Plum Creek Develops Higher Prices, Part I

Posted: 15/01/2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

One of the comments that have been made to me about this development Plum Creek is proposing for our beloved Northwood’s around Moosehead is that it will make housing more affordable, and in fact, part of the plan is to build some low income housing. The original ‘Fact Sheet’ from the ME.LURC indicates no plans for low income housing. This article from 7 December speaks about the proposal.

Plum Creek proposes affordable housing in Moosehead region

December 7, 2007

AUGUSTA, Maine—Plum Creek Timber has outlined plans to donate land in Greenville and Rockwood for construction of affordable housing units for future employees at its proposed development in the Moosehead Lake region.

Affordable housing was the focus of discussion Thursday at a hearing in Augusta before the Land Use Regulation Commission. LURC is the agency that will decide the fate of the controversial Plum Creek development, which includes 975 house lots and two large resorts.

Plum Creek says it plans to donate 100 acres for affordable housing units. It said the units would be available for other area residents as well as Plum Creek employees.

What the article actually says, is the it is going to donate 100 acres in Greenville and Rockwood for construction of affordable housing for its employees, and that units would be available for other area residents. It doesn’t say word one about low income housing. They only mention affordable housing, and that housing is intended to be for their employees. Nothing about any of the developments Plum Creek has been involved in contains low income housing, much less affordable, unless you are making a lot more money than the average Greenville citizen.

I’m going to jump on Blixseth’s Yellowstone club again, just because I can. Plum Creek doesn’t own the place, but they did get richer from it, and there is a possibility that the same scenario may be played out here in Maine, if the current proposal doesn’t work out for them. An article from England caught my eye, especially when we talk about the ‘affordable‘ housing issue in Greenville.

A very des res: for $155m,
world’s most expensive house is yours

The Independent (UK)

Not one brick has been laid, not one piece of timber has been erected. But already this home comes with a price tag of $155m (£79m) and has triggered considerable controversy.

The price for the property being planned for central Montana by a US real estate magnate makes it, in theory, the most expensive property in the world – beating the record held by an unsold 103-room mansion in Windlesham, Surrey, with an asking price of $139m.

This one single private residence will be located at the Yellowstone Club in Montana……

The Montana property is being built by Tim Blixseth……..As planned, the 53,000 sq ft stone and wood property will be located on the grounds of the Yellowstone Club, a private ski and residential resort that Mr Blixseth has developed near Bozeman.

One would think, so what, it’s their money, and their land. But the issue at hand is greater than that. We have to presume that at some point and time, all of this development will eventually be controlled by someone else. Uncontrolled havoc may well be the result, and without proper planning Moosehead may turn out to be another such case. You may counter that zoning and environmental controls already are, or will be in place four our protection. They were in Wyoming, and what help were they? Read on to find out….

Local environmentalists have complained that private clubs such as the Yellowstone, where members must have at least $3m in assets and pay a joining fee of $250,000, are damaging Montana’s environment and pushing up property prices to the detriment of local people. They also point out that Mr Blixseth has a record of planning and environmental infractions and has been fined millions of dollars by state and federal authorities.

The contractors brought in bulldozers and carved up the mountainside to make ski trails, where the accepted, and required method is to simply cut down trees. And you may counter by saying, well that’s just one development, and it wasn’t done by Plum Creek. Read about another area in Washington State that involves Plum Creek directly. Here in Maine, we are all aware of Plum Creek Timbers clear cutting violations. Somebody mentioned to me that they only did it once, it’s no big deal. Read on folks……

Roslyn Journal; Where Have All the Forests Gone?

Looking up at the shaved hillsides outside this frontier mountain town, Marianne Gordon sees her old nature trails turned to stubble and her husband’s hunting grounds denuded of trees.

”When they’re done cutting it all there won’t a forest anymore, but we’ll still be here,” said Mrs. Gordon, a native of this Cascade Mountain valley about 80 miles east of Seattle.

Many of Roslyn’s 950 residents contend that Plum Creek’s decision in the early 1980’s to accelarate clear-cutting, in which all the trees in one section of a forest are leveled and then replaced with tiny seedlings, will severely hurt tourism here and jeopardize mill jobs.

As to Plum Creek’s response when questioned about the practice….

Mr. Heide agreed that the company’s plan to cut all its trees in the next 10 years, rather than gradually harvest them as they had been doing, would mean few timber jobs in the future. ”Let’s face it, the market forces and the threat of stock market takeovers won’t let us do otherwise,” he said. ”If you keep a lot of this timber on the books, you’re undervalued and you become an easy takeover target.”

Plum Creek’s decisions and goals are based solely on market circumstances. What assurances are they going to provide that these sorts of actions are not going to take place here in Maine? Are they going to hold themselves responsible for the actions of their contractors?

I’ll finish with part two of this story tomorrow.

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