Building Height limits are now set at 45 feet in the Portsmouth Downtown District, I support that
The impact is on the overall aesthetic look and feel of the area where taller buildings are built which most people in Portsmouth don't seem to favor. I was the author of the current ordinance that limits height until form-based zoning is put in place and I did so in order to make sure that buildings are not allowed to be too large and out of keeping with their surroundings. There may be places where four stories will work--but that depends on assessment of the surrounding buildings as well as the design, style, overall mass of the building and the width of the street that it sits on. Perhaps the most visible problem caused by too-tall buildings is when they occur on narrow streets--thus blocking light and causing a tunnel feeling.
If uncontrolled growth in building hgts were allowed, Portmouth would lose it's historic character and people friendly nature. Buildings can be built up to 60 ft. with a conditional use permit which would be granted when appropriate. Form based zoning is a reasonable approach to how to retain our City's uniqueness and control excessive building heights.
I omitted my last name in the above comment.
If the downtown starts to look like a city block more than the beautiful place that I know it to be then we will lose our brand. We did a poor job as a city in guiding the new developments. For that, we have tall buildings that seem out of place. I travel around the country and see almost identical buildings in places that are not even remotely as historic as Portsmouth.
The answer to this is simple. We would lose the character of the city.
Jim SplaineThe core question is what a wise former City Councilor once asked: "How big can Portsmouth become and still be 'Portsmouth?'" John Hynes asked that, and it's an important message for us to consider. Portsmouth really can become as large as we allow it to be. We're in a location that many people would like to be -- along the sea, near Canada, 50 miles from big cities like Boston, Portland, and Manchester. We have an airport, a port, a shipyard. We have those economic assets. But with unlimited growth and those opportunities, there are also challenges -- which we should manage over time, and not all at once. Crime, overpopulation, pollution, overuse of our water resources, more sewerage requiring expensive treatment, traffic, clutter, higher costs for housing. No one is suggesting tearing down the buildings already under construction, or taking the top floors of those buildings already built. But I and others advocate taking a breather so that we can learn the real impact of the growth spurt of our Downtown and elsewhere in our community. Not a moratorium perhaps, but a breather. Taller buildings also impact the historic nature of our community. Small-scale development has its advantages, because it "right-sizes" a community with the historic flavor that is, indeed, "Portsmouth."
I believe that many citizens are concern with building height and Mass in Portsmouth. I have chosen to support what I believe to be a majority. Many people believe that if we change Portsmouth to much with big and tall buildings people will not want to come to Portsmouth. The question I have been hearing “Why would someone come to Portsmouth if Portsmouth is like every other city in America?” I believe the Four reasons people come to Portsmouth : History, Arts, Waterfront, and people .
Form-based zoning holds promise as a means for approaching development and redevelopment in Portsmouth’s historic district. This approach also has the potential to prevent the construction of buildings that are inappropriate in size, scale and appearance for the area. It will be important for the community to carefully evaluate and understand the implications of this approach over the current zoning ordinances. Conceptually, I support formed-based zoning as it has the potential to address issues related to the character of the buildings in town, including height, volume, scale, massing and design.
What the impact would be is that the downtown area would turn into an urban quagmire; the already-existing parking problems would explode; the city’s essential charm and historical character--or whatever is left of it, following its decimation by Portwalk--would be totally destroyed; and Portsmouth would soon be converted into “New Long Island,” with a mass of huge, sterile, vapid structures without personality, accompanied by overcrowded streets and overcrowded population. If that’s what you want, then you’d better tell your parents not to vote for me on Election Day. If I had wanted Long Island, I would have moved to Long Island.No candidate in this race has a more lengthy and more solid track record for opposing runaway development and championing historic preservation than I do. Others have paid lip service to it, but I have actually done it, speaking at public hearings, writing letters to the editor, serving on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and encouraging other, like-minded individuals to run for office and/or to seek appointments to our land use boards. I am delighted that grassroots citizens organizations such as PortsmouthNow have recently sprung up and have started vigorously opposing runaway development, but they’re a little late on the scene, as much of the damage has already been done. By contrast, I saw all of this coming years ago, and I did everything that I could to try to stop it and to preserve Portsmouth’s charm and character as a quaint, pristine, old New England seacoast town. Experience has taught me, however, that the only way to effect real change is to run for office oneself, as our current City Council and the three or four terms of council that preceded it have demonstrated that they are unwilling to listen to the citizens. That’s why I’m running for office.