Following a delay of over a month, Portland’s Planning Board has rescheduled a second workshop to consider whether or not to approve the city’s request for a height increase to accommodate the construction of a cold storage warehouse on the western waterfront of Portland. The workshop is set for Tuesday, January 24th at 4:30 at city hall. Public comment will be taken at the workshop.
The Americold proposal has brought the city and residents of western Portland into a conflict with no amicable resolution in sight. The city is requesting that a 70 ft. warehouse be permitted in a zone where only 45 ft. buildings are currently permitted. Americold says this height is required to make the project economically viable.
Opponents object to the massing of the warehouse. The top floor of the warehouse would provide office space for 20 full-time employees with parking at the base for employees. It’s purpose is to support EIMSKIP, a container shipping company, who has made Portland its North American headquarters.
At the monthly meeting of the West End Neighborhood Association last week, City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau was asked whether he supports the Americold’s proposal to increase the height from 45 ft. to 70 ft. to accommodate Americold. Thibodeau said that he did not support the change right then because he needed more information. In December, a group working on the project filed a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request from all parties involved. To date nothing had been received. Thibodeau, a local real estate attorney, said he would try to expedite the response to this request.
The postponement by the city from December 13 to January 24 for a second planning board meeting was to give the city an opportunity to gather more information and to perform additional outreach to the community. It is known that the city has enlisted the assistance of the business community to support this endeavor.
A third workshop is expected to be held on the matter.
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