Laurel mtn Question
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Taylormatt
September 26, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004 🔗
339 posts
I've never been to LM other than summer MTB'ing, but all these posts of begging someone to buy & re-open LM have me wondering?

Since it's on State land in a State park, why doesn't the State just operate it? IMO, nobody's ever gonna invest in it and expect to turn a profit on that place for many reasons.

Is there a reason the State isn't running it as a park like Boyce Park is operated?
hockeydave
September 26, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Actually, Boyce Park is run by Allegheny County (Pittsburgh is the county seat).

Given PA's track record of doing anything successfully (e.g. attracting new businesses to prevent the brain drain, quality of roads, etc.), having the state operate LM would surely signal the death of LM. Hopefully, someone in the private sector will step forward with the necessary financial resources and business sense to turn LM into a viable ski operation.
hockeydave
September 26, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
BTW, one thing I forgot to mention is that I believe Wisp is on MD state park land and is thriving.
LMV
September 26, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
First of all Boyce Park isn't run by the state It's run by the alleghney county parks dept.

The state isn't in the business of running ski resorts. Laurel is in a state park and they do own and maintain the land. They would never make money on skiing alone. I've heard that even at seven springs they only make 10% of their profit from lift tickets and season passes. It's everythng else that goes along with it that makes the money. All the state would do is loose money. Laurel needs someone with lots of $$$ to make improvements before it will be profitable.
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Taylormatt
September 26, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004 🔗
339 posts
Uhm, yeah I know Boyce is County run. My point is if they can pull it off, why can't the State. NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY will ever turn a profit off that place. The amount of money needed to even compete with a little mound like HV could never be recooped, let alone go against 7S.

It's been dead for about 30 years basically. Even when it re-opened a few years ago, it had a limited schedule, limited snow and no skiers other than a few pass holders...face it the place is gone, could the State turning the lifts on when it snows and doing a semi groom job here and there possibly make it worse? I don't see how.
Taylormatt
September 26, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004 🔗
339 posts
Quote:

BTW, one thing I forgot to mention is that I believe Wisp is on MD state park land and is thriving.




Wisp is easily accessible, Wisp has beds, good roads, snowmaking, etc. LM has none of these things, there is the difference.
SeaRide
September 26, 2005
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
237 posts
Quote:

BTW, one thing I forgot to mention is that I believe Wisp is on MD state park land and is thriving.




Wisp is NOT on any state park land. Deep Creek state park is further down and across the lake from Wisp ski resort. There are so many residental properties around the lake except for the Deep Creek state park area.
Here's the map
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 26, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,349 posts
Look at the Canaan Valley model. The state lease the resort to a private concession determined by the public selection process. The profit motive is there for the concessionaire to run the place successfully so that a profit can be made.The concessionaire has a contract with the State to make certain imporvements. The state may even provide a subsidy or low interest loans for the improvements. It works at Canaan why not Laurel???
jimmy
September 26, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Guest Services at Canaan Valley runs the ski area AND the lodging, dining and golf course, more of a 4 season opportunity. I'd guess the bank that financed the improvements at LM is another sticking point.
hockeydave
September 26, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I stand corrected about Wisp. However, Wisp uses Deep Creek Lake as a water supply for snowmaking.

Also, there are plenty of state park public-private development success stories (e.g. Canaan for skiing (see above), Rocky Gap outside of Cumberland, Md for golf) that proves my point that a cooperative effort between public & private sectors could make operating LM profitable.
Roger Z
September 26, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I'm not sure Canaan Valley as a ski resort is profitable, and I know for a fact that many timely decisions that would have kept them competitive in terms of snowmaking and terrain expansion were bottled up by state legislators with a vandetta. Even looking at the new lodge built there, it's obvious that performance is cost-driven rather than value-driven, resulting in mediocre facilities. I wouldn't hop on any bandwagon saying the CV is the way to go...

...that said, I like their skiing a lot. I like Laurel Mountain's skiing a lot, too. There's something to be said about the way skiing was designed in the 50s and 60s, and to be thankful that state (mis?)management has prevented the terrain from being "modernized."
tommo
September 26, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
In the case of Canaan, I believe the facilites are virtually all state owned - Guest Services is the concessionaire who operates them, but does not have to put out $$$ for capital improvements. There are actually quite a few areas that under various public/private partnerships. They range from fully state owned (Cannon), to concession run (Canaan), to private on public land (Copper, vail, etc..) Wisp, as a side note, used to be a private operation on leased private land. However, that changed a few years back when the current owners consolidated the operation.

I have never been to Laurel, but I agree that it would be very hard to turn a profit on the operations alone if you also have to fund the capital improvements that everyone implies are needed to make the place viable, e.g. extensive snowmaking, new lifts, etc.... There is simply no way to fund that kind of infrastructure on lift ticket sales alone.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 26, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,349 posts
How does Ski Roundtop and Ski Liberty and Whitetail do it? They don't have large real estate operations. The leasee would only pay what they think it would take to operate and make a profit on ski, food and beverage operations. It would not cost the State anything unless they funded the improvements.
Roger Z
September 26, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
A few years back, they did it with Windham. Windham turned a profit. Roundtop broke even. Liberty was in the red. that was standard operating procedure for years. I imagine when they acquired Whitetail, the fact that they were getting 100% of the PA DC day trip visits allowed them to leverage pricing power a little... plus they do have real estate at both Windham and Whitetail. Also, I think as day trip areas within two hours of about eight million people or so (Philly, Balti, DC, Harrisburg, and suburbs thereof), they turn a nice sale on group visits.

