By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,181)
The Munjoy Hill community and friends are encouraged to attend a planning board meeting tomorrow evening, Tuesday, August 12th at 7:00 pm at city hall, Room 209. At this time, the planning board will discuss a new proposal that the controversial developer Ron Gan has initiated that would benefit his development plans for Sumner Court, a dirt road off North Street. The Planning Board will discuss the issue further and decide on its final recommendation to the City Council. The issue will then go before the City Council to be voted on at a future public hearing. The change redefines what a “lot” is.
“Ron Gan has a new proposal before the planning board that directly affects us regarding Sumner Court (the narrow, dirt right of way off North Street See above photograph.) Gan’s proposal attempts to revise the language in the specific provision of the R-6 zoning ordinance – small residential lot development; 14-139 (b) — that caused his Sumner Court development to be denied two years ago. If Gan is successful with his newest angle (rewriting the current rules in his favor), the zoning text amendment would allow him to move forward with his Sumner Court development plans with no recourse from the Planning Board, the City Council, or — most importantly – from all the neighbors and properly owners who would be negatively impacted by this development.,” according to a press release issued by Sumner Court Maine earlier today. “In addition to affecting Sumner Court, this text change would have larger implications that could also have negative unintended consequences for other areas on Munjoy Hill that the current zoning language now protects,” the release continued.
Opposition to the controversial Gan’s Sumner Court plans was so strong, that a neighborhood group was formed – Save Sumner Court. The group has remained intact. awaiting Gan’s next move. Here it is! The hot-headed Gan was not forthcoming with a city board and certainly not with neighbors of Sumner Court – causing some to wonder why should he receive special consideration with his proposed change to zoning.
On August 8th, 2014, a group of Hill residents wrote a letter to Alex Jaegerman about Gan’s proposal. It reads in part: “We are concerned that a single citizen – who in this case is also a developer – can propose important changes to current zoning text that could have sweeping and potentially negative consequences for other property owners without public knowledge or input. It is important to note that Mr. Gan’s proposal is less about his recently acquired property at 100 Sheridan Street, than it is about his long-standing plans to develop land he has owned and attempted to develop for years on nearby Sumner Court, a tiny 12′ passageway off of North Street that is an unaccepted city street.”
The press release also urges opponents to email local planning board and other officials to express, on the record, their concerns to Gan’s proposal.
Alex Jaegerman, planning division director at AQJ@portlandmaine.gov
Barbara Barhydt, development review manager, BAB@portlandmaine.gov
Marge Schmuckal, zoning administrator, MES@portlandmaine.gov
Jennifer Thompson, city legal counsel, JLT@portlandmaine.gov
Jeff Levine, Director of Planning and Urban Development, jlevine@portlandmainegov
Kevin Donohue, city council representative for Munjoy Hill, email@example.com
Hill resident and former planning board member Barbara Vestal is Gan’s attorney.