Us

Portsmouth Now is a nonprofit organization in New Hampshire devoted to protecting the unique but fragile character and quality of life of Portsmouth and encourage appropriate development amid a growth explosion. It was founded by a longtime community journalist in 2013 and incorporated as a nonprofit in January, 2014. We have no members, only supporters. Our goal is to focus public attention on the need for transparency in city government, the city’s need to comply with the conflict of interest and financial disclosure requirements of the City Charter, its archaic zoning laws and its lax land use boards.

We feel the city desperately needs conflict of interest and land use rules that benefit the people of Portsmouth – not just the interests of developers or their paid representatives. And we’re not just talking the downtown core, but throughout the city, including all our neighborhoods. While not well-funded, we know we can make a difference.

Portsmouth Now invites sharp-eyed readers to notify us ASAP about any errors , and we will correct them immediately. Only journalist Clare Kittredge speaks for Portsmouth Now! Beyond this Portsmouth Now! website and our specific Portsmouth Now Facebook page and Twitter feed (@portsmouthnow1), no other individual, group or web operation speaks for Portsmouth Now!  

 

20 thoughts on “Us

  1. Anna

    THANK YOU for making this blog/site. I just read about it in the paper -and this is an issue that many of my friends and I comment on often. That is, that the city planning/zoning and regulating and overall development is out of control. WHile growing with the times, keeping a strong tax base and business balance is important to the health of a community -SO IS THE QUALITY OF LIFE for it’s RESIDENTS! I feel like the residents have become totally lost with the management/municipality’s focus nearly entirely on tourism has taken hold. (With a bit left for high-income residents). I work for the schools -and I’ll tell you that every time I tell people that nearly 30% of our students are on food subsidies they have a heart attack. “Here in PORTSMOUTH?” they ask… YES. My point – But you’d never know it because every low income neighborhood/complex is hidden form view -and our beautiful historic district and main streets are -just that beautiful. They are cut off from all other neighborhoods even and become their own enclosed compounds. It’s not a healthy vision for development, nor one which builds or values community at large. Only select parts of the community.

    While I’m glad we’re preserved much of the historic district (barring some issues of course) and we have made our city palpable to tourism, many of our residents are lost in the process -unheard, unconsidered. WHile we have our model of Portsmouth Listens and other seemingly progressive forums, it seems still so much falls on deaf ears.

    Many families struggle to stay here due to rising costs, and some want to move due to constant construction, over development and other concerns.

    Anyway -I could go on. But thanks for initiating this site, and I’llbe keeping an eye on it, and sharing it with friends.

    Reply
    1. gg

      How does one get in touch with the organizers of this group? Make suggestions for the site? There is no contact information, that I can find, for the group on the PortsmouthNow.org site.
      Thank you for keeping issues important for the people of Portsmouth in the limelight!!

      Reply
  2. Lenore

    Take care with regard to city officials. As they see a grassroots swell emerging, they will try to ingratiate themselves with those who they see as leaders. Will talk in terms of democratic exchange between officials and residents. (e. g., “Portsmouth Listens”).This is done 1) to gain control of and stifle successful public opposition to their city hall/developer juggernaut. 2) in the case of elected officials, to gain a readymade voter block.
    This is exactly what happened to the now basically defunct Citywide Neighborhood Groups, an originally strong grassroots organization that opposed overdevelopment, particularly on the residential northwest side of Portsmouth.

    As a Portsmouth resident I have attended and spoken at many meetings of city boards, committees, commissions, city council, and have approached city leaders personally since 1985.
    Be aware that overt participation can have consequences with regard to how you are perceived and treated by city officials. There are often repercussions for individuals. All the more reason your efforts to build a tight, supportive network throughout the city, independent of city hall, are welcome and essential to our survival as a quality community.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Shaun Rafferty

    Portsmouth’s parking problem is a symptom of over-development

    In an issue of The Wire, a Portsmouth newspaper, published the week of January 11-17, 2012, Portsmouth’s Major Eric Spear is quoted as saying that the city must “work with the private developers to make sure the things that they’re developing are in harmony with what the Portsmouth community wants to have going forward.” The mayor continued “ my number one priority is for the residents.”

    I am a Portsmouth resident. Apparently I am the mayor’s number one priority.

    Yet the over-development in downtown Portsmouth and the parking problem that it has created are not in harmony with I want going forward. Taller and larger buildings, forcing small businesses out of our downtown, and building a taxpayer financed garage in a residential neighborhood are not my idea of progress.

