Posted by Alan Nye
PP Jim Willey introduced Steve DiMillo – Manager of the well-known DiMillo’s Restaurant on Portland’s waterfront. In addition to running the floating restaurant, Steve is active in the community and sits on various boards and committees – including the Waterfront Working Group in Portland. This Group is comprised of lobstermen, property owners, and community members (including our own PP Cyrus Hagge) and has been meeting twice monthly all this year to evaluate the current physical, functional, and business conditions within the Waterfront Central Zone and making land use recommendations to the city Planning Board.
Steve discussed in general terms the zoning that currently exists on the waterfront and how it was enacted years ago to protect marine use and development on Portland’s Waterfront. There are certain exceptions that allow non-marine uses and the competing interests of the fisherman, pier and other waterfront property owners and non-marine businesses are evident.
Fishermen want less development of piers and to keep them available exclusively for marine use; property owners want more develop of piers to allow their highest and most profitable use in order to have funds to put back into their properties; and the city of Portland is interested in some development to increase the value of the properties to allow higher property taxes.
It was clear from Steve’s discussion that the issues have been thoroughly examined and discussed at these meetings and that each competing interest has been able to fully participate and articulate reasons for their position. He and the other members of the Waterfront Working Group have met and diligently discussed the issues openly and respectfully. As might be expected, Steve shared that there will not be a consensus from the Group members on all recommendations.
This type of active community participation in our governmental process is a hallmark of our democracy and the members of this group should be thanked for their diligent work in trying to come up with recommendations to improve Portland’s waterfront zoning.  For more information and to see the group’s members and related documents from all of their meetings, go to:
(Photo L-R: PP Jim Willey, Steve DiMillo and President John Curran.)