Category Archives: General Town News

This is about Town Government news

Do you want your taxes to increase, take the survey

If the recreation project goes through, your tax rate is about to climb. This project represents almost 12 to 14 percent of the Town’s municipal budget. Kittery residents cannot afford to have its Town government keep spending and spending.

https://www.kitteryme.gov/projects/news/recreation-all

TAKE THE SURVEY BELOW.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/recreation-all

Kittery’s tax rate about to rise

Unless this dual project gets defeated, your tax rate is about to climb. The town claims that other bonds are coming to an end so no big deal but you should read between the lines. This project represents almost 12 to 14 percent of the Town’s municipal budget. Kittery residents cannot afford to have its Town government keep spending and spending.

The town manager who lives in Massachusetts needs to stop this needless spending. Then to top it all off, it’s scheduled for a town vote in June. June where the few hundred voters who seem to give a darn, show up to vote and most everything passes. Why is this not in November when it will be packed by voters voting for Trump and Biden. Don’t be fooled by the timing or scheduling of these town votes. This is well choreographed and orchestrated to pass. Read the proposals and start paying attention. Only about 40 people showed up to the last public event regarding this project. I for one have had enough and will vote no. Kittery can’t afford this. Take the survey in this attached link and let your voices be heard. Either way you feel, this needs to be in the public and voted during the regular election so Kittery is represented as a whole and not the few who perform civic duties in June.

https://www.kitteryme.gov/projects/news/recreation-all

Recreation For All

POSTED ON: FEBRUARY 14, 2024 – 2:48PM

Images of people recreating in different forms

The Town of Kittery is working collaboratively with the Kittery Athletics & Field Committee and the Kittery Community Center Board of Directors to provide community members with improved active recreation, passive recreation and athletic spaces throughout town.

Now it’s up to you to share your funding priorities to help guide the next steps.

Revitalization of Memorial Field

The Town of Kittery Youth Athletic Committee are working with engineers to develop a concept plan to improve Memorial Field.  The plan will help establish the most beneficial layout for fields and support spaces and address the growing needs of the site by incorporating a mix of turf and natural grass to support youth sports year-round.

Kittery Community Center Campus Master Plan

The Town of Kittery is developing a Campus Master Plan for the Kittery Community Center.  The plan will establish the most beneficial layout for passive and active recreation space, adequate parking and site circulation. 

The Campus Master Plan will help the KCC and Town plan for future capital investment in its outdoor spaces and amenities to support the strategic goals of the KCC and address the growing demands on the site. The Master Plan will help the Town invest wisely, by providing a comprehensive site layout and a phasing approach that maximizes the use of each outdoor component. The master plan will also support grant applications and fundraising for implementation.

Creating Recreation For All

The plans developed include concepts and ideas for both sites to improve and increase community usage, parking and flow, materials, amenities and more.  To view/download the Recreation For All informational flyers below, please click here.

Memorial Field
KCC
Recreation

Now it’s up to YOU to provide input and feedback on where your funding priorities lie for these concepts.

Share Your Funding Priorities

To help us understand your funding priorities for this project and guide next steps, please take the Recreation For All Survey.  The one (1) question survey should take 10 minutes or less to complete.  Please read through each page in the survey to get an overview of the project highlights, phases and cost options, before answering the survey question.

To take the survey, please click here or visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/recreation-all.

Upcoming Recreation For All Public Meetings

Join us at one of our upcoming Recreation For All public meetings to learn more about the project and share which features and designs matter most to you.

  • February 27, 2024 at 6:00 PM at the Traip Academy Library, located at 12 Williams Ave in Kittery.
  • February 29, 2024 at 6:00 PM at the Kittery Community Center Star Theatre, located at 120 Rogers Road in Kittery.

Recreation For All


Project Updates

Memorial Field Assessment & Master Plan – January 19, 2024

To view/download the Memorial Field Assessment & Master Plan, please click here.

