By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,719)
The city of Portland has announced that it is holding an informational meeting regarding the proposed performance addition to the St. Lawrence Arts Center next week. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 27, at 7:00 pm at the East End Community School on Munjoy Hill.
This meeting is in addition to the one recently held by the St. Lawrence Arts Center for neighbors. About 25 people attended that meeting held at the Arts Center on Congress Street on the East End of Portland. The development team described its proposed traffic plan designed to provide ample parking for theater goers to the proposed 401 seat performance hall. Architect David Lloyd said that the overall cubic square footage of this proposed addition is smaller than the sanctuary it replaces. Ross Fields, represented the Concerned Citizens group, that has tried to block the construction of the building because of size and parking issues. This meeting was held in compliance with a requirement of the city’s planning board for major construction projects.
In a departure from its regular process, the city’s planning office has decided to host neighborhood meetings under certain circumstances. This includes a rezoning request on a proposal or if the proposal is significant in some other manner. This will be done on a very limited basis in part due to competing interests for staff time. Having the city host a meeting may contribute to meaningful dialogue on some proposed developments, said Jeff Levine, Director of the Planning Office in a recent email.
“I welcome anything that celebrates the arts and support local businesses. Parking is always going to be a problem; just get rid of your car,” said Craig DeForest who was dining on the Hill earlier today. “I support a center for the arts there, but I just hope they weigh all of the community interests,” said Portland resident Mark Shaughnessey this afternoon down at East End Beach.