58 Fore Street Vote on Rezoning Delayed to 6/l; Parties Respond

Anne Rand, Spokesperson for the SoulsofPortland, at a Recent Meeting.

Anne Rand, Spokesperson for the SoulsofPortland, at a Recent Meeting.  “We have not yet regrouped and decided where to go”

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,260)

The rezoning application for 58 Fore Street  has been delayed until June 1, 2015 according to a press release issued by the city’s director of communications, Jessica Grondin at 5:00 pm this afternoon. The vote on the zonng change to B6, allowing for a mixed-use development, is central to the successful redevelopment of 58 Fore Street because it would give the developer more flexibility in what can be built on the almost ten acres of waterfront property.

The Council is taking this action because the city’s existing Comprehensive Plan expired at the end of February 2015.

The State of Maine asks municipalities to certify their comprehensive plans every twelve (12) years to ensure consistency with the State’s Growth Management Act and the city recently learned that its 2005 plan was not officially recertified.  City planning officials have begun working with the State’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program and hope that the matter will be resolved soon.

“We’re disappointed with the delay.  After nine months, we were looking forward to the opportunity for public comment and a final decision by the Council.  However, we support the decision of the city to make sure that when a zoning ordinance is amended that it is done so in accordance with the properly certified comprehensive plan.  We look forward to the June 1st public hearing,” Jim Brady, CPB2.

“I’m as surprised as anyone that this delay happened,” said Anne Rand, a spokesperson for the SoulsofPortland, an ad hoc group trying to stop the redevelopment of 58 Fore Street.   “We have not yet regrouped and decided where to go from here.”

The Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Oganization, with a membership of about 100,  conducted a survey on-lilne to ascertain where residents stood on rezoning 58 Fore Street property formerly the Portland Company Complex.  The breakdown was almost even –  with only three more opposed to the redevelopment than those who supported it.   In the past, the MHNO has often taken a public position on controversial changes to the Hill, although it has not to date on this project.