“I would like reasonable growth to continue and I will do what I can to make Portsmouth affordable to as many people as possible.”
As part of an ongoing Portsmouth City Council Candidate Q&A in my weekly PortsmouthLOVE Letter, I’ve reached out to all candidates in the 2015 City Council race with some questions. I’m including the answers of all who participated here on my website, in addition to featuring them in my weekly newsletter throughout the month of October, leading up to Election Day, November 3rd. For information on voting, visit the City of Portsmouth, NH’s website.
Brad Lown, City Council Candidate
Neighborhood: Little Harbor School
Education: Phillips Exeter Academy 1976, Harvard College 1980, Univ of Maine Law School 1985
Relevant Experience: Candidate, NH House of Representatives – 1988; Member, Portsmouth Building Code Board of Appeals (1988-1990); Member, Board of the Warner House Association (1987-1989 est.); President – Harvard-Radcliffe Club of New Hampshire (1995-1998); Chairperson – Portsmouth Historical Society (1999-2001); Chairperson – New Hampshire Hearing Care Board – (1998-2001); Chairperson and Founder – Seacoast Citizens Overseeing Pease Environment (1990-1999); Member – Portsmouth School Board (1990-1993); Member – Portsmouth City Council (2002-2003) (2012 to present); Member – Portsmouth Planning Board (2002-2003); Chairperson – Fire Department Study Committee (2013-2014); Pease Development Authority – Liason to City Council (2014-2015); Transportation Committee (2012-2013); Chairperson, Parking, Traffic and Safety Committee (2014-2015); Member – Police and Fire Efficiency Committee (2013); Commissioner, Portsmouth Taxi Commission (2012-2013); Trustee – City of Portsmouth Trust Funds (2007 through 2011); Commissioner – Wentworth Coolidge Commission – Portsmouth NH (appointed by Governor Lynch) 2006 to 2009; Member – St. John’s (Episcopal Church) Vestry (1998-2001 est.); Sunday School Teacher – St John’s Episcopal Church (2000 to present); Member – NH Bar Association – 1985 to present; Member – Maine Bar Association – 1987 to present; Associate, then Partner, Boynton, Waldron, Doleac, Woodman and Scott (1986 to 1999)- Partner, Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy and Lown, PA (since 2000)
How do you think our city currently measures on the issue of workforce housing availability?
Although Portsmouth has done very well providing low-cost and low income housing for seniors, the City can’t say the same for “workforce housing”. In the last two years, this issue has come up, both in connection with the construction of the new parking garage on Deer Street and in conjunction with the possible purchase by the city of the Frank Jones Lot. In my view, the purchase of that lot to $7M to $9 million would be financially imprudent. Workforce housing is primarily a zoning issue, and I support zoning areas for workforce housing in order to keep the city affordable. This sometimes means more dense and intensive use of properties in order to create more housing units per square foot.
How do you view the balance of arts & culture with business & economic growth in our city?
These two things go hand-in-hand. Private capital has been pouring into this city over the last four years because it is a wonderful, vibrant place to live and work. That is at least in part because of contribution of the arts and culture community.
What’s your favorite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
The people in this city are, for the most part, involved, interested, civic minded and well-informed. The people make this city when it is – a vibrant seacoast community rich in history, art, music and natural beauty.
Does the city motto “The City of the Open Door” resonate with you — and if so, how?
An “open door” is simply a metaphor for being welcoming. As a whole, but there are notable exceptions, the City Council has been willing to accept change and accommodate growth. I am one of those Councilors. Development and change in the city is both important and valuable, and is a substantial contributing factor to keeping the tax rate down. This City should be welcoming and should embrace people of all ages, religions and races.
Is our city big enough, or does it have room to grow?
Portsmouth still has room to grow. One central proposition that some members of the City Council seem to overlook is that private landowners should be able to do what they want with their land as long as they comply with the local ordinances. Reasonable growth in accordance with the ordinances should be encouraged.
If you had your way, how would our city look in 10 years? In what ways would it differ from present-day Portsmouth?
In 10 years, I would like to see more people walking and bicycling in and around the city. I would like to see some streets for pedestrian use only and I would like to see the acute parking shortage alleviated once and for all. I would like reasonable growth to continue and I will do what I can to make Portsmouth affordable to as many people as possible.