November 20, 2012LANCASTER — Renewable Properties, Inc., (RPI) of Manchester, acting on behalf of the proposed $1.1 billion Direct Current Northern Pass Transmission project, filed a Ground Lease Agreement with Bayroot, LLC, on Friday, Nov. 16, at the Coös County registry of deeds.
RPI agreed to lease what appears to be an approximately 20-mile-long route for one integrated transmission line of up to 1,200 megawatts in three Unincorporated Places — Dixville, Dix's Grant, and Millsfield — and in the town of Dummer.
The lease also includes an evaluation period to determine the feasibility of wind farm development as well as the non-exclusive right of access to existing roads and crossings, including onto properties with which Bayroot has signed agreements.
The first part of the lease starts on Nov. 15 and runs until July 1, 2017 — almost five years — and includes a right to terminate prior to that end date.
The second part of the lease agreement allows for construction and operation of a transmission line facility through the 98th anniversary of the Nov. 15 start date — that is, in 2110.
The lease specifies that the line could be either above ground or below ground and covers all associated equipment, including pads, lines, poles and so forth.
Tom Colgan, president of Wagner Forest Management, based in Lyme, signed the lease agreement on Nov. 12 on behalf of Bayroot.
Charles A. Muntz signed the lease on Nov. 14 on behalf of RPI. Muntz now serves as President of the Transmission business of Northeast Utilities (NU). Until August, he served as the president and COO of the Connecticut Light and Power Company.
Reached by phone on Friday afternoon, Colgan said he preferred to let the lease — a public document — speak for itself.
NPT spokesman Martin Murray was not available for comment.
In the past, Colgan has pointed out that commercial timberland owners must now rely on supplementing their timber harvest income with other sources of revenue in order to resist the blandishments of commercial real estate and other investors. Other income streams, he previously has pointed out, allow the large investor-owned tracts of industrial forest that are still intact in Coös County to stay as part of both its and the state's wood basket.
The lease does not mention price, and, since no property has been transferred, no tax stamp was required.
Some of the survey descriptions in the lease indicate how remote they are, including: "East of a line drawn on the height of land dividing Clear Stream in the east and the Mohawk River on the west, said line running from Erving Location to the south in a northerly and westerly direction to the division on the easterly line of Colebrook;" and "east at a white maple 12 inches in diameter near the brook, then 20 rods to a fir tree four inches in diameter on a ledge in the road." Other fir trees are also cited. The lease excludes such iconic locations as Whittemore Opening and, of course, state-owned land purchased in the 40s and 50s from the Brown Company.