Legally blind

By AL DIAMON  |  February 26, 2014

According to Portland’s legal experts, the councilors’ decision to allow commercial offices in an historic church in a residential area of the city’s West End was fully in accordance with municipal zoning laws. Unfortunately, a state judge ruled just the opposite, a decision that may have implications for another major project. A group that fought against a high-rise development in the Bayside neighborhood — a proposal that got the it’s-all-cool-with-us nod from Portland’s law team — is going to court attempting to reverse the planning board’s approval. The opposition argument is based in part on the West End case.

Meanwhile on Congress Street, anti-abortion protesters are awaiting a US Supreme Court decision on whether buffer zones around Planned Parenthood offices in Massachusetts are constitutional. Portland could have delayed passing a similar law until after the justices ruled, but with the immense legal expertise the city commands, why not yield to political pressure and act prematurely?

Many wits have noted that the law is an ass. If so, its stable — badly in need of mucking out — is the office of Portland’s corporation counsel. 

Court is adjourned. The parties may email additional evidence

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