Middlefield's Economic Development Commission Endorses Powder Ridge Deal

The commission voted 3-1 in favor of the agreement between the town and Sean Hayes on Tuesday night.


Middlefield's Economic Development Commission voted 3-1 Tuesday night to endorse a sales agreement between the town and Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park owner Sean Hayes.

Commission members Charles Kreitler (chairman), Michael Waller and Bill Warner voted in favor of the agreement while member Cheryl Pizzo voted against it.

Check back with Patch for coverage of the meeting.

Scott Wheeler July 26, 2012 at 02:04 AM
That question should be asked to ensure diligence regarding the closing date but we all know what the answer will be as we have heard it from Brownstone many times.........."Time is critical". Yes my answer will not hold water with whomever I am speaking to but the fact remains it is a very easy question to dodge. Lets see what happens after closing, if in fact Brownstone does not come out of the gates slinging chainsaws and we do not see trucks up and down Powder Hill Road carrying capital investment we put the two selectmen that voted yes in front of the puplic and demand answers regarding the $250,000 we lost. I am all for that. "Trust but Verify" is something that I live by everyday both in the office and at home and so far it has been very successful for me and it COULD be for this town. I remember listening to my father explaining to me why that stupid 24/7 sports channel ESPN would never last and that it was a stupid idea, how Bristol, CT. was going to eat a huge loss when it failed. At the same time he lost 5 figures years later investing in what he said was one of the greatest brand names in the world, that company was GM. Where am I going with this? Peter Lynch of Fidelity Magellan fame probably could not predict the outcome 3-4 years down the road regarding this transaction so I am not going to pretend that I can. With risk comes reward and I am willing to take that chance to see Middlefield coming a great place to spend one's money.
Sunshine July 26, 2012 at 12:35 PM
After closing with Brownstone, the town loses all control because we no longer own the land. At that point, we can ask all the questions we want, but we'll have no way to make sure they get answered, even though we'll be paying the mortgage for the next 15 years with tax increases. What do you think about that?
Mickey July 26, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Hey Sunshine - you're right after closing we lose control. We also lose responsibility for maintenance, taxes, liability, mortgage.... Its okay to sell something, and then let it go. Lets move forward-There are a handful that will never ever be satisfied- The other 3,590 residents can't continue to bend over backwards trying to please them anymore.
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Right Mickey. I think some of these people are already losing control. How is it interesting that Ms.Leavitt and MS.Pizzo are on the same side? The leavitts want to Buy Powder Ridge back, and the Pizzos don't want anything there? What do the Leavitts think would happen if Hell actually did freeze over and they were able to purchase Powder Ridge? The Pizzos would remain on their side? Come on, wake up.
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Brown, you must have gone to the school of Petrella! It is Mr., or Sean Hayes. It is despicable that someone like you, who should be professional acts so disrespectful!
Sunshine July 26, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Hey Mickey, I wish you were right in believing that after closing with Brownstone, the town of Middlefield will lose responsibility for the mortgage. In fact, we keep paying the mortgage (the bond) for 15 years , while Brownstone owns the land. There are much more than a handful of people who believe that it doesn't make sense to continue paying a mortgage and have our taxes increased for this while someone else owns the land and can even flip this land at a profit while we continue to pay and pay. How does this make sense to you?
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 03:05 PM
"Flip the land at a profit"? To who? Don't you think that if it were possible to flip the land at a profit there would be people beating down the doors at the town hall? Oh, that "mortgage "that we are paying...IT IS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS WE REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY! Have someone appraise your diamond ring, now remove the diamond, what is it worth now??
Sunshine July 26, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Hi Fed Up, I can clear up one point that you mentioned, that "politics makes for strange bedfellows." It was true that Mrs. Pizzo and Mrs. Leavitt do not believe that the Brownstone deal is good for the town for different reasons. However, I know that the Pizzos would be happy with a good quality family ski area that included the activities that you want. Nobody wants an unsupervised area with continued vandalism and trespassing. Nobody wants to see a housing development there, either. The town of Portland is happy with Brownstone's success there because it has maintained ownership of its landmark and it is receiving 20% of gate fees resulting in an income of a half million dollars to the town treasury over 5 years. We would all be happy with that kind of deal......bring in on! Sadly, Middlefield is getting nothing out of this deal and is in fact being exploited. I hate to say it but people in Middletown, Meriden, and Portland think that we are stupid and naive with regard to finances. We could have structured a much better deal that we could all be proud of, just as Portland did, and then we wouldn't have all this disagreement.
