District 2 Dispatch from our City Councilor

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Happy 2017 District 2!

I am wishing all of you the happiest New Year!  2016 brought a ton of changes to our City and I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for the District.

2017 Committees.  In 2017, I have the privilege to serve as Chair of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee and as a member of the Economic Development Committee.  While I am no longer a member of the Housing Committee, I will continue to work on issues pertaining to zoning for workforce housing and short-term rental policy.

Reiche Clark Street Entrance Ribbon Cutting.  In mid-December, I had the opportunity to open Reiche’s new Clark Street entry way with members of City Staff, fellow City Councilors, and members of our District.  I am so grateful to the Reiche PTO, Reiche parents, City Staff and my colleagues on the City Council for supporting our neighborhood school.  This new entry way, in addition to pedestrian crossing improvements on the Brackett Street side of the school, is the culmination of a nearly $1,000,000 of investment I fought hard to bring to our District after being elected in the fall of 2015. My work on behalf of our neighborhood school is not complete and I am happy to announce that the Brackett Street Ramp at Reiche School will be removed over spring break.  More to come on additional work soon!

Protected Bike Lanes. This year I plan to work with my colleagues on the Sustainability and Transportation Committee to study the feasibility of implementing a protected bike lane program for our City. Over the last few years, the City has continued to upgrade infrastructure using the “complete streets model” that provides bike lanes to our residents, but I believe we should look at implementing protected bike lanes on the peninsula to encourage alternate means of transportation. More on this in my next report.

Short Term Rentals.  The Housing Committee will meet on January 11 (Today) to take up various proposals to regulate short-term rentals in the City.  At the December meeting, the Committee reviewed a number of proposals, including a joint proposal put forward by Councilor Ray and myself that would limit short term rentals for single family homes in residential neighborhoods, as well as placing a cap on STRs in multi-family dwellings.  This proposal also provided a fee structure that increased substantially per STR unit owned. More information about these proposals can be found here. Please continue to follow this Committee’s work, as it is unclear whether action will be taken at the January 11th meeting.

Public Input on City Owned Property.  The Economic Development Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 31st at 5:30PM in the Council Chambers (keep an eye on this date and time, as this is subject to change) to get community input on the sale of the following City-owned property (i) the Thames Street parking lot; (ii) the Cotton Street/ Midtown Parking Lot and (iii) the former location of Public Works site in Bayside.  Please come and provide us with your thoughts on these potential sales.

Sidewalk Snow Removal.  We are almost half-way through the winter and I wanted to provide you with a friendly reminder of the snow clearing policies of the City of Portland, which can be found here. Please also note that the Sustainability and Transportation Committee plans to review the snow clearing ordinance this year and I will provide more information on that as we move forward.

Coffee with your Councilor.  The next Coffee with your Councilor will be held at Aurora Provisions from 8:30AM to 10:30AM on Saturday, January 21, 2017.  Please drop by to say hello, to meet your neighbors or come with questions or ideas.  I hope to see you there!

District 2 Spotlight.  This month we are highlighting one of our newest neighbors, Little Giant Market.  Andrew and Briana Volk, owners of Hunt and Alpine, have opened up a corner store with plans to expand and create a restaurant serving continental European Food.  The Market is located at the corner of Clark and Danforth.  Welcome to the neighborhood LG and be sure to stop by and welcome them to the District!

That’s it for now, but as always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at sthibodeau@portlandmaine.gov.