The development team for Portland Foreside Development Co. appeared before the planning board for a workshop last week. It is seeking Level 111 site plan approval for a proposed mixed-use development on almost ten acres of waterfront property below Munjoy HIll – referred to as Phase 1.
Phase 1 includes 12 units of residences, office space, restaurant space, event space and 722 parking spaces – higher than is required. These are development projects that are all permitted within the B-6 eastern waterfront zone. Temporary events are permitted with restrictions. According to a memorandum from city planner Christian Roadman, dated November 21, 2019: “Additionally, the proposed development will revitalize the area, which will ultimately result in an increased valuation of the surrounding properties.” The mixed development is expected to be an “extension of the City’s existing Old Port neighborhood, while office and residential spaces will being more people to the neighborhood on a regular basis as patrons of these local businesses” according to Roadman’s memorandum.
Caitlin Cameron, the city’s urban planner, said the focus of this workshop was on the development’s “interaction with the waterfront” and access to it. Cameron said she is generally supportive of the architecture, “but portions are still undergoing HIstoric Preservation review.” She also said that there is lots of hardscape, but there needs to be a balance.
David S., the project manager, told the board that the development is “intended to be a destination place with a focus on pedestrians.”
During the public comment segment Hill resident: Nini McManamy said this proposal “does not pass the straight face test.” It does not meet ADA accessibility requirements and there are many older residents on the Hill. Barry Manter, said there is lots of hardscape with little greenspace. Carol Connor said: “I’m not part of this neighborhood any more. This is not for everyone.”. She used to keep her small sailboat at the marina, but says she is now priced out of the Fore Point Marina.
Planning board member and architect said he’s like to see more accessibility for walkers and the more trees the better. He suggested the use of bird safe glass. Large cities like New York are beginning to use it now. Mike Trembly, an employee of the city, said the city may do a traffic study for the immediate area. “It’s under consideration,” he said.
“”We have already contacted a vendor for “bird safe glass,” said Casey Prentice, following the meeting. “Yes. We are on top of things,” said Kevin Costello, laughing and adding. “Sort of.”
There will be more workshops before a public hearing with a vote will be taken according to Brandon Mazur, Vice Chair of the Planning Board. Three years ago, the project received master development plan approval from the Board.