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Powder Ridge Hearing Tonight at 7 p.m.

Selectmen Monday night approved a resolution to accept a letter of intent to buy Powder Ridge that was submitted by the operator of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland.

 

The town will hold a public hearing on the latest proposal to restore Powder Ridge ski area tonight at 7 p.m., at in Middlefield.

Sean Hayes, managing director at Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland, at a Board of Selectmen meeting last month before signing a Letter of Intent to buy the property.

"It's got to be a strong relationship to bring this property back to what it was. Yes it is a business. Yes it has to make economic sense to my investors. It has to make economic sense to the Town of Middlefield. It has to make sense to the residents of Middlefield and, lets not forget, the customers," Hayes said last month.

Hayes intends to turn the abandoned ski area into a winter sports park.

The Board of Selectmen last night approved a resolution to accept Brownstone's letter of intent to purchase the property.

While the town continues to negotiate with Hayes over the details of an agreement, including the price and size of the property for sale, the public will get a chance to comment Tuesday night on his letter of intent, which is a non-binding agreement to enter into negotiations on the property.

"It's like a prenuptial agreement," First Selectman Jon Brayshaw told the board. "(Hayes) just wants us to lay out that we will be faithful to each other" in these negotiations.

The public hearing is the first of two expected hearings, Brayshaw said.

While the board approved the letter, Selectman Dave Burgess expressed reservations over the latest valuation the town issued recently on Powder Ridge. Burgess said he thinks that valuation, set at $705,000 for the 246 acres the town would sell to Brownstone, seems too low, while the $300,000 value placed on some 22 acres of the property that the town would keep seems too high.

“We purchased the property for $2.8 million. How is that 22 acres is worth $300,000 and the rest of it is not worth … much? I’m just looking to get the best deal for the town.”

Brayshaw said the entire property would be worth about $3 million, but the town several years ago eliminated the zoning on the site, leaving it with limited development potential. The move was made so that housing could not occur on Powder Ridge, something local residents had opposed. Brayshaw also said the 22 acres the town would keep has a high value because it has road frontage, while the remaining property at Powder Ridge does not.

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