Back where I worked in Massachusetts, we had a concession operation on state park land. We also had over 400,000 skier visits a year. The mountain typically broke even by late January. I think you can make it work if you have the day trippers, but a ski-area only establishment that is in a weekend visitation zone is hosed.
Scott - DCSki Editor
September 26, 2005
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,137 posts
My understanding is that Roundtop and Liberty were paid off many years ago, allowing them to better ride the ups and downs of mid-Atlantic ski seasons. Whitetail opened in the early-90's with enormous startup costs. Whitetail was originally owned by a Japanese investor, and although visit rates were very high the first several years, this area was hit by back-to-back years of (extremely) mild winters. And this devastated lift ticket sales. It was easy for older resorts to "weather" the rough years, but for a new resort like Whitetail -- still financing those startup costs -- a poor winter season was a huge blow. When the vast majority of your revenues come from just two or three months out of the year, you want those months to be good! El Nino probably played a large role in Whitetail's sale to Snow Time. I don't remember seeing exact numbers but it's probably fair to say that the original owner of Whitetail did not walk away with huge capital gains (if any).
MRPLOW
September 27, 2005
Member since 12/23/2003 🔗
27 posts
What about ski denton they don't have any lodging and they are privately owned.

I think the lifts at Laurel are just fine it takes about 10 minutes to cover 900 vertical, and with no lift lines that's pretty good in the mid atlantic.

Putting in a high speed lift on already underused lifts sounds like a surefire way to go bankrupt. The high speed lift option only needs to be looked at when they are operating at capacity and long lines are becoming the norm.

What they need is a good old fashinoned blue collar work mentality, a lot of little things could be done that wouldn't cost a fortune.

Snowmaking on dream highway, terain park, clear out some tree's for glades, raise the double lift up about 10 feet in some spots and make that a trail.

And if god forbid blue knob goes under they would be sittin pretty.
tommo
September 27, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
My comment regarding new lifts was based on the prior thread that suggested that new lifts and expanded terrain would be needed to make Laurel more competitive with the other local hills. If the existing lift/trail network is reasonably good for the $$, then that would make a difference.

Snowmaking, however, is just as, if not more expensive than, the types of lifts typically installed in the mid-atlantic (e.g. fixed grip triples and quads that can be set with ground equipment.) Just a basic install requires a large water supply, huge pumps, compressors, and the requisite electrical power lines.

I don't know if anyone has looked at these sites, but here is some interesting info on what is involved in building out the slope infrastructure at even a small ski area.

http://www.snowmakers.com

http://www.whittiercanada.on.ca

http://www.ratnik.com

http://www.yorkneige.com

Some of the sites have customer reference lists that are pretty interesting: you can see who's equipment is doing the work at your favorite (or least favorite) snomaking area. Wisp, for example, is using Snowmachines, for their Northcamp expansion. I chatted with the SMI foreman there a few weeks ago and really gained an appriciation for what is involved in building modern, engineered ski resorts that are dependent on snowmaking. If nothing else, it's easy to see how systems of pumps, hydrants, valves, control systems and actual snow guns themselves get into serious bucks in a hurry. Seven Springs, for comparison, is primarily a Whittier resort (if my memory is correct.) Snowshoe is a Ratnik customer, though I believe they also have some SMI equipment.

Of course, by the time spend all this money on snowmaking, you'll might as well consider new lifts, too. Here's the primier lift manufacturers in North America:

http://www.doppelmayrctec.com/

http://www.pomagroup.com/

Again, it's kind of cool if you're into this stuff - you can pick out the models installed at most of the areas in the U.S. The new models being installed at Wisp (CTEC) are straight from the catalog (Sprint bottom drive terminal, etc... http://www.doppelmayrctec.com/fixed.html
in case you'd like to put one in your backyard, too. ) I guess $10M just ain't what it used to be.... Clearly, ski area management in the mid atlantic is both a capital and labor intensive undertaking. Throw in the weather variable, and it's amazing that we have the number of choices that we already enjoy!
JCHobbes
September 27, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005 🔗
94 posts
One of the unfortunate things about Laurel is the lack of major snowmaking, and that is one of the reasons they didn't do so good in the years that they were open. They don't have an adequate snowmaking system, and to have an adequate snowmaking system, they'd need to get more water before they could think about putting in new equipment. And that was one of the major flaws with Laurel, there aren't really any major water supplies to pull water for snowmaking from, and so as it stands the snowmaking system can't really be upgraded without digging a few lakes on the top of that mountain.
rjsherrin
September 28, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I am interested in Laurel Mountain. I have land at the Village next to the resort but can't build on it. I think it would help the resort if there was some lodging at the enterance. The Lower Wildcat wears me out fast and I don't like driving to Ligonier to find lodging. Sometimes it is impossible to see to get off the mountain due to no visability.To me this is the best skiing up to Vermont. I think if Jenner Twp. would run sewage lines or allow lot owners to put in septic tanks the resort would have a chance to make it.
JCHobbes
September 28, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005 🔗
94 posts
Welcome to the board rjsherrin!