    Contact your city councilors, join local organizations, and attend the meetings of our city’s land use boards and Historic District Commission. Let your views be heard regarding over-development in Portsmouth before it’s too late.

    Shaun Rafferty

    Portsmouth, NH

    Reply
  4. Shaun Rafferty

    All of Portsmouth is my neighborhood

    I do not live in the South End but I consider the South End to be my neighborhood. All of Portsmouth is my neighborhood.
    John Donne famously wrote in 1624: “No man is an island … each man’s death diminishes me.” Similarly no neighborhood is an island. If one of Portsmouth’s residential neighborhoods is diminished by commercial encroachment, such as a municipal garage being built in the South End, every neighborhood and everyone living in Portsmouth suffers.
    The people of Portsmouth must defend each and every one of our residential neighborhoods against commercial encroachment. Those living along Woodbury Ave or Islington Street must defend their South End neighbors, equally those in the South End must defend those living along Woodbury Ave or Islington Street when those neighborhoods are threatened.
    Every individual neighborhood in our city is part of our Portsmouth neighborhood.
    Help protect Portsmouth’s neighborhoods. Contact notparrott@hotmail.com and support Portsmouth’s residential neighborhoods by attending next Monday’s Portsmouth City Council meeting. If you wish to speak at this City Council meeting try to get there at 6:30 PM.
    Thank you all for caring about our neighborhoods.
    Shaun Rafferty

    Reply
  5. Shaun Rafferty

    PORTSMOUTH’S GOVERNMENT HAS LOST CONTROL OF DEVELOPMENT
    The recent and ongoing building of very large buildings in Portsmouth’s Northern Tier has been and continues to be overwhelming.
    The latest development plan is for a massive building, which would be built at 111 Maplewood Ave, near the former location of the Portsmouth Herald. The developer envisions 70 two bedroom apartments, two restaurants and possibly additional retail stores being located here.
    The developer’s representatives recently told the city’s Technical Advisory Committee that he plans to provide only 105 on-site parking spaces. Most of these expensive apartments probably will be occupied by at least two adults, each with their own car. For the apartments alone 140 parking spaces should be required, not 105.
    Apparently Portsmouth’s government does not even require the developer to consider the parking needs of the staff and customers of the planned restaurants and retail stores. The developer’s tenants and their customers need not worry however, the taxpayers of Portsmouth will probably build as many municipal garages as the developers desire.
    Clearly the city government of Portsmouth has lost control of development. Our taxes rise every year and the quality of life of many of Portsmouth’s residents gets worse. Yet some of our city councilors seem to want the taxpayers of Portsmouth to pay for the building of more municipal garages so that the developers can get richer. It’s great to be a developer in the “City of the Open Door.”
    Starting today, we need a moratorium on commercial development in our downtown.

    Reply
  6. Shaun Rafferty

    Portsmouth Listens’ Transportation Dialogue, which includes our parking situation, starts next Wednesday May 15 at 6:30 p.m. with an information session at city hall.
    Everyone is invited and urged to attend.
    Portsmouth Listens is a neutral facilitator, which attempts to get community members together to discuss their often differing views. Hopefully from these discussions, we all can see what the community as a whole thinks about these issues.
    As in past dialogues, both the majority and minority views of the participants will be published in a special section of the Portsmouth Herald and presented to the City Council.
    I have been a member of the Portsmouth Listens Steering Committee for a number of years and have always found the process to be fair and informative.
    I encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming dialogue, and engage with other members of our community.
    Let the rest of our community, particularly our City Council, know your views on the transportation and the parking situations in Portsmouth. Participate now before more decisions are made without anyone hearing from you.

    Shaun Rafferty

    ———————-..

    Reply
  7. Shaun Rafferty

    Portsmouth’s city government has lost control of development
    The recent and ongoing building of very large buildings in Portsmouth’s Northern Tier has been and continues to be overwhelming.
    The latest development plan is for a massive building, which would be built at 111 Maplewood Ave, near the former location of the Portsmouth Herald. The developer envisions 70 two bedroom apartments, two restaurants and possibly additional retail stores being located here.
    The developer’s representatives recently told the city’s Technical Advisory Committee that he plans to provide only 105 on-site parking spaces. Most of these expensive apartments probably will be occupied by at least two adults, each with their own car. For the apartments alone 140 parking spaces should be required, not 105.
    Apparently Portsmouth’s government does not even require the developer to consider the parking needs of the staff and customers of the planned restaurants and retail stores. The developer’s tenants and their customers need not worry however, the taxpayers of Portsmouth will probably build as many municipal garages as the developers desire.
    Clearly the city government of Portsmouth has lost control of development. Our taxes rise every year and the quality of life of many of Portsmouth’s residents gets worse. Yet some of our city councilors seem to want the taxpayers of Portsmouth to pay for the building of more municipal garages so that the developers can get richer. It’s great to be a developer in the “City of the Open Door.”

