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. 

PeterJ January 15, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Fairview Lane has been a deeded right-of-way (ROW) for folks who are land owners on the north side of Fairview. The buyers and sellers of that property understand the ROW as an exclusive right for private use, avoiding the disruption and invasion of privacy of the abutting neighbors and property owners. That right has been an asset to property values, bought and paid for many times as property has changed over the years. The ROW abuts Fairview Lane at Bayside, an area incapable of handling the additional traffic/parking that are potentially associated with public access. I agree this is a private issue, not something the town needs to waste it's valuable time on - Having said that, the ROW should remain private.
John Olsen January 15, 2013 at 03:16 PM
So it looks like Seveney can't control his meetings. What a disgrace allowing a meeting to go until almost 11pm. It was going to be so much better with this group in place right? I have an idea, on the next meeting he can hand out a proclamation to himself for serving the unions before the taxpayers. That will burn an hour of time with him patting his own back.
A great family town January 15, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Yes those proclamations to Chief Hebert for an amazing service to the town, Bunny Miller's tireless devotion to this town, and the band's once in a lifetime opportunity, what a waste of time. God forbid we have some good news in this town. Congrats to all who were honored and thanks for your service!
Portsmouth Citizen January 15, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Patch asks whether Fairview Lane, "should be made" a public right-of-way or private access. Should be made? Either it already is a public right-of-way or it isn't. If is isn't, then the town can't just declare private property to be public without (1) a good reason and (2) paying the owners for it. If it already is a public right of way, then the town already has the power to keep it clear of obstruction so the public can use it. So... can anyone answer the question: is it now a public right of way?
a resident with a watchful eye January 15, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Once Again, at a Council Meeting, Peter Roberts has to yell and be out of order. Not surprised. You would think that at some point in his life he would begin to act is age. Clearly anger management issues.
Portsmouth Citizen January 15, 2013 at 06:23 PM
The last council let meetings go on until 1:00 a.m. so, yes, it's better now. About those proclamations, are you saying the recipients didn't deserve it... Lance Hebert maybe? I don't know what you have against him?
FYI January 15, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I know this may be a little off topic, the right-of-way issue I am indifferent on, but could the town perhaps plant all the left-over trees from Arbor Day along the banks of the old railroad tracks and where there are houses anywhere along 24? You know, to make a natural sound barrier for all families along 24. Maybe if the town does this every year for the next few years, all of 24 could have a natural sound barrier. Just a thought.
getreal January 15, 2013 at 09:26 PM
YEH, I miss the days of the Judy Staven / Joe Robicheau smack downs. Wait, Jerry Springer still comed on right.
observer January 15, 2013 at 09:27 PM
I was under the impression ROW's to th water were state controled.
Ice Fischer January 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Oh what a surprise.....another cost increase for the dump. Don't worry it's only $5....I don't know about you people, but $5 is real money in my household. Once it starts it won't stop. As a new homeowner in Portsmouth (2years now) we've seen nothing but increased property taxes and decreased town services. For shame
Charlie Browm January 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM
The previous council was lambasted for their late meetings. Seveney ( the windbag ) was on that council. He participated in making late meetings happen then and has no excuse now for allowing that now that he is PRESIDENT. It is all about time management, knowing an agenda timeline and respect for taxpayers. He is a union person and he serves them well. Wake up voters.
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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