The Coastal Packet: Keep Portland Livable takes on waterfront development

Wednesday, September 9

Keep Portland Livable takes on waterfront development

Keep Portland Livable - Keep Portland Livable is not yet taking a position on the Portland Company development—the developer has not yet made a proposal for the location on the waterfront below Munjoy Hill—but the way City Hall has treated the developer in these early stages of review has already revealed major flaws in the development review process we have seen before, and new ones as well.

While being hundreds of pages long, the city’s zoning rules are too vague to provide developers with tangible guidance as to how to shape their developments and too vague to assure neighbors that what will be built will fit with the neighborhood.

Even when the rules are specific, a City Council and a Planning Board ready to approve zoning changes and waivers for any major development despite considerable resident opposition further erodes citizen confidence in the city’s land use rules and review process.

In this unclear environment, city staff intervenes via behind-the-scenes negotiations and partisan recommendations to the Council and Planning Board. In the case of the Portland Company, staff has overruled a critically important decision by the 2004 City Council about building heights.

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