Middlefield's Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday night approved the town's request to divide Powder Ridge by splitting off a 20 acre parcel of the property.
The 3-2 decision came shortly after the commission closed a public hearing on the request which had been .
Prior to the commission's vote, Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw explained to the commission and an audience of about 40 residents that the town had decided to divide the 246 acre property into a front and an interior lot while negotiating to sell Powder Ridge to Sean Hayes of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park.
"We decided to sell, or at least offer for sale the [226 acres] and then hold back the [20 acres], hang to this for some future use, whatever that use might be," Brayshaw said.
He said the town would decide at a later date whether to sell the property or designate it as open space.
Brayshaw's remarks before the commission also included a letter from town attorney Kenneth Antin, which requested that two members of the commission — William Waff and James Malcolm — be disqualified from voting on the town's request due to conflict of interest.
"Mr. Waff had drawn his conclusion before the evidence was heard," Brayshaw said in paraphrasing Antin's letter. "Mr. Malcolm would be disqualified for his financial interest as a professed purchaser, potential buyer."
Watch Patch's video of PZC counsel Brendan Schain give his opinion on the letter
Given the option to recuse themselves, both Waff and Malcolm decided to remain seated during the vote. Both later voted against the request.
The commission's legal counsel, Brendan Schain, said concerns that the Nerden Camp already existed as an interior lot were unfounded.
Brayshaw said Hayes is finalizing his plans to purchase Powder Ridge for $700,000 and he was hopeful that a public hearing and town meeting on the deal would be held soon.