Ski Properties: Will the Sky Ever Fall?
129 posts
33 users
87k+ views
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 7, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
I was up at T-line over the weekend and noticed a lot of houses for sale on the mountain at prices that have never been higher (one house was going for $1.1 million). I stopped into one open house and spoke to a realtor, who informed me that sales have been VERY brisk of late and only a few sellers at the very upper end have had to lower prices.

So, when will the downturn, which we are already seeing in DC, reach ski country?

How will this affect growth for resorts that depend heavily on real estate sales for their bottom line?

Does anyone remember the last downturn in ski country (1980s)? Are there any lessons for the future?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 7, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
My financial advisor told me "if its got water or mountains, buy it". meaning that the scarcity of property with these special amenities makes them a hot commodity. While we may see a slight reduction in the prices and a slowing of the increase in value of real estate, we are not going backwards. The baby boomers have been fueling the recent surge in second home sales and I would anticipate that that trend will continue albeit at a slower pace.
kwillg6
September 7, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
Every time I stop by one of the realtors in the valley, they ask if I want to list my unit. Evidently, the second home market is still HOT, HOT, HOT, with demand outstripping supply. But, if you remember, the mid 90's was the last time the market was Kansas flat. It may happen again, but not for a while. I believe that people who have money will continue to purchase second homes as a means of doing something with their money where they can get some use and enjoyment out of their investment. Besides, a lot of boomers like me are looking for the tax advantages while they still exist.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 7, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
We need person(s) in the real estate biz to weigh in.
How will this (market downturn) affect growth for resorts that depend heavily on real estate sales for their bottom line? Good question. Which one's are most vulnerable on that? Certainly it could slow the kind of nice expansions we've seen recently at Wintergreen, Wisp, Snowshoe (and T-line?).

More questions:
-do some places have so much inertia now that they are somewhat crash-proof; e.g., Snowshoe, Seven Springs, Wintergreen, Wisp
-how closely is the strength of the DC market tied to crash-proofing nearby vacation real estate
-are there some places that never saw much of a boom; e.g., Blue Knob, Hidden Valley, Laurel Mt., therefore don't have to worry about sky falling
-wonder what the motivation is behind most Canaan Valley home buyers that drive values - summer activities, winter activities, or strictly speculation

I was around for the 1970-90s. I didn't think there was a crash, just stagnant or very slow growth at some places. Hopefully, that's the worst we'll see this time.

Anecdotally, single family home values seem to be holding in my neck of VA inside the beltway, houses just taking longer to move. But I did notice a nice townhome for sale the other day that was priced about 100-150k less than I would have guessed.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
SteveC
September 7, 2006
Member since 10/24/2005 🔗
145 posts
This summer there was an issue of Barron's with a cover article about the crash of the second home market. I remember being shocked because we had just gotten back from CV and had seen no evidence of it. Point being, the greater DC recreation area might be more resilient than other areas.
kwillg6
September 7, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
ditto on the DC/mid atlantic area. With homeland defense the buzz for now and into the future all the tech growth should cause us to weather the storm rather unscathed. Our housing market in the Culpeper area has slowed but still goes on. I think that too much was overpriced, too much speculation, too many lenders willing to lend to those who couldn't afford the house they were buying. This will weed those folks out, the supply of available housing will increase but at a more moderate sale price. It's the law of supply and demand, not to mention 3$/gal for commuters making a longer drive. Funny, if you go to Quebec, you don't see the gas guzzeling SUVs that we drive. Their priorities are different. (also their price of gas...$4/5/gal).
DWW
September 7, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
Snowshoe is feeling some pain. The Eight Rivers condo project has been postponed due to lack of interest. There has been a significant increase in the number of new condo listings on the resale market. Not surprising given the growth of condos vs. the growth of terrain. Something had to give. This will be good for the market. It will shake out the weaker players, send the developers a message, and allow time for the market to absorb the resale inventory. Listing prices have not come down - yet. Off mountain (valley) properties appear to be chugging along as usual - very slowly. That is nothing new as the off-mountain homes tend to be buyers of land who build - not so much action in resales. Land prices remain very strong. I suspect that the new owner of Intrawest will do something to spark things again next year - hopefully with an annnouncement of new terrain.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 7, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
The point about limited real estate in nice mountain areas is a good one. If you narrow that focus to good mountain areas over 2,800 feet, then the list gets much smaller.

Three things concern me:

1) The current cost basis of many properties. At today's values, a person can't begin to meet his or her costs from renting their condo or second home.

2) Exotic mortgages. Business Week claims that over 50% of new mortgages issued in WV this past year were Option ARMs, which are basically ticking time bombs. You make minimum payments for a year and then your interest is amortized to the loan and your mortgage skyrockets.

4) Resort infrastructure. The infrastructure at most resorts is not keeping up with the price of property values. For $1.1 million, you could get a very nice property out West. At some point, people will say, "enough!" I'm buying a condo in Maui or Park City or Florida.

Realtors are forever optimistic, but if panic strikes the mountains, then I think we could see a lot of invenory in a hurry. That happened at some VT and NH resorts in the 1980s and prices fell in a hurry. I hope I am wrong. Demand still seems very strong. And the ability to hop in the car and be in a different world in 3-4 hours is priceless.
Roger Z
September 7, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
The DC market is being hammered, it's actually experiencing some of the worst price pressure in the nation. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple weeks ago on this matter. Why resort prices haven't started falling yet (are inventories rising? That's the first sign of danger on the way) is curious. Perhaps they're able to double as rental properties and therefore owners can absorb the shock to some degree.
kennedy
September 7, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
I think there is still some backlog in the system and a lot of people are in denial. Loka at it this way the DC market has stabilized. I have a hard time seeing it as freefall. All thats really happening is that buyers actually have a little power for the first time in years and are not willing to accept anything just because it has a for sale sign on it. So many people were jumping into the market just to get something accepting bad mortgages such as interest only or 3,5 or 7 years arms. Some even went with balloon payments. I see what has happened and what is happening now as a normalization of the market. Condo prices have soared but look at the reality, this is one of the most desirable areas to live and one thats growing quite rapidly. It's unreasonable to think that a decent 1 bedroom in this area should be under $150k. I also think it's unreasonable to pay $350-400k for a 1 bedroom. I see the exorbitant prices calming down and these units will sit on the market a little longer as people shop for good deals.

It doesn't help of course that last year alone there were an addition 80000 new condo units coming online. Add that to the current stock and you have a glut. These units won't lower in price too much because at the end of the day the developers still had to shell out big for the site and construction costs were way up because of the huge volume. What I'm seeing is a large number of these developers are pulling the plug on condo developements, GCs and subs are shying away seeing them as risky and those who continue to build them are looking at niche markets.

