KITTERY Petition Hearing CHEERS AND JEERS and other things.

Highlights and observations from the Kittery Special meeting July, 13th, 2022 to discuss the petition to repeal the Mixed Use Zone and return it to the Business Park.

One of the reasons we need to question everything from our elected officials is that the truth could become inconvenient to their narrative. I believe that in a recent case, it was evident when the Town or a Town Councilor appeared to be less than forthright and wordsmithed the opinion of the Town lawyer, obviously my opinion. In this case, I believe that the Town’s lawyer’s legal opinion letter must have been inconvenient to the Towns narrative.

Take for instance during the public hearing on Wednesday July 13, 2022 at 6 p.m. held at the KCC. Kittery Town Councilor Judith Spiller appeared to make four overt public statements repeating that the Business park ordinance the petitioners wanted to use had two types of errors, some correctable and others not, some errors that can’t be corrected which were problematic and non correctable serious errors. I beleive that the letter should have been read for the public. Watch it for yourself.

Spiller made this statement at least four different times as well as suggesting that the sewer assessment would be affected. Spiller forgot about the 300 units 1.8 million dollar sewer impact fee that is not affected by this ordinance and Kittery is on track to receive.

Keep in mind that the Town hired and spent your tax money on this legal opinion, which concluded: “In conclusion, except as it relates to any amendment to the Zoning Map, I recommend that the Council make the minor corrections to the Petitioned Ordinance outlined above to assure accuracy in its text and references and clarity and precision in its phraseology. I did not find any repetitive, illegal, or unconstitutional provisions. Philip R. Saucier” (I have attached this Town Attorney legal review letter to this article.)

You should note that original Business Park ordinance was in place since 28 May 2008, and reviewed by previous Town Attorneys, voted on by the Council after workshops and public hearings with the Planning Board.

Spiller, an experienced member of the Town Council, apparently did not note nor question these errors during those years or suggest that the ordinance was full of legal errors. In fact, since 2008 to 2018, I can’t recall she never once questions the so-called errors of the ordinance. Spiller was even a member of the Planning Board for a few years as well.

This previous Business Park ordinance was in fact in effect for ten years through the tenure of at least three Town Managers who apparently also failed to discover any legal issues, errors or omissions. However, Spiller still pushed her statement. To do what exactly?

Thank goodness that we have lawyers, who are intelligent enough to review these legal documents, ordinances, other correspondence and even acts and make unbiased legal opinions. Spiller had in her possession the most current legal document from Bernstein Shur, dated July 6 th , 2022, which clearly stated that the Petition Ordinance had no legal issues except for some minor changes that could be done by amendments. Town Attorney, Philip R. Saucier writes “I recommend that the Council make the minor corrections to the Petitioned Ordinance outlined above to assure accuracy in its text and references and clarity and precision in its phraseology.”  See Lawyers letter below.

Town Attorney, Saucier goes on to add, “I did not find any repetitive, illegal, or unconstitutional provisions. Philip R. Saucier”

Residents need to be alert, carefully examine, and watch the Town Council, the Town Manager, the Planning Board; and, especially Chairperson Spiller as this moratorium takes hold or as reviews of this ordinance and others take place; as well as any other legal opinions that are requested and delivered. Be sure to read them yourselves and hold them all accountable, ensure they tell the truth and not bend the truth.

Wordsmithing is irresponsible, for even the change of a comma or verbiage by this Council, Town Manager or Planning Board could bring an unwarranted change.

Remember, when the truth is inconvenient to a narrative, you need to be extra vigilant.


The standing ovation from the crowd was directed at local resident Ethan Bensley who gave the most compelling speech of the night. See Below. Upon ending the speech, many of the attendees gave a standing ovation and the room went wild with applause.

Watch the next video with regard to other issues during the night: Councilor Clark, who during the night reminded residents of what could be, in his opinion. Clark in essence told the crowd, be careful what you wish for because an AMAZON Warehouse could come and there is no going back. Did Clark forget about the will of the people or another petition?

Later Clark, who appeared agitated even told a local resident named Mr. Goodson who was voicing his opinion, to “go! hit the road, hit the road” as Clark gestured the hand motion with a sliding thumb. Yes! he may have interfered with the free speech of a citizen. Albeit, Mr. Goodson may have been out of order, but he was respectfully vocal and excited at the time. Council Spiller commented as well and also told Goodson to leave.

Kittery deserves Town Councilors who will show up to these meetings; do their homework before they come to the meeting; tell the truth; share whatever information (however sparse) they may have and do more than rubber stamp agenda items; and, if they make a mistake, fix it before it is irreversible. Incidentally, Vice Chair George Dow and Cameron Hamm did not show for whatever reason. The Chair did not publically excuse them. Planning board members were also missing.

Some of the Planning Board members were not present and even one even sat in the audience and recused himself. That’s a whole other story about being a citizen as well as a member of a board. Five Town Councilors were present but Chairperson Spiller called out that six voted in favor. Another mistake? This needs to be corrected in the official record.

Then the most shocking part of the night, the moment a person speaking on behalf of the project began to speak about the things that could go into the business park. Spiller asked him to move it along and told him “your gonna lose the audience” and he then uttered the the words in front of the audience, “that’s okay I am not worried about that.”  The crowd went wild, then Spiller tried to regain control of the crowd by rapidly and repeatedly landing severe blows of the gavel to the table as she hollered “please”. Watch this next video.

Moans from the audience could be heard as Spiller for what-ever reason, found it necessary to read letters from other neighboring community leaders supporting the project. Did she consider that these people did not want this monstrosity in their town? How are their letters germane to the wishes of the people from Kittery? Why were they even read, they are not even residents of Kittery? Did these neighboring community leaders have something to gain if the project went forward?

There is solace in the fact the citizens won, but we should not have had to fight this plan or ordinance. In retrospect, it was a mistake when it was changed and the council should have listened to the people and the impact should have been foreseen, but at least it is fixed now.

In fairness, project developer Sheila Grant seemed to suggest that today , July 13, 2022, the day of the public hearing (today, that is what she said) they launched a website that had information and FAQ’s for people to read the benefits of the proposed project. “We have a lot of meaningful information and we think that people aren’t properly educated, so we’d like to do that,” she said at the meeting. The website is  

What is next you might ask? Well, you can make sure the Town does it right this time, and other people suggested rezoning the business park as residential only, require that department heads live in Kittery, perhaps lower Kittery’s taxes? Anything is possible.


Below is the Letter from the Town Lawyer covering the petition: