09 May 2013 Lincoln County News: Whitefield selectmen to look into so-called flowage rights

confused_0Yet another Lincoln County News article in this week’s paper, this one by Dominik Lobkowicz about last Tuesday night’s Whitefield Selectmen’s meeting. Good article. Worth reading. I was at that meeting along with Sue McKeen. We didn’t talk, we just listened. The theme of this post is “Confusion” which is what that thumbnail at left is supposed to represent. The article isn’t online so I scanned it and the photo of Mr. Kelley didn’t come out too well. Sorry.

Whitefield selectmen to look into so-called flowage rights

There’s really nothing confusing about it. At issue is whether anyone in their right mind would want to own a dam without also owning the right to flood upstream property that they don’t own. If you owned a dam without also owning the flowage rights, why you could find yourself being sued by any one of a 108 lake shore property owners (or all of them) for flooding their property without the right to do so. It’s really simple. If you own a dam, you need the flowage rights. And DEP agrees. And so does the AG.

2 thoughts on “09 May 2013 Lincoln County News: Whitefield selectmen to look into so-called flowage rights

  1. Colin Caissie

    Paul will have to get back together with Richard Smith of Aquafortis LLC to retrieve the flowage rights before he can relieve himself of the dam? That’s a pretty simple step. Is that what the Town of Whitefield is looking into next?

    1. George Fergusson Post author

      Colin, I wouldn’t characterize anything involving Paul Kelley as “pretty simple.” On the contrary, Kelley’s capacity to complicate and confuse situations is astonishing. Right now I think the Town is just trying to get a handle on the legal implications of owning the dam without also owning the flowage rights. It doesn’t look good: as it stands now their perspective is that flowage rights belong with the dam and if you own the dam you also need the flowage rights to legally operate it. I don’t know if anyone is planning to talk to Richard Smith. I’m not. Probably somebody should, he seems to hold the key to unraveling this mess.

      As I understand it, the DEP has issued Kelley an ultimatum: Deliver proof by the 13th of May that Pleasant Pond Mill LLC has sufficient right, title, and interest in the dam including the flowage rights or they’ll be returning his petition. So I think right now the Towns (Jefferson and Whitefield) are just sitting tight until next week to see what happens. Even if the State dismisses Kelley’s petition, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to try and schmooze the town into buying his dam but the statutory requirement that the Towns hold public hearings and play ball with Kelley will be gone.

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