Three look for seats on Town Council
Jeffery Brake and Judith Spiller are running to retain their seats on the council, while Kenneth Lemont is looking to usurp one of the two incumbents.
Brake said he is running on a platform of transparency, with the hopes of increasing communication between town departments.
“I always have an open door policy, you can always call me,” Brake wrote in an e-mail. “I may not always agree with the policy or procedure but I don’t like back door policy making. I’m here to ask the questions to the department heads so we all know what is going on in town.”
Spiller, an administrator at the University of New Hampshire and a Kittery resident for 22 years, believes her point of view and approach to town government is important as Kittery addresses pressures to develop.
“That point of view combines a commitment to fairness and respect in council deliberations and to maintaining Kittery as an affordable and attractive place to live and raise a family,” Spiller wrote in an e-mail.
Spiller sees the largest issue the town is facing in coming years is how to pay for the services and amenities residents want without fundamentally changing Kittery’s character.
“We need to increase revenues by expanding commercial opportunities, where appropriate,” she said, adding the business park along Interstate 95 is a good example, and the approval of sewer line extension makes areas near Route 236 and the Route 1 Bypass more attractive. “We need to take advantage of low-impact opportunities and to look to surrounding communities to achieve economies of scale through sharing.”
Spiller also said development needs to be controlled so the town retains its rural character and diverse environment near Spruce Creek and the waterways and beaches.
“Growth is inevitable,” she said. “But how, where and at what rate will shape the future of Kittery.”
Lemont, a lifelong Kittery resident, former state representative and state senator, has been on the School Committee for seven years and believes it’s time for others to serve on both the School Committee and Town Council.
“I am thrilled that so many fine candidates have stepped forward to run for the School Committee,” Lemont wrote in an e-mail, adding that striking a balance between property taxes and the priorities of residents is key for the town. “I would like to think the citizens of Kittery believe my knowledge and experience of the town would be an asset to the Town Council.”
Lemont also believes the growth of the Kittery Foreside may be a little too fast, “to the point of not recognizing the neighbors,” he said.
“I believe everyone recognizes what a vibrant area of town the Foreside has become but we must also recognize that there will be numerous issues going forward that will need to be addressed. The most obvious being parking,” Lemont said. “I believe the council’s role would be to take the lead and meet with all the stakeholders on a monthly basis.”
Brake is looking to improve the town’s efficiency in the coming years, making it potentially a more attractive destination for businesses.
“Sometimes it takes six to eight weeks for anything to happen,” Brake said. “Businesses want to come to Kittery but they seem to have to go through a lot of hoops. Better communications with the departments would help that.”
Brake also sees the continued development of the Kittery Foreside to be “amazing,” and that the town needs to continue to support local business.
“The Foreside Committee saw the potential and did a great job,” Brake said. “Local business is important. Let’s not tax them out of our town.”
Spiller also had faith in the Foreside Committee to continue to responsibly develop the area, while also seeing a future where the Foreside, Kittery Community Center and Post Office Square could be better connected.
“My guess is that small business development will move up Route 1 and will also continue in the Post Office Square area,” Spiller said. “Some form of transportation that links the Kittery Community Center – a big positive for Kittery – the Foreside and the Post Office Square area could reduce (vehicular) traffic and bring more people, including Kittery residents, to those resources.”
Spiller also mentioned the concern of parking and the safety of pedestrian traffic, and that increased foot traffic means a perimeter site has to be identified for parking or alternate transportation needs to be provided.