Portland Planning Board Hears Proposed Roux Campus Neighbors During First Public Release of Proposal

Portland’s planning board on Tuesday heard from neighbors of the proposed Roux Institute after its developers, IDEALS, scaled back plans due to residents’ concerns about the size of the campus, the height of its buildings and the traffic it might generate. The promoters of Roux are asking for a zoning change to allow the institute to expand over time. Carol Schiller has lived in the neighborhood for 32 years and thinks the project should go ahead without further cuts because it will help Maine keep high-tech talent in the state.

“I urge you to step forward and support this groundbreaking gift to the state of Maine. Roux’s vision is one that will transcend our lives. I support this development knowing that the neighborhood will survive and thrive,” a said Schiller.

Other residents still object to the size and scale of the proposed campus.

Matthew Noone of East Deering, owner of a software company, said he understood the shortage of skilled talent and lack of housing. But he doesn’t support the developers’ vision for the campus on the former B&M Factory site.

“IDEALS’ Chris mentioned earlier the need for Roux to have a substantial campus. A substantial campus on this ground is mind-boggling,” Noone said.

Noone, who was one of the speakers at Tuesday night’s planning board meeting, said several 650-unit buildings were not suitable for the site.

If approved by the City of Portland, the Roux Institute will be a graduate school and research center built on the former site of the B&M Baked Bean factory.

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