Memorial Field Public Input Session – September 18, 2023

The Town of Kittery held a Public Input Session on September 18, 2023 at 6:00 PM in Council Chambers and Zoom.  The meeting was an opportunity to learn about the project, see the proposed layout designs and provide public feedback.

  • To watch the September 18, 2023 Public Input Session meeting video, please click here.
  • To download/view the meeting presentation slides, please click here.
Kittery Community Center Master Plan Final Report – May 15, 2023

To view or download the Kittery Community Center Master Plan Final Report, please click here.

Kittery Community Center Master Plan Public Input Session – April 12, 2023

On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the Town of Kittery hosted the KCC Master Plan Public Input Session in Council Chambers and Zoom.  The event provided an opportunity for the public to learn about the plan, see the proposed design layout and provide feedback.

The other side!

Date: 11/03/2023 5:06 PM EDT
Subject: Letter to the Editor

In response to Mr. Thomson’s letter about Kittery candidates not showing good judgement, we have known Chuck Denault for over 45 years, and always found him to be very honest and trustworthy. He is a Traip graduate who went on to serve the town as a police officer for many years and was promoted to Sergeant. Chuck also served for many years on the town council and was elected to Vice Chair. We have often watched the town council meetings and Chuck always seemed to be the voice of reason. Chuck is concerned with maintaining Kittery’s small town charm, assisting long term residents to stay in their homes and not be forced out by the seeming never – ending sprawl. In closing, we have known Chuck for many years, he is a hard working, good local guy with a proven track record of being honest, fair, and trustworthy. We feel it is also important to note that both Chuck Denault and Ken Lemont were found clear of any wrong doings and did nothing illegal while on the council prior. Chuck Denault and Ken Lemont did an excellent job while serving on the Kittery town council in the past and they both deserve to be re-elected.

Thank you,
Maurice (Bud) Patch,
Larry B. Estes,
Linda K. Patch,
Jacquelyn M. Emery,
(4 Kittery & Kittery Point residents)

Sound Judgement in Kittery!

November 3, 2023

To the Editor:

On Monday I read, with interest, the letter from Jeff Thomson regarding to former town council members both of whom are running for Town Council again. He claims they do not use sound judgement. He even goes so far as to insinuate that their actions of photographing two female employees were grounds for a lawsuit.

Let’s get the facts straight – Both Charles Denault and Ken Lamont were photographing the employees for one reason. The employees were leaving their jobs to run personal errands on the taxpayer’s dime. Their actions had the best interests of Kittery’s residents in mind. There was an investigation and both were cleared of any wrong doing.

He mentions they were instigated to do such because of other employees complaints. Of course there were complaints. I wouldn’t be happy if my coworkers did that either. If the town offices were being run properly in the first place it would not have been necessary. The town hall is rife with cronyism.

Charles Denault has spent years with the Kittery Police Dept retiring as Sergeant. He was voted to be the Town Council Vice Chair for three years running by his peers. They both have fought for senior property tax relief and to curb over development. That is enough proof of sound judgement for me.

Kim Sylvester

Kittery Point Maine

Kittery was unfair to Chuck Denault

Thank you to the Portsmouth Herald for the heading. Thank you to the 5 members of the DPW who showed courage to share their support for me and help set the record straight! They are the real heroes for trying to fix Kittery!

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/opinion/letters/2023/10/24/kittery-was-unfair-to-chuck-denault-letters/71229553007/

Portsmouth Herald Editorial

Kittery was unfair to Chuck Denault. We support him.

Oct. 18 − To the Editor:

We, the undersigned former Kittery, Maine, town employees, support Chuck Denault and his candidacy for election to the Kittery Town Council. Though much has been written by the Portsmouth Herald regarding his abrupt departure from the Kittery Town Council in 2021, very little was published pertaining to the employees that he assisted during that tenuous time.

