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Middlefield Selectmen to Vote on Offer for 19.67 Acres

Resident Lori Vogel-Brown has offered to buy the land adjacent to Powder Ridge ski area for $300,000.

Middlefield Selectmen to Vote on Offer for 19.67 Acres

 

Middlefield officials are considering selling the nearly 20-acre property divided from Powder Ridge ski area last spring.

Selectmen have scheduled a special meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. to vote on whether to approve an offer from Middlefield resident Lori Vogel-Brown who has agreed to purchase the land for $300,000.

The offer was made public at Tuesday night's Board of Selectmen meeting after months of negotiations between Vogel-Brown, a neighbor who owns a horse farm adjacent to the property, and the town.

The 19.67 acre property runs parallel to the entrance to the ski area and was previously a part of the 246-acre property but was divided by the town last spring before the ski area was sold to Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort LLC for $700,000. 

"At the time, when we were negotiating we found no reason to sell [Browntone owner Sean Hayes] all of the land and he saw no reason to buy all of the land. It didn't make a bit of difference to his operation and yet we could maintain a peak piece of land and either choose to hang onto it or choose to sell it," said First Selectman Jon Brayshaw. 

"I think it's always been our thought that we would want to sell it to make the money. Obviously, we have a ton of open space," he added.

A recent appraisal of the property by Hunter Associates of Farmington, Conn. valued the land at $300,000 as a single building lot, although Vogel's attorney, John Corona, said his client had no plans to build a home on the property.

"She's just looking for additional space around the horse farm for exercise, and pasturing and things of that sort," Corona said. 

Restrictions on the land include a setback provision requiring that any home built on the property be constructed at least 150-feet from the road.

"This is a vista that people are used to in the area and the purpose is primarily to have that vista unencumbered as much as possible," town planner Geoff Colegrove said.

Selectmen were set to vote on Vogel's offer Tuesday night until they noticed that a restriction in the agreement requiring that any structure built on the front of the property be wood-sided had inadvertently been taken out of the contract. The restriction will be included in a new agreement that selectmen will vote on tonight.

The sale of the property requires approval by residents at a town meeting, which would follow a public hearing.

Vogel's offer is also contingent on whether the town receives an offer from Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort which holds the right of first refusal on the property.

Brayshaw said he's been given no indication that Hayes is interested in the property.

Vogel has offered the town a $50,000 down payment as part of the deal and is expected to pay the remaining amount at closing. Town attorney Kenneth Antin said because Vogel's offer was unsolicited the town would save about ten percent in broker's fees.

Selectman Dave Burgess said he'd like to see the $300,000 payment used to pay down the principle of the $2.38 million the town still owes on the ski area.

Tonight's special meeting will be held at the Middlefield Community Center.

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