Historic Preservation

Announcements AND EVENTS

Presentation on Potential Munjoy Hill Historic District (4/30/2019)

On April 30 at the East End School, the City of Portland will be presenting a preliminary proposal to designate a portion of the Munjoy Hill neighborhood as a local historic district.  The proposal is based on the findings of a detailed architectural survey/analysis of existing building stock that was conducted at the direction of the Portland City Council.  Consideration of a potential Munjoy Hill Historic District is part of a broader initiative begun in 2017 to develop land use tools to more effectively manage existing and proposed development on Munjoy Hill.  At the workshop, historic preservation staff will present draft district boundaries for consideration and discuss how individual building classifications were assigned.  The workshop is an opportunity for residents and property owners to learn more about this initiative, have questions answered and provide preliminary input on the historic district proposal.    

Tuesday, April 30th

6:30-8:30 pm

East End School Auditorium

For more information, contact Deb Andrews, Historic Preservation Program Manager 

at 874-8726 or dga@portlandmaine.gov

In 1990, the City of Portland adopted a historic preservation ordinance to recognize and preserve one of Portland's major assets - its rich collection of historic architecture and landscapes.  The ordinance protects almost 2000 properties throughout the City, in neighborhoods as diverse a the Old Port, Stroudwater, Congress Street, the West End and Fort McKinley on Great Diamond Island.

The intent of the ordinance is not to prevent change, but to thoughtfully manage it, so that the unique character of these historic areas is retained.  Designated properties are protected from demolition and proposed alterations or additions are reviewed to ensure compatibility with a property's original design.  New construction within designated historic districts is also reviewed to ensure a respectful relationship between new and old.

Today, the impact of the ordinance is clear:  preserving historic resources stabilizes neighborhoods and makes economic sense.  A walk or drive through any of Portland's eleven historic districts reveals exciting changes, as more and more old buildings are carefully rehabilitated according to historic preservation standards and compatible new buildings are absorbed into the mix.

In the Parkside neighborhood, for example, along streets once marked by deteriorated housing and absentee ownership, there are now refurbished houses with owner occupants who take pride in their properties and their neighborhood.  Along Commercial Street, exciting new architecture has taken its place beside restored 19th century warehouses, proving that new buildings can be both contemporary and compatible with historic structures.  Throughout the City's historic park system, master plans are being developed to insure that future improvements respect the parks' original designs.  All of these projects have been facilitated by the City's historic preservation program.

The success of this important program depends on the support and cooperation of the owners of Portland's historic properties.  Before you undertake a project that will affect the exterior of your building or its surrounding lot, please read the information included on this website and call historic preservation staff in the Planning and Development Department to discuss your plans.  They are prepared to assist you in finding practical and affordable solutions that meet both your needs and the ordinance's standards.

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