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Selectmen table application to partially demolish closed mill

June 06, 2012
GROVETON — An application on behalf of Groveton River Development LLC of Naples, Fla., was tabled in a unanimous vote by the board of selectmen on Monday night following a 15-minute discussion. Earlier in the day, mill co-owner Jerry Epstein of Groveton Acquisitions said in a telephone conversation described the Florida company as "a very serious potential buyer" of the paper mill's buildings and site.

The selectmen will likely take the application for a partial demolition permit off the table at its next meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 18.

David Boshart of Florida, a registered agent of the demolition company — Steel Recovery Solutions — chosen by Groveton River Development, submitted the application on its behalf.

Selectman Michael Phillips said that he had been told that Groveton Acquisitions had apparently purchased the remaining Groveton Paper Board properties on Friday and registered the transactions at the Deeds office in the CoŲs Superior Court House on Friday, but that he had not yet seen any confirming paperwork.

This is an important point because Groveton Paper Board real estate taxes for 2011 and 2012 remain unpaid, Phillips said. A town ordinance allows the selectmen to deny permits to entities behind in paying their taxes.

Groveton Acquisitions is apparently up to date, however.

Furthermore the plot plan accompanying the permit application is not very detailed, and Groveton River Development has not indicated whether its proposed purchase is speculative or based on a specific future use for the property, including the newer sections — the warehouse and offices — that are not destined for bulldozing and scrapping, Phillips pointed out.

He said that he had asked town counsel, Shawn M. Tanguay of Gardner Fulton & Waugh of Lebanon, whether the board could require a performance bond, designed to ensure that any new owners would not leave hazardous and unsafe rubble behind in the wake of the wrecking ball. Tanguay said that the town's zoning ordinance provides for such a requirement, allowing the board to ensure that the site — zoned heavy industrial — would be cleaned up so as to maintain the town's health, safety, and general welfare. The board agreed to find out how large a performance bond should be.

Both chairman Barry Colebank and Phillips said the older sections of the shuttered paper mill do need to be torn down. Phillips said, "Their time is past and now the slate needs to be wiped clean." Selectman James Weagle did not argue with this viewpoint.

All three would like to see an outfit with a vision invest in the property and the town.

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