The Portsmouth Now! Action Plan For Sustainable Growth includes the following goals:
SAVE PORTSMOUTH’S FLAVOR! ACTION PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
HEIGHT AND DENSITY LIMITS: An immediate emergency slowdown by enacting a 35-foot height limit (with “special use permit” for rare exceptions) and strict density limits downtown. The City Council recently okayed a 45-foot limit and “conditional use permit,” a much lower bar immediately circumvented by the HDC.
IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY ON LAND USE BOARDS: Restore public trust in the city’s land use boards by improving transparency. Like many cities, require all Portsmouth land use board members to fill out the same financial public disclosure forms required of the City Council and School Board. We need Planning Board, Board of Adjustment and Historic District Commission members who want to protect the city’s authentic historic character, rare views and low skyline
FIGHT FOR THE FEDERAL BUILDING: Stop the waffling and get the McIntyre Building for the city—as arranged 10 years ago by an inspired bill championed by GOP US Senator Judd Gregg—by hiring a tough DC lobbyist to fight for it. Not only would this benefit the public as the bill requires half of it to be devoted to public use, it could help ease downtown parking problems and supplement a garage outside the city center.
MORE TRANSPARENT PLANS AND IMPROVED PUBLIC ACCESS: Require accurate, honest plans in electronic form to be immediately posted online so the public can see them. Make plans visible to tv viewers during board meetings and work sessions. Notify abutters and post all meeting minutes in a legally timely way.
MAKE DEVELOPERS PAY FOR ALL THEIR PARKING; NO ON DOWNTOWN PARROT OR WORTH LOTS: Reduce downtown parking problems by tightening parking requirements for developers instead of asking property taxpayers to finance new downtown parking garages. No on taxpayer-funded parking garages on the Worth or Parrott lots, sure to draw thousands more cars downtown; make Portsmouth more bicycle-friendly instead.
EXPAND FORM-BASED ZONING AND HISTORIC DISTRICT TO STRESSED NEIGHBORHOODS: Expand form-based zoning efforts and the Historic District where appropriate to other Portsmouth neighborhoods that are under stress from over-development, such as all of Islington Street, Lafayette Road and Woodbury Ave.
MAKE DEVELOPERS PAY FOR DIGS ON DEVELOPMENT SITES: Automatically require big developers to finance archaeological digs on development sites so historic treasures do not get lost. A change to state law passed in June (2013) and taking effect next Jan. 1 will let New Hampshire communities require protection of archaeological artifacts during the development process. A federal law requiring an archaeological evaluation kicks in when federal money or permits are involved.