PORTSMOUTH — The group Preserve Portsmouth surveyed town council candidates on four issues this fall and has posted their responses on its website — http://preserveportsmouth.org/
Candidates were asked:
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?
All answered yes. Some said that townspeople ought to be allowed to vote on the matter (one said he was disappointed that the question isn’t on this November’s ballot), and several questioned whether the Land Trust’s $1 million offer is sufficient.
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?
All responded yes. Farms are part of the town’s character and appeal, some said, while others noted that farmland is less costly to the town in terms of services needed than residential property.
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.)
All answered yes. Several said they believe that the 45,000-square-foot standards is still too big, and one said the issue should be incorporated into the town plan, not addressed as a stand-alone regulation. “Big box stores do not belong in Portsmouth,” one said.
4. Do you support an effort to locate points of public access to the shore, and to have those points clearly marked?
Again, all said yes. Some comments:
“We live on an Island with a shore line second to none. It is a travesty not to have proper public access to the shore.” (Allen Shers)
“Yes. No brainer, we need to clearly mark these points, I believe that some are still unmarked.” (John Blaess)
“Yes, absolutely, but this is also, I believe, federal Law. (Fred Faerber)
“There are many ROW’s that have been encroached upon by the abutters. We need to return them to public use.” (Judi Staven)
“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. (Mary McGee)
“We need to keep continued pressure on CRMC, the state designated agent for shoreline access, to do their job.” (James Seveney)