We heard one complaint over and over during last fall’s mayoral campaign in Portland: Many interests are represented, but no one speaks for the city as a whole.

The dispute regarding the redevelopment of the vacant Williston-West Church in the West End neighborhood is calling out for such a voice.

Australian businessman Frank Monsour wants to renovate the historic church and make it available as a community meeting space. He wants to create three housing units in the old parish hall, and he wants to use the rest of the space as the headquarters of his software development firm.

That last use would require a zoning change, which is what has drawn the neighborhood’s objection, and given the history of the West End, it’s not hard to see why.

Over time, the neighbors have fought back the creeping expansion of Maine Medical Center and Waynflete School, which have gobbled up residential properties and expanded their tax-exempt footprints. The neighbors say they don’t want to lose any more ground to creeping commercial expansion.

But the Williston-West proposal does not resemble those other expansions in any way. It would restore and creatively reuse a historic church building that could otherwise be left to rot. The preferred alternative for some in the neighborhood, chopping up the interior of the sanctuary and converting it to housing, would not preserve this community asset, even if there were a developer willing to spend the money it would take to do the work.

Turning part of the parish hall into an office would not take away any housing or materially change life in a neighborhood that already has office workers at Waynflete and the hospital.

Unlike those institutions, however, this plan would put tax-exempt property back on the tax rolls. And it would benefit the city by making Portland the headquarters of a high-tech business.

Neighbors argue that the problem is not only what has been proposed but also what could follow as the business grows, but that is also misguided. If there were a half dozen other historically significant churches on the block, it might be hard to stop the zoning creep they fear. But this is a one-of-a-kind project that rescues a one-of-a-kind building. It would not be difficult to draw the line around what has been proposed.

Neighbors in the Western Promenade have their concerns, but the city as a whole also deserves a voice. This project would preserve a historic building, create taxable property and add jobs in a desirable sector without changing the character of the neighborhood.

That sounds like a good deal for Portland.