Anyway, I definately know what you're talking about. There are several times that we've been up there and had a whiteout or fog that kept us from leaving for about an hour. But it was no biggie, we just hung out in the lodge until it cleared up a bit.

I'm one of the people that would like to see Laurel remain as a "skier's mountain" and not become too commercial. I think building it up too much. But I wouldn't be opposed to a hotel built somewhere on the ridge up there. Nothing huge, but I'm sure something about the size of a Motel 8 would do. Heck, I think even a hostel type building, "rustic" on purpose would keep with the whole idea of the mountain and provide lodging at the same time.
hockeydave
September 29, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Well, its the end of September, year 2005, and again the future of LM is in question. Long time LM skiers were very happy with the professional operations 7S provided @ LM last year. Hopefully 7S will change their mind and open LM if someone else doesn't soon step forward.

I wonder when the announcement of the sale of HV is going to take place. I know all bids are to be in by 09/30. I believe the future of LM may be decided on who end's up with the HV ski operations. If someone really wanted HV and does not get it, they may attempt to put a bid in for LM operations. Interesting times but I wish it wasn't so. It would be great from my perspective to have all 3 resorts be profitably operating so skiers could have choices & variety in Western PA.
rjsherrin
September 29, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I'm with you on that one. I would like to see maybe a 20 to 30 unit backwoods type hotel there. I like the skiing with no lift lines and trails that take a while to get down. I had a cabin there in the past and there were weekends we wanted to go to Ligonier to church but couldn't see to get on rt.30. We used to have a place at Hidden Valley on the slopes with season passes and drove everytime to Laurel Mountain to ski. I love that place.
hockeydave
September 29, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Quote:

I am interested in Laurel Mountain. I have land at the Village next to the resort but can't build on it.




You should have told these people before they got shnuckered by some shady real estate agent.

Article from yesterday's Johnstown Tribune Democrat newspaper:

Water woes ruin home plan

By PATRICK BUCHNOWSKI
pbuchnowski@tribdem.com
JENNERSTOWN -
Cheryl and James Millward of Greensburg found central Somerset County alluring.

The breathtaking scenery of Laurel Mountain Village was the ideal place to buy property, build a log home and someday retire into nature's repose.

Or so they thought.

Their hopes were dashed when they said they were denied a building permit by Jenner Township because their lot at the village has no municipal water.

What's more, they are unsure if they will get back the $32,000 down payment that they made to Kuhns Bros. Log Homes of Lewisburg.

"That's a big chunk of money when you're in your mid-50s," Mrs. Millward said. "We just wanted to have a log home in the mountains and retire at 65. But at this point, it's a nightmare."

The Millwards' plight highlights the frustration of property owners in the resort area.

Construction has been halted until the water system is upgraded at Laurel Mountain Village. Village owner George Mowl has said he cannot afford that.

Two years ago, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered the upgrade because the system had run dry.

Mowl said last week he is looking for a partner to help secure the $70,000 required to improve the water system, which serves about 50 customers.

"It's going to have to be done," Mowl said. "We don't have the money for an artesian well."

Township officials said they are arranging a meeting with Mowl, the state, township Solicitor Scott Bittner and an engineer to hash out a solution. No date has been scheduled, township Secretary Dorothy Shandor said.

"We all agree it's a big mess," she said.

Those like the Millwards say they are left in the cold.

"We're essentially homeless because of this situation," she said.

Mrs. Millward said she and husband, Dr. James Millward, moved to the area after paying $18,500 for a lot in February. They bought the property through a Ligonier real-estate agent who assured them municipal water was available, she said.

Telephone calls to the broker were not returned.

The couple said they are hiring an attorney to help them get back their down payment from the log home company.

It's uncertain if they will.

Berlin lawyer Douglas Bell, who is not involved in the case, said the general rule in real estate is "caveat emptor" or buyer beware.

"The traditional rule in real estate law for centuries is for the buyer to checks things out before he buys," Bell said.

Until things change, the Millwards will keep their belongings in storage and live in a rented property in Windber with their two dogs.

Now, Laurel Mountain seems less alluring.

"I just want my money back so we can move on with life," Mrs. Millward said.
Heather
September 29, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Unfortunate for those who have been screwed by someone involved with LM Village. All we need is more bad publicity. As I have said before, LM Village is a wonderful place to live, although a few people have damaged our image. The day to day people of LMV would love to see Dr and Mrs Millward build a house in our community. We need more homes/rentals to help defray the cost of road maint. and upgrades on H2O system. It seems as if we are in a CATCH 22. Can LMV afford to upgrade without new homes? NO. Will Jennerstownship allow LMVto expand so that money can be banked for improvements? NO. Until a person of great wealth AND integrity deems LMV worthy, LMV will remain a small community locked in time essentially, and fail to prosper. I know I am on my LM soapbox, but once someone has decided that somewhere is home, it becomes inconceivable that others cannot see the beauty or possibility for potential growth. I think I am better now.


