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December 12, 2018

Portland seeks to press 'pause' on waterfront development

Courtesy / Fisherman's Wharf Mixed-Use Development Facebook page Bateman Partners LLP announced that its planned $40 million mixed-use development project on Fisherman's Wharf is now entering a planning stage. The developers also said they are reaching out to fishermen to help shape their project.

Portland city officials are seeking to press the pause button on waterfront development, calling for a 180-day moratorium to sort out traffic and other issues.

The measure, unveiled on Tuesday, would impose a temporary halt to most non-marine development within the so-called Waterfront Central Zone. It is set to go before the City Council on Dec. 17.

The city said in a news release that it made the proposal in response to “significant overburdening of parking, traffic control and waterfront resources” in the area concerned.

If the measure passes, the city would have time to convene a stakeholders group to discuss ways it can help alleviate concerns over parking and development.

“The City of Portland fully supports, and will always support, the working waterfront,” said City Manager Jon Jennings in a statement. “It’s our belief that we can both address the concerns of the fishing industry and at the same time develop policies that are good for all of Portland.”

Property and business owners behind the measure include Steve DiMillo, a principal at DiMillo’s on the Water restaurant, and Charlie Poole, president of Proprietors of Union Wharf.

“I am supportive of the council approving this moratorium, as it will give us all a chance to pause and examine these very important issues impacting Portland’s working waterfront, in hopes of finding the best way to move forward,” Poole said. “I’m fully supportive of any efforts that will ensure our working waterfront will be able to prosper and thrive going forward.”

Separately on Tuesday, Bateman Partners LLP announced that its planned $40 million mixed-use development project on Fisherman’s Wharf is now entering a planning stage.

The plan was introduced to the planning board in April and, according to the developer, has been changed “drastically” to satisfy concerns from fishermen, who had made their case last month in a social media campaign to protect the working waterfront and their livelihoods from development.

David Bateman, president of Bateman Partners, said in Tuesday’s news release that his team has invited fishermen to help shape their project.

He added: “Together we can implement practical solutions to infrastructure challenges, access problems and parking issues that now face the waterfront and the fishing community. Our proposal has changed drastically, to help solve these problems and highlight how important fishermen are to Commercial Street and working waterfront.”

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