It's true that second homes are still strong. Our sister company is one of the largest home builders in the country and they have just dedicated a new division to resort development. In fact I think we are working on a new lodge for them at Loon mountain, I of course volunteered to go do site visits and quality control this winter but I don't think they'll take me up on it though. I still have to wonder how much longer it wall stay strong though. Maybe all the folks who made out like bandits on this boom are looking for somewhere to enjoy their cash.
Tucker
September 7, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
John, I was thinking exactly of one of your points the other day.

"Resort Infrastructure at most resorts is not keeping up with the price of property values."

Could houses going up around resorts actually appraise for more than the lodges at these resorts???
tgd
September 8, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Over the years, I can't recall a real estate agent ever telling me the market wasn't hot. In NVA, they persisted on advising buyers to put in full price, non-contingent offers for homes several months after the market had obviously begun to slow down.

As for prices in the valley - homes are only worth as much as people pay for them. I follow the web listings for the major realtors in the valley weekly. What I have noticed is that the inventory has risen, houses - plenty of $500K and up places - are sitting. Also noticed a couple houses that sold last year back on the market. There is an inbalance between the cost of these homes now and the prices people are willing to rent them for a weekend ski trip. Unless you want to park a lot of dollars in a vacation home to keep the mortgage and cash flow low, you have to be taking a beating on a $500K+ mortgage. The top renters in the valley gross around $50K annually. Most good renters (big slopeside homes - some priced close to $1M) bring in $30-35K. Those numbers don't make much of a dent in a $6000-9000+ monthly mortgage. My understanding is that when the economy takes a hit - vacations and vacation properties are one of the first things people begin to cut back on.

With that said, the Valley right now seems to be holding its own, probably driven to some degree by speculation over Corridor H (gotta hope Sen Byrd stays in office to protect that bit of pork) and perhaps Almost Heaven (land prices at Canaan Crossing and Cherry Hill? at the foot a MPC have tripled since we looked there about 5-6 years ago). Prices have stabilized and come down somewhat (they are advertising a few homes with reduced prices).

We recently returned from a week vacation in the Outer Banks. We stayed near Hatteras village, where many of the homes are new since the Hurricane Isabelle. The inventory down there was amazing. About half the homes were for sale. There were 9 houses of maybe 20 on our Oceanside/Oceanfront block for sale. That kind of inventory, coupled with more than a few desparate sellers (ARMs timebombs that already exploded?) will definately put downward pressure on real estate prices - no matter what any realtor says.

I always take whatever a Valley realtor tells me with a grain of salt - the market is always hot. A few years back (before we bought our place), after one of Canaan's worst snow droughts (90" snow year), I remember running into a realtor we knew at Tline. I remarked that it must have been a tough season for folks in the valley given to warm winter and poor conditions that year. He replied that it had in fact been one of the best seasons ever!
RyanC
September 8, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
I think the real estate boom (or more appropriately, "bubble") of the past few years has been the main thing keeping our economy from falling into resession. Even in the DC/Baltimore area where incomes are among the highest in the nation (there is a high per capita % of millionaires in the DC area than in NY or LA!!), housing prices are out of control. Even people making $100k +, which is good money regardless of where you live, are being locked out of the market. If prices fall 30% (especially on condos), they would still be at unprecedented highs.

Given that, historically, housing prices barely outpace inflation, I think we have a 30% drop in prices over the next year or two (depending on the economy & federal spending, could be more or less), plus many many years of stagnation. I think this is a good thing, though.

I think condos in Canaan Valley, though, were undervalued for a long time. I don't really see them falling, but again, CV (like the MD/DE beach resorts) is largely dependent on the DC-area economy. But...the area offers an environment unparrelled south of new england, and that will be desirable to affluent folks regardless of the DC area's economy. As John said, the ability to be in a different world in 3-4 hours is priceless. Especially to wealthy folks, who will ALWAYS reside in and around DC, regardless of current economic conditions.

Much is also dependent on Corridor H.

Canaan Valley is an almost perfect place in my mind (and I'm sure many potential buyers feel the same way). My only gripe is it rains too much.
KevR
September 8, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
It won't be until half of the baby boomers are dead. Then the economy will "re-adjust". First we'll have a ripple when half-retire and start drawing out their savings -- whether it be stocks, bonds, gold, real estate, etc... but that savings will be spent in a mad-cap frenzy in their last years. On the way, the rippling effects will buoy the economy in different ways, I dare say may even boost it in a sustained bull-market. However, once the half-way point is reached in mortality is reached, the spending will slow down and then we'll see bigger changes.

Of course this is so far out into the future, I might as well be reading tea leaves... hmm, I am drinking a cup of tea, close enough!

Sorry if this seems a bit morbid...
kwillg6
September 8, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
What you are saying makes sence, however, what I have discovered is that some owners will put a high price on a property, just to see if anyone will bite. They are not interested in selling, but if the price is right and their profit is high enough, they will sell. Sort of like a owner who listed recently in Northwoods at a highly inflated price. If it sells, fine. If it doesn't sell, fine also. What it does do is jack up the comps for appraisal purposes and inflates the values of similar properties. I know that this is the exception and not the rule, but it does happen more than you would think.
tgd
September 8, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
kwillg6: I agree with you about the fishing. There was a large home across the road from our small home on sale last year for just under $1M. My guess was that someone would come in and buy it with a lowball offer of $800K or so - and the buyer would feel like he got a deal, while the seller was laughing all the way to the bank.... BTW, the house did not sell.

I have a moderate and unfulfilled interest in real estate in Steamboat CO. A 2br condo at that ski area runs quite a bit less than similar units at Northwoods in Tline.

A quick comparison (TL vs. SB):

  • Vertical Drop.....1000' vs. 3700'
  • Skiable Terrain..150 acres vs. 3000 acres
  • Number of Trails..36 vs. 164
  • Lifts
  • Gondolas..........0 vs. 1 (8 person)
  • Quad chairs.......0 vs 5 (4 Hi-speed)
  • Triple chairs.... 2 vs. 6
  • Double chairs.....0 vs. 7
  • Surface lifts.....1(stored) vs. 6
  • Annual snowfall...150" vs. 334"
  • Cost of 2br Condo on Mountain.. $295K vs. $215K.

As much as I love the valley, if the day ever comes that I have a mill or so to drop on a ski home - my eyes and dollars will look west to the big mountains (if I had a million dollars to spend, I'm sure I could afford to fly there whenever).

Tom
dmh
September 8, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
Interesting discussion and many of the relevant points have at least been raised if not explored. I am perhaps the prototypical owner in Canaan. I live in the DC area, a baby boomer, moderately high income, and bought my house in Arlington many years ago so benefited greatly in the real estate run up. Even if the market in my neighborhood were to experience a decline, it would have to be a catastrophic decline before I suffer an actual loss.

