By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,281)
The City has confirmed that the public hearing on the Midtown project has been delayed until Tuesday February 3rd at 4:30 pm. There will be two sessions – the second one beginning at 7:30 pm that same evening.
The public hearing had been requested by the developer of the 3.5 acres of land in Bayside for Tuesday, January 27th. However, because of insufficient information in a number of areas it was delayed until next month. The Federated Companies, hopes to begin construction of the significantly reduced mixed-use development by spring of this year. This is a move that would alleviate the current shortage of rental units in the city. However, the rental rates have not been made public as of this time. This follows five years of negotiations between Federated and the City of Portland which according to Jonathan Cox, CEO of the company was getting old. However, he has consistently represented to mhn.com that he is in “for the long haul.”
Jack Soley, planning board member, on January 13th challenged Cox several times as to whether or not Cox really thought the board could make a decision based on the little information before it. Soley has been a harsh critic of the project and has said that he could not support it as is. He’s not alone.
An army of department heads were on tap, seated along the back wall of council chambers, at the same meeting – a rare sight – prepared to answer questions that might arise from the board to expedite the process. Also attending some of the meeting City Councilor Kevin Donoghue, District 1, who has said in the past that he supports the Midtown project.
One Wonders: How deep is the fissure between the planning board and the city council? How much deeper will it get before it gets better?