We would like to take this opportunity to tell our side of the story. When our many and varied individual complaints to our direct supervisor, human resources and ultimately the town manager regarding theft, hostile work environments, retaliation, harassment, co-workers sneaking out of work when the boss was not there, time card fraud, nepotism and mismanagement along with an assortment of other complaints were not resolved or even believed, we had no one left to turn to except Councilor Denault. He advised us that he would personally take the information to the town manager per the town charter. This was well within the scope of his duties as a town councilor and our rights as employees.

Councilor Denault always looked out for the citizens and employees of Kittery and in order to assist us, tried to fix the wrongdoings to benefit those who were subjected to unfair treatment. He was trying to protect us while doing his job as a town councilor. As a direct result of us reporting bad behavior, the retaliation started and among other things, we were told that we could not speak to Chuck nor voice our concerns to the public. This ultimately led to our resignations, one by one, including Chuck’s wife. These were not easy decisions to make. Some of us had over 15 years of employment with the town of Kittery.

Over the past few years, there has been an obvious downturn in morale and a not so stellar reputation of Kittery’s management practices. From multiple town employees moving on to other employment, to the residents becoming divided, the effects of the management problems have been clear and well articulated yet ignored. They were clear then as they are today. It was devastating that the town manager knowingly disciplined the wrong people while we were trying to do what was morally right.

What happened to Former Councilor Denault was unfair and the accusations were not true. The information he brought forward is accurate. He defended us, tried to do what was right and was true to his oath and obligations. If you could see what we saw happening inside, away from the public’s eye, you would truly support Mr. Chuck Denault in his candidacy as we do.

Daniel Upton, Robert Hames, Daniel J. Colbert, Terry McDonnell, Shawn Tapley

Kittery tax bill issue!

The town is remediating hundreds of erroneous tax bills sent out to residents after miscalculations tied to the state’s sunsetting Property Tax Stabilization Program for senior citizens. read the articles below.

https://wgme.com/news/local/tax-bill-mistakes-could-cost-kittery-seniors-hundreds-dollars-credit-property-stabilization-program#

https://fox23maine.com/gallery/tax-bill-mistakes-could-cost-kittery-seniors-hundreds-dollars-credit-property-stabilization-program?photo=1

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2023/10/19/kittery-me-correcting-erroneous-tax-bills-senior-citizens/71153161007/

Are Kittery officials playing politics with the shipyard?

It appears that Kittery town officials are aware of traffic light malfunctions at the Wallingford Square intersection and appear not to be taking action to remedy the problem. Supposedly they attempted to have it fixed but it got worse.

This malfunction is causing extreme traffic delays during peak commuting hours, resulting in massive traffic back-ups at both Gate 1 and Gate 2 of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY). 

The residents of Kittery and the largest employer in the region both have a new problem with traffic and Kittery town leadership may be part of that problem. Daily PNSY commuter traffic has been a challenging issue for Kittery for as long as most residents can remember but with the 2022 economic impact exceeding $1.45 billion dollars, it is an issue that needs to be addressed effectively to ensure the livelihoods of countless citizens and businesses in the area.

After Kittery spent over $250,000 in taxpayer grant dollars on the Joint Land Use Study traffic study and failed to identify or implement any effective solutions to alleviate the shipyard traffic, one Kittery Town Council member Matthew Brock, suggested an ordinance that would require carpooling a minimum of four people on and off the island. By the way, that idea was floated at the height of COVID and social distancing protocols. That is the kind of results residents are getting from Kittery leaders regarding this and other issues we are facing as a town.

According to Kittery Sources, PNSY officials recently met with Kittery Town Manager, Kendra Amaral, seeking urgent resolution of this traffic crisis and offered portable traffic lights until the broken Wallingford square lights can be repaired. The malfunctioning lights are switching every 7 seconds during peak traffic hours as shift changes bring thousands of vehicles on and off the shipyard. The result of this is agonizing starts and stops, allowing only a few vehicles to move at each light and delaying both employees as well as Kittery residents in their travels through these key areas of town.

