Paige Trace city council

Paige Trace

2021 Portsmouth City Council Candidate Questionnaire

Portsmouth’s municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Below, incumbent City Councilor Paige Trace responds to’s candidate questionnaire.

Age: 63

Occupation: Antique Dealer with specialty in master paintings and drawings

Civic experience: Current City Councilor; Council Representative to Historic District Commission; McIntyre Sub Committee; Legislature Committee; New Hampshire Antique Dealers Association – Board Member; Gubernatorial Appointment to Board of Regents for Gunston Hall, Commonwealth of Virginia; National Society of Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) – National Board; President of NSCDA in the State of New Hampshire

Years living in Portsmouth: 14 years

1) Do you think the city should impose any new measures or mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic at this time?

No, not at the moment. I believe we should follow the science; practice safe social distancing; wear masks where appropriate; and above all, advocate getting vaccinated.

2) Do you think the Prescott Park Master Plan should be updated in any way? Specifically, do you think the stage should be temporary or permanent? Covered or uncovered?

Yes updating will be needed. Global warming is Portsmouth’s worse enemy. I also believe for this reason, a covered temporary stage makes more sense – should it need to be relocated at some point due to higher water elevations.

3) How do you feel about the current pace of development in Portsmouth?

I believe the current pace is too fast. I understand the need of developers to develop…but at what cost to Portsmouth. Mistakes get made when the growth is explosive. The historic & natural resources making our City unique and wonderful should be protected, as should the quality of life for Portsmouth’s residents. If you take away the character and historic charm, you take away that quality of life. What’s left to draw people to our city? More importantly, the Portsmouth that exists for the enjoyment of those who live here now needs to be protected.

4) What, if anything, do you think should be done to increase access to affordable housing?

To increase access to affordable housing, it first has to be built. Ancillary Dwelling Units (ADU’s) are and can only be one part of the equation. There are certain parts of this City that lend themselves easily to ADU’s. Other parts of Portsmouth are simply too dense to lend themselves to ADU’s. To build more affordable housing, Federal and State initiatives and incentives should be used to make affordable housing development more attractive to developers. It’s also likely that this type of housing would not get built in the center of downtown. It would be more apt to be built outside of downtown to be cost effective to the developers. We should look into regional partnerships with our neighboring towns. Affordable housing is a serious issue all over the southern part of this state.

5) What changes, if any, should be made to the city’s bike lanes?

No changes should be made at present time to existing lanes. Changes to those lanes should be made only if the lanes prove to be a danger to health and safety. There are many areas of the City where streets could use simple improvements to be safer for cyclists. Those streets should be fully vetted from the standpoint of cyclists, non-cyclists, and those walking.

6) Regarding the McIntyre building, what do you feel is the best path forward to avoid litigation and get the project done?

As a member of the McIntyre sub committee, I can say that we continue to try to work in good faith with our development partner. This project, created through community input using Portsmouth Listens and Principle Group needs preliminary  approval by the NPS. Despite the fact that our partner has filed a motion to lift the stay, we continue to try to work to find a way to move forward with our development partner. I’m honored to be working together with such good and honest, motivated fellow members of the sub-committee. We work as a team and will continue to do so moving forward.

7) What additional measures do you think the city should take to slow climate change and prepare for its impacts?

We have long been labeled an eco-municipality. We should step up and act that way. Lots of little steps can add up to large change for the better in an attempt to slow climate change. We’re a City bound by water. We need to be proactive and prepare for the inevitable rise in sea level. We need to work with the NHDES (state) and the EPA (federal) to come up with 10 year and 20 year plans to protect the Portsmouth of 50 years from now — if possible. We owe it to our children to make sure that the Portsmouth of “tomorrow” will still exist.

8) Do you support the idea of seasonal road closures and/or barriers to accommodate outdoor dining at restaurants — even after the pandemic has (hopefully) subsided?

I support the idea of seasonal barriers to accommodate outdoor dining. It saved so many of our restaurants during the pandemic. The good ideas of fellow councilors and the common sense of our mayor — his ability to act rapidly during a pandemic when approached with those ideas. And the fast acting City Manager and City Staff….they all acted as a team to save Portsmouth. They did it together and we should all be forever grateful — all of us. Even after the pandemic has (hopefully) subsided, I believe the seasonal use of barriers will have its place in Portsmouth. The City’s regulations for restaurants may change but I think seasonal barriers are likely the newest character adding addition to downtown.

9) What do you think the council can do to cultivate an environment of respect and collaboration and minimize hostility in local government?

Civility and respect go hand in hand with collaboration. Take a deep breath and Listen….Count to ten before speaking and place yourself in the shoes of the maker of the motion — think about where they’re coming from. Learn to work as a team and ask, “why not” of an idea instead of simply, “why”. Be open to the ideas of other councilors — respect those ideas and creativity. Above all, for anything to happen to make Portsmouth a better City and a better home, we must work together with each other and learn to compromise for the sake of the greater good.

10) Aside from the issues already raised in this questionnaire, please outline ONE other priority you would address as a city councilor over the next two years.

With all due respect, I have 3 and they are all IMPORTANT.

  1. I hate thinking of people sleeping outside at night in the cold and I hate the thought of a child or adult being food insecure in Portsmouth. I will work to draw attention to these issues with fellow like minded councilors to attempt to make Portsmouth better for all.
  2. Portsmouth should be the same equal home to all who live here. All who call Portsmouth home should feel the same sense of security and feel free to live their lives as they see fit — openly, with a sense of importance and worth. We are the city of the Open Door. It takes all of us to make Portsmouth the wonderful city she is — every color of the rainbow….all equal, practicing acceptance and respect for one another. Let’s show others how it’s done. We reach out. We accept. We help each other. We work together. I will work to understand more and be there for those who need someone to listen and help.
  3. I will make sure Islington St. phase 2 isn’t lost or pushed back. As long as there are hundred year old water pipes and combined sewer pipes underneath Islington Street, I will advocate for their replacement. Clean drinking water flowing through good pipes is a right for all. As is looking after the environment by separating sewage from storm water. When you finally have new sidewalks and trees lining Islington all the way to Congress, you’ll know the health/safety issue — the infrastructure below ground has also been improved. Thank you for your time and interest Portsmouth. I hope you’ll vote for me on the 2nd and allow me the privilege of working for you again. Paige.

BONUS: What are you going to be for Halloween?

Thankful that we’ll have the parade again this year!

Oh, you mean costume…. That green lady with an obsession for her broom who had flying monkeys for friends and was seriously allergic to water!!

To see other candidates’ responses, click here.