I read your recent editorial regarding the ongoing debate about the Bayside project with concern (“Our View: New ‘midtown’ plan does less for Portland,” Dec. 13).

I’ve listened to the anti-large project, anti-tall building group’s arguments for the last two years. And if I’m not mistaken, it seems that Portlanders are now going to be forced to accept a smaller-scale project than the original one, with seemingly no opportunity to call for the umpteen Planning Board meetings, special meetings with the City Council and public forums that the small-project group was allowed.

Your editorial suggested that a project made up of smaller buildings using lesser-quality materials will be readily approved with little or no opportunity for input from the public and/or advocates of the larger, original project.

That project called for several first-class high-rise buildings (including a large parking garage), which would have provided Portland with more residential space, more retail space and certainly more tax income than this smaller project now being considered.

These would seem to be more important issues for the Planning Board’s consideration than the arguments about wind tunnels, skyline obstruction and the lack of a small-town, friendly atmosphere presented by the “small-project” people.

As Maine’s only significant metropolitan area, Portland should not be afraid to utilize its limited space wisely in order to maximize land usage and tax benefits that taller buildings and larger projects provide.

Portland’s existing skyline is nice, but it is certainly not so picturesque that it would be destroyed by the addition of some well-designed modern construction in what is probably the last available area of growth in the city.

The two proposals should be given equal scrutiny and opportunity for public and expert input before automatic acceptance, but that does not seem to be happening for some reason.

Jim Morgan


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