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Stop the 900 by letting your voice be heard on July 18

The Town Council is having a public hearing on July 18th, 2022 for the Citizen Referendum petition to essentially stop the 900 unit multi-unit residential project.

Be heard | MyLO

The citizen referendum petition was delivered to the Town of Kittery and submitted per the Town Charter for verification of the signatures. The required number of signatures was based on the last gubernatorial election which was held in Kittery in 2018. This number was 4984 based on the certified election results of Kittery.

In regards to this Citizen Referendum petition, a total of 654 signatures were collected. (although the town claimed 651 signatures were on the forms.) Either way, the charter says: (1) Voters of the town may at any time propose the enactment of any lawful ordinance by filing a petition stating the complete text of such ordinance, and signed by a number of qualified voters of the town totaling not less than 10% of the number of qualified voters of the town who cast votes in the previous gubernatorial election with the town clerk.

Therefore 499 signatures were needed. In this case, over 650 people signed the petition to repeal the current ordinance and return to the previous business park ordinance. The difference is that Cluster housing is allowed but MULTI-UIT residential is removed.

As a result of the Citizen initiative, the petition was certified as having the correct amount of signatures in excess of the required amount. I was told that 52 signatures were discounted due to either being ineligible, were citizens but not registered voters yet and other issues.

I was informed that on July 18th, 2022 The Town Council will have a public hearing on the matter. I am suggesting that you attend to vocalize your support for the change or if you oppose it. Let them hear your voice!

Your voice matters and this is a prime example of the power of the people. The council can act right then and vote to change the ordinance back to the original business park ordinance or move to hold a special election to settle the matter.

The petition reads as follows.

“Shall the Inhabitants of the Town of Kittery repeal Kittery Town Code Title 16, Land Use and Development, §16.3.2.10, Mixed-Use-Neighborhood, MU-N ordinance (lined out copy attached) herewith and replace with the original Business Park Zone ordinance (underlined copy attached) with immediate effect?” Yes or No

Download the ordinances below.

The council shall call a public hearing in the manner prescribed in § 2.14, subsection 2, to be held within 30 days from the date of the filing of such petition with the town clerk, and within 60 days after said public hearing hold a special town election for the purpose of submitting to a referendum vote the question of adopting such ordinance, unless prior to the election, such ordinance is enacted by the council in the manner prescribed for ordinances in general.
Such ordinance takes effect in the same manner as ordinances of the same kind adopted by the council, provided a majority of those voting thereon have voted in the affirmative. (Amended by vote of the
people 11-7-17)

STAY TUNED. Ourkittery would like to thank all 650 people who signed the petition, apologize to the many who we could not get to (you still have the opportunity to let the council know on July 18th, 2022 how your feel and hold them accountable) and to those who tirelessly helped collect the massive amount of signatures with many still wanting to sign. You know who you are so Thank you.

Citizen petition to “Stop the 900” delivered.

A citizen petition with over 650 signatures has been turned in to the Town Clerk. The petition calls for a referendum to return the current ordinance back to the old ordinance thereby removing the verbiage of multi unit residential. This should effectively stop the 900 units from going into the Dennett rd. parcel.

Although the signatures need to be verified, the Town Council can act to return to the older ordinance forgo and the special election or move it to the referendum vote.

It should be clear to the Council and the Town Manager Kendra Amaral that there is a lot of resentment concerning this development. This needs to happen within the next 30 days. This is per the Town Charter.

Surprisingly, today in the Portsmouth Herald is an article about Affordable housing and tagged on to the heading was “possibly Dennett Landing” essentially making several of the units work force housing. This appears to be a move by the Town to pull at the heart strings of the citizens and use the buzz words that support the project. Although the article clarifies this. A public hearing is scheduled for June 29th, 2022.

However, it is suspicious to say the least, that after the petition of over 650 signatures and even with a count of adding over 160 what was required to change this ridiculous project was delivered in hand to the Town Clerk and the Town as required by the Town Charter, this move Pops from the shadows.

In my opinion, The timing is suspect and the Town in their surreptitiously standard MO of pulling a fast one, should be advising the public they received the Citizen petition and are acting on it by the procedures set forth by the Town Charter and pause any activity concerning the preposterous behemoth project that could bring well over 1800 new residents, traffic, increasing our dumps capacity, over burdening our old sewer treatment plant, bring a potential onslaught of students to the schools, taxing our public service departments, and a litany of other issues.

Kittery needs to do the right thing. Stay tuned, because the magic show is about to begin on June 29, 2022.

The article today should be a testament that the Portsmouth Herald has missed the real story again and or the Town of Kittery has failed to report the news (again) to the press and hoping to get in front of the major dilemma it is now facing. Let’s begin with HONESTY.

Below is a snippet from the Portsmouth Herald.

Kittery moves to increase affordable housing. 90 units possible at Dennett Landing.