After visiting Canaan Valley for two decade and always wanting to own a house there, I became convinced that Corridor H would be built within a reasonable time and I that had sufficient disposable income to buy something in the Valley. So four years ago I bought a very modest house in Black Bear for an unimaginably low price (it has already appreciated 3 times the original cost based on recent sales) and bought a 2.5 acre lot in a new subdivision in Canaan Heights this spring. I have convinced myself that because of the aforementioned unique qualities of the Valley (how can it be so different yet so close?) and its proximity to the DC area and this regions vast amount of disposable wealth, I will not lose money and will likely make substantial profits if and when I sell. I think the difference between the conventional wisdom (during a economic downturn vacation home sales, and values, plummet) and current reality is that many more people have sufficient wealth to withstand a downturn and the continued voracious desire for second homes.
Clay
September 8, 2006
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
I too have followed prices in the valley (T-Line specifically). I bought up there in April. Long story short, there were two condos listed at the same price. I bought one for about 5% under the listing price and the other never moved. It was listed was a realtor for sixty days and is now listed with another realtor - for 3% more!

Go figure.
Clay
JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 8, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Quote:

kwillg6: I have a moderate and unfulfilled interest in real estate in Steamboat CO. A 2br condo at that ski area runs quite a bit less than similar units at Northwoods in Tline.
A quick comparison (TL vs. SB):

  • Vertical Drop.....1000' vs. 3700'
  • Skiable Terrain..150 acres vs. 3000 acres
  • Number of Trails..36 vs. 164
  • Lifts
  • Gondolas..........0 vs. 1 (8 person)
  • Quad chairs.......0 vs 5 (4 Hi-speed)
  • Triple chairs.... 2 vs. 6
  • Double chairs.....0 vs. 7
  • Surface lifts.....1(stored) vs. 6
  • Annual snowfall...150" vs. 334"
  • Cost of 2br Condo on Mountain.. $295K vs. $215K.

Tom




This is a neat daydream. If I'm not mistaken, isn't there still a glut of old condos in Park City, UT that are about as affordable? But maybe not for long. One of these days about 5-10 yrs from now I'd love to split my time between a condo at the beach and a condo in the mtns. How about Padre Island, TX and Taos, NM
tgd
September 8, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I've noticed two houses listed for over a year in the Valley at around $280K each. Defying logic, both sellers have increased their asking prices by 10% or more - now listing (and continuing to sit) at over $300K.

Tom
Countryboy
September 8, 2006
Member since 07/3/2006 🔗
2 posts
My vote TL over SB

SB: Must fly (may be statistical safest way of traveling, but most unnerving, and the whole idea of a 2nd home is R&R).

TL: Easy drive.....Priceless
tromano
September 8, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I just wanted to throw out a few other thoughs on this issue. The primary benefit of a second house in the midatlantic area for a person nearing retirtement is that they have a nice palce to relax (close to work) which is an investment and that offeres a reduced tax burden. I am fairly certain that one of the largest factors favoring the purchase of second homes is the favorable tax benfits from a second mortgage. As a person neard retirement their salalry natuallr increases to a high point. The tax releif form a second mortgage is a very beneficial feature to thos sort of person. I was speaking to Madeline's Step father who recently bought the 7S condo and this was exactly his reasoning.

However this changes once a person retires. 1 income drops and the tax benefit form a seocnd mortgage loses its value. 2 Since the perosn is no longer working he / she no longer needs to live near an economic center like DC. These two changes directly reduce the attractiveness of areas near to DC for this group. These factors point toward a cooling effect on the second house market in the midtalntic in the near future onse the boomers start to retire.
tommo
September 8, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
[quote If I'm not mistaken, isn't there still a glut of old condos in Park City, UT that are about as affordable?





No, I don't believe there's any glut of low priced condo's in or near Park City. Prices there have been, and remain, quite robust. In fact, the prices seem to be in among the highest at any resort area. Even some traditionally lower priced areas up around Ogden, Snowbasin and Huntsville are now on par with other highly desired areas.

The favorable comparison for Steamboat may be pertinent for Skiing, but can swing to TL if other, equally important criteria (from a Real Estate perspective) are used. These would include:

Property tax rate
Population (e.g. market) within 4 (or 5 or 6) hour drive
Cost per sq. ft
Per capita income of nearest large metro area e.g. DC vs Denver

Also, the fact that you can drive to TL from DC Metro in 3 hours or so vs an all day airport dependant journey is worth a great deal of $$$. It's true that with several million you may have the bucks to fly out more often, but odds are that your time will be more limited than ever.
KevR
September 8, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I think the overall trend is likely to be continued pressure on the real estate market and virtually all other forms of investment while the boomers are not retiring in droves, and looking to build up that nest egg... Bubbles come and go, but I don't see any reason to believe in a true long term correction, perhaps for many years to come -- or by some outside factor of which we have no control.
Having said that, we have definitely seen (it seems to me), the last few months alot of property on the market and some prices going down... I feel its likely the 2nd/3rd home owners, the investers, looking to unload that last buy, hoping to keep their profits up, etc -- are responsible for a good bit of the excess. BUT recently I've seen a few things under contract or sold and that makes me think, there's still some play out there, folks are just waiting. The owners have tried to maintain prices and sit it out, but some have to move on and can't wait, so the price goes down a bit. If the properties sits long on the market, sometimes they take it off, then put it back on, re-upping the price again -- anything to try to get some interest. Anyway, even though we might correct a bit, I still think the bigger trends point to value holding pretty well over the longer haul, until as I said the big boomer bulge really changes the picture.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 8, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
Here we have a real estate boom in the Canaan Valley with some properties topping the 1 million mark. As TGD brilliantly pointed out, there are other options out there: everything from properties at other Mid-Atlantic ski centers to condos out west. Both CV and Timberline have serious infrastructure problems, but since most of us ski Timberline either because of access or the steeper terrain and bigger vert., I'll focus on that mountain.

Wouldn't it seem logical for the owners of the mountain to reach out to "stakeholders" in the valley to try and bring the mountain up to the standards of the housing? Among other things, the mountain needs: a high-speed lift, a terrain park groomer, a new lodge, improved snowmaking infrastructure, and more parking.

Stakeholders could be defined as follows:

--Chairpersons of all HOAs in the Valley
--Head of the Ski Patrol
--Head of the Ski School
--Mountain Manager
--Tucker County Officials
--Forrest Service Officials
--Wildlife Refuge Officials
--Tucker County Convention Bureau Official
--West Virginia Government Officials
--Potential large investors

Each of these groups stands to benefit in some way from improvements to the mountains. Several groups will benefit financially. Homeowners will see their property values rise (or at least not fall too sharply if this slump hits). The county and state will benefit from increased taxes. Even the Wildlife Refuge and National Forrest would benefit from more visitors and a stronger donor base for their foundations (such as Friends of the 500th). In short, everyone wins! Ski school will benefit from more patrons and the NSP might be able to secure more funding.

