A Saco-based developer has submitted plans for a four-story condominium complex on Sheridan Street in Portland, a revised version of the plan that prompted new protections for the view from a historic park on Munjoy Hill.

Bernie Saulnier of Saulnier Development is requesting approval for a 19-unit building at 155 Sheridan St. The design appears to comply with the recently approved height restrictions and includes a “green roof” with planters to improve the view of the building from above. The project would cost an estimated $5 million to build, according to the site plan application.

Last year, Saulnier floated plans to build a six-story complex in the same place. But Munjoy Hill residents worried the condos would obstruct the sweeping view from Fort Sumner Park. A popular spot to watch sunsets, the park overlooks the downtown, Bayside and Back Cove areas.

Saulnier met with neighborhood residents and reduced the height of his proposed project in response to their concerns. But the city enacted a temporary building moratorium for property abutting Fort Sumner Park, so permanent protections could be established. In February, the Portland City Council voted in favor of an overlay zone to preserve a 180-degree vista from the park’s viewing platform.

Saulnier had said the monthslong delay might kill his project, but the builder submitted his latest plans for review last month. A cover letter states the design complies with the new view protection rules. Saulnier did not respond to requests for comment.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed development at 155 Sheridan St.

Jeff Levine, Portland’s planning and urban development director, said the city is just beginning its review of the proposal.


“We obviously want to verify that it meets the letter of the overlay, but that certainly seems like their intent,” Levine said.

The overlay zone extends 200 feet from a specific point on the Fort Sumner viewing platform. The new rules do not set a specific cap on building heights in the new zone. Rather, the overlay zone establishes a minimum setback of 15 feet for the overlook and sets the maximum height of any structure, including mechanical systems and elevator shafts, at roughly 160 feet above sea level, which is the height of the park platform. The maximum building height within a 200-foot radius would be reduced by 1 foot for every 25 feet away from the measuring point, or the apex.

“The baseline is that a building should not be tall enough to be able to block the view of the Back Cove and the scenic vista,” Levine said.

Saulnier has a contract to buy two adjacent parcels of land – 155 and 165 Sheridan St. – for the condo development.

One lot has a single-family home, while the other is vacant. The first level of the complex would be parking for residents, and the condos would be located on the three upper floors. Documents submitted to the planning department call for 14 one-bedroom units and five two-bedroom units. Some units on the second and third floors will have outdoor patios, and a proposed stairway would give tenants access to Fort Sumner Park from the fourth floor.

Renderings of the building include planter boxes on the roof, which will be clearly visible from the park. Levine said the greenery might “soften the appearance” of the roof for neighbors and park visitors.


He was not aware of another project in Portland where a rooftop garden had been added for that purpose, but the form-based code in the India Street neighborhood allows buildings to be taller if there are planters on the roof.

“One of the likely site planning questions will be, what’s the roof going to look like?” Levine said. “Because people are going to see this roof.”

One unit will be sold as “workforce housing,” which means it will be affordable to middle-income earners as required by the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance. It is unclear whether any of the other units would be rentals or if all would be condos. The materials submitted to the city did not include estimated sale or rental prices.

“It’s good to see a project come back so quickly that meets the new ordinance,” Levine said. “I think it’s again a sign of how strong the market is on Munjoy Hill.”

Levine said a Planning Board workshop on the project is tentatively scheduled for July.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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