IAN LENAHAN   | Portsmouth Herald

KITTERY, Maine — Officials are moving aggressively to require affordable housing in town.

The Town Council will vote soon to expand a mandate requiring any development of five or more units to rent 10% of them at affordable rates. The rules would affect the proposed Dennett Landing development off Route 236, which could bring 900 housing units and upwards of 2,000 residents to town.

Kittery already requires affordable housing units — defined as no more than 30% of wages for people with moderate to low incomes — in certain zones of town. The new rules would expand this policy to the mixed-use neighborhood zoning district where Dennett Landing’s large-scale project is proposed.

Link to the Full Portsmouth Herald article.

More to come.

Kittery Citizen petition reaches 651 signatures.

The Kittery citizen petition circulated by several residents has surpassed the required amount of signatures. Per the Town Charter, 499 signatures were needed and 651 were obtained. This petition requires Council action and or force a binding referendum.

As it has been explained to me, the next step is a verification of signatures, legal review, then it goes to the Council for action where they will schedule a public hearing, recognize the will of the people, elect to save on the special election and change the ordinance back to the old ordinance, essentially removing Multi-unit residential and returning to Cluster Housing after that scheduled public hearing. If not changed, then it goes to a special referendum.

651$ Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Pursuant to Kittery Town Charter, Chapter 11, Section 11.02, Petition for enactment of ordinances, we the undersigned voters of the Town of Kittery herewith and hereby call for a special town election for the purpose of submitting to a binding referendum vote the question of adopting the following ordinance: “Shall the Inhabitants of the Town of Kittery repeal Kittery Town Code Title 16, Land Use and Development, §16.3.2.10, Mixed-Use-Neighborhood, MU-N ordinance (lined out copy attached) herewith and replace with the original Business Park Zone ordinance (underlined copy attached) with immediate effect?”

651 citizens said yes. “Subject to verification”

The Petition will be submitted by Thursday in time for the next Town Council Meeting. Be sure to stay tuned. Things happen when we are not paying attention.

Note: The citizen group will be maintaining copies of the petition.

Citizen referendum petition signatures from 9 to 11

We are at 1 Dennett rd today from 9 to 11 collecting signatures for the stop the 900 referendum petition. Stop by plenty of parking. This petition will require the town to have a special election to change the ordinance back to the original business park ordinance and essential remove the multi unit residential clause.

Located across from the food pantry and legion pond by old Mary’s store in James Corner. We will be here till 11 am

Continued Stop the 900 petition drive Saturday

If you have not yet signed the petition to call for a special election to return to the former ordinance that removes MULTI UNIT residential and replaces it with Cluster Housing. There will be a petition drive on Saturday. If you have not signed or have signed and can pass it on to friends and neighbors, this will hopefully be our final push for the amount of signature needed.

Do not delay. This petition needs your help.

Location, 1 Dennett Rd. Old Gas Station Parking lot.

Time 0900 to 1100 am. SATURDAY 6-11-2022 — Look for the sign.

Location at the James Corner next to the food pantry and Legion Pond

Is Climate Change too Late?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10889511/Earth-33-chance-limiting-global-warming-1-5-C-2029-study-warns.html

Is it already too late to stop climate change? Earth only has a 33% chance of limiting warming to 2.7°F by 2029 – even if ALL greenhouse gas emissions cease, study warns

  • Study shows what would happen to temperatures if emissions suddenly stopped
  • If emissions stop by 2029, there’s only 33% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C
  • And by 2057, there’s only a 33% chance of limiting warming to 2°C 

By SHIVALI BEST FOR MAILONLINE 

PUBLISHED: 11:00 EDT, 6 June 2022 | UPDATED: 11:19 EDT, 6 June 2022

The ambitious target of limiting global warming to 2.7°F (1.5°C) is looking less and less likely, a new study has warned.

Researchers from the University of Washington have calculated how much warming is already guaranteed based on past emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide, and aerosols like sulphur and soot.

Their findings suggest that by 2029, Earth has a two-thirds chance of at least temporarily exceeding warming of 2.7°F (1.5°C), even if all emissions cease on that date.

Meanwhile, by 2057, there’s a two-thirds chance that Earth will at least temporarily exceed warming of exceeding warning of 3.6°F (2°C), according to the team.

Read the full article for more information.

excerpt:

THE PARIS AGREEMENT: A GLOBAL ACCORD TO LIMIT TEMPERATURE RISES THROUGH CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.

It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.

It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions. 

1)  A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels

2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change

3) Governments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries

4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science

Source: European Commission 

Stop the 900 petition signature drive Saturday Morning

A petition gathering table will be set up at between 0900 and 1100 am on Saturday morning June 4th, 2022 at 1 Dennett Rd. to gather the last signatures to force a special election to revert to a previous Town Ordinance to stop the 900 UNIT multi-unit of Dennett Rd business park. It will be cancelled if it is raining.

