Portland ReCode Phase II includes an anomalous change in zoning for the Northern Burner Supply Site at 165 Washington Ave., from B1 to B2b, which allows for a height increase from 45 feet to 65 feet, with workforce housing bonuses from 75 to 90 feet. There are no other B2 or B2b zoning designations in the ReCode proposal that abut the Eastern Promenade. The properties across the street from the Eastern Promenade Park on Washington Avenue are zoned B1 (one property has already been developed under B1 guidelines). And the properties next to 165 Washington Ave., on Cove Street, are zoned B1.

During the question-and-answer phase of the June 5 Planning Board workshop, Kevin Kraft, acting director of the Portland Planning Department, indicated that the planning department will consider a recommendation to shift additional properties on the south side of Washington Avenue, from B1 to B2b or B2, to create more zoning consistency and deflect from the charge of spot zoning for 165 Washington Avenue.

This revision to ReCode means that a line of 65-to-90-foot buildings could wall off the southern edge of the Eastern Promenade Park and obstruct the 180-degree vista over Back Cove.

The Eastern Promenade Park is an iconic public landscape that defines the Portland peninsula. Let’s have increased density, but not at the expense of our public parks. I hope the Portland Planning Board will recommend maintaining B1 zoning status on properties that border the Eastern Promenade.

Peggy Shaffer

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