An email was sent to Amaral requesting additional information about the cause of the issue and her plan for a speedy resolution and it immediately was answered and is below. Thousands of federal employees and civilian contractors have been delayed for hours trying to get on and off the shipyard in recent weeks. These hundreds of Kittery residents as well as thousands of residents of neighboring communities and states. This Kittery traffic light debacle is affecting the quality of life for thousands of people. 

Another significant impact of this mess is environmental, with thousands of stagnant vehicles idling and burning fuel. This needless pollution and noise affects the air quality for Kittery residents and the overall environment that we all share. Failure to swiftly correct this issue makes Kittery culpable for the problem, as our leaders are doing a disservice to the Navy, thousands of employees and Kittery residents which many work on the yard. At candidate’s night last week, Kittery Town councilor and current shipyard employee Cameron Hamm highlighted his passion and commitment to alleviating climate change. Former Councilor Kenneth Lemont, is a former shipyard employee who faced the traffic nightmares first hand as well. What is Kittery doing to address this mess? Representing the citizens of Kittery is about getting involved and driving solutions to the critical issues we face as a community.

Kittery needs to collaborate with PNSY to resolve the challenges we face together. At one point the shipyard offered to fund a police officer to direct traffic at both gates during peak hours to manage the flow of traffic. That generous offer was rejected by Kittery’s leadership as well. It seems the shipyard offers many ideas that are dismissed.

When I am asked why I am running for re-election I tell people that I am committed to getting results for Kittery and solving problems. Failure to address and solve the traffic issues is a perfect example of the type of change that Kittery needs. Please think carefully about who you vote for on November 7th and be sure to plan on extra driving time to get to the polls if you live anywhere near the shipyard.

Response from the Kittery Town Manager

Dear Chuck,

We have been working with the PNS on the traffic issues; including yesterday.  We agreed to a plan to keep that intersection up running if the traffic signal finally crashes out for good before MDOT implements the replacement program next year.

In generally the Town has worked the PNS on the signal timing to assist them in clearing the yard.  We had adjusted the Gate 1 signal to 60 seconds at the PNS’ request in 2020.  The signal is one of the oldest in Kittery and in need of replacement.  We believe the timing programmed in 2020 slipped recently.  Our vendor was out there a few days ago to replace a dead bulb and that also threw the whole system off.  I have said in multiple forums that the Gate 1 intersection is one of the oldest in Kittery and we continue to be concerned that every time we try to make an adjustment the entire signal box will crash.  Yesterday the system went haywire and into flash mode unexpectedly.    We had our signal maintenance vendor out there trying to get it back to 60 seconds at the afternoon peak.  They are also working on getting the Walker/State back to a detection setting.   I understand what they did yesterday addressed the timing; we will see how long it lasts though.

The Town is working with the PNS to monitor and address the issue as much as possible.  I’ve copied Danna and Cdr Durika on the email if you wish to receive more information.

Sincerely,

Kendra

After the Town Manager’s very quick response, there are still questions. The Town Manager has been here since 2016 and traffic regarding the shipyard has been a problem for over a half a century. According to Amaral, I have said in multiple forums that the Gate 1 intersection is one of the oldest in Kittery and we continue to be concerned that every time we try to make an adjustment the entire signal box will crash.”

FACT: Kittery has nine signal lights and the Wallingford Square light is the oldest.

Why hasn’t Kittery made this a priority to have this traffic light replaced or upgraded having first hand knowledge that it was a failure waiting to happen?

According to Town Manager Amaral’s email, “We agreed to a plan to keep that intersection up running if the traffic signal finally crashes out for good before MDOT implements the replacement program next year”. Perhaps the JLUS traffic study should have addressed this and I wonder how many others in Kittery have known about this archaic traffic light potential failure.

Perhaps MDOT should know that over an estimated three thousand vehicles pass through this intersection in a day within the Foreside Business district. Further more, that this traffic light imminent failure can be prevented by replacing it immediately with a new traffic light system, adding new technology such as cameras and motion sensors. This replacement would be key to moving traffic through the Foreside Business district and help alleviate the flow of traffic.

