Munjoy Hill

 
 

IMPORTANT UPDATE! 

Thank you to everyone who attended the city listening sessions on February 26th and March 24th. A special thank you to the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization for inviting us to their quarterly  neighborhood meeting on March 22nd  to talk about the history of the neighborhood and answer questions about what historic districts are in Portland. Miss the Presentation? You can see the slideshow here. 

Landmarks Map of Possible District Boundaries (March 20, 2018)

The Issue

On December 18, 2017 the Portland City Council voted to approve a six-month moratorium on demolition in the R-6 district on Munjoy Hill.  The impetus for adoption was concern from some Munjoy Hill residents that the current residential development interest was resulting in an undue number of demolitions to existing structures, and infill development that was sometimes out of scale and character with existing neighborhood fabric. The moratorium was enacted to provide a temporary hiatus in development activity while the Department of Planning & Urban Development develops any necessary additional land use and design regulations to address both of these issues in the R-6 for Munjoy Hill.

The moratorium includes a requirement for the implementation of interim zoning to govern development in the R-6 zone for the duration of the moratorium to be implemented within 65 days of December 4th. This Munjoy Hill Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) is a tool that provides temporary standards to guide development applications that are received during the remaining 115 days of the moratorium.  The City Council approved the IPOD in early February 2018.

Our Position

Landmarks’ mission to preserve Greater Portland’s remarkable legacy of buildings, landscapes, and parks is achieved in part by identifying valuable historic resources that tell the story of our community. The historic dwellings that line the Eastern Prom are integral to the setting of the Eastern Promenade, which is a Historic Landscape District. In addition to these properties our recent research has determined that two-thirds, or 500 of the approximately 750 buildings in the R-6 zone on Munjoy Hill retain their historic architectural integrity. These historic resources help define the streetscapes that make this neighborhood of Portland a desirable place to live, work and recreate.

Landmarks supported the moratorium as a reasonable and necessary approach to assessing the impacts of rapid change and determining a thoughtful path forward. We believe the moratorium and interim planning overlay district strike a careful balance between new development and conserving the character of Munjoy Hill, while allowing time to adjust land use policies to address community concerns. 

Landmarks supports Dimensional Standards that respond to the existing context, scale and character of residential properties. Dimensional Standards should reflect the patterns generally found on the Hill that have created the existing diversity of housing types that offer housing opportunities for diverse households.

Landmarks believes that Portland’s Historic Preservation ordinance is a proven tool that addresses contextually-appropriate new construction and the conservation of historic neighborhood character through demolition review and the review of alterations to existing buildings.  Some scope of individual and/or historic district designation is a reasonable response to achieving the goals of conserving this diverse, pedestrian-friendly, historic neighborhood and managing necessary change.

Landmarks supports designation of two historic districts with boundaries focused on the Eastern Promenade and North Street. Each potential district contains resources that tell the story of the Munjoy Hill neighborhood’s development over a broad period of time and retain significant levels of architectural integrity. In addition, we support a single multiple resource nomination for individual non-contiguous resources located outside the boundaries of these potential historic districts that would facilitate applications for individual designations by property owners.  

Landmarks believes that in the Munjoy Hill R6 zone, the existing design standards should be revised to be less prescriptive, with broadly overarching principles and no alternative design review. The revised design standards should be drafted and enforced in a manner to ensure that new construction on the Hill is compatible with the character and features that define the neighborhood and make the Hill a desirable place to live.

Landmarks believes that in the Munjoy Hill R6 zone, a demolition review process with public notice, public comment and/or demolition delay would help to ensure that the demolition of a reusable building or resource with historic, architectural or community value does not occur.

During the moratorium period Landmarks staff and volunteers are researching the history of and surveying the buildings on Munjoy Hill. Our advocates are planning educational programs and meeting with city leaders, residents, and other interested parties. As always, Landmarks continues to advocate for Portland's historic properties and future landmarks.

Slideshow on Munjoy Hill's historic and architectural development 2.15.2018

Benefits of Local Historic Districts & FAQ Handout 2.26.2018

Landmarks slideshow from City of Portland Listening Session 2.26.2018

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