Wait no I am not better yet! Taylormatt, how can someone who has NEVER skied LM (your words not mine) make judgement on viability of the resort itself. Being that it is a SKI resort and not a MOUNTAIN BIKE resort, maybe it would be better suited that if LM opens this year, you and I get together and SKI LM before you pass any further judgements.


okay, NOW I am better


***THINK LAUREL***
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rjsherrin
September 29, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
Who should have told these people? I haven't been there for almost 2 years. I was under the impression that two of the lots I owned could be built on and found out 2 weeks ago that there is no more building permits till they figure something out. I had DEP fax me the copies yesterday of the newspaper articles. Why do you say "You should have told these people before they got shnuckered by some shady real estate agent." I live in Ohio. Somebody should have told me.
Heather
September 29, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
If you are the same person that i believe you to be. I need more homemade wine!!! When we had to rebuild our house,(construction started in early spring of 2004) we were told that no building permits were going to be issued, but on a technicality, we were able to obtain a permit. Our H2O line was already tapped in.

One other person received a building permit after us and has been noting but a pain in the ash for us up here. He tried to illegally tap into h20 line when he thought no one was around. Unfortunate for him, the MAYOR OF THE VILLAGE seemed to catch him red handed. If you are who I think you are, PM me and catch me up with the happenings of the family and such.. BTW, the home you used to own just received new windows and door. I liked it better when you owned the place.


***THINK LAUREL***
hockeydave
September 29, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
No offense meant RJ... I made that comment with tongue firmly entranced in cheek to you. Obviously, I wouldn't expect you to know these people. I'm sorry you encountered similar circumstances. Hopefully, soon, just as Heather said, someone soon can rectify the situation. It is a beautiful place, and nothing would make me happier if the Village & Resort boomed with residents and skiers.
Roger Z
September 29, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
What an infuriating situation. It sounds like somewhere back in the day, someone did not do their due diligence... and I'm not talking about people who purchased property in the subdivision. I'm talking about Mowl and the Township in this case. You've got to know the H20 impact the housing is going to have, you've got to plan accordingly. Did the town permit this project without looking at the infrastructure requirements properly? Was there a change in local zoning regs? Did Mowl short the water plans in the hopes that the town would then be forced to take it over (developers have been known to do this)? Did other uses have an impact on the artesian system that has caused the one for LMV to dry up?

Sorry that this happened. The head of my department on Tuesday commented that the land development process in the United States was a mess. Then this article got posted, pretty much confirming- at least in this one instance- what he was talking about and the residual negative impact it has on home and property owners. Being in a school for planning right now, this stuff gets me steamed...
rjsherrin
September 29, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
Heather
Are you Heather the life guard? I agree with you. Laurel Mountain Village is my favorite place on earth. I am trying to get in contact with Dr.& Mrs. Millward. I filed a report with Jenner Twp to redo their 537 plan. I want to be able to put in a well and septic system if their never going to run the lines. What I am saying to the DEP is that all the lots are sold and it wouldn't be feasable for an investor to come in and run new lines without lots to sell. The Township needs to go back to when a lot owner could use alternative methods. I love the Laurel Mountains not only for skiing but the beauty of hiking and walking under the stars. I mailed the letter to Jenner Twp. asking them to amend their 537 plan to allow wells and septics on lots. If they don't respond in 60 days, I was told by DEP to send it on to Harrisburg. This catch 22 is alot of B.S. If their not going to run lines, they should make 2 Villages. One that has connections(new Village) and old Village for other methods. I see alot of potential for growth if we can get by politics. Alot of people don't agree with me but I feel sorry for George. I think he tried. I need other lot owners to join in the fight to get lines or alternatives and if anyone knows of anyone interested, let me know. If your the cute Heather I think you are, I will see you on the slopes this year or sooner in fall foilage. I want back in the Village!!!
rjsherrin
September 29, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
Roger
I am just giving you a brief summary of what I know about the Village .When the subdivision was planned and sold off, there was no 537 plan. People were allowed wells and septics. There were development plans a-f. A B C & D were on the top more level part. The others were on the downhill part that may not have sufficient top soil to put in septic. This is where the sewer became usefull. I think that when Jenner Twp. drew up the 537, everyone needed to be connected to the water and sewer to build. George Mowl took over the utilities long after this was passed. According to DEP, Jenner Twp. can rewrite the 537 plan allowing soil to be tested and if it passes, houses can be built. They won't even let the sewage officer come up to look at the property. In my opinion, I think they should rewrite the plan and if tests are met allow septics. It would greatly increase property values and give the ski slopes a good boost. In the Village there are 985 lots and only 50 water sewer connections.
SeaRide
September 29, 2005
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
237 posts
Quote:

In the Village there are 985 lots and only 50 water sewer connections.




Wow .. 50 out of 985 lots .. I 'll reserve my opinions at this time but wow!

LMV
September 29, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
Quote:

short the water plans in the hopes that the town would then be forced to take it over (developers have been known to do this)?




Do you think it could be true????