Kittery officials need to be proactive with this and do what is right for the residents and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

PNSY Main Gate Wallingsford Square
Rte 236
Walker Street

Kittery residents need to know!

Dear Editors.

Attached is a letter that I and four former DPW employees of the Town of Kittery have crafted and signed. Attached are the email addresses of the signing individuals needed for verification. Although it may be a little lengthy, it covers the events of 2021 thru today accurately. 

We are a group of the several Kittery Town Employees who were suppressed from speaking to the truth and to the events that we brought to the Town Manager, HR and our direct supervisors and eventually to Councilor Denault and Lemont. We feel it is newsworthy and although it supports Denault in his election, these events have had a terrible profound effect on all of us who worked so hard for Kittery. 

Please publish the letter to the paper for the citizens to read. We are only five, but there are many more who have left the Town or may still work there and who have been impacted by the Town’s refusal to listen to their employees complaints..

Sincerely

Daniel Upton

21 Gile Way

Lebanon, Me. 04027

daniel.upton@comcast.net

Download the letter.

LETTER

Is the Kittery Town Code user friendly?

Codes, codes, codes. we write them, have public comment on them and then we enact them or in other words, place them into effect and then they lay there unused.

Codes that cover noise, (roosters, fireworks etc) litter laws, (keeping your yard like a junk yard), leash laws (dogs running at large in areas that prohibit this) Litter (carry in carry out) and the list is long.

Sometimes, searching for them will leave you frustrated. Take for instance the flag sign ordinance, floating signs, inflatable signs, temp signs, feather flag signs are supposedly banned by code and business along State Road and Route 1 have been told to remove them. Yet on Dennett Rd, the new 300 apartment complex is proudly flying four of them advertising their apartment availability. I was recently asked, “Why does the State rd. businesses get hammered but the Dennett rd. business appear to be exempt?”. If you try to find the code on the feather flags, it is hard to locate. There are references to it but nothing appears to directly speak to it.

Below are excerpts from the planning board minutes and definitons.

The planning board and the code once said around 2019 with a 4-3 vote!

I reached out to the Town Manager and below is her response which came back right away, and I might add and even on the weekend.

Sent: Sunday, October 1, 2023 9:17:34 AM
To: Kendra Amaral <KAmaral@kitteryme.org>Chuck,

Thank you for passing on the question.  I’ll have Code take a look.  The rules for real estate signs (lease, sale, rent) are different than for other signs, but a quick look the photo it appears at the very least they have too many per that section of code. 

I’m happy to respond to the resident with the question if you pass along their info. We can also have Code talk with them so they get accurate info and make the connection of who they can talk with if they have further questions or to pass on other examples of possible violations. 

Thank you,

Kendra

Sent: Sunday, October 1, 2023 4:06 PM
To: Kendra Amaral <KAmaral@kitteryme.org>

Hi Chuck,

To help you be accurate in your blog, here is the link to the Town Code.  This is what the Code Enforcement Officers use for their work.  I’ve also attached both the most current version of the Town Code Title 16 Definitions, and Title 16 Signs for your convenience.  Please note, zoning code is based on uses not people; meaning there are different rules for different uses, all of which can be found in the Town Code.

As you know, we get tips from time to time regarding possible violations or questions.  We follow-up on the tips, and, if a violation is found, work with the property owners to ensure they come into compliance.  Doesn’t matter who they are.  In this case, the Code Enforcement Officer is reviewing the situation and will address with the property owner any violations that may exist.  As I noted in my email this weekend, at the least it appears they have too many signs per the code relative to property sale, lease, or rental.

And again, please encourage people who have questions, or want to provide a tip of possible violation please have them contact the Code Enforcement team.  Our team tries to respond to people quickly, follow-up on any tips of potential violations, and answer questions with accurate information.    

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you,

Kendra

It has been two weeks and the flags are still there. I would suggest that if you’re a business in Kittery and want feather flags, reach out to the Code Enforcement Office. 207-439-0452. The caller was given the Towns Code enforcement number.

On 10-20-2023, I discovered the flags have been removed.