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Right-of-Way Issue Heats Up at Council Meeting

The Portsmouth Town Council met Monday night.

The Portsmouth Town Council met Monday night at Town Hall. The following is an account of actions taken during the meeting. 

The meeting began after 7 p.m. due to an executive session. 

Council honors Portsmouth officers, high school band

7:06 p.m. — The council ratified the police department promotions. The promotions included the following: Sgt. Steven Hoetzel to the rank of lieutenant; Det. Inspector Stephen Burns, sergeant; and Patrolman Nicholas Arruda, detective inspector. 

7:09 — The council approved the promotions. 

7:13 — Michael O'Brien was sworn into office as deputy chief for the Portsmouth Fire Department. Hoetzel, Burns and Arruda were sworn into office. 

7:15 — Retired Police Chief Lance E. Hebert was honored with a proclamation and town tile. "It's been an honor to work in Portsmouth," said a teary-eyed Hebert. "It's also been a privilege to be a police officer." Hebert received a standing ovation. 

7:21 — The town also presented a proclamation to Caroline "Bunny" Miller and a proclamation to Doug Smith, representing the Portsmouth 375th anniversary committee. 

7:32 — The town also presented a proclamation to the Portsmouth High School band director Ted Rausch, honoring the band for being selected to march in the 57th presidential inauguration.

7:35 — Senator Chris Ottiano and Reps. John G. Edwards and Dennis Canario also presented state citations to Rausch for the "pride the whole state will feel," Ottiano said. "It's a wonderful honor." Ottiano and Edwards said they are presenting a $2,500 legislative grant to the high school for the trip costs.

7:38 — The council voted to donate $1,000 to the high school band to help defray the trip costs. 

Council tables appointment to School Committee 

7:51 — According to Town Administrator John Klimm, a new town-wide employee evaluation program will be completed. The town has issued a second bid to establish a private partnership with the town for the wind turbine generator. Klimm said the town has entered into negotiations with four private companies. A presentation will be held in the future. 

8:03 — Keith Hamilton motioned to appoint Allen Shers to the Portsmouth School Committee. The town received three letters of interest. Councilor Molly Magee motioned to have the three candidates speak before council at next meeting. The council voted 7-0 in favor of the motion. 

Council debates Fairview Lane right-of-way issue 

8:18 — The council held an executive session tonight on Fairview Lane. Discussion on Fairview Lane continues. 

8:51 — Discussion on Fairview Lane continues. Several residents and abutters speak at podium. Former Town Councilor Joe Robicheau speaking now on right-of-way issue. 

Do you think Fairview Lane should be made a public right-of-way or private access? Tell us in the comment section below! 

9:10 — Discussion on whether or not to hold a public hearing on Fairview Lane issues lasts more than an hour. Former town solicitor says notices to homeowners and title search would cost town between $4,000 to $6,000. D.A. D'Andrea says total costs would exceed $10,000. 

9:25 — Councilor Michael Buddemeyer says "it's a decision between neighbors." He motions to move the question. Another abutter speaks. 

9:44 — After more than an hour and a half discussion, council President Jim Seveney said it was a "private dispute." "I don't see it in the interest of Portsmouth to open up this issue," he said. "I don't see the town's interest being served in that way." 

9:44 — Resident Peter Roberts stood at podium, yells and refuses to leave after council president repeatedly asks him to sit down. 

9:55 — Hamilton motions to table issue until neighborhood can "get together" to discuss issue. Council votes 7-0 to table. 

Council votes to raise transfer station sticker fee 

10:02 — Ray Berberick gives 2012 Portsmouth Economic Development Committee annual report. 

10:21 — Hamilton motions to set transfer station sticker fee at $130, an increase of $5. The council approves motion in 7-0 vote. 

10:39 — Council approves requests to issue RFPs for Statistical Revaluation Program, as well as proposals for Tax Sales Services. 

10:41 — Council votes 7-0 to approve a contract for a paving management program.  

10:45 — Council approves $500 for Portsmouth Tree Commission's Arbor Day Distribution of Native Tree Seedlings. 

10:46 — Council approves request to abate all 2001 delinquent taxes. The vote was 6-0 with Liz Pedro abstained. 

Tony Macomber January 16, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Question of the day, is it a public right of way? Town built boat ramp, town maintains property in and around boat ramp, noone pays taxes on boat ramp. That answers the questions that has now taken two councils to be able to figure out. Yes, it is a public right of way and should be declared one.
Barry Stone January 16, 2013 at 04:22 PM
This is getting scarier and scarier every week with this Democratic council and it has only just begun. You have Seveney who takes it upon himself, with no council vote or comment to determine there will be no public hearing that was already voted on for the Fairview ROW and you have Blaess who admits in a council meeting that he had no time to read his packet to be informed and educated for Monday nights meeting because the Patriots were on. Says alot about your dedication and your ability to prioritize your responsibilities. Great impression for the towns people and the students that are "supposed" to look up to you. Keep your eyes open people, this council is on its way in destructing our town.
eyeswide January 16, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Wow, did you even go to the meeting? Everyone who wanted to speak was able to to and did so once. With the exception of Mr. Roberts all were respectful of the council and the other speakers and the Council was respectful of them. A big difference from the previous council allowing Mr. Fitzmorris, Mrs. Melvin and Mrs. Gleason to monopolize every meeting with multiple trips to the podium and make snide comments about others. Mr. Seveney asked if any one had anything else to say and no one responded, so the council began to deliberate, about 20 minutes later Mr. Roberts literally stormed to the podium and began shouting. Watch it when it comes on channel 18 and then tell me it is somehow Seveney's fault. The police have been called on Mr. Roberts before due to his conduct at meetings. Considering the last regular meeting on Dec. 24 was understandably cancelled so the council had a double agenda Monday night, it seemed to me they got a lot done and it was smooth and well managed, (with the exception of Mr. Robert's tantrum). I certainly felt more comfortble watching the issues being debated by Ms. Magee, Mr. Blaess, Mr. Buddemeyer, etc., than by Mr. Robicheau, Ms. Staven and Mr. Kesson
getreal January 17, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Yeh, in the old days Larry Fitz would of told the PCC 4 how to think and vote before the packets even got put in the mailboxes for them to read.. Keep your eyes open to see how honest goverment works and they bring the town back from the brink of didtruction....
Concerned Observer January 18, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Curious to know why comments are not being posted on this thread that have been added?

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