In fact the township is taking over the water system as we speak (the DEP said they had to). We had a water main break a couple of months ago, who do you think fixed it? I was down in the hole helping, I didn't see the developer anywhere, but there were a few guys from the township there. They brought the parts to fix it and paid the contractor to dig it up.
rjsherrin
September 29, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I have the development plans (showing 985 lots)and was told yesterday by the DEP that there are only 50 connections. They (Jenner Twp.)will not give any more building permits.
rjsherrin
September 29, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
In all honesty, I feel sorry for Jenner Twp. The repairs are setting them back and DEP is making them do it. They said they are not going to pay to put in a new well,water tower,pump stations,lines,or get the station up to handel more connections. I am wishfully thinking that if they sat down with DEP and rewrote the 537 plan, they would have no more area to maintain but the owners of property without tap in capabilities, could further develop. I don't want to see the best skiing around closed up for years again.
I want to ski the biggies.
jimmy
September 30, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

Quote:

In the Village there are 985 lots and only 50 water sewer connections.




Wow .. 50 out of 985 lots .. I 'll reserve my opinions at this time but wow!






WOW, 985 lots! Who owns those, is it part of the foreclosure? Maybe jennertwsp can't afford to expand water/sewer system but State of Pa is stupid? not to find a way to make this work; ski resorts are real estate deals for the most part, duh, like this is the first time anybody said this here, never realized LMV was that huge a development.
rjsherrin
September 30, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I have a site with the map that has been forwarded on to DEP for them to use. They said it was a good map to work from. email me if you want a copy. These 985 lots do not include the 12 acres where the pool is. There could be over 1000 lots in the Village. It is seperate from the ski forclosure. Most of these lots were sold off 40 or more years ago.
hockeydave
October 1, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
A happy ending... from the 10/01/2005 Johnstown Tribune Democrat

Home builder giving couple refund

By PATRICK BUCHNOWSKI
pbuchnowski@tribdem.com

SOMERSET -
A Union County log-home company will refund a Windber couple more than $30,000 after plans to build their dream house at Laurel Mountain Village fizzled.

Kuhns Bros. Log Homes of Lewisburg will return the money to Cheryl and James Millward, company President Tom Kuhns said Friday.

"It makes my husband and I very happy," Mrs. Millward said. "I do thank them from the bottom of my heart."

The Millwards had made a down payment on a log-home package after buying a lot at the resort village in Jenner Township.

But plans for their retirement home were dashed when the township denied them a building permit because their lot has no municipal water.

The Millwards said they bought the property after a Ligonier real-estate agent assured them water was available.

Construction at the village is on hold until the water system is upgraded. Owner George Mowl said he cannot afford the $70,000 required to upgrade the system, which now serves about 50 customers.

Two years ago, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered the improvements because the system had run dry.

Kuhns said log-home contracts stipulate that down payments are non-refundable. That is because the money goes toward cutting of logs for the home. In this instance, that had not started.

"Fortunately, we did not do that," he said. "We had minimal cost for the blueprints."

The Millwards said they plan on buying a home in Somerset Township, which they found recently. They will keep the Laurel Mountain property until the water system is upgraded, then sell the lot.

"This will make it so much easier for us," Mrs. Millward said. "I'm so relieved
LMV
October 4, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
another article about LMV water:

DEP orders township to update plant

By JUDY D.J. ELLICH
Daily American Staff Writer
Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:56 PM CDT





Jenner Township Supervisors' bills for operating and upgrading a private sewer treatment plant at Laurel Mountain Village since 2003 is $17,000, and there is no end in sight.

In 2004, State Department of Environmental Protection officials mandated the sewer treatment plant be put in top condition by the township at a cost of $108,000 because the owner, George Mowl, did not have the money to do so.

DEP officials may have given the supervisors a work order, but the state agency isn't giving them any money to carry out the job. Thus, the supervisors have to reach into the township's treasury coffers to comply.

Laurel Mountain Village is a private development off Route 30 in Jennerstown with 91 homes and has been a concern for Jenner Township for more than 30 years.

When the development, then owned by Alan Patterson, was first planned in the 1960s, it was designed for 900 lots of approximately 1/2 acre each.

Within less than a decade, nearly 48 homes were built, and then DEP stepped into the picture. DEP officials became concerned that the multiple septic tanks so close together on 1/2 acre lots could pollute the streams flowing from the mountain into Lake Gloria.

Under current state law, 1/2 acre lots probably would not even pass for a permit to put in septic tanks, supervisors said.

In the early 1970s, DEP then ordered Jenner Township to stop issuing building permits for the development.

Patterson, who owned Ridgeline Development Corp., responded to the DEP mandated building stoppage in the mid-1980s by building a small sewage treatment plant there to serve up to 300 homes. What was not done was an upkeep on the plant, supervisors said.

Since that time, 44 homes have been built in the village and connected to the sewer treatment plant. About 100 unused lots remain on the system. The last building permit was issued a year ago, said Jenner Township secretary Dorothy J. Shandor.

In the late 1980s, ownership of Laurel Mountain Village changed hands, and Randy Grossman, who later pulled out, and current owner George Mowl, took over with Hutchinson Property Development Group Inc.

With the exchange of ownership, Jenner Township saw the first amount of money come from the development that dealt with the sewer issue. Grossman and Mowl set up an escrow account for seven lots at $50 per lot to be used for future plant expansion. That account now has $5,100 in it, but the township can not use the money to help with the sewer situation because the money is only for expanding the plant, not for upkeep, the supervisors said.

