“CDC” Approves Text Amendments to Waterfront Central Zone; Goes to City Council Next Month

Joseph A. Stevens, Esq. Attorney for Some of the Pier Owners

By Joseph A. Stevens, Esq.
Attorney for Some of the Pier Owners (Post # 622)

The Portland Community Development Committee (CDC) approved amendments to the City’s Waterfront Central Zoning (WCZ) at its meeting on Wednesday, October 27th. The amendments are the product of two years of work by the pier owners, Planning Staff and Planning Board and many of those with interest in Portland’s working waterfront. The pier owners initiated the review when they approached the City expressing concerns about the prohibition of non-marine uses on ground floors within much of the WCZ.

If passed by the full City Council, the amendments would allow for up to 45% of the ground floor (and outside space combined) to be occupied by non-marine uses (maintaining at last 55% for marine related uses). Such non-marine occupancy is allowed, however, only after marine uses are given the first opportunity to rent the space under “terms and rates generally consistent with comparable” space for marine uses in the WCZ and following at least 60 days of advertizing for marine users.

The amendments also combine both the Non Marine Use Overlay Zone (MNUOZ) and the 150 foot south of Comercial Street – non-marine use area (increased in the amendments from 100 feet) since the regulations for each area were very similar. The process for change of uses and development approvals have also been somewhat streamlined by eliminating the need to seek conditional use approval for non-marine use in the NMUOZ and non-marine accessory parking throughout the WCZ. The allowance for berthing for non-commercial vessels remains unchanged, however, at 50 feet on any single pier to assist in preserving space for lobstermen.

It is anticipated that the City Council will take the matter up on December 10th.

Editor’s Note: Joe Stevens has almost 20 years experience in land use, zoning, code enforcement, real estate and environmental law, representing regional and national residential and commercial developers, institutional lenders and local governments in all aspects of real estate development and land use. Prior to practicing law Joe was Director of the Planning Department for Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. He has been on the adjunct faculty for the University of Maryland, and an instructor for the professional development programs at the University of Wisconsin. Joe is a faculty member for the Land Use Institute; a member of the Maryland State Land Use Code Revision Committee; and has lectured on land use law at many national and regional conferences. Joe lives with his family in Cape Elizabeth and practices law in both Maryland and Maine. For further information regarding his practice visit www.spmlaw.com or contact him directly at jas@spmlaw.com