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Franklin Twp. supervisors fail to approve time extension

Published March 21. 2012 05:02PM

Franklin Township supervisors on Tuesday night unanimously voted to not give a six-month time extension regarding the conditional/final approval of the Rock Street Land Development plans at 1500 Rock St. in the township.

This action may finally put a halt to the proposed $10.9 million members-only resort on the former Otto campground property.

Franklin Township supervisors first discussed development plans with Victor Frye of Rock Street Developments in June 2007, when the late owner of the property proposed turning the former Otto Campground into a day spa with a hotel and restaurant and gas station, plus building at least five high end shops on Rock Street, across from the Hampton Inn.

Frye initially came to supervisors to have the property rezoned commercial. At the time there were three zoning districts on the property: commercial for 200 feet back along Route 209, a triangular section which was residential and a portion that was classed agricultural. At that time there was an RV repair shop and some selling of RVs, plus a business that was selling modular homes

In August 2007, Frye requested a variance or special exception to construct or build upon property at 1500 Rock St. He had plans to build a five star resort at the Otto Campground in Franklin Township.

During the variance hearing that month, Frye announced he wanted to start construction of a $10.9 million members-only resort on the former Otto Campgrounds by October. He anticipated opening the upscale multi-leveled resort by Memorial Day, 2008.

His plans included a clubhouse, to be built as an accessary use for members of the private health club on 24 acres during the first phase of the project. Frye also had an option to buy 48 acres adjacent to this property, which would be phase two and three of the development. After listening to Frye's business plans, the Franklin Township Zoning Hearing Board voted to turn down the variance request, but agreed with him that the clubhouse was allowed as an accessory use so that no variance was needed to proceed with the development.

Frye said at the meeting that he planned to truck in trees from a property he owns on Route 903 in Penn Forest Township.

During the hearing, Frye said he intended to start construction of the resort's entrance way, which included a $96,000 three-tiered waterfall that would soften any street noise for visitors and buffer noise for Franklin Township residents living in the vicinity.

During the August 2007 meeting of the Carbon County Planning Commission, the board voted to recommend conditional plan rejection to the resort plans because of issues with water drainage.

In October 2007, the CCPC again rejected Frye's proposal to create the resort because not all of the storm water control and drainage concerns were addressed in the plan.

That month the Franklin Township supervisors approved a 60-day time extension of Rock Street Development.

In December 2007, supervisors gave Frye a time extension until April 7, 2008 to have his preliminary land use plans approved.

In January 2008, Frye and supervisors reached a tentative agreement. Frye said that phase one would develop the lower parcel of 15 acres to hold 56 rental cottages placed on curving paths along the bottom of the property. The plans also include a club house, swimming pools, restaurant, tennis courts and other recreational activities.

In October 2009, Carbon County Planning Commission recommended plan approval to the resort plans. By that time, Frye has been working on this development plan for more than two years and the CCPC felt that he had altered the plan to fit Franklin Township's requirements.

In December 2009, Franklin Township supervisors approved the Rock Street Land Development Plans contingent upon meeting township engineering requirements.

Frye, who was 58 years old, passed away on July 2, 2010. Since 2009, the Franklin Township supervisors have granted 90-day extensions as requested by developers.

Rod Green, chairman, said that the board cannot keep granting extensions when the project is not moving forward.

Green said that if the project does not move forward as approved, the property will revert to its original plans that were approved by the Franklin Township Zoning Hearing Board in 1987.

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