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Proposed Housing Project in Portland, ME, Could Cause Flooding at Noyes Self-Storage

The owners of Noyes Self-Storage in Portland, Maine, are concerned that a large housing development proposed for a neighboring property could cause flooding at their facility. Because the proposed development site is in an area that frequently floods, the plan includes raising the level of Somerset Street by approximately two feet. The storage operators believe this will cause water to pool by the base of their building, which is nearby, potentially penetrating its brick walls and threatening to damage the first-floor storage units, according to the source.

February 3, 2015

2 Min Read
Proposed Housing Project in Portland, ME, Could Cause Flooding at Noyes Self-Storage

The owners of Noyes Self-Storage in Portland, Maine, are concerned that a large housing development proposed for a neighboring property could cause flooding at their facility. Because the proposed development site is in an area that frequently floods, the plan includes raising the level of Somerset Street by approximately two feet. The storage operators believe this will cause water to pool by the base of their building, which is nearby, potentially penetrating its brick walls and threatening to damage the first-floor storage units, according to the source.

The street would be raised in a joint effort between the city and Miami-based developer The Federated Cos. Portland officials recently submitted a revised street-elevation plan that would bring Somerset Street to within 18 inches of the self-storage facility’s ground floor instead of six, according to city spokesperson Jessica Grondin. There is currently a 3-foot buffer, the source reported.

With the Portland Planning Board set to vote on the project on Tuesday, questions about the safety of the storage facility remain. “Whether the plan is feasible or not we have not yet determined,” said John Bannon, an attorney representing Noyes Self-Storage. The Noyes family has been reviewing the revised street grading for about a week, Bannon told the source.

The cost for changing the street elevation is about $4 million. The city intends to pay about two-thirds of the cost, with the developer covering the rest, the source reported. The housing plan, known as “midtown,” includes four six-story buildings, a parking garage and ground-floor retail space. The project would add about 445 apartments in an area known as Bayside.

The development was proposed five years ago and faced strong opposition from a residential group called Keep Portland Livable, which ultimately filed a lawsuit to overturn the city’s approval. The group agreed to drop the suit last October when the developer agreed to reduce the scale of the project, including lowering the height of the apartment buildings from 16 stories.

Raising Somerset Street is part of the city’s long-term plan for the neighborhoods of Bayside and East Bayside because both areas have a history of flooding problems. City officials are concerned rising sea levels and intensifying storms connected to climate change could exacerbate the problem, according to the source.

Noyes Self-Storage at 93 Kennebec St. serves Portland’s downtown area. It offers climate-controlled commercial, residential and vehicle storage.

Sources:

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