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Developer Makes Public Pitch for Hotel on Mount Washington

Chris Jensen for NHPR
Developer Wayne Presby. The Presby and Bedor families have owned The Cog Railway for three decades. Previously the families bought the foreclosed Mount Washington Hotel and reopened the property.

The developer who wants to build a 35 room hotel along Mount Washington's Cog Railway made his initial pitch to the Coos Planning Board in Lancaster Thursday night.

Developer Wayne Presby said the hotel would be built at 5,000 feet on a 99 foot wide strip of private land on which the Cog runs, and no public money would be used. He said the hotel would be good for tourism, but he didn't have any drawings to present to the board. 

"You know we're kicking around ideas ourselves, we don't even know, you know, what the design of the building would look like," Presby said.

Presby said the project was in its planning the stage, and he wanted the meeting to find out what the planning board would need. He was told issues would include the sensitive environment, a zoning change, fire safety, and the narrowness of the strip of buildable land. 

There were about three dozen people in attendance at the meeting, but because there was no formal application, public comments were not allowed.

So far, about 6,400 people have signed petitions against the proposed hotel, saying it would diminish the wilderness experience on Mount Washington. About 550 people have signed a petition in favor saying it would help the economy and pointing out that the mountain is already commercialized. 

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