At a stakeholder's meeting, the Timberline owners could outline the costs of the wish list outlined above and the reasons the resort cannot currently afford these improvements. Stakeholders would be allowed to speak and offer suggestions. Tucker County, if it wants to maintain its tax base in the valley should be particularly interested in improving this mountain through tax incentive financing. Certain Homeowner Associations might be willing to levy special assessments for the high-speed chair in exchange for deeper season pass discounts for homeowners, reserved parking, beeline passes, whatever it takes. Even individuals may be willing to invest in return for a lifetime season pass, beeline pass, or a reserved parking space. I think with a little innovation, Timberline might be able to turn lemons into lemonade, but they MUST step up to the plate and ask.
RyanC
September 10, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
What I'd like to see sooner rather than later is a large enough group of home and condo owners in Canaan Valley start a Political Action Committee. Canaan Valley is the cash cow of Tucker County (and we pay much more in taxes than full-time residents, contribute to the local economy by supporting local businesses, etc.) yet we have no voting rights, and our interests don't seem to be respresented at all at the state and especially the local level.

Surely it wouldn't be in our interest, or the local residents interest, for protected land to be sold and logged. Nor would it be in anyone's interest (except for out-of-state developers) for the proposed Blackwater Canyon trail from Thomas-Parsons to be turned into a logging road. Same goes for the potential loss of CVI, which brings much needed professional jobs to the county.

Fact is, the industrial-based economy is dead and isn't coming back. The proposed Blackwater Canyon National Park would be in EVERYONE'S best interest, providing that hunting, biking, etc. were allowed in certain sections to ensure that locals and tourists alike are able to enjoy the area as they do now. It's either that or let the area be logged and developed. The latter would ruin everything Tucker County and the region has going for it.

Who is looking out for OUR interests in local government? If a large enough number of second homeowners contributed say $100 per household, perhaps we could help a local and/or state political candidate who will speak up for our interests get elected (given that we're disenfranchised citizens that can't vote locally).
Roger Z
September 11, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Only if you agree first to let everyone in West Virginia have a say in Baltimore politics.
kwillg6
September 11, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
I've seen you're idea before, John. It's one way to address the issues but first ther owners need to share everything with us. I mean everything. When I go to the bank for a loan, I must bare my sole to them and share ALL financial information with them, preesent and past. If the owners were to come to the "community" to ask for investment in the resort, I would like to know the bottom line of the resort. In other words, I need to know that my "investment" would be going where I intend for it to go and that I'm not subsidizing other interests. Also, it would be nice to know that the resort is financially solvent and that I wasn't throwing money away. Given t-line's past, it would be prudent, if what you suggest were to happen, for a loosening of the "books" from the tight hold against the chest for the investor's inspection.
dmh
September 11, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
If the owners are interested in improvements, and they need additional funds, and they think it is a sound investment, then there is a simple solution. Take the company public, offer shares, and see if investors think they are right. That way everyone wins if the investment decisions are sound and everyone who invests shares the pain if not. It is the only way to ensure full information about the business and accountability from the management.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 11, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
Kim:

What I would love to see is Timberline turned into a COOP like MRG where interested parties can purchase shares. Since that is unlikely to happen in the near future, the next best thing is to do what Killington did a while back, offer incentives (in K-Mart's case: a Lifetime Season) to anyone who will invest in the operation.

I agree that some financial disclosure is necessary, however, before people will invest, and that the ideal vehicle for investment is a share in the company.

My suspicion with Timberline is that the current ownership makes just enough money to squeak by, and therefore has no incentive to change or solicit outside investment. They don't want to share control of the mountain in exchange for investment capital. Therefore, some incentive other than a share (passes for example) may be a way for the ownership to keep control of the mountain and at the same time make necessary improvements to infrastructure.
kwillg6
September 11, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
I agree, John. I think there had been discussion along these lines by a group of locals some ten or more years ago but even with the critical financial situation of the resort, the owners refused all offers. Hence, the sellin off of the land, assets, etc... If they could be convinced to go public, or sell lifetime passes, etc... the only concern I would then have would be the risk that the mountain would be sold, rendering any agreement with the investors mute.
bawalker
September 11, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
I wouldn't count on that *ever* happening. The reality is that it's called a 2nd home for a reason. This is something that will rile up any rural WVian's with passion, and in fact is a huge issue in Hardy Co as we speak. Life long residents who have generational ties to this land view the incoming growth (even if it's small compared to other areas) as a direct assault on their way of life. I'm inclined to agree. It's one thing if someone moves themselves and a family into this area to live full time. But to buy weekend or seasonal homes and expect the community to change and alter around them... that's asking to be shot.

Residents do not take kindly to being told or expected to change or alter something that benefits those who travel in and out of this area. Actually, they are right on that because the whole idea of a second home or seasonal home is where someone can get to to escape their current life. Thus return and go about their normal life. Second home users in CV or anywhere in this country really don't have or deserve the same expectations of rights as those who live there full time. Including voting and tax rights. the local area is well within their rights to impose higher taxes on non full time residents because you and others are coming into that area for an obvious reason/attraction, while locals have to leave to work. With the county having such a low income economy, it's well within their rights to make it fair for everyone all around by levying taxes against a certain segment to help supplement the county. What that boils down to is, it is the closest thing to fairness we have although everyone may not obviously like it.

Just for a trailing note, to give you an idea of how much locals do NOT like people from out of the area intruding to this area to live, work, and play around the locals... The Mountaineer Restraunt in Wardensville was sold by local Earl Combs several months ago. It's rumored it was purchased by asians from out of the area. I haven't seen the papers so I can only assume the rumors are true.

Anyway, this restraunt was the popular meeting place for farmers and locals EVERY morning to eat breakfast and lunch throughout the day during breaks from farming. When asians purchased it, the place went utterly dead. People stopped attending the restraunt because the asians were viewed as out of staters, out of nationality people who were intruding on what is that of locals who has been in local families, etc. Thus, someone else opened the old Freez King restraunt/diner across from the IGA market. Guess what? EVERYONE that had ate at the Mountianeer now goes to Freez King. Last I heard, the Mountaineer restraunt sits idle with it's doors closed for business.



Quote:

What I'd like to see sooner rather than later is a large enough group of home and condo owners in Canaan Valley start a Political Action Committee. Canaan Valley is the cash cow of Tucker County (and we pay much more in taxes than full-time residents, contribute to the local economy by supporting local businesses, etc.) yet we have no voting rights, and our interests don't seem to be respresented at all at the state and especially the local level.

