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October 26, 2015

Maine Port Authority head: Portland’s Question 2 a ‘formula for paralysis’

The Maine Port Authority joined Portland business groups, affordable housing advocates and others in opposing Portland's upcoming referendum question to restrict development near scenic viewpoints.

Question 2 on Portland's November ballot is aimed at the redevelopment of the former Portland Co. complex at 58 Fore St., but it would also allow for the creation of other scenic viewpoint protection zones around the city.

John Henshaw, executive director of the Maine Port Authority, wrote in an editorial for the Portland Press Herald published Monday that the authority rarely takes positions on local issues, but the stakes of the question are "too high and reach too far beyond the city of Portland for the port authority to remain silent."

Henshaw wrote that the establishment of a process for the owners of affected properties or 20 members of the general public to request viewpoint protection zones is a "formula for paralysis."

"Few developers would likely be willing to commit to substantial investments to improve properties in the city under such uncertain circumstances," Henshaw wrote.

So far, opponents of the referendum question have included the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association, Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council, Mayor Michael Brennan and mayoral candidate Ethan Strimling.

Supporters of the proposal include the Portland Green Independent Committee and mayoral candidate Tom MacMillan, according to the Press Herald.

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