Sunshine July 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Hi Fed Up, You are correct that we own the development rights. However, the land is still worth more than $200,000, which is what Brownstone will owe after they get the town's grant money. For example, the deal allows Brownstone to build at least four residential houses there, supposedly for investors who will be running the businesses on the site. Wouldn't you like to buy four very scenic building lots in Middlefield for $50,000 each? Also, there were and still are other investors out there who were totally turned off by Jon Brayshaw and they left . They said that they couldn't deal with him. They did arrive with real business plans and evidence of financial ability; we have neither of those items from Brownstone. Did you know this?
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Show me someone from Portland, Middletown, or Meriden that have ALL of the facts, is truly aware of the condition of this facility, and still wants to call us stupid. All that I can say about the deal in Portland is that you are not comparing apples to apples. The investment in Portland is a drop in the bucket compared to what it is going to take to re-open Powder Ridge. Also, all of the funds invested in Portland are removable, they float. At Powder Ridge, they will all be permanent. They fail, they lose. In Portland, they fail, they lose less. They can sell off the equipment they own. Personally I don't think the Pizzos want anything up on the hill, either does Brown.Petrella is fighting it just because she gets to go up against what Mr. Brayshaw is going to accomplish. And Maryann is fighting it because...that's what she does for a living.
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Alpines deal also allowed for housing. The $500k from the state will go to anyone who purchases the property, and to no one if the property is not purchased to be re-opened as a business. Mr.Hayes still has to invest 2 million of his own money. Personally in the whole scheme of things, at this point I wouldn't care if we gave the land to Mr. Hayes. Our burden does not change if we don't sell. If we do sell, and he is successful we all benefit. Please Sunshine, put down the moonshine, and maybe then you will be able to see a little more clearly that this is good for Middlefield! Oh, one more thing. You slipped and showed your "D" when you took a poke at Mr. Brayshaw.
Sunshine July 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Hey Fed Up, All those people you mentioned as foes supported the Alpine deal, including the dems and the people on the hill. That wasn't a perfect deal, but it was much better for the town than this one. How do you think the town will benefit from this when we are not participating in a percentage of the profits? BTW, I voted for John McCain in the last election and cross party lines all the time.....it's often not as simple as it looks.
Michael Hayes (Editor) July 26, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I've read several times on these comment threads that there are investors interested in buying Powder Ridge. Would someone please email me their contact information so that I might reach out to them to find out, publicly or privately, their interest in the property. My email address is michael.hayes@patch.com
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Please take a few minutes to explain the differences between the two deals to me.It will not take any longer than that. How will the town benefit? How do we benefit from Black Bird Restaraunt, Guida's, Lakeside Deli, Middlefield Pizza, Xenelis Construction, Lyman Orchards, Country Flower Farms. Do I have to continue? Do we share in any other business profits? Why should we? Because Portland does? Are we jelous? No-one EVER brought this up until we found out that Brownstone leased from Portland. Now you're all worried that we might look stupid. I have some news for you. We do look stupid! Everytime we have this conversation. And, don't try to sell me on the fact that the people that live on Powder Hill Rd. were in favor of Alpines deal. There were all of the same arguements then as there are now. Except for the land seperation deal. I think Mr. Brayshaw did that just to make your groups heads spin. They all say that they supported a deal as the prospective buyers are turning tail and running so they can say that Jon Brayshaw ran them off. Truth is that there were two very well known "want to be" politicians that played a major roll in running off two of the deals.It is in writing from the buyers. I don't have to mention any names, it isn't hard to figure out who they are, as they speak up at every meeting and pretend that they have a clue.
Fed Up July 26, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Michael, I know that Jim Malcolm has publicly expressed interest. He is a Middlefield resident, and shouldn't be too difficult to find. Maybe he is the interested party.
Mickey July 26, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Once again well said Fed Up. I find it impossible to believe that anyone who was interested met with Jon Brayshaw, didn't like him, and left, never to be heard of by anyone else- except of course seven opponents to this deal. With regard to housing, who ever owns the property will just NOT be allowed to build a house and sell it. Period.