    Reply
  8. Tom D'Evelyn

    As of today it is clear that to win this battle you must aim at an almost invincible target: The Chamber of Commerce. They will do anything to get a parking garage at The Worth Lot. They are behind the model of profit upon which the over-development of Portsmouth depends. They want to break the will of the mere householders of Portsmouth. They don’t consider them “stakeholders” because they do not generate profit. Failure to undermine their authority (along with Bohenko’s) will probably doom the public movement to take back Portsmouth.

    Reply
  9. Shaun Rafferty

    Portsmouth’s City Council should immediately strengthen our city’s land use ordinances “to protect the soul of the city.”
    The Portsmouth Herald’s editorial writers, who may or may not live in Portsmouth, wrote on May 12, 2013:
    “The passions bubbling up are real and respectable. The concerns to protect the soul of the city is laudable. However, the best course of action is not to pursue a moratorium, but to get to the heart of the matter and that is adjusting zoning to guide what is determined to be acceptable development.”
    It does appear that a one-year moratorium on development projects larger than 5,000 square feet would require a long legal procedure. In the interim, Portsmouth’s City Council should immediately strengthen our city’s land use ordinances to limit the amount, height and mass of future building projects “to protect the soul of the city.”
    The residents of Portsmouth can’t afford to wait for another study. The City Council should act now to tighten our land use ordinances and hold the developers responsible for the problems they have created.

    Reply
  10. Shaun Rafferty

    Portsmouth’s Master Plan sets forth the following Vision for Portsmouth.
    “Portsmouth should be a livable, walkable city that preserves its history, lives in balance with its natural resources, protects its waterfront and views, provides a good climate for entrepreneurial opportunity, acts on its belief in socio-economic diversity through affordable housing and connects neighborhoods through multiple and innovative modes of transportation. Portsmouth should consciously support its local arts and culture and take steps to build community through citywide events, enhanced and beautified common living and recreating spaces and neighborhood connectedness. In these ways, Portsmouth will remain the most historic and most passionate city in New Hampshire.”
    It would appear that no one in Portsmouth’s city government has read our Master Plan or they simply have chosen to ignore it.

    Reply
  11. NorthMillPondLee

    FIRST;
    Would someone please (who has the applicable talents and skills) make a calendar of upcoming events/meetings (PortsmouthNow, HDC, Planning etc…) for this fabulous site! The Portsmouth Herald announces meetings on the actual “day of the meeting”. That’s not always enough time to plan for babysitters etc…
    SECOND;
    Is there any reason why the HDC and other boards don’t use a simple balloon float to show city officials and residents alike, how the appearance of building heights will be affected.
    There is an example from the town of Westwood in this article
    ( http://www.wickedlocal.com/westwood/news/x458485738#axzz2UcNJk3nn ).
    It seems like it would be a reasonable demand that wouldn’t require too much effort. It would also be a stark and instant display of city views. I cannot see an argument against it.
    THIRD;
    Clare Kittredge, I don’t even know you, but you are my hero!

    Reply
  12. Chris Greiner

    Looking for Presenters!

    In response to all the recent discussion and debate about the changing character of our downtown our organization, 3S Artspace, is inviting residents of the Seacoast to present (and, of course, attend) at our upcoming PechaKucha night on July 24 where people will be given 20 images and 20 seconds per image to share their ideas about their “ideal” downtown.

    Follow this link for more details and information on how you can participate: http://www.3sarts.org/news_and_events.cfm?sarticleID=32

    Thanks,
    Chris

    Reply
  13. Charlie McCormack

    For what its worth, someone else is emailing spam from “portsmouthnow@gmail.com” – just received this today: please do not click “click now” at the bottom!
    “hello,
    check out the new file uploaded just for you
    to view this secure message you need to Re-login
    for security purpose

    click here to view”

    Reply

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