Surely it wouldn't be in our interest, or the local residents interest, for protected land to be sold and logged. Nor would it be in anyone's interest (except for out-of-state developers) for the proposed Blackwater Canyon trail from Thomas-Parsons to be turned into a logging road. Same goes for the potential loss of CVI, which brings much needed professional jobs to the county.

Fact is, the industrial-based economy is dead and isn't coming back. The proposed Blackwater Canyon National Park would be in EVERYONE'S best interest, providing that hunting, biking, etc. were allowed in certain sections to ensure that locals and tourists alike are able to enjoy the area as they do now. It's either that or let the area be logged and developed. The latter would ruin everything Tucker County and the region has going for it.

Who is looking out for OUR interests in local government? If a large enough number of second homeowners contributed say $100 per household, perhaps we could help a local and/or state political candidate who will speak up for our interests get elected (given that we're disenfranchised citizens that can't vote locally).


johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 11, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
This is becoming more of a debate than I had hoped. I'm not going to comment on the rights of second home owners versus long-term residents, but I will say that it is a free country and nothing is going to stop "outsiders" from purchasing land in WV. It's the locals, after all, who are selling them the land for developments and those locals are laughing straight to the bank. Furthermore, although second home owners can't vote in WV unless they live there more than 180 days a year, they do own property, which is a strong legal bond to the community. Second home owners also pay property and sales taxes in the state, which helps the finances of local communities considerably.

Finally, there are political action groups of a sort in the CV:

Friends of Blackwater Canyon, http://www.saveblackwater.org/
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, http://www.wvhighlands.org/
Friends of the 500th, http://www.fws.gov/canaanvalley/CVNWR%20Friends.htm

These groups lobby local, state, and federal governments to protect public land. As such, they are conservation groups and not advocates for second home owners or skiing per se, but second home owners and skiers in the CV can belong to these groups. Nordic skiers, for example, belong to Friends of the 500th because much of Whitegrass's terrain is on Wildlife Refuge land, and they want to be sure the cooperative arrangement between WG and the refuge continues. Mountain bikers and Kayakers benefit from the Blackwater Canyon group because they are trying to preserve it for outdoor recreation, as well as for environmental purposes. WVHC protects the National Forrest for those who enjoy hiking, birding, hunting, camping, etc.

Kim, with regard to TLINE, I guess it's going to be status quo for a few more years...
Roger Z
September 11, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I suspect a lot of the second home communities in rural areas come from large landholders... either well-endowed families such as the Teters, logging companies, or land swaps with the federal government. To the extent that the transaction takes place between a corporation (private or public) with landholdings but not necessarily local ownership and a developer, locals benefit only indirectly.

There are also numerous costs resort communities add to localities as well. For instance, in Canaan Valley a second home community is either going to a) chop woods up and affect biodiversity as much (or even moreso, if you consider such things as bears becoming tamed and pretty much a permanent loss of habitat) as a logging operation, increase soil erosion, and affect groundwater contamination through increased sanding, leaky septic tanks, oil spills, etc. From an ecological perspective, really the best thing that could happen is that the homeowners on the ridges around Timberline get their houses repossessed. Rising property costs makes it exceedingly difficult to maintain family farms (forcing them often to abandon agriculture and "laugh all the way to the bank"). Brad could probably talk quite a bit about how rural lifestyles are affected, too. The county also has to provide extra services for the second home owners.

On the plus side, you get some extra construction jobs (decently paying, but seasonal) as well as service jobs (which are pretty crappy unless you're white collar). A well-run county could get better school funding, which is never a bad thing. Generally, though, I suspect that the first thing on seasonal homeowners minds are not "how do we get better paying jobs for the local communities out here."

There's a number of papers on "rural sprawl" if you'd like to read up on the costs and benefits. That said, there could be some merits in the HOA having greater operational control of Timberline!
RyanC
September 11, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Us second homeowners, with a vested interest in the community, want to see the quality and way of life preserved as well. Basically in the form of environmental conservation. We didn't buy in Canaan Valley so we could be across the street from a Wal-Mart or convenient to a logging road! So...I would suspect most locals and 2nd homeowners are on the same page for the most part.

But...anyone would be crazy to think that the 2nd homeowners in Canaan Valley (or anywhere else) are going to sit back and be exploited without repercussions.

Where is the outrage against "locals" sitting on millions of dollars worth of land that are selling it to out of towners? What about the big corporations that are raping the environment in WV? Fact is, us 2nd homeowners ARE part of the community, and contribute to it in many ways. We will eventually be heard, whether everyone likes it or not.

Rural WV is a great place with great people for the most part. For the people that don't like us 2nd homeowners (who greatly benefit your local economy), all I can say is "you can't please everybody".
bawalker
September 11, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
As most people know me here on this forum, I'm definitely not aiming to become another MM in causing a ruckus over something like this. This is a very serious issue facing everyone from the people moving in to the current residents and everyone in between. While equal blame can be spread around for people taking advantage of situations to create the situation that rural WV is in, no one is saying or exploiting out of staters. At least none that I'm advocating anyway.

RyanC brings up a good point that there are many locals who are selling out at the prospect of big money. They get tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars from real estate developers who resell the property for 5-10x as much in some cases. Yes the locals are at fault for selling, although sometimes many of them don't know the true value of their land, so they sell to make money to pay debts, etc. Is that a fault? Absolutely. The larger fault lies in the relators who are abusing the system. They are nothing more than land speculators ripping off the original owners in prospects of making massive money trying to lure the DC-ites out this way. Many of them do not care about the locals, and wish for the locals to sell out completely so they can pad their wallets till the county is full... then convince the home owners to sell. It's a horrid process and I'll never use a relator.

Anyway, being that that is part of the root issue that creates the situation that allows for DCers and city folk to come in here, we have to deal with it. One sad fact that I have learned from living here in Hardy County is that the big-wig politicians don't care about the locals. They don't necessarily care about you city folk, they care about the money. Nothing more, nothing less. This is evident in the fact that hardy County has NO cell towers in it. The lone tower I've learned is in Grant Co. However, when real estate became a boom, guess what? County commissioners pressed for cell towers, public water, zoning, etc. Not to protect the land rights of the 'ignorant' locals, but to prepare the land for big money out of staters.

You are worried of getting exploited? Get ready for reality. They will and do what they can to exploit you as long as you have DC/VA/MD/NC/PA/etc tags on your car. The politicians know that you have more money than the avg WVian. They want it and they are going to write the laws to get it. It's happened to the locals and it'll happen to you, so either get used to it or get out. It's crude, but the truth.

However... do I agree with the route the politicians are taking? Absolutely NOT! They are basing their leading of people around greed. The previous post that I wrote was around what is truly fair to everyone involved. When you think of things like that, then it is fair that out of staters have to pay in some ways to continually enjoy the life and benefits of living in WV. I have no problem with people coming and living in peace, quiet, natural surroundings. I have no problem with people living 30 days a year in a second home. Like you said, 2nd home owners are a part of the community in many ways. But, that doesn't mean you are the same part of the community that I am.

