900-Unit Kittery Development Nixed After Protests

A massive multifamily development near Portsmouth won’t be going forward after angry townsfolk successfully got zoning rules changed to prohibit it.

Kittery officials had previously OK’d a mixed-use zoning district covering a large area that includes the large, wooded property between Exit 1 and Exit 2 on Interstate 95, right after it crosses the Piscataqua River. Under it, a development team had assembled a sketch proposal for 900 apartments – including 90 affordable units – a brewery, daycare center, assisted living facilities, restaurant and retail spaces.

But resident protests led to municipal leaders repealing the zoning July 13, according to the Portsmouth Herald, in addition to a 180-day moratorium on new development proposals in town to help officials and residents figure out how the parcel should be zoned.

Opponents of the project, called Dennett Landing, said it would have “astronomical and to me is unacceptable” impacts on taxpayers by bringing as many as 2,000 more residents into a town of 10,000. Others called the proposal’s 4-story apartment buildings “high-rises” that were out of place in the suburb, whose Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is undergoing a $2.4 billion expansion that could bring many new jobs.