St. Lawrence Arts Center Gets OK From Planning Board to Advance

Depiction of Proposed Auditorium at 76 Congress Street; David Lloyd Architect.

Depiction of Proposed Auditorium at 76 Congress Street; David Lloyd Architect.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,212)

The Planning Board voted unanimously this evening to approve draft amendments to an existing zoning agreement the St.Lawrence Arts Center applied for in connection with its rebuilding of the sanctuary at its 76 Congress Street location at the top of Munjoy Hill.

City Planner Nell Donaldson said that there remain three themes in comments from the community since the last workshop.  Parking concerns and massing of the proposed replacement theater remain issues for some, while others like the proposed Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan.  A number of cultural organizations recognized the need for a mid-size theater in Portland.

Architect David Lloyd told the planning board that the design of the building (facade and tower) will continue to evolve over time and during future meetings with other city boards.  “We think we are bringing a great building to the Hill as well as a cultural facility,” he said.  Guy R. Gaudette, CPA and Board President, said this building will be a great asset to the Hill and the cultural community in Portland.  Members of the Concerned Citizens of Munjoy Hill addressed, as they have in the past, concerns about the TDM plan.

Planning board member Sean Dundon said that the “St.Lawrence is a jewel on the Hill.  We can’t let that opportunity pass by.  The St. Lawrence is being held to a very rigorous TDM plan, unlike other similar projects in the City.”

Planning board chair Stuart O’Brion said that TDM plan is an exciting model.  “It’s important to approve this change.  It’s an extraordinary opportunity.”