As a local resident AND business owner here in rural WV, my part of the community comes from serving them as a business, as well as being a dedicated tax payer as a person. Including my car taxes, personal property taxes, home taxes, food, gas, grocery taxes, etc. In exchange for that I get the right to vote to elect those who lead the county, or if I feel so inclined to do so, I have the constitutional right to run for office myself to enact changes.

As an out of stater, you have a totally different part. Yes you contribute to the economy and community via your purchases, jobs that are given to those who build homes, and more. However there is a line drawn that you forgo your right to vote. You forgo many other things because your primary residence is not in this area. Only your second, vacation, seasonal, home is there. Really what you are saying through your actions by even purchasing a second home is that you entrust the running of the community to those whom are already there. You want to enjoy what is there for a while, but leave afterwards. That's an undebatable fact. You may become involved in organizations, but what it boils down too, your actions say the above.

Now, in the interest of fairness, which as you said "You can't please everyone", you are dead on the money. Our governing system is like a big business with accounting books. Those books need to balance, things need to have inflow and outflow of money and services. With growth of seasonal industries such as ski resorts that sell real estate, people obviously are NOT going to live there year around and be lifelong residence.

Instead paying for the cost of enjoying something like a ski resort must be spread fairly around to everyone in the community. For the local lifetime land owners, they can't be burdened much more than what they are with taxes. The average income is less than $30,000 I would assume. In many cases probably closer to $20,000. Yet in order to sustain the influx of seasonal population, everything from roads to utilities and more need to be added/upgraded. The locals would break if they were required to handle that financially.

So instead, out of fairness, the second home owners are taxed in much higher amounts in order to fund such things. This gives everyone in the spirit of fairness to enjoy something as a ski resort or more conviences in towns like Davis/Thomas and allow the county to maintain public services, upkeep of the roads, etc. I won't get into the mismanagement of gov funds, because that is another topic. However, because second home owners don't have to pay certain taxes like vehicle taxes, certain personal property taxes that locals do. It is only fair that out of staters with a larger income shoulder a much larger percentage of the burden so that everyone may enjoy a common factor of enjoyment.

Do you or others like that, I'm sure everyone doesn't. But the fact of the matter is, like you said everyone can't be pleased. I fully believe fairness doesn't appease everyone to be happy, it just means that the responsibilities are shared fairly among everyone who has different parts or different roles in a community.

So, it boils down to one thing. If you or anyone feels like they are being exploited, there are only two things to do. First, become a permanent resident so that you can get out of the certain tax bracket and run for public office so you can change it. Secondly, move to somewhere else that is rural and has better laws.

As RogerZ said, this is no different than if I came to Baltimore and had everything catered to me, demanded that public sewage be turned off, zoning laws removed so I can live in a way similar to I do here in WV because I'd feel exploited for having to pay enormous taxes/bills for utilities. Different and reverse situation, but same theme.
Roger Z
September 11, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Amen, Brad. I've got a real hard time feeling sorry for people who can afford a second home in mountain country. You don't like the way Tucker County is being run, Ryan? You're worried that a local's logging job might despoil your pristine bay window view or cut across a favorite mountain biking trail? Awwwwww... lemme see, lemme see.. nope, sorry. My give-a-damn's busted.

Like Brad said, either suck it up, move out there and get your voting rights or sell your place and move on. At least you've got the choice.
fishnski
September 12, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
"My suspicion with Timberline is that the current ownership makes just enough money to squeak by, and therefore has no incentive to change or solicit outside investment. They don't want to share control of the mountain in exchange for investment capital." . . Myself & over a 100 other 2nd homeowners are guilty of enabling T-Line's owners to keep running the show as is, by letting them keep almost half of the rental income!...I will add that as a 2nd home owner, I have pumped a LOT of money into the local economy..While recieving nothing in return except a nice view.I am the areas 2nd best thing going..the 1st bieng the tourist...they come,they spend,they leave & no one has to spend a dime taking care of them! These are all great reasons add another ski/golf/biking ect..area on MPC!
RyanC
September 12, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Wow! Exercising your right to have a say in how your community is run is not "having everything catered to me". Fact is, many people have invested a lot of money in Canaan Valley (and West Virginia) real estate, and you'd have to be crazy to think that none of us evil MD/DC/VA folks are going to demand a say in what goes on in our community. Yes, you read it right, OUR commununity! We own property here too, and surely aren't going to be treated like 2nd class citizens by people like you forever. Like it or not, myself and many other 2nd homeowners have a vested interested in the community, aren't going anywhere, and eventually, will mobilize and be heard. So, basically what you're saying is it's "poor" locals vs. "rich" DC-area folks. If that's really the case, come on, do you really think you'll collectively prevail against us? Keep dreaming. To correct you, I know for a fact there are many WV "locals" that are much wealthier than the so-called "wealthy" 2nd homeowners. That's one thing you failed to mention.

I don't know what experience you speak from RogerZ, but I think it's time for you to step down from your elitist ivory tower and into the real world, where real people have real money in 2nd homes (oh, and all of us aren't wealthy by the way- but hardworking decent people that just want a say on issues that affect their interests).
jimmy
September 12, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
I'm curious what great social injustices have been perpetrated on the 2nd homeowner class. Is it the fact that your taxes are higher than a local resident on your second home? hmmmmm, i think the Tucker County residents who own a 2nd home there also pay the same rate? Do you not feel welcome in Canaan Valley? Just what is it that needs to be changed?

It's interesting that we haven't heard from any locals on this. Where do they live, how do they afford a home in a rural county with some of the highest housing prices in the state?

Will the sky fall? I don't think so, but the inventory is growing. RE prices have doubled down there over the last six years, the appreciation may slow but i can't see the bottom falling out there unless the economy in DC really takes a header.
RyanC
September 12, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

I'm curious what great social injustices have been perpetrated on the 2nd homeowner class. Is it the fact that your taxes are higher than a local resident on your second home? hmmmmm, i think the Tucker County residents who own a 2nd home there also pay the same rate? Do you not feel welcome in Canaan Valley? Just what is it that needs to be changed?

It's interesting that we haven't heard from any locals on this. Where do they live, how do they afford a home in a rural county with some of the highest housing prices in the state?

Will the sky fall? I don't think so, but the inventory is growing. RE prices have doubled down there over the last six years, the appreciation may slow but i can't see the bottom falling out there unless the economy in DC really takes a header.




Generally speaking, I feel very welcome in the area. Canaan Valley is a much, much friendlier environment that any major city. Both locals and second homeowners tend to be, overall, a good bunch.

