Unlike other opinion pieces by Greg Kesich, “History won’t stop for zoning” (May 12) appears to minimize the importance of planned growth and thoughtful preservation of Portland’s history.

Kesich suggests that the proposed Munjoy Hill Historic District will unnecessarily hamper current homeowners who want to improve their property, while not protecting what many value: its historic homes and neighborhoods. In fact, the historic district designation will provide additional leverage for homeowners throughout the Hill who seek to prevent unbridled development – demolishing perfectly fine two- and three-unit properties with affordable rents in favor of expensive multi-unit condominiums that forever change the streetscape and nature of the neighborhoods.

Kesich speaks to the need to encourage families with children to live on the Hill, yet increasingly, because of loopholes in zoning and a rush to cash in on the popularity of the Hill, new, replacement housing has done just the opposite. Most families can’t afford to rent here, let alone buy. Last year, we had one trick-or-treater on Munjoy Hill while friends in Woodfords Corner had 60.

Finally, Kesich uses the proposed aquarium as an example of an idea whose time never came. I would suggest the demolition of Portland’s Union Station as an alternate example. Who now doesn’t wish we had preserved that fabulous landmark? If we had applied historic preservation standards then, we wouldn’t be looking at the eyesore strip mall that exists in its stead.

Let’s look for ways to protect what is good while promoting thoughtful development on Munjoy Hill and throughout Portland. There’s no reason we can’t do both.

Pamela Day


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