A new multi-family housing development being proposed near Morrill's Corner in Portland would require a zoning change to be approved, but neighbors in the area who want to keep the green space of University Park untouched are gathering an opposition team to keep that from happening, according to the Press Herald.

The group, spearheaded in part by Elizabeth Rose of the Deering Junction neighborhood, is growing in numbers after meeting recently in an effort to raise awareness for the proposal and form a plan to oppose the zoning change.

Developer Michael Payson Jr. was unaware of the opposition until recently, the Herald reports. He thinks his proposal will find its support from the neighboring residents after opening up a clear channel of communication.

“I think it’s a really nice project,” Payson said. “I think the town homes are going to be attractive and it will be a nice walkable development. I think it adds nicely to the housing that already exists there.”

While residents who staunchly oppose the development recognize that Portland has a desperate need for more, especially affordable, housing; they wish that the communal green space that has served as an important reprieve from the community's industrial neighborhood wouldn't be imposed upon.

For now, all the neighbors can do is organize and persist. Their request to oppose the zoning change will first go to the Planning Board, which will then send a recommendation to the City Council for a final decision. To join the group or follow this development, check out the "Save University Park" facebook group.

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