referendum, if passed by Portland voters, would be full of unintended consequences that the poorly written document neglected to address.
“I believe in the greatness of our city. It didn’t happen by accident. In an effort to stop one project, the proponents of the referendum are willing to put at risk every project in the city. The smallest things, like someone adding a flagpole, a new porch on their house or new landscaping on their property, can be challenged,” said Jess Knox, co-chairperson of Portland’s Future PAC. “This ordinance will have unintended consequences that will hurt every neighborhood in Portland.”
“This proposed ordinance has unintended consequences and voters should reject it,” said Lisa Whited, co-chairperson of Portland’s Future. “The ordinance transparently targets a great redevelopment project that would add much-needed housing in the city, greatly increased access to the waterfront for everyone and preserve the important historic buildings of the Portland Co. But the ordinance goes much further than that, allowing any single person or small group of people to use unnecessary red tape to block or delay almost any project. It’s not hard to foresee this ordinance being used to fight other thoughtful projects, including affordable and workforce housing,” concluded Whited.
If this referendum had already been in place, industries such as the new Eimskip facility on the waterfront, the Gulf of Maine Research, the Portland Fish Exchange and New Yard could have been blocked Knox pointed-out. Portland architect Paul Stevens, of SMRT, said that if this referendum is passed by voters in November he has no doubt that it will become a site for another industrial business rather than reaching its full potential.
Jim Brady, of CPB2LL, who did not attend the launch on the Bayside Trail said later: “It’s exciting to see that we are not the only ones trying to defeat the referendum which would be detrimental to the City of Portland if it passes.”
The coalition plans an extensive outreach program to educate people about the pitfalls of this referendum should it be passed. It will also have a website that is expected to functional next week. Donations to this project would be appreciated.