I should make clear that I have no problem paying additional taxes. But...the main concern I have is the fact that the area (Tuker/Randolph/Pocohontas counties) offer unparrelled natural surroundings, and most folks (locals, second homeowners, and tourists alike) want to preserve that environment. It seems that local and state government is not being proactive in preservation. They need to step up to the plate against increased logging activities, etc. Instead, local officials are vehemently against the proposed national park out of fear the federal government would have too much control of the area. It's time to wake up and realize that the best thing the region has to offer is it's natural surroundings and environment. The industrial economy is not coming back. If Blackwater Canyon and other natural surroundings are destroyed, what will draw people to Tucker County? That would obliterate the quality of life that locals and second homeowners both enjoy.

As a sidenote, if I had the flexibility to work remotely, I would move up to my condo in Canaan Valley tomorrow! If the area followed the model of many ski towns out west more second homeowners may have the opportunity to move to Canaan, etc. full time. No solution is perfect for any area, but environmental destruction is not the right path for any area with a 'resort-centric' economy. It's a steep slope to self-destruction.

Out of curiosity, I wonder what counties in WV have the highest housing costs, and % of non-resident owners? I haven't been able to find any stats on that.

The % of non-resident owners stats could be useful if anyone else on here was interested in a coordinating a voting rights movement for 2nd homeowners...
jimmy
September 12, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
No offense intended, none taken ??????

Ryan i sense you bought in CV because you love the place, and you enjoy things as they are. I'm not prosperous enough to own there, but I also love CV, the people and all the great times i've had there. You don't need a vote to influence the way things develop (or not) down there, but if you feel you do need the vote, I'm sure Tucker County would welcome you and your family to WV with open arms.
Roger Z
September 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
As of 2000, over 70% of the properties in Canaan Valley were vacant:

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/The...ngeMap=Identify

By comparison, that's about the same as Summit County, Colorado:

http://www.nwc.cog.co.us/Second%20Home%20Study/NWCCOG%202ndHome%20Study%20Binder.pdf

And if you really are concerned about the envrionment, Ryan, you need to consider the effects second homes have on it as well. Like I said earlier, probably the best thing that could be done environmentally is not only stop all further development of second homes in the Valley but start reclaiming them through eminent domain, particularly ones situated on hillsides. Logging has a much less permanent impact on the land than homeowners do. Take a look at the mote in your own eye before you start pointing the one out in other's.
kwillg6
September 12, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
Hey guys, how about pistols at 15 paces? It would be about as productive.
jimmy
September 12, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Pistols, ha, s&w 686, straightshooter, simple to operate, give me a revolver any day .
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 12, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
Ryan:

I've followed the National Park debate for a while and the issues are as follows:

    Taxes: The county prefers the National Forrest because it allows some types of economic activity on non-wilderness designated land: logging, alpine skiing, etc. I think this is short-sighted. A national park would cause property values to increase (hence more taxes) and generate more tourism and hence more economic activity and taxes.

    Hunting: Many National Parks do not allow hunting, which would be a serious problem for locals. However, some NPS designations allow hunting.

    Publicity: some in the valley (both locals and second home owners) detest change and want things just the way they are. A national park would generate a huge amount of publicity for the place and really put it on the national tourist map. Many people cringe at the thought of CV becoming like the Shenandoah or Smokey Mountain National Park. They argue that if you want traffic jams in Davis, bring on the national park.


This last argument is perhaps the best reason not to have a National Park. The current hodge podge of federal and state lands in the valley creates a confusing mosaic--each type of land has its own rules, bureaucracy, constituents, foundations, etc. It's FEDERALISM at its best and Americans adore Federalism. NPS would unify lands under a single set of rules and many people really don't like that idea. As you can see, I'm undecided on the issue myself but sort of lean towards the "don't go changing; try and please me" argument.
tommo
September 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
The 2000 census data for Tucker County show 1,582 residences unoccupied out of 4,634 total. A high percentage of ~33%, but far from 70%. Moreover, the 2000 population of the county was 7,321 vs 7,728 in 1990. Also, in 1990, the vacancy rate was 883 of a total 3,900 units for a rate of 22.3%. However, only 446 of the "unoccupied" were seasonal or second homes. To me, this suggests that non-residents are purchasing homes that were otherwise unoccupied (never a good thing) and putting them to positive economic use with a very minimal drain on the most costly services, notably schools and social support services.


http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTT...=&-_lang=en

For the record, second home owners in Tucker county who also rent the property out (generating local revenues, I might add) pay 2x the tax rate of resident homeowners. Note that a significant number of investors own more than one property and pay the 2x rate on each one.

Brad, while I respect your right to your opinions and the fervor with which you defend your community, I do have to wonder whom you do support other than mythically pure intentioned "local landowners?" Are not the local politicians local and often landowners? Voted into office by other locals by definition and supportive of what they believe their constituents desire? Realators are all bad because of their profession? And all "outsiders" are bad merely by virtue that they came from somewhere else? How much of the acrimony expressed is simply a reaction to change, regardless of the catalyst behind it?. Do you, for example, really think the fouling (no pun intended) of much of the rural areas in Virgina and West Virgina by factory farms and the waste they produce is not a problem simply because the farmers are locals? Is Wardensville really better off by rejecting all external economic initatives?

The irony, of course, is that people often expand into a new area with the hope of improving it for themselves and the others who live or visit there - whether its re-gentrification of inner cities or second home owners putting their $$$ into a semi-rural or rural areas or immigrants risking all to establish a completely new life. Pursuit of dollars and the benefits that accrue to those who are successful in that regard are the basis of the Capitalist system under which we have all been fortunate to live. Granted, it has winners and losers, and a system that is fundamentally based on personal greed it really bad. Except, of course, when compared to all the other alternatives.
tommo
September 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
This months "Blue Ridge Outdoors" has an extensive and pretty well researched piece on the Blackwater Canyon National Park issue. It is well worth reading by anyone interested in the subject.

http://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/content/category.php?category_id=1
Roger Z
September 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
The map I linked to was the allocation of vacancies by block group. The 70% vacancy rate was for Canaan Valley, as I said, not Tucker County as a whole. The western part of the county down Route 72 has a much lower vacancy rate.

Generally, abandoned housing falls down, burns down, or gets torn down (if it's repossessed because of tax delinquency), it doesn't get renovated. You'd have to look at housing stock data to get a better sense whether this was renovation versus new build, though I suspect it's more the latter than the former.

ps- that was a great article Tommo. Thanks for posting it; it definitely is an eye opener about what's going on and how different people perceive it.
tromano
September 12, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Regions like CV seem to have a rather symbiotic relationship with tourists, 2nd home owners, etc... so it is best for these groups to work together.

