City Manager Jon Jennings is proposing a 180-day moratorium on most non-marine development within the Waterfront Central Zone (“WCZ”) in response to significant overburdening of parking, traffic control and waterfront resources in that zone. The proposal will be taken up at the Monday, December 17th city council meeting. The city manager will ask that the required second reading be waived so it can be put into effect immediately – on an emergency basis according to a one-sided press release issued today.
If adopted, the moratorium will pause non-marine development in the WCZ and provide time for the city to convene a stakeholder group to discuss ways in which the city can help alleviate concerns regarding parking issues and development pressures.
Public comment will be taken at the December 17, 2018 city council meeting.
The proposed moratorium is designed to address the concerns that have driven a citizen-initiated petition and it’s proposal to address these pressures and their impacts on the marine industry by substantially limiting -nonmarine uses in that zone. City staff has worked over the last several weeks with members of the fishing community and CWZ pier owners to understand their concerns. There were several similar placating quotes from wharf owners, Charlie Poole and Steve DeMillo. But there were no quotes from members of the fishing industry who are well known to the city manager, Jennings. The press release continues in a similar conciliatory tone.
BUT, several members of the steering committee of SAVE THE WORKING WATERFRONT weren’t seeing this Jennings effort the same way he intended. It’s an effort to try and stop the momentum the citizen-initiated petition is currently undergoing. The words sound nice – ooh so nice. Calm everyone down and offer alternatives that will never come to fruition but sound nice. One of the members of SAVE THE WORKING WATERFRONT, Karen Snyder, said: “The timing on this proposal is interesting.” Wills Spears, one of the leaders of this fishing industry effort, said this proposal will not change our plans for the name gathering process for the petition.
Over 1,000 people have signed the petition to save the waterfront from development. The group needs 1,500 signatures to get the issue on the ballet. The petitions need to be submitted to the city clerk by January 18, 2019. The clerk’s office needs to verify all of the signatures. If you want to sign the petition, that can be accomplished every Saturday at Portland Indoor Farmer’s Market, 631 Stevens Avenue, starting at 9:00 am. On Thursday, December 13th, readers can sign the petition at the Amanda Rowe School. On Sunday, December 16th, you can sign the petition at Kings Head Pub, Commercial Street between 3:00 pm 7:00 pm.
The schedule for after the Holiday has not yet been confirmed.
For more background on this subject, please see posts herein dated November 5, 2018 and October 24, 2017.