Developer to cut 2 stories from controversial Munjoy Hill condo project

The latest plans for the Sheridan Street condo project call for removing the top two floors. The older design (pictured) would have partially blocked the view from Fort Sumner Park from some angles.

The latest plans for the Sheridan Street condo project call for removing the top two floors. The older design (pictured) would have partially blocked the view from Fort Sumner Park from some angles.

In a victory for those worried that a condominium complex planned for Munjoy Hill would obscure the view from a nearby park, the developer has agreed to shorten the building from six to four stories.

Despite not having been officially proposed to the city, the planned development at 155 Sheridan St. has faced months of opposition from the neighborhood. As originally planned the building would have risen above the lip of Fort Sumner Park, blocking the panoramic view of Portland and the Back Cove.

Biddeford-based developer Bernie Saulnier previously offered a number of compromises.

But faced with the threat of the Portland City Council passing a building moratorium on the site, Saulnier agreed to remove the top two floors from the building, according to a lawyer consulting on the project.

“We are prepared to consider even further reductions in density if that’s what it takes to reach consensus,” said development consultant Patrick Venne. “Our hope is to move forward as any other applicant would, unimpeded by moratoria and uncertainty.”   

The reduction in height would likely drop the building below the level of the uphill park, but the plan is not final until developers file it with the city. The change was welcomed by Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization President Jay Norris.

But it is unclear whether the city council will back off the building ban. Proposed by Councilor Belinda Ray, the moratorium is up for a vote at the next council meeting and would require a majority to pass.

Ray said she still supports the ban since the developer hasn’t submitted an official development plan and it is unclear what the project would look like.

“The purpose of the moratorium is to put rules and regulations in place to protect our park,” she said.