Concern over the Dennett Road site of a proposed performing arts center yielded a nice turnout of 50 or more residents of the neighborhood to listen to the developers and their proposals.
The meeting was civil but at times concerning. The presentation was received well and many questions were asked. This was more or less a workshop to hear citizen concerns. They assured the crowd that there has been no agreements with anyone from the Town. They were doing this on their own to get feedback and answer questions.
One main concern was the center coming on-line and then transferring ownership to some other company coming in, not paying taxes or maybe then a Casino comes.
The Town Charter has a provision of NO Casinos. So this concern should not be an issue. Many of the questions were as follows.
1. What about the drugs and crime coming?
2. What about the parking on the side roads?
3. Will the Center lower our taxes?
4. Will the abutting residential properties values be hurt?
5. How will the events affect traffic on Dennett Rd?
6. How will the traffic be affected by the already congested Rte 236 traffic?
7. Will the events or people coming to the events bring more revenue to the Town?
8. Will the events help other business?
9. What if you build it and leave, will someone else do things we did not agree to?
10. Are you a non-profit organization and getting away with not paying property taxes in Kittery.
11. Are you local residents to the property.
12. Has any agreements been made with the Town?
13. What if the noise is too loud and you decide your test did not support the site, what then?
14. Do you really care what we think?
15. Would you consider abandoning your outside concert idea and build only the inside one.
16. What about parking being 700 spots for 2600 seats?
17. If your paying taxes and then it is sold to a non-profit, could Kittery loose property taxes?
18. Who decides what types of Plays and concerts will be held here. i.e. Soft Country bands give way to heavy metal rock bands.
19. How does this affect other venues, i.e. Prescott Park, Music Hall, Star Theater at KCC. etc.?
20. Will you keep us (the residents) informed?
other topics included
a. How the access would be and from where?
b. If the there would be access from I-95?
c. Police and fire services for events.
d. Comparing it to other venues and communities.
e. Beta, temporary type trial Concert tests this summer.
f. Traffic counts of 300 and the real data comparisons.
g. Updating their website with a little more accurate information. i.e. only one resident that would be affected by traffic on Dennett Rd.
h. Certain misquotes in the local newspaper.
The vision was nicely presented and the group seemed to have many of the answers but were enlightened to additional concerns. The residents were prepared and asked very detailed questions. More to come. When it ended, many of the residents thanked the group for their efforts to listen and answer questions.
The promoters were told to be forthright with the residents and keep it all transparent.
Perhaps we can stream the next meeting.
Previous article in the Portsmouth Herald.