Portland reclaims lot using eminent domain 

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to seize by eminent domain a parcel in Bayside that was part of the now-defunct “midtown” project. Councilors noted that the city had received a loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a public parking garage on Lot 6, 59 Somerset St.

Source: Portland Press Herald

Falmouth issues new short-term rental rules 

A new requirement that all Falmouth short-term renters register their properties, with hefty fines for those who don’t comply, is drawing mixed reactions from owners and residents. The ordinance, approved by the Town Council July 26, stems from residents’ concerns about noise and congestion coming from vacation rentals like those advertised on sites such as Airbnb, according to Town Councilor Hope Cahan.

Source: Portland Press Herald

New Maine law supports tiny houses

On Wednesday, Gov. Janet Mills signed a new law that gives tiny houses the same status as any other single-family dwelling in the state. This puts tiny homes on equal footing with traditional residences and subject to the same zoning and code requirements. Under this new law, tiny homes can have no larger than 400-square-feet of living space and ones on wheels count as dwellings as well.

Source: BDN

Portland approves Munjoy Hill Historic District

Portland city councilors narrowly approved the creation of a new historic district on Munjoy Hill and unanimously agreed to study the impacts of the city’s other historic districts, some of which have existed since the early ’90s. The 5-4 vote in support of the new historic district came more than two months after the council rejected the same proposal, and City Councilor Andrew Zarro, who initially opposed the plan, asked to reconsider the proposal.

Source: Portland Press Herald

Judge’s ruling threatens CMP transmission corridor project

A Superior Court judge ruling’s Wednesday may have created another hurdle for the builders of a 145-mile energy transmission corridor through northwestern Maine.

Justice Michaela Murphy ruled that the Maine Bureau of Public Lands did not have the authority to lease public reserve lands to CMP affiliate NECEC Transmission LLC, which is building the corridor, without first determining whether the lease would substantially alter the land in question. If a review finds the state-owned land would be significantly altered because of the lease, the question would go to the Legislature, Murphy ruled.

Source:  Portland Press Herald

Maine to get new tallest building in state

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Monday to grant a zoning change for a downtown high rise that would become the tallest building in the state – a title that currently belongs to Franklin Towers.

Redfern Properties wants to erect an 18-story building at Temple and Federal streets, behind the post office. Monday’s vote allows the developer to build housing on the upper floors of the 190-foot structure, which previous zoning would have prohibited.

City Councilor Belinda Ray, who represents the district, said she supported the change after the developer agreed to work with the owner of the Portland House of Music to design a building that would muffle noise coming from the entertainment venue across the street.

“I’m comfortable supporting this,” Ray said. “It’s going to give us much needed housing.”

 
tallest building in Maine
Source: Portland Press Herald

Cliff Island community rallied to keep the coronavirus at bay

CLIFF ISLAND, Maine — In different times, a taxi met visitors at the wharf to take them to any destination on this H-shaped island’s dirt roads.

Few visitors come now. But the taxi is still parked up the road with its back window emblazoned with a simple message in bold yellow lettering: “Sorry! No Taxi Service Due to COVID-19.”

It is one of the most immediately visible ways that life has changed on the island in Casco Bay that is part of Maine’s largest city, but is a remote last stop on the ferry from the mainland. Cliff Island has yet to see a confirmed case of the coronavirus in nearly a year since the pandemic arrived in Maine, infecting more than 45,000 statewide and more than 3,700 in Portland.

 

Source: BDN 

Norwegian firm seeks to put salmon farm off MDI

A Norwegian-owned aquaculture venture says it has filed plans with the state in hopes of getting permits it will need to cultivate salmon in the ocean off Bar Harbor.

It also will need to overcome organized opposition to its plans in order to come to fruition.

American Aquafarms plans to place 30 floating pens, each 150 feet wide, for growing salmon at two sites in Frenchman Bay, if it can get approval from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The firm, headed by CEO Mikael Roenes, also has an agreement to purchase the Maine Fair Trade Lobster plant in Gouldsboro if the project is approved, and to convert it into a salmon hatchery and processing plant.

Source: BDN

Out of State Visitors Can Get Groceries

I’m coming back to Maine after wintering in Arizona. Can I go grocery shopping and get gas while observing my 14-day quarantine?

The answer, at least legally, appears to be yes, said District Attorney Matt Foster in an email this week.

“It looks pretty clear to me,” said Foster, citing Executive Order 34FY 19/20, issued by Governor Janet Mills on April 3.

DA weighs in on quarantine regulations

Company seeks to open large metallic mine in northern Maine.

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A Canadian company is seeking to rezone nearly 200 acres in northern Maine to open the state’s first new commercial, metallic mine in decades.

Wolfden Mt. Chase LLC says that Pickett Mountain — located just north of Patten — has the country’s largest undeveloped reserves of a type of ore containing high-grade zinc, copper, lead, silver and gold. The company has filed an application with the Land Use Planning Commission to rezone 197.5 acres in order to build an underground mine as well as associated buildings and infrastructure at the site near the border of Penobscot and Aroostook counties.

The application will be the first test of new mining regulations enacted by the Legislature in 2017 following years of heated debate largely focused on this particular site. Wolfden Resources, the parent company of Wolfden Mt. Chase LLC, purchased the nearly 6,900 acres around Pickett Mountain several months later and began conducting test drilling to gauge the quality of the underlying mineral deposits.

Source: Portland Press Herald