On The Waterfront: Two Public Forums Coming Up; Not To Be Missed…!

“Birds Watching” at the East End Beach Today…"Birds Watching at the East End Beach Today...

By Carol McCracken (Post # 401)

It bears repeating often that the city and the planning board are hosting two public forums on the waterfront next month. Their purpose is to garner public input on uses of the “WCZ” – the waterfront central zone. A coalition of eleven wharf owners out of the fifteen waterfront wharves are petitioning the city for a relaxation of the zoning regulations that are currently in force. Both forums will be held at Merrill Auditorium Rehearsal Hall, Myrtle Street entrance, from 7 pm to 9 pm.

The first forum, Tuesday, March 2, is called, “The Changing Waterfront: Economic Conditions for the Central Waterfront – Ground Fishery, Lobster Fishery and Marine Tourism.” According to the city’s press release, the forum will explore the economic challenges and opportunities facing three key components of the marine industries that current policies are designed to protect. A panel of state-wide experts in various fields has been chosen to be panel members. Charlie Poole will be representing the coalition of wharf owners on the panel. The planning board is expected to participate in this forum. The forum will be moderated by Bill Hall, chair of the board.

The second forum on Wednesday, March 3rd, “Private Piers, Public Policy and the future of Portland’s Central Waterfront” will outline potential changes to Portland’s waterfront and seek public input on the future of the zone.” Focus groups will discuss a number of questions presented to them. Planning board members will not participate, but may be present at the forum.

Later, the planning board will evaluate the results and review current as well as potential changes to policy and zoning for the district. For more information, please visit www.portlandmaine.gov for periodic updates.

In the meantime, the planning board will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, February 23, at 3 pm at city hall, room 205 as a precusor to these upcoming public forums.

Please visit Post # 398, dated 2/28 for more details.

In order to refresh your memory or if you are a newcomer to the area, MHN.com recommends two current articles on different aspects of the waterfornt as backgound information. The first article is on the front page of the February 22 issue of “Mainebiz” newspaper: “Anchors Aweigh,” by Robet M. Cook. The second article is in the March issue of “Down East” magazine. It’s on page 17 of The Talk of Maine column – “Pier Pressure.”