March 28, 2013

Letters to the editor: Bayside project needs no zoning change

I have been a general construction professional for more than 30 years and have been integrally involved in more than 1,000 New England projects, with a 2013 inflation-adjusted dollar value exceeding $10 billion.

click image to enlarge

The Bayside development called “midtown” could be built without changing city zoning to allow 165-foot towers in the neighborhood, a reader says.

2013 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

During that time, I have also served as a town councilman, planning board member and committee participant in a number of local endeavors. This aggregate exposure has given me a well-developed sense of good architectural and construction practice, along with an established understanding of effective public policy-making.

The current Bayside design of 165-foot-tall skyscrapers straddling gray parking plugs will obliterate the graceful skyline of downtown Portland as viewed from the west for hundreds of years.

There is a simple solution to this design inanity, if developer Federated Cos. and the Portland Planning Board would open their ears and eyes.

Looking at the three-dimensional graphic printed in the Press Herald ("Portland board gets behind taller buildings in Bayside," March 22), based on Perkins Eastman Consulting's concept plan for the development along Somerset Street, it struck me how considerable the length is of the six-story parking garage structures running along the street side.

It should be a matter of architectural simplicity to alter the building massing by transferring the top five stories of each abutting apartment structure onto the tops of the adjacent parking garages.

The result would be a several-block-long project averaging 11 stories tall continuously that stays within the current zoning height guidelines.

By utilizing a tasteful blend of concrete, stone, steel, wood and glass of varying shapes and textures, the integrity of the skyline can be maintained, and Federated can move forward in providing the requisite community service of economic development needed in the area.

Bruce Sanford
principal, Conestco

Public carry permit backers want to confiscate firearms

I see "Our" has written another erroneous letter without signing it ("Our View: Concealed carry permits are public documents," March 14).

Concealed-carry permits should not be public documents. Maybe property settlements in divorces, STD tests at the doctor, colonoscopies and, of course, "Our" expense accounts should all be public record, because the public is qualified to know if they were done properly, just as the media can judge if a concealed-carry permit has been approved properly.

The fact that concealed-carry permits have been public record surprised many (myself included), but it wasn't brought to the forefront until a New York newspaper publicized some.

By the way, I noticed "Our" didn't comment about the fact that one of those people in New York was a battered woman with a protection order against her ex. She had bought a gun for protection (because it works better than a piece of paper), and the authorities gave her address to him by printing it.

As newspeople, you have a right and an obligation to print the news, provided it's true. When "Our" drops his liberal bias and tells it like it is (probably never, unfortunately), pigs will fly!

And no one is trying to take our guns away? Be serious!

Richard A. Aspinall Sr.

School staffer relishes kudos for participants in 'Millie'

As a staff member at South Portland High School, I am deeply indebted to Bill Nemitz for his column on the high school musical ("Give our regards to Broadway. Wait, make that South Portland," March 24). Tickets are still available for performances of the musical the weekend after Easter.

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