6 Recent Portland Proposals That Were Fought through Lawsuits or Referendums

By Koenig, Seth | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), February 16, 2016 | Go to article overview

6 Recent Portland Proposals That Were Fought through Lawsuits or Referendums


Koenig, Seth, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


PORTLAND, Maine -- Late last month a group called Friends of the Motherhouse filed suit to overturn City Council approval of a housing project on the site of the historic Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse and Catherine McAuley High School sports fields.

This lawsuit came despite what was touted as a compromise agreement between the developer and local neighbors nearly eight months ago, after builders agreed to cut about 70 housing units from the proposal and cap the campus at 249.

But this isn't the first time a high-profile project has ended up in the court system or the subject of a citywide referendum. They're processes some city officials and developers have lamented as expensive and time-consuming deterrents, but which project opponents claim are necessary to protect the scale and character of Portland.

The group Keep Portland Livable came together previously to sue and ice the massive Midtown project-- a 3.5-acre, $85 million Bayside development that was delayed by more than two years and downsized as a result of the lawsuit, but will still ultimately bring nearly 450 housing units and 90,000 square feet of retail space to the former industrial scrapyard site.

And there was the lawsuit over the proposed reuse of the historic Williston-West Church, which went all the way up to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2014 before the city's decision to let Australian businessman Frank Monsour use the residential-zoned building for his company headquarters was affirmed. …

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6 Recent Portland Proposals That Were Fought through Lawsuits or Referendums
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