South Portland Progress



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(Updated Dec 2023)

CR 1.1 Resilient New Development

Integrate resilience standards and targets into Portland and South Portland’s land use code to minimize flood risk and promote resilient buildings and neighborhoods citywide.

Status: In Progress

Update: Completed a dynamic coastal flood inundation model for South Portland; held 3 workshops and 4 walks through the Coastal Resilience project, which will use the modeling to integrate into the Comp Plan update; aiming to develop a Climate Resilience Zoning Overlay and LID Ordinance in 2024. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestones: No new incompatible, vulnerable, or hazardous uses built in areas of highest flood risk by 2026 (with adoption of resilience overlays)

CR 1.2 Resilient Existing Buildings

Build knowledge, tools, and resources on climate risks and adaptation options for buildings and property.

Status: In Progress

Update: Convening a staff team to develop an integrated planning for resilience measures across City departments. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestones: All city residents have access to tools to assess future flood risk to property by 2026; Maine real estate flood risk disclosure required by 2026

CR 1.3 Resilient Open Space Planning

Establish open space climate resilience goals and protocols for monitoring process towards those goals in Portland and South Portland’s open space planning.

Status: In Progress

Update: Adopted and revising an ordinance (Ch. 2) for open space protection; adopted park and open space zoning districts that reflect current and future land use intentions; updated Open Space Acquisition Fund to acquire new or augment existing open space parcels. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestones: Benchmark ecosystem and resilience metrics for open spaces and establish performance goals by 2028

CR 2.1 Housing Affordability and Resilience

Continue to expand access to resilient and energy efficient affordable housing, contributing to diverse and inclusive communities.

Status: In Action

Update: Planning commissioned a Housing Needs Assessment to document existing housing conditions, identify market and other forces that affect supply and demand, and identify gaps in maintaining equitable access to housing; Council adopted goals; Planning overhauled ADU requirements, is implementing LD 2003, expanding density bonuses, streamlining 4-units to go through Code Enforcement Dept only, and writing a Housing Trust Fund Manual.  (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Establish affordable housing goal through comprehensive plan or standalone process*

*South Portland-specific milestone

CR 2.2 High Heat Mitigation

Expand the “cooling capacity” of Portland and South Portland.

Status: In Progress

Update: Council adopted Tree Protection Ordinance in 2023; pursuing funding for a Tree Plan and Canopy Assessment in FY25. 

Key Milestone: All residents live within a half mile of a cooling center by 2035; all residents live within a half mile of a park or open space by 2035

CR 2.3 Resilient Food Systems

Cultivate healthy, regenerative, and just food systems.

Status: In Progress

Update: Community garden established at Redbank in 2023; Park is updating the community garden at Hinkley Park in 2024 to add a food forest. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Establish small grants for food system innovators by 2025; secure funding to commission foodshed assessment by 2028; expand access to community agriculture to all neighborhoods to meet demand

CR 2.4 Transportation Access

Continue to prioritize decision-making processes and transit investments that advance equity in our cities.

Status: In Progress

Update: South Portland is part of GPCOG’s “Bus Ambassadors” program, which aims to help people, especially new Mainers, navigate using transit. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Address first round of proposals made by Community Transportation Leaders by 2026

CR 2.5 Neighborhood Resources

Support and strengthen our existing community resources.

Status: In progress

Update: – Revisiting Equity Atlas to overlay neighborhood-level social vulnerabilities, climate risks, and community assets; aiming to create a Sustainable Neighborhoods Program in 2024. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Award the first round of community organizations or neighborhood groups with resilience grants by 2025

CR 3.1 Resilient Working Waterfronts

Create an ongoing platform for collaborative planning to ensure that Portland and South Portland’s port and waterfronts can respond, adapt, and thrive with new climate stresses.

Status: In Progress

Update: Coastal Resilience project will aim to engage port entities; Waterfront Alliance continues to convene people around these topics. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Grant funding and partnerships secured for resilient working waterfronts project by 2026

CR 3.2 Workforce a Resilient Economy

Attract, mentor, and build the skills of our cities’ workers to partake in quality jobs that help build a diverse, resilient, and regenerative economy.

Status: Not Started

Update: None (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Targets set through the collaboration for net increases in individuals trained in specific sustainability and resilience fields

CR 3.3 Climate-Ready Industries and Innovation

Build the capacity of the businesses and industries in our cities to bounce back, adapt, and innovate.

Status: In Progress

Update: Economic Development Dept is promoting a harbor restoration project through public-private partnerships. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Revise land use policies to reduce barriers to traditional and merging marine related industries by 2026

CR 4.1 Stormwater Systems

Use modeling and flood data to upgrade the Cities’ stormwater and sewer systems to handle future climate scenarios.

Status: In Progress

Update: WRP continues to build its comprehensive asset management system: geospatial data for sewer systems is 95% complete and stormwater has manholes and pipe locations but is missing elevation data; an upgrade to the Pearl St Pump Station with two CSO separations and upstream gravity pipe up sizing are the next two major projects, followed by sludge dewatering, collection system upsizing, and sewer lining program; down the road stormwater utility fee is possible and WWTP and Willard Beach pump station will need to be looked at. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Full geospatial data set completed for sewer and stormwater system by 2024; hydrologic/hydraulic drainage model completed by 2028

CR 4.2 Green Infrastructure

Expand the use of green infrastructure systems to capture and infiltrate the first inch of stormwater in any storm.

Status: In Progress

Update: WRP is participating in the development of a regional model ordinance that will require new and redevelopment projects to implement LID strategies consistent with OCF resilience measures; could be incentivized with stormwater utility fee in the future.  (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: 5% of the cities’ impervious surfaces converted to green infrastructure by 2035; 10% by 2040; and 15% by 2050

CR 4.3 Energy Systems

Build Portland and South Portland’s energy resilience.

Status: Not Started

Update: None (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Development of Resilient Power Plan by 2026; all new development over 500,000 square feet to evaluate district energy/microgrids starting within one year of microgrid enabling legislation

CR 4.4 Transportation Systems

Adopt a risk-based transportation asset management approach.

Status: In Progress

Update: South Portland will continue to build out a complete geospatial inventory of transportation assets and add risk assessment to criticality and asset condition/lifespan measures. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Climate hazards and resilience indicators applied to all asset management decision-making by 2028

CR 5.1 Ecosystem Adaptive Management

Strengthen ecosystem resilience through enhancing connectivity, biodiversity, and healthy habitat.

Status: In Progress

Update: Parks Dept continues its campaign to remove invasive plants at City parks; completed a Willard Beach Master Plan in 2023; WRP continues to work closely with the Long Creek Watershed Management District to reduce stormwater pollution; WRP staff have been working closely with the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership to identify opportunities throughout the region for implementing living shoreline projects; Simonton Cove dune restoration and resilience project at Willard Beach. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Fertilizer ordinance adopted by 2022; No net coastal wetland loss by 2035; establish biodiversity and connectivity targets by 2028

CR 5.2 Soil Health

Build back the health of our soils for ecological vitality, water infiltration, and carbon sequestration.

Status: In Progress

Update: Adopted a fertilizer ordinance and soil standards for new development; successfully launched and completed our 100 Resilient Yards program in 2023. (Updated Dec 2023)

Key Milestone: Post-construction soil health standards adopted for new construction or major renovations by 2025; “100 Resilient Yards” achieved in each city by 2028