The controversy over a proposed waterfront redevelopment project in Portland, Maine, took a new twist this month as a grassroots group calling itself “Save the Soul of Portland” gathered more than 2500 votes for a petition aimed at putting the rezoning of the parcel before the public in a referendum. The Portland Press Herald has a report (see: “Group submits signatures to stop rezoning of Portland Co. waterfront,” by Randy Billings).

Reports the paper: “Anne Rand, the group’s spokeswoman, said the group took the step of initiating a citywide referendum this November ‘reluctantly and as a last resort’ to preserve the ‘much-beloved views of the working waterfront and harbor’ overlooking 58 Fore St., which is scheduled for redevelopment.”

“Local developers Jim Brady and Casey Prentice, who along with Kevin Costello make up , bought the Portland Co. complex for $14 million in 2013 from Phineas Sprague Jr,” the paper reports. “They say that passing the referendum would doom the project.”

“Soul of Portland’s referendum will not only kill the 58 Fore St. project, but other thoughtful development as well, and in a time of housing supply issues and budgetary shortfalls, this referendum is both shortsighted and detrimental to all of Portland’s residents,” Brady said. “We’re building a strong, broad-based coalition committed to defeating the referendum.”