Without upkeep, the treatment plant began to have problems in the 1990s. When DEP ordered Mowl to fix them, he claimed he did not have the money to do so.

In 2003, DEP ordered Jenner Township to fix a blower on the treatment plant. The supervisors did at a cost of $1,775, said supervisor Lowell E. Pyle.

Soon afterwards, Jenner Township had The EADS Group go up to the village and treatment plant and do a study to see what needed to be done to upgrade the plant at a cost of several thousand dollars.

Then, DEP ordered the township to upgrade and operate the plant last spring including hauling out several loads of sludge built up since the plant first went into operation. Township supervisors went to the sewer authority and got permission to use their certified plant operator when needed and pay him $25 an hour, and obtained a permit to discharge treated sewerage into the stream until Oct. 31, 2009, from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

The sewer plant was built deep into the housing development at the end of a nearly impassible rutted road.

"Before we could get back to the plant with a vehicle to check on it, we had to repair the road," supervisor Nick Mastillo said. "Jenner Township is not responsible for any road in the Laurel Mountain Village development," he added.

Besides owning the housing development, Mowl also leased the Laurel Mountain Ski Resort adjacent to Laurel Mountain Village. The ski resort located just across the county line in Westmoreland County has been a public resort since the early 1960s and operated under various managers until March 1989 when mild winters and an insufficient water supply led to the ski resort's closure. Ten years later, Laurel Mountain Ski Co. was formed to resurrect the ski area and Mowl signed a 35-year lease with the state.

The new facility opened for the 1999-2000 ski season, was put up for sale in 2002, did not open in the 2002-2003 ski season and Mowl's lease was canceled by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for non-performance.

Last fall, Seven Springs agreed to operate defunct Laurel Mountain Ski Resort for Somerset Trust Company and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources over the ski season.

Jenner Township allowed the ski resort to dispose its sewage into the treatment plant, something Mowl had done before. STC paid $2,500 to the township for that service and Seven Springs paid $4,500. These payments are incorporated in the $17,000 cost of the plant, Shandor said.

In February, Mowl, owner and sole shareholder in the former Laurel Mountain Ski Resort filed a $25 million lawsuit against STC alleging the bank didn't release his loan payments in a timely manner, hindering his business operations and leading to the resort's demise.

(Judy D.J. Ellich can be contacted at judye@dailyamerican.com.)
Heather
October 4, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
LMV- Is that a new article or an archived one?
LMV
October 4, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
The date says May 15 2005. I've seen this one before. I just wanted to relay more info about the water woes.
rjsherrin
October 4, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I read the article and found it very informative. I sent it on to the DEP offices. I would love to see lots that are approx. 1 acre in size be able to be tested for septic.
Roger Z
October 4, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Most environmental planners believe that septic poses too high an environmental risk even at one acre nowadays. Rule of thumb is that the cut-off for city service versus septic service should be roughly two acre lots... but it depends on the soil conditions obviously. I think you could get it in smaller lots but only under the right conditions.
jimmy
October 4, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Seems like the problem w/the ski area is shared by the village, not enuf water. Where's this lake gloria? is it close enough to use for snowmaking? The mountain and the village are not in the same county? Do townships in PA get a share of real estate taxes? I'm just full of questions today!
LMV
October 4, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
Jimmy - I'm not sure where everyone gets the idea that there is a water problem at the ski resort. I know I've read articles that said that mild winters and a lack of water for snowmaking lead to teh resort closing in 1989. Since they re-opened in 99' they build several ponds for water for snowmaking, and they have the huge lake at the top. I've been around since they opened again and I have never heard anyone in management, the mountain crew, or from the ski patrol say anything about not having enough water to make snow. It seem to another one of teh myths about LM. You can see one of the new ponds to the right of the picture below:

The ski resort is in Westmorland County, 90% of the village is in Somerset County. Yes Jenners Township does get a portion of the real estate taxes, they have been since the 60's when the development started. Until recently when the DEP made them get involved they did nothing for Laurel Mountain Village.

BTW: just thought you might like to see heather in action! This is from a little MSMish event we have every year called the inter-departmental cardboard cup race. The management forbid patrollers from going near the bar with their jackets on, so they made their own bar and road it down the hill. Heather is the one in the front closest to the camera. crusin the bar
jimmy
October 4, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Thanx LMV for the aerial, great picture. So then Jennertwsp stands to collect more RE tax if LMV gets more fully developed. Guess they don't need the money.

Heather heather, cloudskiing w/o a helmet, shotski, beer boards, Madmax meets the xgames, just when i thought we'd heard it all .
Heather
October 4, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Jimmy see the UNTOPIC, for my response on activities that have little or nothing(or is it everything, I can't remember anymore) to do with skiing(don't feel that I should take any part of hijacking this thread).
jimmy
October 4, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Heather heather, cloudskiing w/o a helmet, shotski, beer boards, Madmax meets the xgames, just when i thought we'd heard it all ..... "A 16 oz jello shot with an umbrella" .

