Before the November 2012 elections we mailed a questionnaire to future Portsmouth Town Council candidates of their opinions pertaining to Preserve Portsmouth’s goals for the future. Below are the responses. Make sure your Town Council members stay true to their word at the next meeting, on March 11th at 7:00 pm.

 

Portsmouth Town Council Candidate Questionnaire -2012

Question 1) Do you support the Aquidneck Land Trust’s proposal to conserve and enhance the Glen, and do you believe residents should be given a chance to vote on this proposal by April 30, 2013 the deadline set by the Town Council?

 

Answers from the candidates:

  • David M. Gleason- YES. Absolutely, I have endorsed a conservation easement for the Glen properties for some time now and had hoped that the question would have been on the ballot this November with wording…”approval subject to mutually agreeable contract language.” Answers received on 10/6/12.
  • John F. Blaess- YES. I do endorse working with the ALT proposal. That being said, with the property in question being at least 150 acres, with waterfront property, and the voters in town purchasing the Glen years back for around 6 million dollars, the ALT offer of 1 million needs to be discussed. The property at St. Mary’s was purchased by ALT for 3 million dollars and that was for 40-50 acres, not on the water. Answers received on 10/9/12.
  • Michael A. Buddemeyer- YES.  I do support ALT proposal as I support all of their efforts. I am in favor of preserving open space throughout Portsmouth. I would, however like to make sure that the town is making the best decision and assure the proposal includes a fair market price for this property. Answers received on 10/11/12.
  • Elizabeth A. Pedro- YES. Currently the Town Administrator is working with others on the proposal which I believe the voters need to review so they can make an informed decision. Answers received on 10/11/12.
  • Mary Donohue Magee- YES The Glen must remain as open space and Elmhurst School needs to be demolished. It was proactive of the ALT to offer to help offset the demolition. The town needs to analyze the details of the proposal and share it with the community for their concurrence. Answers received on 10/15/12.
  • Keith Hamilton- Yes, I support the effort to preserve the Glen with the generous offer from the Aquidneck Island Land Trust and look forward to closing this deal next year.  The entire Glen property is one of Portsmouth’s many jewels and need to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Answers received on 10/17/12.
  • James A. Seveney- Yes. This could be a good deal for the town. Looking forward to negotiating the terms of the deal so we can present the voters a fully articulated proposal. Answers received on 10/19/12.

 

Question 2) Do you believe that agriculture is an important part of Portsmouth in terms of providing local businesses, producing fresh foods, affording beautiful scenic vistas that distinguish Portsmouth and make it a desirable place to live, work and visit, limiting the amount of residential subdivisions that cause costly community service demands for the Town, serving as a direct link to the Town’s history, and other community benefits?

 

Answers from the candidates:

  • David Gleason- YES, I believe that Portsmouth’s farming heritage should be embraced and promoted as much as possible. I would like to see a Portsmouth Farmers Market, potentially at Glen Farm.
  • John Blaess- YES. No brainer, big supporter.
  • Michael Buddemeyer- YES.  I am in complete agreement farms are a vital part of Portsmouth’s heritage and must remain viable. Farms are less costly to the town and the residential proliferation must be slowed.
  • Elizabeth Pedro- Yes, all of the above. I might add that much of Portsmouth’s history is one of agriculture. Many Dutch farmers settled here to grow the nurseries because they recognized that we have such a unique climate and rich soil.
  • Mary Donohue McGee- YES. Agriculture is an important part of Portsmouth’s past, present and future. It is our heritage which we must preserve and celebrate.
  • Keith Hamilton- Yes. Portsmouth was built on farming and that tradition needs to continue.  As the world’s population continues to grow and weigh on our food supply it becomes even more important that we maintain local areas to grow food.
  • James A. Seveney- Yes. Retaining our agricultural heritage is essential for practical reasons, like self-sufficiency, as well cultural and environmental reasons.

 

Question 3) Do you support the Big Box regulations implemented in March of 2008 which state that no single retailer can build a big box store larger than 45,000 square feet? (Clements is approx. 31,500 sq.ft.)

 Answers from the candidates:

 

  • David Gleason- YES. I think that a 45,000 square foot building is the maximum size our citizens could live with, but plenty in size for any Big Box chain that might consider Portsmouth.
  • John Blaess- YES. Any industry we could get into town is a plus, but not larger than the above.
  • Michael Buddemeyer- YES. Portsmouth is a special place because of efforts such as this. Without these safeguards Portsmouth would no longer be a desirable community.
  • Elizabeth Pedro- YES. However, I think the limit should be a little less than that. Clement’s is a big building. I believe that at the meeting in March 2008, 35,000 square feet was proposed.
  • Mary Donohue Magee- Yes. I support the Bog Box regulations implemented in March of 2008.
  • Keith Hamilton- Yes, but I would have rather seen the ordinance implemented in the overall Comprehensive Community Plan rather than just an individual item.  As open space becomes more and more scarce it becomes more and more imperative to have a complete and updated plan.
  • James A. Seveney- Yes. Not at all interested in following the path other towns have. Large Box business gives us the headaches, and the state gets all the revenue.

 

Question 4) Do you support an effort to locate points of public access to the shore, and to have those points clearly marked?

Answers from the candidates:

  • David Gleason- YES. Definitely, and especially to preserve those that are being encroached upon by abutting property owners. I am currently working to preserve one in particular but know of several more.
  • John Blaess- YES. No brainer, we need to clearly mark these points, I believe that some are still unmarked.
  • Michael Buddemeyer- YES. I fully support public access to the shore. This is another feature that contributes to Portsmouth Charm. If we lose this we lose a part of what Portsmouth special.
  • Elizabeth Pedro- YES. This has always been an important issue in my family. I am liaison to the Conservation Committee, which is active in this effort. In fact, a right of way was dedicated in my father’s way in 2008:
    Pedro’s Cove Right of Way.
  • Mary Donohue McGee- YES I do support the initiative to locate points of public access to the shore and mark them. This would be a great effort and perhaps one that could be accomplished as part of the Portsmouth 375th birthday celebration.
  • Keith Hamilton- Yes, access to the shore is mandated by state law.  We have many, many access points but we need to work with CRMC to make sure they are properly marked and maintained.
  • James A. Seveney- Yes. We need to keep continued pressure on CRMC, the state designated agent for shoreline access, to do their job.

 

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