Balsams’ developer still has not submitted NHDES AOT application

Balsams’ developer still has not submitted NHDES AOT application

By Edith Tucker
The Berlin Daily Sun

LANCASTER — Although progress is being made toward preparing to start construction at The Balsams, the developer still has not applied for the key Alteration of Terrain (AOT) permit from the state Department of Environmental Services, required before any work can be done to expand the ski area.
The Coös County Planning Board completed a lot of “housekeeping” work, however, at its Tuesday night meeting.
After reviewing a double-sided 113-page document, it voted unanimously to approve this “compendium.” The thick packet includes all the conditions of approval for The Balsams’ Planned Unit Development (PUD) Master Plan and Review Guide on which the board had previously voted “yes” for Dixville Capital LLC, designed to allow the developer to reopen and expand the now-shuttered resort in the Unincorporated Place of Dixville.
“This is another format of what is already done,” explained Tara Bamford, senior planner at the North Country Council. “It’s the conditions of approval pasted in; no changes have been made.”
Under chairman John Scarinza of Randolph, the board also reviewed and approved subdivisions and lot line adjustments in a second “conditions of approval” document, confirming the action taken at its July 5 meeting.
Ed Brisson, the only member of the Dixville Capital team on hand, submitted a letter written by Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) Commissioner Jeff Rose that confirmed the agency is aware that part of the mitigation for the four-season resort’s expansion would not only add acreage to Dixville State Park but also that the buffer would be acceptable for the proposed ski area. Brisson explained in July that these subdivisions and lot line adjustments would not be recorded at the Coös Registry of Deeds until the final financial closing for all the properties.
During these discussions a few corrections were made with Brisson and board members readily reaching agreement.
Vice chairman Fred King of Colebrook then asked Brisson what progress had been made toward getting construction underway.
He replied that Dixville Capital still has not applied for the Alteration of Terrain permit. King later estimated that it would cost Dixville Capital LLC some $300,000 to come up with the detailed information the permit calls for.
Brisson did say, however, that the team has nearly finished work on the remaining other seven items needed for the ski area application to be considered complete, including the ski-back bridge design and the Phase I construction drawings for drainage-stormwater structures. There are many other steps still pending, including financing.
Construction might be able to begin by year’s end or in early 2017, Brisson said.
Investors and potential Hampshire House shared-use apartment buyers have been on site to see model rooms, he reported.
Colebrook select board members as well as state reps and other politicians have also been invited to see these models.
Scarinza said that he had also received an invitation from Dixville Capital on behalf of the whole Planning Board, potentially in small groups. The chairman explained that he had checked in with attorney Bernie Waugh of Lebanon who suggested that accepting such an invitation could lead to litigation.
Two board members, Berlin attorney Tom McCue and Mike Waddell of Gorham, agreed with Waugh’s recommendation, pointing out that the state’s Right to Know law is quite clear.
After considerable discussion, board member Tom Brady suggested that the board hold a regular public meeting at the Country Club, with time for board members to see the general layout of the property.
Board member Rick Tillotson of Colebrook explained that he had gone to see the model apartments and to hear his son tell potential investors about the resort’s history, drawing on his family’s memorabilia.
Earlier in the evening the board voted “no” unanimously on Rick Nadig’s application for a building permit to erect a 4- by 8-foot sign on Route 26 in Millsfield advertising River Edge Inn & RV Sites and the Black Bear Tavern some 18 miles away in Colebrook.
The zoning ordinance is silent on whether signs can be placed advertising businesses located off premises. The board agreed that if the ordinance does not permit a particular use, then it lacks the authority to approve it.
The board unanimously approved an application from AT&T to put new equipment on its existing cell tower in Dixville and also ratified two building permits to replace worn-out waterfront camps, one in Wentworth’s Location and the other in Millsfield, with new three-season dwellings on concrete slabs with a number of conditions. Scarinza said that the applicants have secured NHDES permits under the state’s Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act.

Man charged in death of Berlin woman is free on bail

Berlin — The Berlin man charged with causing the death of 34-year-old Kristin Black is out of jail on $5,000 cash bail.

Representing Randy Baillargeon in Berlin District Court Tuesday, Defense Attorney Leonard Harden asked that the bail be reduced from $125,000 cash or surety bond to $5,000 cash on felony charges of negligent homicide, reckless conduct, and conduct after an accident.

Berlin Police Prosecutor Corey Riendeau agreed with the recommendation which requires Baillargeon to sign a wavier of extradition, remain in New England, and report to the Berlin police department twice a week on non-consecutive days. He must also have no contact with James Dellpoano or his family, who are relatives of the victim. Riendeau said the state agreed to the reduced bail and modified terms because the defendant has no criminal record and agreed to waive his right to a probable cause hearing.

The case now goes to the county attorney’s office to be presented to the grand jury which will convene again on Sept. 16.

Less than an hour after Justice Paul Desjardins approved the bail reduction, Baillargeon’s grandfather had posted bail and his grandson walked out of the courthouse. He had been held at Coos County Jail in West Stewartstown since his arraignment on Friday, Aug. 12.

The 32-year old Berlin man is charged with driving his vehicle at a high speed and erratically on Sixth Avenue in Berlin while Black was clinging to the exterior causing her to fall or jump off which resulted in her death, and for failing to report the accident to the police.

At Baillargeon’s arraignment last week, County Attorney John MacCormick said police had found a burnt spoon and syringes in his truck and a needle on him when arrested.

The arrest affidavit in the case has been sealed.

Carl Henry restores army surplus vehicle

Public Works Head Mechanic Carl Henry recently restored a 2009 U.S. Army surplus vehicle. The city purchased the vehicle for $28,000 with only 987 miles on it and Henry put in about 400 hours converting the vehicle into a dump truck. With a new dump truck costing about $160,000, the project was a great savings to the city. (RITA DUBE PHOTO) dump truck

North Country invited to meet Gubernatorial Candidates

All residents are invited to meet three Democratic candidates for New Hampshire governor on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 3 p.m. at the Lancaster Town Hall (25 Main St.). The candidates who will be present are: Mark Connolly, the former state deputy secretary of state; Steve Marchand, former mayor of Portsmouth; and Colin Van Ostern, executive councilor.

The format: Each candidate will provide a brief 5-10 minute opening statement. The forum will have a moderator and residents will be asked to submit questions to one (or more) candidates. The moderator will direct the questions to the candidates to ensure fairness. The formal question/answer period will end by 4 p.m., followed by informal and personal discussion with the candidates.

This event is sponsored by the Coos County Democratic Committee, which is hopeful that the attendees of the annual Lancaster Fair will take time to be a participants in this educational forum. All are welcome.