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Developers of resort near Harpers Ferry will need special OK to bypass buffer

October 29, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Developers of a planned 27-acre resort near Harpers Ferry will have to get permission to bypass a requirement for a 500-foot buffer along the Potomac River for their project to proceed, a county planning office spokeswoman said Tuesday.

A neighborhood compatibility hearing was scheduled for the Rattling Springs Resort today at 10 a.m., but it was canceled because two variances, including one allowing the developers to bypass the buffer requirement, are needed before the hearing is held, said Shannon Hayden, an administrative staff spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Department of Planning, Zoning and Engineering.

Developers will have to get a variance from the county's 500-foot river buffer requirement because plans submitted for Rattling Springs did not call for the buffer, Hayden said.

Permission to bypass the river buffer requirement would have to come from the county's Zoning Board of Appeals, Hayden said. If developers are unsuccessful in getting the variance, the project cannot proceed, Hayden.

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If developers get the variance, they must seek another subdivision variance dealing with hillside preservation, Hayden said.

Developers of the project could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The resort would be on a site that is mostly forested and a lodge with up to 50 rooms would be on a knoll near Potomac Street that would offer views of the Potomac River, according to plans.

Up to 60 cottages in the resort would be in clusters of six and visitors staying in the cottages would be assigned golf carts to move around in the property, which is about 1.6 miles from U.S. 340, according to the plans.

Water for the development is proposed to come from the town of Harpers Ferry, but Harpers Ferry Mayor Jim Addy said previously that he did not believe the town's council members would approve the request, citing a strain on the water plant.

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