499 signatures are needed based on the last gubernatorial election for force a special election referendum. The last batch of signatures will be collected at 1 Dennett Rd. saturday morning at the James Corner property. This location is known to the locals as the old Howard Gunnison’s Gas Station next to Sue’s Seafood. This is also near the Legion Pond at the end of Old Post road.

There are many great questions being asked and concerns being expressed. The petition will force a special election to force a vote to return to the old ordinance. One of the changes would revert back to allow cluster housing and not the multi-unit residential. The exact ordinance will be on hand to review.

Also, if you would like a form to help gather signatures, or sign the petition, email us at stopthe900@gmail.com. We will get them to you. Several residents are circulating the petition but more help would be appreciated.

Is Kit-TAX-ery a suburb of taxachussetts?

The Kittery Town manager, incidentally, a resident of Massachusetts has submitted another staggering budget to the Town Council. The Town Manager, says the increase in demand for community programs, challenges within the labor market, and a new town communications director is the impetus for the 2022 budget.

Amaral submitted the Kittery’s proposed the 2023 fiscal year budget of $16,681,394 to members of the Town Council last week. The budget proposal is a 4.47% increase over the $15,966,995 FY 2022 budget. Some residents ask, has there has been an consistent and significant rise in property taxes since Amaral has started working in Kittery?

Comparison History for the last few years.

In 2015, acting Town Manager Maryann Place on Monday night unveiled a proposed $12.2 million fiscal year 2014 municipal budget, up 5.5 percent over the current budget.

In 2016 Council passed a municipal budget of $12 million for fiscal year 2015, a 1.7 percent increase over the current year’s budget. Town Manager Nancy Colbert Puff was in charge.

In 2017, Kittery Town Council gets first glance of 2017 budget. The proposed town budget for the 2017 fiscal year would increase the property tax rate by 22 cents, a 1.4 percent increase over last year’s budget. Interim Town Manager Carol Granfield previewed the $28.6 million budget for the council for the first time at Monday’s council meeting. Kendra Amaral started shortly there after.

In 2018, the proposed FY18 budget, inclusive of municipal, school, and capital spending has a total increase in expenditures of $1,067,320, approximately 3.66% increase over the prior fiscal year.

In 2019, the proposed FY19 budget, inclusive of municipal, school, and capital spending has a total increase in expenditures of $1,374,716, an approximate 4.5% increase over the prior fiscal year. For comparison, the FY18 budget represented a $1,425,176 increase, or approximately 4.9%.

In 2020, Amaral initiated a reevaluation. As you recall, there were some who claimed it was a ruse to raise taxes. The tax rate had been experiencing significant pressure, in part due to assessed values being well below market values. In 2019, the Town launched a property revaluation effort to bring values closer to 99% of market. The Town’s valuation was certified at approximately 79% of market value with the prior year’s budget. The revaluation effort has resulted in a valuation growth of approximately $563M. Typically, annual value growth has averaged $15M. The mil rate for FY21 is projected to decrease $4 per thousand of value as a result of the revaluation. The proposed FY21 budget, inclusive of municipal operations and capital spending is decreasing $202,266 or approximately 1.34% reduction. Some say it was only smoke and mirrors and fuzzy math.

If the voters (usually a handful of the total of registered Town voters) approve the town and school budgets , owners of a Kittery home assessed at $422,000 would see their property taxes rise by $177.24.

Kittery is adding positions while residents are struggling. You have a say, it’s up to the people to say enough. Kittery has realized the high tax rates before and have tried many things to slow it and curb it. As an example, in 1987, the TAX CAP group came into being by concerned citizens to set a limit on tax increases. They sent a message that “enough was enough.” As with everything, it has it pros and cons. This set a ceiling on the taxes that the Town Manager and school department had to manage within.

Contact your elected officials below. Apparently Cameron Hamm and Cyrus Clark do not share their phone numbers. Click their names for the email links.

NameTermPhone
Judy SpillerChair11/08/21-11/11/24207-439-0637
George DowVice Chair11/09/20-11/13/23603-339-8468
Jeffrey Pelletier11/07/19-11/14/22207-703-8842
Cyrus Clark11/08/21-11/11/24
Cameron Hamm06/08/21-11/13/23
Mary Gibbons Stevens06/08/21-11/08/22207-752-0990
Colin McGuire11/08/21-11/11/24207-939-4963
https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/opinion/letters/2021/05/18/letter-additional-property-tax-increases-kittery-maine/514371000

In fairness, its not all the Town Managers fault, the school board shares the blame, the Council who approve it and rubber stamp uncontrolled spending and the voters who vote the budget in without questioning it.

Data received from the Portsmouth Herald, Kittery Town report, other web outlets.