Developer: New plan for Portland condos won't obstruct park view

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PORTLAND — As site plan applications go, the one for 19 condominiums at 155 Sheridan St. on Munjoy Hill is brief and straightforward.

But it is notable because the revised plan from developers led by Quincy, Massachusetts-based Bernard Saulnier no longer blocks views from Fort Sumner Park. 

“We believe this is a responsive and responsible proposal that meets the intent and the letter of the law, and are pleased to be moving forward with support from the community,” Saulnier’s attorney, Patrick Venne, said Monday. “The developer has voluntarily advanced in a manner that represents a model for stakeholder engagement.”

Venne has been working with developers since late last summer, when initial plans for a six-story, 34-unit complex drew neighborhood objections because it would have blocked portions of a park view of Bayside, Back Cove and beyond.

Fort Sumner Park stretches from North Street to above Sheridan Street and is a favored spot to watch sunsets.

Venne said he expects a Planning Board workshop on the revised proposal will be held in July. It would be the first time any plans have been reviewed by the board, which also must determine if the plan complies with new overlay zoning covering a radius of 200 feet from the park.

City councilors unanimously approved the overlay zone Feb. 22, following a moratorium on granting permits or holding site reviews to develop the properties.

Before the moratorium was passed last November, developers had revised plans to keep the view open while still maintaining the same number of housing units.

The site plan actually covers 155-163 Sheridan St., now owned by the Westbrook-based McCartney Family LLC, and occupied by a single-family home. Site zoning caps building height at 45 feet, but the measurement is based on the average height of land at the corners of the property.

That would have allowed the building to reach six stories instead of four. But the zoning overlay now restricts building heights to a maximum of 160 feet – the height of the Fort Sumner Park viewing area – and requires height reductions tied to distances from the park, as well as a 15-foot setback for construction.

The scaled-back plan includes 14 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom units. One unit will be set aside to comply with the city’s inclusionary zoning requirement that restricts monthly housing costs to no more than about 30 percent of the median area income.

The building will also have a “green” roof with a covering of vegetation.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

A site plan sketch for 155 Sheridan St. in Portland shows how the four-story condominium project, and its “green” roof, would appear from the viewing area of Fort Sumner Park.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.