The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

November 25, 2013

ACE wants land rezoned to build 60-unit lodge

By Brandi Underwood
Register-Herald Reporter

— A new land zoning designation must be obtained before owners of ACE Adventure Resort can proceed on their plans to build a 60-unit resort lodge in the area of Minden.

Currently, the property owned by ACE falls under the designation of planned development, but ACE seeks to have it rezoned as business and tourism land.

County commissioners, concerned citizens, ACE stakeholders and the Fayette County prosecuting attorney met Wednesday as part of the planning committee to discuss the property.

According to Matt Wender, president of the Fayette County Commission, the property is currently zoned as planned development, but that designation was given years ago and is since no longer in existence. In order to proceed in any development of the property, it must be rezoned.

In order to be rezoned, ACE must present its case before the planning committee, the county commission and ultimately the board of zoning appeals.

As of Wednesday, the planning committee voted unanimously to rezone the property into the B-3 category, Wender explained.

On Friday, the case was to be presented before the Fayette County Commission. If the motion is passed to rezone the land, the final step will be to gain approval from the Fayette County Board of Zoning Appeals.  

Several issues have already been raised by community members and city officials regarding the land’s potential rezoning and the lodge’s construction, Wender said, one of which is a potential property tax increase for nearby homeowners.

However, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris said the zoning change will result in tax rate increases only for ACE.

“There’s no reason the zoning change would affect the value of taxes for the community,” Harris said. “The zoning will not be changed for any other properties but the ACE property, meaning only their taxes will be affected.”

Other issues have been raised concerning the road leading to the property and its ability to handle increased traffic.

Wender said that ACE officials defended that point of concern by stating that the road handled increased traffic in years past, but the traffic has since lessened due to decreases in the whitewater industry.

Wender asserted the two most legitimate points of concern lie in whether the Arbuckle Public Service District that serves Minden and Rock Lick will have the availability to properly handle and treat the additional sewage generated by the lodge.

“That issue will be an enormous obstacle to the development of the lodge,” Wender said.

Furthermore, due to the lodge’s close proximity to Thurmond and the New River Gorge National River, the aesthetic nature of the lodge must be deeply considered.

“We have to be the guardians of the National Park,” Wender said. “There’s too much investment in the park and it’s absolutely necessary that the lodge fit within certain specifics. The lodge must be low-profile and unobtrusive to not detract from the park’s beauty.”

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com