By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,667)
Redfern Properties has enjoyed a free ride from the City to develop high-end condos and rental units in Portland to fit the tax revenue goals of the City. Now it appears that Redfern wants to revise city standards to boost his own bottom line through short cuts in a new rental housing proposal in an extremely densely populated section of Portland.
Redfern’s most recent proposal for ten three-bedroom rental townhouses, at 70 Anderson Street, East Bayside did not receive the easy pass that Redfern usually receives. at a public workshop on Tuesday, April 26 at a preliminary Level 111 site plan and subdivision review requested by the developer. Jonathan Culley and his wife.
MHN.com has observed that when the “Portland Press Herald”: does a superficial, puff piece about a developer, there’s a back story it’s hiding. A red flag runs up this flagpole.
Earlier this year, the flailing “PPH” published a story about a Hill developer with a proposal to build infill housing with an inexperienced architect who knows nothing about infill building.. The site is part of the former Adams School – that Avesta Housing did not develop. The untold truth was that there was a pending lawsuit against the developer, Adams Apple LLC., by neighbors that was settled out of court. It was settled out of court to avoid the drip, drip negative PR that would come from drawn out court litigation. The story tried to demonize the plaintiffs as deadbeats and the developer as heroes. An honest look at the legal documents by Randy Billings, should have painted a different picture of the facts than he presented. Facts don’t matter!
What’s the back story here? What didn’t the “Portland Press Herald” report in its recent puff piece about Redfern?
Jonathan Culley, d/b/a Redfern who has stated previously and publicly on numerous occasions that he doesn’t like to build parking spaces because they are too expensive for the return on his investment. So he asked for a city waiver for his parking plan. (He also asked for three other waivers; trees, etc. ) Culley proposes to build seven parking spaces for a three bedroom, ten unit rental housing project in a severly, densely populated section of Portland. Furthermore, 6 of the proposed 7 spaces are smaller than the city’s standard so Culley wants to have each of them designated for “compact” cars only. WHAT? Incredulous, Jonathan!. You do amaze!
In a three page memorandum written by Caitlin Cameron, urban designer in the city’s planning and urban development Department, Planning Division, Cameron outlines all of the other design principles or standards that Culley’s proposal does not meet. Cameron and Culley are meeting tomorrow Friday, to see if these issues can be resolved. Culley who has a number of projects either completed in the city of Portland or underway knows full well what the city’s standards are. But he insists on pushing the envelope to his advantage as far as he can to the detriment of those he purports to help and putting the city in an awkward position – to satisfy his greed..
Meanwhile, neighbors of 70 Anderson Street expressed their dismay at the proposal and the developers attempt to snooker the city into going along with it. Chris Teret, of 73 Anderson Street said he’s been dismayed by the gentriification of the neighborhood. “I won’t be able to afford to live there. It’s like a tidal wave.” Teret also asked that when the buildings currently located at 70 Anderson Street are demolished, the developer take steps to be sure that the lead paint does not settle where his children play.
Tim Liepert, of 76 Anderson Street, said he’s been asking Culley questions about drainage for several months and not gotten all the answers he needs. He’s concerned about more flooding in his basement than he already has. The City has not decided when the “separattion” will occur. If he puts solar panels on his roof, they will be overshadowed by the Culley building.
Karen Snyder said that working people can’t leave their jobs to attend a 4:30 pm workshop to express their concerns, a comment dismissed by the Board as unfortunate.
One real estate developer who wishes not to be identified told mhn.com: “Jonathan and his wife made a ton of money in real estate development. A lot of us wish he’d take a break and just sit down and count all of his money. Apparently, he’s chosen not to do that,” shaking his head.
Reminder: The next time the “Portland Press Herald” publishes a puff piece about a developer, check out what it isn’t telling you!
editor’s note: Jonathan Culley has emailed mhn.com saying that this blogger misunderstood his intentions with this proposal. He’s been invited to correct the post via an email response to mhn.com He’s not been heard from since.