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Zoners to hear pitch on proposed water park

Published July 13. 2010 05:00PM

The owner of the Blue Mountain Ski Area hopes to make a big splash when she pitches her idea for a themed water park in Lower Towamensing Township.

Blue Mountain Waterpark, L.P., will go before the township's Zoning Hearing Board at 7 p.m. July 20, to request a variance to construct a recreational facility water park in a Resort and Recreation Zoning District.

The interpretations and/or variances deal with setbacks and off-street parking and loading areas for the proposed Summit Splash, which would be located adjacent to the ski area on about 20 acres of the 58-acre parcel at 1660 Blue Mountain Drive.

In his rejection letter dated June 24, township zoning officer Duane Dellecker said a section of the zoning ordinance requires parking areas be provided on the same lot as the use being served within 300-feet of the use. Much of the off-street parking required, as proposed on the plans, would be on ski lodge property more than 300-feet from the water park use.

Dellecker also said that a section of the zoning ordinance requires all common parking areas and access drives be all-weather hard-surfaced. The plan, as submitted, does not indicate any proposal to macadam the existing ski lodge parking areas.

Also, Dellecker said a section of the zoning ordinance requires a minimum 50-foot front yard setback, while another section of the zoning ordinance prohibits buildings and structures to be located in a required front yard setback. Several structures appear to be located in the required front yard.

Finally, Dellecker said that a section of the zoning ordinance prohibits off-street loading areas in a required front yard. The off-street loading area appears to encroach on the required front yard.

As a result, Dellecker said variances are required from the zoning hearing board in order to proceed with the water park plan as proposed.

In May, the Carbon County Planning Commission granted approval for the proposed land development for the water park to Barbara Green, owner of the ski area.

At that time, Green said Summit Splash would be an outdoor water splash park that would include rides themed after historic areas of the county, such as the Lehigh River, mining, railroads and the rich canal history.

The park would be built in phases, Green said, with the first phase being the water park, and, the second phase, hotels/time-share, and more rides, if the water park proves successful.

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