Scott Wheeler July 27, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Great point regarding the lack of shared profits for any other business in town, slam dunk comment. We keep bringing up two women in this discusssion......why are they that important again? They have nothing to do with my tax bill, cost of living, or my having to go to New Hampshire to buy Jose for half price. Just two votes amoung thousands. No disrespect by the way but stating facts. Again bring the people in to the next town meeting with $12 million in liquid assets ready to to buy and I am positive the town will shoot down Brownstone.
Alma Elder July 28, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Mickey--The contract is interesting. On page 10 of the contract, Brownstone ((PRMR) can build four residences, occupancy restricted to owners, operators or employees. In Exhibit I, permanent improvements specifically exclude new residences or homes. In Exhibit C, if default occurs, what happens to the houses? Could the owners live in the houses on all that property and not offer anything? Middlefield is losing open space in this deal. Schedule E gives Brownstone (PRMPR) right of first refusal to the19.8 +/- acre interior lot. In the original Resolution Providing for Referendum Vote of 2007, the call was to preserve the PR ski and surrounding area as a ski, recreation and open space area. People want downhill skiing for at least 10 years. Yet, Exhibit I, p. 4, allows an "out" if downhill skiing is no longer commercially reasonable. Who determines what is "reasonable?" Again, the voters wanted downhill skiing. There is a lot of character assassination in the above comments--especially on female politicians who attend meetings and read documents. Our debate on PR should be based on facts and the benefits to taxpayers. Above, Fed Up said, " I wouldn't care if we gave the land to Mr. Hayes." Well, giving away the land would be a lousy deal for taxpayers. I'm one of those taxpayers and so are many others. We don't want excessive taxes, and there is no guarantee that we will make money on the PRMPR contract as it stands.
Mickey July 28, 2012 at 02:20 AM
He can build the house- My point was he could not ever turn around and sell it. And yes there are no guarantees in anything in life. All the signs point to this being successful. We need to stop being so greedy and take this for what it is- a darn good deal- which is also the only one available. And I am sick to death of townspeople insisting on the downhill skiing- Would it be okay if Lyman decides to stop growing apples and only do watermelons instead because its a better financial crop for him?
Fed Up July 29, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Alma. The only time there have been any "charictor assassinations on any "female politicians" are when they are stretching the truth, or distorting facts, or even worse, say "what if". Ok, WHAT IF? What if no one purchases the land. WE STILL PAY! Why don't any of you ask this...WHAT IF SEAN IS SUCCESSFUL? Ask the questions at the meetings, listen to the answers and DROP IT! You are asking questions that have been answered over and over again. If not this deal, then with the Alpine deal. Weigh it out. Where is the least risk to the towns people? With Brownstone. Period. And the time is now, enough with the fictional stories about the person that wants to invest 12 million. Who is it? Where are they? Powder Ridge has been for sale for a long time. There was a long period of time where there was no deal, where were they then? Your 2 politicians ( as you call them) ran off other deals, and are trying to do it again. There is documentation to prove it, this is fact, not fiction. So, what if Brownstone succeeds? I will be anxiously awaiting a reply from Lucy, you, Cheryl Pizzo...any one of you. I DARE any of you to post something that can possibly go right. Say one positive thing about this or any deal!
Alma Elder July 29, 2012 at 02:06 PM
An outstanding deal for Middlefield would give the following: A deal that gives Middlefield downhill skiing for 10 years to see if it could be a go, a deal that gives Middlefield more money (possibly a share of gate receipts, possibly as interest on the loan), a deal that has open space. The positive aspects of the present contract are an owner with vision, the clause to indemnify the Town for the DECD grant (see p. 9 inter alia), and the report of financial viability of Hayes' company. We're half way to a great deal. But we're not there in my opinion. Now I accepted the dare of Fed Up, And Mickey, why are you "sick to death" of downhill skiing? The taxpayers wanted skiing. We don't own Lymans. We do own Powder Ridge.
Alma Elder July 29, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Fed Up--In the spirit of cooperation, I "dare" you to say something positive about my position.
