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May 07. 2013 7:13PM

Candia and Raymond Sand and Gravel operation auctioned for fraction of it valuation

After facing bankruptcy and years of zoning and court disputes, the property of Candia and Raymond Sand and Gravel was sold at a foreclosure auction May 6 for a fraction of its assessed value.

With no third-party bids, the 80-plus acres running from Raymond into Candia along the north side of Route 27 was sold back to Slate Rock and Gravel for $200,000, according to attorney Rolf Goodwin. The total assessed value of the property is $901,100.

George McLaughlin, an agent of Slate Rock and Gravel, had previously purchased the mortgage from Christopher Bolton of Big Foot Crushing in Weare. Bolton and Big Foot Crushing were creditors of Candia and Raymond Sand and Gravel for $501,953.

Candia Sand and Gravel, a holding company under the operating company Raymond Sand and Gravel, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court on March 21 after years of being unable to work on their Candia properties due to zoning ordinances and court orders. Court records indicate that the company holds $800,000 in assets with $2.4 million in liabilities.

Most of the land on Route 27 is zoned commercial, except for a handful of residential lots that included Candia Sand & Gravel's property. A court ordered Raymond Sand and Grave to shut down its Candia operations in 2003 due to the zoning issue. Owner Kevin Cole and his company had attempted to settle the issue with the town and the courts ever since, in particular after their Raymond property ran out of materials several years ago, but a number of meetings with town boards proved fruitless and grew increasingly contentious.

For Cole, the auction Monday made for a bitter conclusion to this struggle.

"It's pretty sad," he said. "It's a family run business, and now we're out of business."

The planning and zoning boards have opposed RS&G's efforts to begin blasting at the Candia site in part due to the outstanding orders from the 2003 Rockingham County Superior Court case. Back taxes owed to the town are another outstanding issue.

Cole and his family and supporters placed a petition warrant article on Candia's ballot earlier this year that would have "allowed for rock quarrying, excavation and other commercial uses permitted in the commercial district, which may provide the Town with more tax revenue."

The article was defeated March 12 by a 476-617 vote.

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