Portland City Council approves waterfront zoning change

The Portland City Council voted 8 to 1 to rezone the area along West Commercial Street to allow commercial facilities up to 75 feet tall. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- The Portland City Council voted 8 to 1 to approve zoning changes along the West Commercial Street waterfront, specifically to allow commercial buildings to be built as high as 75 feet.

"It's an industrial area and we probably will see a cold storage facility and also an opportunity to expand the boat yard there,” David Brenerman, Portland City Council, said.

That cold storage facility would provide local farmers, fisherman, and brewers with a place to store their goods that need to be refrigerated.

A report by the Port Authority says the storage facility would bring almost 1,000 jobs to the state and provide $171-million annually.

However, not everyone agrees.

Some residents say the height changes will negatively impact housing prices in the area, since they say the views of the waterfront will be blocked by the facility.

"The study that we looked at, and the data that we looked at, showed that this might not be the right height for this site, which is why I voted no,” Spencer Thibodaux, Portland City Council, said.

City officials say this doesn't necessarily mean the cold storage facility will be built, it still has to go through the same application process that any other commercial building would.

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