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Ossipee selectmen support Club Motorsports easement

May 23, 2013
OSSIPEE — Selectmen have agreed to enter into a tentative agreement to hold a conservation easement for Club Motorports, Inc. The conservation easement is just one of the things that company needs to move forward with finally building their country club for driving enthusiasts off Route 25 in Tamworth.

If the company had moved their proposed project just a little further east on Route 25 into Ossipee, many have questioned through the years if that might have made it easier for them to get the business up and running.

It was over a decade ago when CMI came to town, unveiling their plans for a country club for enthusiasts of performance cars and motorcycles. The club is planned to have a three-mile European driving course, driving school, vehicle repair area, paddock suites and vehicle storage, a clubhouse, restaurant, and possibly a hotel in the future. Since the moment they came to town there began a movement by an opposing faction in Tamworth completely against any such thing moving into their town.

FOCUS:Tamworth was formed as an activist group of those opposed to the project and members and others invested a lot of money to fight the project from happening altogether. There have been dozens of court dates through the years. Tamworth voters shot down the adoption of a town zoning ordinance at least twice. Many felt the ordinance was drafted to target the CMI project. Tamworth is one of the few remaining towns in New Hampshire without zoning. This past March, voters also voted to throw out the town's wetland ordinance.

Jim Hoenscheid, president of CMI since 2004, attended the May 13 Ossipee Selectmen's meeting and asked if they would consider holding a conservation easement for CMI. Hoenscheid said construction plans will commence on the Tamworth property beginning this summer but there are additional state and federal permits that have to be obtained and that are in the works. One requirement of the permitting process, Hoenscheid said, is that CMI was required to buy a mitigation parcel of land to compensate for the wetlands impact their project will have on their main parcel. They purchased a 107-acre parcel in Sandwich, four miles from the main CMI parcel. Those 107 acres have to be kept in conservation which requires CMI to find a municipality or a non-profit that is willing to serve as the conservation easement holder. CMI would continue to own the land, pay any taxes on it and assume liability for it. The easement holder's responsibility is to make sure that CMI is living up to the conservation objectives that will be outlined in the easement.

Some common reasons for conservation easement are to maintain or improve water quality; foster the growth of healthy forest; improve wildlife habitat; ensure that lands are properly managed for agricultural or forestry purposes, among other things.

All three Ossipee selectmen seemed open to Hoenscheid's request, agreeing to accept a draft easement from him at their next meeting, and to discuss the legalities of it all with the town's attorney. They will also look for input from Ossipee Conservation Commission.

Selectman Richard Morgan who has been very vocal about the need for stronger efforts in the area of economic development in Ossipee said, on the surface and pending more information, supports the idea of working together with CMI. "We all know the political nightmare you've endured in Tamworth. There is no doubt there is a group that is going to continue to delay your success," said Morgan. The proposed project, Morgan said, will be good for the Ossipee economy even if the project will be built in Tamworth. He said Ossipee will benefit by increased visitors to the area who will frequent Ossipee businesses as well.

At the May 20 meeting, the board unanimously voted to sign a letter of intent so Hoenschied could use that to show the NH Department of Environmental Services and Army Corps of Engineers there is a willing easement holder.

Before the selectmen will sign onto any permanent easement they want it perfectly clear Town of Ossipee will bear none of the costs and that the easement can be reviewed every five years to decide if Ossipee still wants to be the easement holder.

Freight House contractor fired

Selectmen here announced May 20 that they have fired the contractor who was hired to renovate the Freight House on Moultonville Road. Selectmen declined to give any further details about their reasons for the firing. This winter the board had been frustrated due to the contractor's periods of inactivity on the project, but it appeared, at least publicly, that those issues had been worked out and the work had resumed on schedule. Selectmen said they would not be putting the project out for re-bid since it is nearly complete, but did not say what process they will follow to make sure the job gets done.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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