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Ossipee selectmen lobby state to create Economic Revitalization Zone

Ossipee Selectmen voted July 31 to apply for a permission to designate a third area as an economic revitalization zone. The proposed are includes the former Mt. Whittier Ski Area. (Photo by Melissa Seamans) (click for larger version)
August 02, 2018
OSSIPEE — Ossipee is open for business. How do town officials get that word out, and what can they do to help attract new commercial development?

On a recommendation of the Ossipee Economic Development Council, selectmen here voted July 30 to apply to the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development to designate a large swath of West Ossipee as an Economic Revitalization Zone (ERZ). A previous application was approved so all of Main Street, Huckins Street, Folsom Road and a portion of Moultonville Road in Center Ossipee Village are in an ERZ. The program offers individual businesses State Tax Credits towards their business profits and business enterprise taxes. To qualify for credits the business must expand the communities commercial or industrial base through developing new buildings, investing in existing buildings, adding machinery and equipment and hiring new full-time staff. The second ERZ in Ossipee runs along Route 16 North from Ossipee Aggregates to the area of Duncan Lake Road.

The proposed new ERZ runs along Route 16 from Newman Drew Road to the Tamworth town line and along Route 25 West from its intersection with Route 16 to the Tamworth town line.

While it is great to offer incentives to draw business to town, how can officials get the word out to potential developers? Greg Howard of West Ossipee attended the meeting and suggested a marketing campaign to include a billboard advertising that Ossipee is open for business, updates to the town website, highlighting the resources in the area and the heavy traffic counts.

"With the upgrading of Route 16 and the identification of an additional ERZ would be a great time to get our ducks in a row for something that could lead to positive benefits for the town," said Howard.

Chairman Richard Morgan discussed a roundtable he attended last week. The subject was the development of the former Mt. Whittier Ski Area in West Ossipee. The property, said Morgan, is now owned by John Kenney, and "it's nice to see he wants it turned into a major development" rather than house lots, said Morgan. Kenney is the brother of New Hampshire Executive Councilor Joe Kenney.

At March Town Meeting, voters also approved the new Property Tax Exemption that offers local property tax breaks to businesses that "build, rebuild, modernize, or enlarge." If qualified, businesses will be assessed at only half of the increase in property value assessment for five years.

Morgan said Ossipee has put itself in a great position and now it's time to "blow that horn."

"If people want property tax relief, the way we get that is through business. You don't get it by adding houses. If you have a family move in with two children, it will cost $15,000 a year additional to educate those children. You are at a net loss for every family that moves in. If you want property tax relief, is through commercial development," said Morgan.

He agreed to work with the OEDC to figure out the best way to highlight the benefits of business moving to Ossipee.

Tiffany Eddy
Martin Lord Osman
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