Public Hearing on Powder Ridge This Week

Middlefield's Planning and Zoning Commission will review the town's request to split off a 20-acre parcel on Wednesday.


A public hearing is scheduled this week on a request to divide the Powder Ridge property.

Middlefield's Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing a to split off a 20-acre parcel of the 246-acre ski area and will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

If approved, First Selectman Jon Brayshaw said the town will keep the property, which is located along the western edge of the entrance road to the ski area, and look to either sell the property or maintain it as open space.

The property was originally included in a deal with Sean Hayes, owner of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland, who . But when negotiations between Hayes and a third party to fell through Brayshaw said he decided to hang on to the property.

"Sean doesn't need this because it has nothing to do with skiing," said Brayshaw, who sent a letter to residents earlier this month explaining his decision.

"On a per acre basis, the hay lot and land along the driveway was much more valuable than the actual ski area land. Rather than sell all the Powder Ridge land to Mr. Hayes, the Administration determined that it was incumbent upon the Town to hold this piece out of the sale looking to just hold on to it (add it to our inventory of open space or to sell at a later time," the letter states. (See attached PDF for entire letter)

The 20-acre lot has been valued at $300,000, an amount that Brayshaw said the town would recoup if it decides to sell the property. At least one buyer has already come forward offering the amount, he said.

Meanwhile, Hayes, who has for $700,000 and restore skiing, said a final sales agreement should be available by the end of the week.

"Things are going very well," he said. "We have our funding in place. We have done most of our due diligence. We are confident that the combination of Brownstone and Powder Ridge makes perfect sense."

Brayshaw said a would be complete soon but that preliminary information supports his plans to restore the ski area.

A second public hearing on the deal is expected sometime in June.

"I think we're doing very well, as far as speed goes," Brayshaw said.

Wednesday's meeting will be held at the Community Center. Brayshaw said he anticipates that some residents who want to "thwart" the deal with Brownstone will attend the meeting to speak out against dividing the property.

"It would be so nice if people in this town put the politics aside, because they're not putting the politics aside," he said.

Just my opinion May 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Wow! we payed how many million for this property and we are getting nothing in return except to keep paying for something we will no longer own. Something is very wrong with this picture.
Ellen Waff May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM
This is not, I repeat, NOT a political issue. Mr. Brayshaw is the one politicizing it. The question for P & Z is WHY? Why should any bit of the Powder Ridge property be split off, when this move was never considered previously? There is no plan of development, so no one can know how important any part of the total acreage may turn out to be. Waiting would be prudent.
Rebecca Adams May 21, 2012 at 03:18 PM
It is so hard to understand how after the many many discussions about how property valuation works that people still claim we should be selling the property that we bought at its highest and best use valuation - for HOUSING - at that same amount or more. The town is now holding the rights to development - taking the majority of the value of the land off the table. We are also getting no tax revenue. For those who want to sell at a profit, make a housing development proposal. For those who cannot find a sale to endorse, sell the residents on paying full boat for open space.
Ellen Waff May 21, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I certainly don’t see my comments as “politicizing” in any way. Prudent, perhaps.....logical. Yes, any decision of P & Z should be dependent on the regulations. ‘Why’ do it is a valid question and one that should be taken into advisement. BTW, I wrote only one paragraph.....
Concerned May 21, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I think it would be prudent to wait on this proposed subdivision until the plans for the new septic system have been filed and approved. My understanding of the DEEP issued consent orders on Powder Ridge require thier approval - regardless of the size of the new system. The Town (read Taxpayers) will never recoup the money that has been expended on this venture. At the very least, Mr. Brayshaw should have bonded this money long term 4 years ago, when they could have gotten a taxable rate of 2%. As it is, we are still floating Bond Anticipation Notes, and only paying a little on principal.


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