30 April 2013: Initial Reaction to Whitefield informational meeting on PPM petition for release from dam ownership

mexicanstandoff-customI’m too tired to report fully on the meeting tonight, and besides, I’ve got to ponder all that went down first and review my copious notes. The meeting lasted 2 solid hours and there were 26 people there including Paul Kelley but not including the 5 Selectmen and the Town Clerk. Shlomit Auciello of the Lincoln County News was there so I anticipate  some coverage of the meeting in this weeks Lincoln County News. Many of the people there were Clary Lake shore owners as you would expect, but not everyone. You don’t have to own property on Clary Lake to care about it. Many thanks to those of you who showed up and participated. I’m sure you’ll agree, it was well worth it.

Before heading for bed I will say that the informational meeting held by the Selectmen of the Town of Whitefield was well attended, well run, highly informative, and very illuminating despite the fact that nothing substantial was finalized, nothing important was decided, no solid facts about the dam such as what Paul Kelley wants for it were to be had, none of the outstanding issues were resolved (such as when will the public notices required by the statute be sent out- that question of mine was ignored). The town is no closer to having a handle on what they’re up against now than they were before the meeting. I attribute most of this “nothing substantive happening” to Paul Kelley’s total inability to answer a simple question with a “Yes” or “No” answer. Paul, for all his talk, actually says very little of substance. He answers questions with questions. He goes around and around an issue without every really hitting it on the head. When you ask one question, he answers another question. That’s because everything is problematic. For example, when Sue McKeen asked if there has ever been an engineering study done of the dam, he launched into an explanation of how back in 2003 when Pleasant Pond Mill LLC bought the mill building and mill pond from the Chase heirs, they hired URS of Portland to do an engineering assessment of the mill building and mill pond, and that such an assessment could be done on the Clary Lake dam too. A better answer to the original question would have been a simple “No.” But nothing is simple for Paul. Everything is problematic.

By the end of the meeting, if Kelley had used the term “problematic” once more I swear I would have jumped out of my seat and throttled myself. Everything is problematic for Paul Kelley. The dam is problematic. Flowage rights are particularly problematic. Property ownership issues are problematic. Moving the red house off the dam? Problematic. Dealing with the DEP? Problematic. Dealing with the town? Problematic. Problematic. Problematic.

At the beginning of the meeting Dennis Merrill talked about an email he received earlier today: Kathy Howatt, DEP Project Manager forwarded to the Whitefield Town Office an email she sent to Paul Kelley yesterday afternoon at 4:57 PM saying that he has until May 13, 2013 to produce evidence of having sufficient right, title, and interest in the dam including the flowage rights or the petition will be return returned. The email includes an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General on the matter of the interpretation of the statute as pertains to “Property Rights Transferred” i.e., they include title to the dam and land under the dam, title to equipment and other personal property normally located at the dam site, flowage rights, and access rights. It was a private communication between Kathy Howatt and Paul Kelley until she sent a copy to the Town of Whitefield. Now I’ve got a copy:

DEP Email to PPM requesting proof of sufficient right, title, and interest

While that email made my day, I’m sure it ruined Paul Kelley’s. It’s a nasty email, the tone isn’t pleasant at all. At least that’s the way I read it. I’m glad it wasn’t sent to me.

More on the meeting tomorrow after I’ve slept on it.

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