LMV brought it up, ya, i couldn't help myself the devil made me do it! Like ur new tag, we'll ski Laurel again!
jb714
October 5, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
"Jello Shot".....that sounds like a possible trail name?
rjsherrin
October 5, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I agree with you on water. George told me during a dry winter they had the lakes and as long as the temperature stayed cold, to make all the snow they needed. That resort is by far my favorite. It is relaxing, no long lines, no crowds, and has the nicest down to earth people. It's fun. I used to have a condo on the slopes at Hidden Valley and drove to Laurel everyday. I liked it so much that I bought a house and land in the Village. I sold the house and wanted to build on the land only to find out that Jenner Twp. will not give building permits. In my opinion, I feel one of the strongest factors in the resort not being able to make it is government. It's not water, it's sewer. The 537 plan is a good plan but in a village that has 985 lots but only has 50 hookups and no more allowed, Jenner Twp. needs to change. With nice houses on the lots, the tax dollars go up for them. With houses being able to be built, there is more lodging at the resort. Maybe even a small hotel. This add up to more people using the ski resort and more income going that way. There is no onsite lodging or lodging anywhere close. Someone needs to remove the iron curtain and allow development.
Seven Springs pretty much said they're not going back.
One rumor flying around is the state is going to make it more of an educational forestry training site and close off skiing for good. This is one of many rumors.
I love Laurel Mountains, both the Village and the Resort.
Village Map www.rjscpa.com/LAUREL












LMV
October 5, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
rj,
Do you think the solution could be for the village to become it's own borough? Jenners township seems to be missing the boat when it comes to the tax dollars expansion of the development could generate. I know we're paying way too much for our property tax on our new house, not to mention our local tax. It drives me crazy to know we give them all that money and they won't do anything for us. They won't even maintain or plow our roads let alone expand the water system. Don't you think it would be better if we put some of that money into our own community instead of throwing it out the window? I'm not sure what is involved in becoming our own borough, do you know of any reason why this would be a bad idea?
rjsherrin
October 5, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I talked to George and Patty a couple of years ago and he, if I remember right, said we should become 2 Villages. The new one with the hookups and the old one without hookups. I wonder if there is grant money or 0% loans for Jenner Twp. to put in utilities. I think you have a great idea. Its hard to get answers from them. I am hoping DEP can give me some ideas. If we can get some construction going, the pool, tennis courts, and rec area along with what was the restaurant may have a chance. It is a paradise on the mountain.
Jenner - Remove the iron curtain. Put in utilities or redo the 537 plan.
Heather
October 5, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
The new tag is a comment my husband remembered from one of LM patrol banquets. The comment was made by a fellow patroller who started patrolling at LM many years ago. We all thought he was crazy, or drunk, or both, but after being closed for 1 year and having a questionable future, I feel maybe he was onto something! Having skied at TLine, HV, and 7S... LM truly is the only mountain with a real soul.
Heather
October 7, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
You all know that I am a true LM supporter, but I've all me cans stands and me can't stands NO more! I just needed to vent. Rumors on LM have been incredibly numerous this week. An announcement is coming any day, maybe tomorrow, no it will be thursday. Then I hear, the bank has planned a big announcement for friday (today). Well after being impatiently waiting and holding my breath with every new scrolling news story, my hopes were dashed when every single story involved NYC and Bush.....Can't you news people understand I am having a crisis here and hearing about Autumnfest at 7S isn't helping with my anxiety attacks!!!!! So the irrational side of me won and I picked up the phone and I called Somerset Trust. Yes that is right I, little ole Heather, called that big bad bank man and said "Big, bad bank man, what is happening with LM this year! ( I was put on hold)..........................When they finally got back on the phone it was now witchy, little bank brood and was told (HOLD YOUR BREATH HERE FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT!)........................................................no decision has been made in regards to LM Ski resort for the upcoming winter!!! Thanks for nothing rumor mill, I for one have lost faith in the grapevine!!
jb714
October 7, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
I think you need a jello shooter....followed by some cloud skiing.
rjsherrin
October 7, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I am also trying trying to find something out. I called Laurel Mountain Visitor Bureau today to ask if they knew anything. I spoke with a Heather and she said she hasn't heard anything. She took my email and said as soon as she finds anything out she will let me know.
The only thing good about the grapevine is the wine it makes.
Crush
October 7, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,007 posts
Heather - It's tough living in a ski town. I wake up every night @ 2:00AM with worries and self-deprecation about ski-bumming and irresponsibility. You wonder if it is all worth it and you think that you've made a big mistake and all who are dependant on you will suffer because of your mistake ..... but .....

Remember the snow ... the clouds near sunset when the mountains and the rising moon set a pink sky for you and only you to view.

Remember those 3 fine turns *you* made on your finest day when you felt like no-one else.

Remember you kid(s) faces as snowflakes fall about them and you feel happy like there is no other place on Earth for you *and* them

.. remember .. always remember...

;-)

..PS .. after all, Genn Plake said it was a "life sentence" !!!
Heather
October 8, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Crush....what a spot on discription on what skiing and snow really mean to us lifers.

JB....A jello shot is exactly what the doctor ordered.

RJsherrin...I am beginning to lose hope of any good news and that in itself is kinda like living a little death every day.

Anyway, if LM doesn't open, I will simply jump the gates. and poach a few runs when condition warrent it to be done! Hope the Rasta patrol doesn't get me!
jimmy
October 8, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Heather, maybe no news is good news.........I'll poach it if u will!

