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View Full Version : Big land sale in Maine - 900,000 acres



peakbagger
01-25-2011, 09:30 AM
From the Bangor Daily news

http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/01/24/news/media-mogul-to-buy-swath-of-forestland/

Most of the land is in the undeveloped townships of maine. There is a move afoot to abolish the LURC (land use regulatory commission) that acts as the "planning board" for the unorganized lands. Without the LURC in place, the pace of development of the area could increase.

spencer
01-25-2011, 10:07 PM
Just to be clear, these two news items have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Guthook
01-26-2011, 05:38 AM
I was wondering why I didn't spot much of anything about LURC in a quick read through. It sounds as if the new buyer is interested in keeping the forest undeveloped. But it could have just as easily been purchased by someone interested in big developments, so I guess that's why it's a bit of a scary idea.

peakbagger
01-26-2011, 06:57 AM
Spencer is correct I did not mean to imply that the new owner is going to change the the way their woods are managed and if they do or dont support the proposed changes to the LURC.

Vermonster
01-26-2011, 09:29 AM
I believe these are the old IP/Champion lands.
Large parcel Downeast (Machias) and small (relatively) parcel to north of Rangeley (Magalloway drainage to include Aziscoos and Parmachenee Lakes).

There is also a small (20K acres) parcel in NH.

Peakbagr
01-26-2011, 02:24 PM
Has anyone who knows about this brought it to the attention of the Open Space Institute and The Nature Conservancy?

peakbagger
01-26-2011, 03:30 PM
I dont see why anyone would need to contact either organization. It sounds like it was a willing buyer/willing seller agreement. Granted the scale is rather large but large blocks of land gets bought and sold in the state on occasion. Maine has some fairly stringent minimum logging standards on industrial timberland and limits on development in the unorganized towns. In general there is not a lot of interest by the citizens of the state to tie up large blocks of land in strict "wilderness" easements or outright ownership versus there is interest in keeping large blocks of land from being developed and kept as working forest land, this sale seems to support that effort.

RoySwkr
01-26-2011, 03:37 PM
Has anyone who knows about this brought it to the attention of the Open Space Institute and The Nature Conservancy?

One of the articles said the guy who is buying is a former national board member of TNC, and another is likening him to Percival Baxter :-)



In general there is not a lot of interest by the citizens of the state to tie up large blocks of land in strict "wilderness" easements or outright ownership versus there is interest in keeping large blocks of land from being developed and kept as working forest land, this sale seems to support that effort.

The guy who just sold Success Twp is probably looking for more land to clearcut :-)

peakbagger
01-28-2011, 08:01 AM
The local news confirmed that the NH portion of the sale is the Phillips Brook area in Millsfield. This is the property to the east of Nash Stream that used to host a yurt system and is slated for a portion of the Noble Power (soon to be Brookfield) wind farm. THis property was previoulsy slated to receive a large Forest Legacy grant to buy out its development rights, but at the last minute the prior owner pulled out in order to host the wind farm.

dentonfabrics
01-28-2011, 11:23 AM
The local news confirmed that the NH portion of the sale is the Phillips Brook area in Millsfield. This is the property to the east of Nash Stream that used to host a yurt system and is slated for a portion of the Noble Power (soon to be Brookfield) wind farm. THis property was previoulsy slated to receive a large Forest Legacy grant to buy out its development rights, but at the last minute the prior owner pulled out in order to host the wind farm.

Peakbagger, you may know more about this than I do but Millsfield is one area in NH that has no property taxes for it's residences. The reason is that the majority landowner's (the timber company) tax contribution takes care of all of the towns financial needs. I wonder if this transfer of ownership will effect that tax status for the residents?

peakbagger
01-28-2011, 12:11 PM
Millsfield is an unorganized township administered by Coos county. The county can only charge expenses associated with running the township and a share of the county expenses based on the property values to the propoerty owners. Most of the major landholdings are in current use, so the property tax value is very low. The large landowners dont directly subsidize the small landowners, but anyone that sells timber has to pay a tree growth tax to the muncipality (in this case the county) that generally offsets all or most of the property taxes in an unorgainized township. When the wind farm was permitted, they agreed to pay the county a flat rate for the wind farm and that goes into the county budget. There must of at one point been property taxes of some sort in Millsfield as the landowners complained that the flat rate for the wind farm wasnt credited as Millsfield revenues, rather it was credited to the county.

So if the new owner of Phillips Brook stops cutting trees, it could impact the taxpayers of the township (mostly campowners on Millsfield Pond). Dillon has pretty well stripped the remainder of the township, so I dont see a lot of tree growth revenue coming into the area except Phillips brook for many years. Generally the worst thing for most of the northern NH towns is if the federal government buys the land as they dont pay tree growth taxes. There is a federal government program called payment in lieu of taxes that is supposed to make up for the difference, but it generally is funded well below what is owed the towns. This is one of the reasons that the Coos county delegation is trying to keep the remainder of Success in private hands under a conservation easement.

I keep an eye on large land sales in Me NH and Vt on occasion and its quite noticable that large blocks of NH land rarely appear on the market and dont last long compared to ME and VT. I expect its that the cost to keep the land is low as active forest management is not required like ME and VT to keep current use status.

RoySwkr
01-29-2011, 10:01 AM
There must of at one point been property taxes of some sort in Millsfield as the landowners complained that the flat rate for the wind farm wasnt credited as Millsfield revenues, rather it was credited to the county.

What about the statewide property tax for schools?

All taxable real estate in the state must pay a state education tax which is billed to the property owner by the town which also collects county and school taxes. At the same time the state pays each town a sum based on their number of students. The education tax is credited against the money the state would otherwise pay the town, and so far every town is still owed money and none has to pay the state.

In an unincorporated place with no students, does the county use timber tax money or other revenue to pay the state or do property owners actually shell out?

peakbagger
01-30-2011, 04:45 PM
Roy, I see the troll bait is out, good luck with what you catch :rolleyes: