The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to protect the view from a historic park on Munjoy Hill from being blocked by a proposed condominium complex.

Residents who have been working with the city to protect the view from Fort Sumner Park applauded city leaders as they cast their votes, bringing to a close a six-month process.

“This is something that is just irreplaceable in this city,” said Carolyn Young, president of the Friends of Fort Sumner Park. “This will be your legacy.”

The new height overlay zone would prevent any new development from obstructing the panoramic view from the park, which is a popular place to view sunsets. The 1.25-acre park was once the site of an earth-and-timber fort built in 1794 to defend Portland Harbor and Back Cove. It was designated a city park in 1934.

The protections were added after Saco-based developer Bernie Saulnier proposed building a six-story condominium next to the park, which would have blocked views of the Back Cove and Mount Washington. Saulnier reduced the height of the proposed project, but the city enacted a moratorium so permanent protections could be enacted.

A representative for Saulnier said in a written statement that the developer would proceed with the project under the newly enacted rules, even though it would be less profitable and carry a higher risk.


City Councilor Belinda Ray, who sponsored the building moratorium and shepherded the new rules through the planning process, said she was pleased with the outcome.

“I’m really, really happy for the culmination of a long process,” Ray said.

Blair Atherton enjoys the view of the city with her dog, Mango, at the overlook on the Fort Sumner Park Trail on Munjoy Hill last November.

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

Twitter: @randybillings

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