January 13

Court ruling buoys foes of Portland ‘midtown’ development

The project, which could face a Planning Board vote Tuesday, could be overturned with city approval, which a court did for a separate case.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

A Press Herald photo illustration combines an aerial photo of the Bayside neighborhood with the developers’ architectural model of the buildings proposed for the “midtown” project. The view is in the direction of Marginal Way and Interstate 295.

Staff photo illustration by Christian MilNeil and T.E.D. Andrick

Related headlines

Bayside’s future skyline

before
after

A composite image of Google Street View imagery and digitized architectural models shows the Bayside neighborhood and the proposed new 'midtown' buildings, looking south from I-295. Imagery from Google and from the City of Portland.

Find a larger version of this interactive and additional photo illustrations of the new development here: The ‘midtown’ development: views of Bayside’s new skyline

Monro has said his group would be willing to take its appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court should the Superior Court rule in favor of the city. But the Williston-West ruling is giving the group hope.

“There’s a shift in outlook here,” he said. “It may turn out that a full and fair hearing could be held in Superior Court.”

Attorney Gary Vogel, who is representing The Federated Cos., said the parallels between Williston-West and “midtown” are not that strong. The Williston-West case turned on the fact that the city granted a contract zone that allowed a new commercial use for a residential neighborhood. That is not the case with “midtown,” which is being proposed in a business district, he said.

The “midtown” project did receive a zone map change that increased the allowable height of the buildings, and zone text amendments that altered design standards. But Shinberg said those changes will allow for a more attractive building to be built on a narrow, contaminated lot.

Vogel and Shinberg highlighted changes to the project that have come out of the lengthy planning process, including the widening of some sidewalks, raising the Bayside Trail and withdrawing a request to build on a portion of land intended to be a gateway to the trail.

“We think the project is better because of it,” Vogel said.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@pressherald.com

Twitter: @randybillings

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