Letter: There is no legal right to a view

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I lived in Portland during the 1980s and moved back to the peninsula eight years ago. The group Save the Soul of Portland is running a ridiculous campaign to legislate easements for private views of the harbor benefiting of a small number of landowners on Munjoy Hill. These folks purchased tenements, added rooftop decks and dormers to structures that were never designed for them, and then patriotically declare they are protecting public views from private development. They are seeking the benefits of waterfront property without having to pay waterfront taxes.

According to what I have learned, the laws concerning homeowner’s rights to views are quite clear. If you want a view of the water, you purchase property on the water. If you are not on the water, it doesn’t matter if you lived there for 200 years or one year. Homeowners simply do not have a legal right to a view.

The city provides bountiful access to public views through the parks, promenades and trails that are truly public and truly the soul of Portland. If the City Council is foolish enough to consider granting views of the harbor to a few property owners, then it should also protect private views of Mt. Washington and Mt. Agamenticus. It is too ridiculous to take seriously.

David Gaines