Portland developers are stepping forward to finance a campaign against a citywide referendum that would make it easier for citizens to protect views of the waterfront and historic buildings, among others.

Opponents collected five times as much as supporters in the campaign for Question 2 on Portland’s Nov. 3. ballot, according to quarterly campaign finance reports for the period July 1 to Sept. 30.

The Portland’s Future Political Action Committee, which opposes the referendum, raised nearly $49,900 compared to the $11,300 raised by the Save the Soul of Portland PAC, which drafted a citywide ordinance designed to prevent buildings from obstructing the view along upper Fore Street.

The ordinance responds to the planned redevelopment of the former Portland Co. complex at 58 Fore Street. The City Council granted a zone change that allowed the developer, CPB2, LLC, to offer a variety of uses on a 10-acre waterfront parcel, including a row of two- to three-story houses along upper Fore Street.

Area residents, some of whom own homes with water views over the development site, initiated the referendum after failing to convince the council to cap building heights and preserve their view of Portland Harbor.

The proposed ordinance would require developers to submit site plans when seeking a zone change — something CPB2 was not required to do. It would establish a scenic protection overlay zone over the former Portland Co. property, preventing any structure for breaching Fore Street. It would also establish a 13-member task force that would identify other distinctive views that should be protected, while allowing an affected property owner or 20 residents to petition the city for an overlay zone.

Portland’s Future argues that the ordinance is poorly written and would have the unintended consequence of allowing a few people to stop a development from moving forward, while forcing developers to incur additional expense and more uncertainty. But the Soul of Portland says the referendum is needed to increase transparency by requiring developers to disclose their plans up front.

Half of the Portland’s Future PAC contributions have come from CPB2, whose development is explicitly targeted by the referendum. James Brady, a principal in that firm, contributed $500, as did Angie Helton, who is handling public relations for the development. Other developers contributing include Robert C.S. Monks ($10,000), J.B. Brown & Sons ($5,000), Cyrus Hagge ($5,000), and East Brown Cow Management ($1,000).

The group has spent about $32,400, with the largest expenses being $16,000 for public polling and nearly $8,500 for direct mailers.

Soul of Portland, meanwhile, has about 50 donors who gave $50 or under. Major donors include Peter Macomber ($500 in cash plus $1,500 in kind services of postage and supplies); Edwin Chester, who lives at Fore Street and whose wife, Barbara Vestal, helped draft the ordinance, ($4,000); Keep the Soul of Portland ($1,029); Stephanie Drambe of Kellogg Street, ($700); Sherwood Hamil, no address given, $500; and Robert Macomber of King Street, $500.

Other donors were Jeremy Winterstein ($250) and Bonnie Coplon ($250), both of Waterville St.

Supporters have spent nearly $7,000, with their largest expenses being $3,700 to media consultant Savvy Inc. and about $1,700 in printing expenses. The group previously conducted its own polling.

The quarterly reports were not filed without controversy.

Soul of Portland objected to the city when they discovered that the Portland’s Future PAC had not filed their quarterly finance reports on Monday, the legal deadline.

But city officials said they told the Portland’s Future PAC that the next finance report wouldn’t be due until 11 days before the election. City Clerk Katherine Jones said the city recently learned from the state that their interpretation of filing requirements was wrong and that PACs formed before Sept. 30 had to file an October quarterly report.

Jones said the Portland’s Future PAC will be allowed to file a report without penalty, which they did on Wednesday afternoon.