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Name: Tyler Goodwin
Occupation: CEO, 360 Intel
Years living in Portsmouth: 7
Public service experience: No elected positions, president of the Rockingham County Young Democrats, Seacoast Community School Finance Committee
Q1: What can the city do to increase its supply of affordable housing?
Given our location and small physical size, affordability is an extremely challenging issue with no simple solution in sight. The challenge is not unique to Portsmouth, however. Because of that, the first thing I would do is commission a study of how other cities and towns have addressed the issue. All ideas should be brought forward in that process to consider and evaluate. Overall, I think we can leverage our position with developers better than we have thus far. We can do this by creating an affordable housing trust and/or increasing the affordable housing requirements if developers are looking to qualify for development incentives. Along these lines, we should make sure that our zoning ordinances emphasize that Portsmouth’s priority is affordable housing options.
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?
Overall, I believe Portsmouth’s budget to be very thorough, balanced and well thought out. Portsmouth has some of the best services in the state, a great school system and a plan to continually improve our infrastructure. All of this is balanced with a reasonable debt service of about 10 percent. I do not believe there is a glaring need for any significant spending cuts or increases at this time. Yes, property taxes have dramatically increased over the years but that is a function of our property values, not a function of our tax rate (which is amongst the lowest of cities in New Hampshire with 20,000-plus people). We need to continue to make the same great investments in our schools, our teachers and our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way.
Q3: Do you support a citywide ban on single-use disposables such as plastic bags, plastic straws, and Styrofoam containers?
I would support the Styrofoam ban and the single-use plastics ban on city property. However, I would also look to simplify the ordinance so that well-intentioned businesses and individuals can remain in compliance and have time to adjust.
Q4: Regarding the McIntyre redevelopment project:
A) Do you support the Redgate/Kane plan?
I do believe there is room for improvement as it relates to the Redgate/Kane development plan. We should look at ways to address concerns regarding the scale of the Linden Way Residence Buildings and to incorporate more public open/green space. We should also have public comment sessions on the fate of the Post Office and its potential return to downtown. However, I do not believe we should look back. It is time to look forward and address those concerns through the traditional process upon receipt of the building from the GSA. I will look forward to the public comment sessions as the current plan makes its way through the many boards and commissions it is required to.
B) Do you think the Council should step back and consider other plans, such as the one put forth by Bill Binnie?
At this time, I would not consider other plans and would instead work to improve the Redgate/Kane plan however possible.
Q5: What can be done to clean up and prevent PFAS contamination and other chemical contaminants on the Seacoast?
First and foremost, we need to make sure that we are testing our water supply consistently to monitor any changes in PFAS levels. If PFAS levels rise to the need for treatment, I would look to evaluate treatment options presented to the Council by the city’s current partner, Weston & Sampson. Ensuring the safety of our drinking water will be amongst the highest priorities for me as your city councilor.
Q6: Do you feel that development in Portsmouth — particularly of luxury condos, hotels, and other large-scale buildings — should be curtailed?
While I am certainly not anti-development, we absolutely must be sure to maintain the character and uniqueness of our city and respect its history. We must not mortgage our future for the sake of rubber-stamping homogenous, density-focused projects. The redevelopment of the former Frank Jones Brewery buildings would be a project I would point to as a great success.
In my neighborhood, Islington Creek, we are dealing with the potential of a six-story hotel right in the middle of our neighborhood. This is after the developers promised mixed-use development. The developer’s new plans for a hotel do not, in any way, reflect the neighborhood they want to build it in. Projects like this one, I would be opposed to.
Q7: What are your feelings on the idea of building a permanent covered stage in Prescott Park for festival events?
This will be one of my top priorities. The Arts Festival is part of Portsmouth’s competitive advantage in the area. We must support it with a covered stage.
Q8: Should the city add more bike lanes and/or take other measures to improve bicycle safety and/or reduce motor-vehicle traffic downtown?
Bikers are going to use our roads and streets whether bike lanes exist or not. I believe that it creates the safest environment for bikers and motorists to have bike lanes in place, especially in high-traffic areas. We should look for ways to include bike lanes where possible while mitigating any disruption to motorist traffic flow. Encouraging biking will reduce overall motorist downtown traffic. I also believe better marketing the Foundry Place Garage would reduce downtown traffic.
Q9: Are there any significant projects that should be undertaken outside of the downtown area and Islington Street corridor?
I believe we need to rethink the Route 1 Bypass, both North and South bound, that connects the roundabout to the Sarah Long. The current design does not allow for walkability or biking and leaves much to be desired in terms of its appearance. We could utilize this valuable space in a much more efficient, aesthetically pleasing way on both sides of the bypass.
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?
Many times this summer, I counted myself amongst the drivers and pedestrians annoyed by constant detours. However, the infrastructure work is beneficial for our city and needs to be done. I do believe a better plan could have been put into place that would have created less disruption and spread the projects out, especially in the Maplewood/Woodbury areas.
Q11: What actions should be taken at the city level to address climate change?
We need to heed the words of the Coastal Resilience Initiative to prepare our city for the effects of climate change. As a coastal city, we will feel the brunt of these consequences first and need to be prepared. I will quote directly from the Initiative, as it articulates my belief perfectly: “As a next step in planning for climate change it will be helpful to refine the set of adaptation actions, making them more realistic and have a strong basis of community support. Then, a feasibility study and realistic cost accounting can be done to determine the benefit of implementing specific adaptation strategies” (Coastal Resilience Initiative: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adoption Plan, April, 2013 Page 35).
Q12: Name one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest opportunities Portsmouth will face in the next 10 to 20 years.
I believe the biggest challenge and opportunity are the same: development. We need to be careful not to succumb to a black and white look at development. Development is a good thing. Overdevelopment is not. It is okay to be for some projects and against others. That does not make you “anti-development” or “pro-development.” It is a great thing that folks want to come here and invest in our city. By the same token, we have to make sure that all of our development projects enhance or add to the tremendous character and uniqueness our city currently boasts.
BONUS: What are you gonna be for Halloween?
Charlie Conway (Captain Duck)