On Thursday, Oct. 1, I attended a public meeting to discuss a zoning ordinance change for Willard Square in South Portland.
The changes included increasing the housing density from 13 units per acre to 20; reducing setbacks with noncommercial property from 15 feet to 6 feet, and allowing all smaller projects to be exempt from all public review in the future.
The changes were proposed for the whole zone. If they are implemented, the square would become overbuilt, noisy and congested. It would lose the village atmosphere which gives it its charm. Fewer customers would be attracted to the local businesses, and property values for Willard Square and surrounding area would be negatively affected.
A developer presented a proposal for a 12,000-square-foot, mixed-use building to be constructed on the square. It is to be built with no setbacks from the sidewalk and to be as big as the South Portland City Hall. It was way out of size and scale with all the other buildings in the neighborhood. The ordinance change would not require him to build the project as presented to us. He could change it. We could be buying a pig in a poke. I urge other residents of the Willard Beach area to join me in opposing these changes. There will be a Planning Board meeting on Oct. 27 at South Portland City Hall.