For information on polling hours, voting locations, voter registration, and more, contact the city clerk’s office.
Name: Derek Nadeau
Occupation: digital commerce manager at Gatehouse Media and small business owner
Years living in Portsmouth: 10
Public service experience: I worked for local SMG for some time and spearheaded our community involvement. Also a member of Catapult Seacoast.
Q1: What can the city do to increase its supply of affordable housing?
The city holds a AAA bond rating, which can allow us to purchase undeveloped plots to enter into land lease agreements. Portsmouth can also increase tax incentives for the construction of affordable, workforce housing. For example, the building next to the fire station.
Q2: Are there specific areas in the city budget where you think spending cuts can be made? Are there specific areas where you think spending should be increased?
I think the city budget needs to be combed over line by line. I believe there is unallocated spending and surplus in many areas that could be carried over, or certain line items reduced in next year’s overall spending allocations. I do believe we need to expand our city budget for replacing pipes and roadways. We may be able to seek some funding on a state level for some of these projects, as well as Portsmouth currently holds a AAA bond rating.
Q3: Do you support a citywide ban on single-use disposables such as plastic bags, plastic straws, and Styrofoam containers?
I do believe in the ban of plastic straws, as many times they end up clogging pipes or end up in the waterways. They are also extremely hard to filter and do not biodegrade. Styrofoam we all know is extremely bad for the environment as well. I do support a ban on plastic straws and Styrofoam. However, I do not believe a plastic bag ban should be put into effect. There are many ways to constitute recycling. For example, my wife and I put our recyclables in the plastic bags to contain them. We’ve also all seen the dog use cases, as well. People need to be more responsible with their disposal of the plastic bags. I also believe there should be a fee or deposit similar to how Maine approaches aluminum cans. This could provide funding for additional city beautification and cleanup.
Q4: Regarding the McIntyre redevelopment project:
A) Do you support the Redgate/Kane plan?
No, their 95-percent occupancy clause is a sneaky way to never pay the city.
B) Do you think the Council should step back and consider other plans, such as the one put forth by Bill Binnie?
Yes, with every fiber. I understand we needed an approved proposal to acquire the property, but you never, never only consider one proposal or just get one quote. You get several, a minimum of three. Proposals looked over and voted on by the citizens and approved by the council. This scale of project should have a lasting impact on the city for many years to come; we need to look at several options and assess each one’s feasibility and scope.
Q5: What can be done to clean up and prevent PFAS contamination and other chemical contaminants on the Seacoast?
Increased testing and regulatory oversight.
Q6: Do you feel that development in Portsmouth — particularly of luxury condos, hotels, and other large-scale buildings — should be curtailed?
That is somewhat of a fixed question. I do believe we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of development, particularly downtown and beyond. Through zoning appeals and age-restricted housing are the only legal ways to curtail development. However, the city is able to provide incentives for the development of workforce and affordable housing. My opinion of affordable housing differs from others, as I truly believe it should be less than 35 percent of an average household income. Is $2,500 for a one-bedroom apartment in Portsmouth affordable?
Q7: What are your feelings on the idea of building a permanent covered stage in Prescott Park for festival events?
I think it’s a great idea, and will minimize risk of shock for staffers scrambling from rainstorms.
Q8: Should the city add more bike lanes and/or take other measures to improve bicycle safety and/or reduce motor-vehicle traffic downtown?
We are an old city. Our roads were originally meant for horses and carriages — yes, horses, not over-sized, four-wheel drive SUVs. Many of the streets are not wide enough for two lanes, a sidewalk, and a dedicated bike lane. I think there are options for us, though, through sidewalk improvements and possible pedestrian overpasses in some areas.
Rerouting traffic is an option, but based on the trial run downtown, I’d like to see what it does to commerce before providing that as a permanent option.
Q9: Are there any significant projects that should be undertaken outside of the downtown area and Islington Street corridor?
There are many roadways that need to be repaired, and some of Portsmouth has wooden pipes. You heard that right. Hollowed-out tree trunks are providing some water transportation. So I believe an assessment of the areas that need improvement is desperately needed.
Q10: At times this summer, there were road closures on Islington Street, Woodbury Avenue (by the traffic circle), Maplewood Avenue, and other roads all at once. Is there a way to reduce the heavy concentration of road work that creates detours and traffic congestion in the summer?
We had several bridges deemed unsafe at the same time, but yes, it is possible to better schedule maintenance and repair of roadways and bridges. We know the commuters are looking to get onto the highway; we should be able to make it a little easier.
Q11: What actions should be taken at the city level to address climate change?
Most of Portsmouth is only 10 feet above sea level. Ten feet. Fortunately for us, we also have the bay dispersing water in different areas for us. Seawall and flooding preparations should start to be a line item on the city’s budget. I believe we also need to keep a better eye on what’s being put into the waterways, as well.
Q12: Name one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest opportunities Portsmouth will face in the next 10 to 20 years.
We are at a very speedy pace, pricing out a lot of families and young workforce of out of the Portsmouth area. Valuations and rents have skyrocketed, and we undoubtedly become a tax haven state. Developers will be developers, and where there’s a need and a plot of land try to make money out of thin air. We do, however, need to grow on a sustainable level. The young workforce, which is quickly being pushed out of the city, is the primary backbone for most of the hospitality industry here, which brings so many tourists and tourism dollars to our area. Workforce housing and affordable housing will be our biggest challenge in the next few years.
Two years: Within this timeframe we should have lobbied the House and Senate for a re-allocation of Room and Meals tax or have enacted the $1 surcharge on hotel/motel and short-term rentals to stay in the city.
Five years: We should be planning for the coming changes in sea level.
Ten years: At this point, we should be addressing and negating the risk and sustainability of the Seacoast from the coming effects of climate change and sea-level rise.
Twenty years: I’m no Nostradamus.
BONUS: What are you gonna be for Halloween?
Ninja Turtle, fighting the dredged power line going through Great Bay! We need to stop that!