Sunshine July 29, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Alma, You have presented the makings of a much better and smarter deal for Middlefield at Powder Ridge. I wonder why your opponent debaters are so reluctant to explore common ground here. Maybe they don't realize that the taxpayers who will vote and actually pay for this project really wanted downhill skiing when they voted in the last two elections on Powder Ridge. Sure, there are many teens and 20 year olds who would be thrilled and satisfied with just snowboarding and free style skiing, but most taxpayers in other age groups that I talk with daily would rather support a more inclusive resort . Alma's proposal takes into consideration the fact that all the taxpayers will be paying for Powder Ridge for the next 15 years and would all like to get something out of it. Would it hurt the opposition to consider others as themselves? If you guys are willing to work with Alma and the others , an improved deal might stand a better chance of passing in a more timely manner. Please consider it.
Mickey July 29, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Hahahahahaha... You are right Alma- That is a better deal. I suggest you find the person who will sign it and that's the one Middlefield should take. And when you find the person to sign that deal, please have them see me about a 57 Chevy I have in the barn= I will sell it for a mere $100,000. And when we sell Powder Ridge, we won't own that either, thank goodness. You guys crack me up with your inability to open your eyes and see that no one else is offering a better deal- and in the mean time the property becomes more expensive for us to maintain and pay taxes on, and a bigger liability each and every day, while become less and less valuable for anyone else.
Sunshine July 29, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Dear Mickey, Don't underestimate the power of professional negotiators. During a serious economic recession, if you take the diamond out of a diamond ring, the gold that makes up the setting and the ring itself is quite valuable. If you give away the gold to the lowest bidder because of impatience and lack of experience in negotiating, you can lose a considerable amount. So be careful about underestimating the location and value of the Powder Ridge land as a recreation area. If this is voted down by the taxpayers, you will see other suitors coming around.
Mickey July 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM
So we should now spend money on a professional negotiator- Brilliant plan Sunshine, spend more money rather than sell it now. This is my last comment on the subject- you've worn me out. We have but ONE deal before us- any other 'suitors' are in your imagination only.
Fed Up July 30, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Alma, are you kidding me? We will NOT OWN Powder Ridge either! Share the gate receipts? For how long? Please, do you really want to revisit that? Now, let me dig deep and find something positive. Hmmm, I am not convinced that your examples actually count, as they are in writing, and are pretty obvious. I was looking for something a little more personal, a little more that a Middlefield Resident could grab a hold of and be proud of. Like maybe, all of the jobs that Sean Hayes will provide, the positive impact it will have on our towns economy and businesses. In the spirit of cooperation, I will say that I do admire your commitment to Middlefields best interest. However, I do have to say that I just don't feel that you have a realistic view of what Mr. Hayes is about to purchase. I would like someone to do a little research on the property value in Middlefield when Mr. Leavitt purchased the OPERATING SKI AREA from the Zemmels for 2.4 million. Lets keep in mind the economy and land value then, and compare it to the current economy. Oh, don't forget that we stripped the development rights, and that absolutely NOTHING at Powder Ridge works anymore.
Fed Up July 30, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Sunshine, we will be paying for the next fifteen years whether it is sold or not. Shouldn't we benefit by what Mr. Hayes has to offer? And, just so you know...THERE WILL BE DOWNHILL SKIING!!! IT IS NOT JUST SNOWBOARDING!
Scott Wheeler July 30, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Sking nothing, I hope it turns into a 365 destination myself with a great pub, deck with acoustic sets, and of course sking. The diamond ring example is good but lets place that same example on the foreclosure market where people are snapping up bank owned property for pennies on the dollar. Same applys here, we bought at the peak and now we will suffer a tad just like the biggest saving institutions that have the highest paid negotiators. Sean works the same way, he looks for this exact oppertunity as he did in Portland and so far he is winning. Enough with the gate sharing, not a business in middlefield that does this so what is the fasination of getting some of Sean's capital that will be plowed back into the business? Enough about houses, he will own the land and if he wants to live there like the other owners so be it.
Fed Up July 30, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Mickey. Their strategy is to wear you out. They comment on nothing, and make false statements in the hopes that someone who doesn't really know what is going on will believe them. It is important that residents know the FACTS, not their twisted version. We know this is political, we know that if Lucy Petrella won the election, and was about to sign this deal they would all be dancing in the streets. Don't let them get to you.


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