Crush, it's all worth it, once it gets under u skin......i guess u might as well get all u can......Laurel Mountain is under my skin . Thanks
RodSmith
October 8, 2005
Member since 10/22/2004 🔗
318 posts
Rasta patrol? I thought hiking for turns was allowed in the past when LM was between owners.
rjsherrin
October 9, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
Heather
Lets open it ourselves. If the bank can't find someone to open it, they will sit on it for another year or the state will take it back and the bank will get nothing. We need a little start up capital but everything is there. We can get John Weir to run concessions, I'll do accounting, and I think George would help run it.
jimmy
October 9, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Did I read somewhere that 7s lost $70k at LM last year?

A bigger question, LMVilliage is 900? lots and 85? homes; how many of the unbuilt lots are on or "near" the market; are they all buildable if not for sewage issue?
hockeydave
October 9, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I can confirm from a very reliable source (a manager @ 7S) that 7S lost more than $70k. The additional layer of snow that was made in mid-January due to the all-to-common Jan 1 thaw was the main culprit for the loss. I created a thread just before 03-04 season (the season that LM did not open) proposing LM had a curse put on it by General Mellon (original property owners of LM). Sure enough, that winter in which LM did not open Western PA had an above average amount of natural snowfall, whereas the previous couple of winters were not so good.

So hopefully, someone or group will step forward and end that perceived curse once and for all and restore "The Classic".
rjsherrin
October 10, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I see your from Wheeling. I'm from Steubenville. Laurel Mountain has 985 lots and a 12 acre Recreation area. 90% of the area is unused. There could be over 1000 buildable lots. (Except for sewage.) I think the biggest curse mellon put on the area is when he gave it to the state, and had where it couldn't be built on. You can't have lodging at the slopes which makes the Village a good place to build but with the plan Jenner Twp. has it can't be built on either. I feel sewage is the issue that keeps the ski resort from a positive cash flow. No lodging means reduced traffic flow. My opinion, it is the best skiing up to Vermont.
Heather
October 10, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Apparently last year 7S gained permission to build small cottage type structures on ski summit road (near DCNR) for overnight accomadations and never began construction. so my thought on this is simple. Build the cottages! If you build them, they will come!
jimmy
October 10, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Good morning, Neighbor! I'm thinking more along the lines of a blue-collar Yellowstone Club. Probably a stoopid idea but why not? Lease the ski area from the state, part of LMV maintenace fee dedicated to ski area, sell season passes and a limited # of day tickets, heck we could probably double or triple that $70k figure. Water & sewer still the problem. Need those homesites built out.
rjsherrin
October 10, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
Heather
I am trying to get in touch with Doug Fingers to see if he will provide any information. I was told in the past that when Mellon gave it to the state, there was a stipulation that it could never be built on. (residential) Who knows? There are all types of rumors out there.
hockeydave
October 10, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I was @ Keystone State Park yesterday (near New Alexandria, PA). The state currently is building some new 1 room wood dwellings for overnight or weekend lodging in the park (similar to those in Linn Run State Park, just down mountain from LM). Those type of dwellings would be a nice addition on the 1/2 entrance road from Laurel Mountain Village Road to LM's ski lodge.


Oops, sorry, silly me, I'm just wishful thinking again...
hockeydave
October 10, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Here is a link to a picture of one of the new style cabins under construction or already built @ Keystone

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/recreation/cabins.aspx
rjsherrin
October 13, 2005
Member since 09/28/2005 🔗
145 posts
I talked to Doug today and asked about the slopes. He said Seven Springs didn't have approval to build on the entrance. He said that it may someday be possible for cabins to be built there. He seems to say if 7 Springs isn't going back, there are several others wanting it. Somerset Trust has the lease on the land. He seems to know about as much as us. I hope there are investors truly interested.
jimmy
September 9, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Bump ?

Quote:

Jimmy - I'm not sure where everyone gets the idea that there is a water problem at the ski resort. I know I've read articles that said that mild winters and a lack of water for snowmaking lead to teh resort closing in 1989. Since they re-opened in 99' they build several ponds for water for snowmaking, and they have the huge lake at the top. I've been around since they opened again and I have never heard anyone in management, the mountain crew, or from the ski patrol say anything about not having enough water to make snow. It seem to another one of teh myths about LM. You can see one of the new ponds to the right of the picture below:

The ski resort is in Westmorland County, 90% of the village is in Somerset County. Yes Jenners Township does get a portion of the real estate taxes, they have been since the 60's when the development started. Until recently when the DEP made them get involved they did nothing for Laurel Mountain Village.

BTW: just thought you might like to see heather in action! This is from a little MSMish event we have every year called the inter-departmental cardboard cup race. The management forbid patrollers from going near the bar with their jackets on, so they made their own bar and road it down the hill. Heather is the one in the front closest to the camera. crusin the bar




Man they could have some glades on that hill, wildcat ooh.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
September 9, 2006
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,852 posts
There are no glades on that hill. If Laurel opens do not go off piste. There's never enough natural snow, you will ruin your skis. The trees are filled with deadfall, you will break your ankles. Monsters live in the woods, they will eat you. Stay out of the trees!!!!!!
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