Planning Board to Consider Ft. Sumner Park Protection Ordinance; 1/24


A View From Fort Sumner Park Located on Munjoy Hill on North Street.

City Planner Matthew Grooms Presents Proposed Protection Ordinance  at East End Community School, on Munjoy Hill,  Last Week.

Last week about thirty-five (35) neighbors of Ft.  Sumner Park attended a neighborhood informational meeting to learn what the city’s planning office will be proposing to the planning board for its consideration on Tuesday, January 24th at 7:00 pm at city hall.  Public comment will be taken.

Last year representatives of a proposed six-story building for Sheridan Street described preliminary plans in a public meeting.  Some who attended the meeting objected to the partial blocking of the panoramic view looking toward the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The zoning that is in existence does not protect the views from development. Last November the city council voted into place a moratorium on development in that location until February 6, 2017. During that time, the city planning office was tasked with drafting legislation that would protect those views.  The proposed ordinance is reproduced below:

“This Overlay is established to protect the public interest by limiting the impact of development on the quintessential views of natural resources and the changing Portland skyline from Sumner Park.  There is established a key apex point in Sumner Park at N 43″ 40’2.3359″ N, 70″ 15’4.3687″ W.  The Sumner Park Overlay includes all land within 200 feet, or the R-6 zone boundary, whichever is closer, of this key apex that is located closer to the middle line of Sheridan Street than said apex point.”  Got It?!

This proposed protection ordinance was described by city planner Matthew Grooms and a discussion on its ramifications followed his presentation.  Most in the audience seemed satisfied with the proposal.  The informational meeting was held on Wednesday, January 18th at East End Community School.

“Fort Sumner Park sits on the site of historic Fort Sumner, the first Federal fort in Maine.  Commissioned in 1794 by the administration of George Washington, Fort Sumner consisted of a block-house, officers’ quarters an armory and other buildings, including a sunken trail known as the covert way.  The covert way allowed soldiers to travel safely from the Fort to a shore side battery near Adams Street.  Built on the sie of an earlier 1775 fort, F ort Sumner was last garrisoned in the War of 1812, and demolished in 1840. It was replaced in the late 1800s by a park taking advantage of the same view the fort’s builders saw as critical to the defense of Portland-then known as Falmouth Town.”  The foregoing quote was taken from a pamphlet produced by the Friends of Fort Sumner.

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