I am running for Town Council because I want to protect our small town atmosphere, our open spaces and keep the Town affordable. We face big challenges, but we do have options to address them. Over the next three years, the Town Council needs to continue playing a leadership in the areas below.
Climate resilience– Warming temperatures and rising sea levels threaten our infrastructure and raise public health issues. The Northeast now experiences the greatest increase in frequency and intensity of rainstorms of any US region. The Gulf of Maine is the fastest warming ocean ecosystem in the world. Exposure to mosquito-borne viruses will increase as temperatures rise. This past summer we experienced among the hottest and wettest months in recorded history.
Options – Develop a comprehensive climate plan for Kittery. Identify strategies to reduce local reliance on Caron dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane. Inform residents on cost saving ways to reduce their carbon footprints; shift Town vehicle pool to EVs; encourage green construction; expand public transportation using EVs; limit development/redevelopment in areas prone to flooding; continue mapping the projected extent of incursions; identify vulnerable infrastructure; monitor vulnerable roads; develop public health action and education plans in conjunction with surrounding communities in response to disease vectors; utilize our considerable local expertise in anticipating climate change.
Congestion – Ship Yard and weekend traffic disrupt our neighborhoods, making walking and cycling dangerous.
Options – Work with Navy to make on-site Yard parking for multiple occupant cars only and incentivize use of COAST buses. Reduce traffic in Foreside core and other high traffic areas; use traffic trailers to identify peak travel times for speeding and ticket at those locations and times. Press the Turnpike Authority to increase York tolls during high traffic times (congestion pricing) and use the new revenue to increase local enforcement. AND observe local speed limits and slow for walkers and cyclists.
Affordability– Property tax, falling primarily on residents, funds our schools (62% of the Town budget) and municipal services. Lower- and fixed- income residents struggle to keep up and stay here. We are losing the income diversity that has been Kittery’s strength.
Options – Expand commercial development where we have existing infrastructure: the ByPass, Rt. 236, Rt. 1 north. Seek economies of scale by identifying opportunities to share services with surrounding towns. Support the Housing Committee’s initiatives to address affordability and work with surrounding communities to increase capacity.