November 07, 2012WHITEFIELD — Licensed forester and wood procurement specialist Charlie Baylies of Whitefield met on Wednesday evening, Oct. 17, with members of the Whitefield Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to report on progress made by DG Whitefield, LLC, formerly Whitefield Power & Light, in pursuing its interest in purchasing 105 acres in the town-owned Industrial Park, all across the road from the power plant and chip storage sites.
East-West Power Renewable Corp. of Korea owns the 19-megawatt biomass plant that burns whole-tree chips.
Baylies said he had met with assessor Jason Call to determine a value for the land, and they'd come up with $100,000.
The power company, Baylies said, is concerned about an environmental assessment for this land.
WEDC member Dick Mallion noted that the Mount Washington Regional Airport would like to use this acreage as an offset for the wetlands they plan to use if and when the runway is extended. Mallion said that such offsets or mitigations are now at a rate of 30 acres for each acre of wetlands used.
WEDC members agreed that they should meet with the Airport directors to discuss their plans, needs, and concerns.
Baylies will also meet with two members of the UNH Extension staff — agricultural specialist Steve Turaj and county forester Brendan Prusik — to discuss possible uses for this land.
Mallion pointed out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have paid $225,000 for this land, and that the Whitefield power plant would have been able to use the high ground near Airport Road for a log storage area and the wetlands would have become part of the Pondicherry Refuge.
This proposal was defeated at the March 2012 Town Meeting, however, and the USFWS offer is apparently off the table, Mallion said.
Former town moderator Ken Russell pointed out, however, that those on hand at the town meeting had not given a thorough explanation of the proposed transaction, which, he asserted, is a necessary part of the town meeting process. "It takes time," Russell said, "but you've got to do provide information and answer questions."
The possible sale of this tract is on the agenda for the WEDC's next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.
Other WEDC members on hand included chairman-secretary Sam Chase, Ashley Nevers, Ed Betz, and Gerry Pons.