Old timers and locals should realize that voter registration is easy to get for a part time home owner who is willing to pay at least partial taxes. Setting your residency to that alternative address is basicly just a paper process.
TLaHaye
September 12, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Back on the topic of infrastructure, it's my understanding values at Wintergreen are up dramatically over the last 5 years. 9-11 was a factor, with people avoiding flying as well as desiring "an escape" within easy driving distance. Demographics and general economic activity were also factors, but I have to believe the infratructure improvements over the last four years had a big impact. Wintergreen's cumputerized snowmaking and two high-speed lifts, all added since what ??? the 03-04 season ???, really improve the skiing experience, especially for folks in close proximity (property owners) who can hit the slopes early.

Now they need to open more terrain.
wolverine
September 12, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005 🔗
113 posts
I hear the new development at Hidden Valley is expected to do well. It's sort of like the Emperor's New Clothes....
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Regions like CV seem to have a rather symbiotic relationship with tourists, 2nd home owners, etc... so it is best for these groups to work together.

Old timers and locals should realize that voter registration is easy to get for a part time home owner who is willing to pay at least partial taxes. Setting your residency to that alternative address is basicly just a paper process.




Your first paragraph summarizes my stance 100%! I was just thinking, the ideal solution for 2nd homeowners in the valley would be to somehow get a bill introduced in the WV legislature (easier said than done, I know) to grant non-resident owners voting right, and it would apply only to counties with a certain % of non-resident owners. Example: Pick a % so that it would apply only to Tucker and Pocohontas counties, for example. That way property owners in the two major resort areas in the state, Canaan Valley & Snowshoe would have more of a voice in how their communities are run.

Given that many owners in both resort areas live elsewhere in WV (Charleston, for example), this would benefit WV residents as much as it would the owners that live in MD/DC/VA, etc. And it would encourage additional civic involvement from the 2nd homeowners, which would benefit everyone, especially in counties that would otherwise be losing population.
tommo
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
I believe you are in Constitutional Amendment territory, both State and Federal, when talking about non-resident voting rights. Re:

4-1. Election and officers.


The citizens of the state shall be entitled to vote at all elections held within the counties in which they respectively reside; but no person who is a minor, or who has been declared mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction, or who is under conviction of treason, felony or bribery in an election, or who has not been a resident of the state and of the county in which he offers to vote, for thirty days next preceding such offer, shall be permitted to vote while such disability continues; but no person in the military, naval or marine service of the United States shall be deemed a resident of this state by reason of being stationed therein.

There would be serious issues at the local, state and federal level if you want to change the fundamental concept of one person, one vote, in the jurisdiction of residence only.
DWW
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
Sounds like a recipe for major problems between second home owners and "locals" - and especially outside developers. I own several properties in Pocahontas County and reside in Cincinnati. There are several issues up for public debate currently that effect me - including the proposed sewage treatment plant in Slaty Fork. Sure - I would like to use my "power" as a homeowner/tax payer/spender to influence this decision. However it is the locals that have to live with that decision on a daily basis. Giving voting rights to out-of-state second homeowners would only invite more greed into the equation. You may think your own intentions are good and probably are. However, decisions should not be made by those who don't have to live with the daily consequences. We were attracted to the area because of what it is - not because of what we want it to be. Sure there is room for improvement. Some day we may retire there permanently and exercise our right to vote at that time. In the meantime - I trust the locals to take care of the community. If you look at the history - it tends to be the manipulative "outsiders" who destroy the culture - not the local community.
yellowsnow
September 13, 2006
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
268 posts
"I was just thinking, the ideal solution for 2nd homeowners in the valley would be to somehow get a bill introduced in the WV legislature (easier said than done, I know) to grant non-resident owners..."

Wow, and people in Hell want ice water, too!

Ain't gonna happen!

Dave
Roger Z
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Quote:

We were attracted to the area because of what it is - not because of what we want it to be.




Nice statement, DWW. Most second home owners would probably agree with this, but it's good to hear it expressed. I think TLaHaye had a good point about the symbiotic relationship, too. On individual issues, such as the Blackwater, it's probably not too hard to form a coalition to accomplish something. Not as hard, anyway, as deciding on whether to turn the region into a national park.

Here's a good thought game: The majority of land in Tucker County is owned by a government or out-of-state entity. Suppose for a moment that it was all owned by a single agent (the U.S. Forest Service, a timber company with passive interest in the parcels, whatever). How would you suggest they manage the land? Would you think about extractive resource use, recreation, etc? What kinds of recreation? What kinds of extractive resource use? Development? Wind power? ATV trails, or single track? What about leases to resorts like Timberline? Most importantly, what criteria would guide your use decisions?

I'd be curious to see how y'all would answer this.
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Sounds like a recipe for major problems between second home owners and "locals" - and especially outside developers. I own several properties in Pocahontas County and reside in Cincinnati. There are several issues up for public debate currently that effect me - including the proposed sewage treatment plant in Slaty Fork. Sure - I would like to use my "power" as a homeowner/tax payer/spender to influence this decision. However it is the locals that have to live with that decision on a daily basis. Giving voting rights to out-of-state second homeowners would only invite more greed into the equation. You may think your own intentions are good and probably are. However, decisions should not be made by those who don't have to live with the daily consequences. We were attracted to the area because of what it is - not because of what we want it to be. Sure there is room for improvement. Some day we may retire there permanently and exercise our right to vote at that time. In the meantime - I trust the locals to take care of the community. If you look at the history - it tends to be the manipulative "outsiders" who destroy the culture - not the local community.




Very true. I guess what most 2nd homeowners (and myself) want, is not to so much to change things, but have more protections in place so outside developers, coal companies, etc. can't furthur manipulate or destroy things. Basically, to add yet another voice to the locals' voice. As, again, generally speaking, locals & 2nd homeowners probably agree on 90% of the issues. If 2nd homeowners did vote locally, I think that would make it harder for developers, etc. to exploit us. Of course, any law would have to be written to close any loopholes to make sure developers and large investors can't take advantage of that system. 2nd homeowners would have to be defined as part-time owner occupied.
Packyderm1
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/8/1999 🔗
36 posts
Quote:


Given that many owners in both resort areas live elsewhere in WV (Charleston, for example), this would benefit WV residents as much as it would the owners that live in MD/DC/VA, etc. And it would encourage additional civic involvement from the 2nd homeowners, which would benefit everyone, especially in counties that would otherwise be losing population.




How is your proposal going to benefit the people of WV? What you are proposing is giving anyone with enough money the ability to cast more than one vote, while leaving people who can't afford more than one house with only one vote.

Giving people with more property more votes and allowing people who don't reside in WV the ability to determine the rules and politicians for the residents who actually live there would not benefit West Virginians. You are making their votes count less.
kwillg6
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
If what you are looking at is a means of stopping exploitation of the region for selfish and/or high profit reasons, it is the elected officials who make those decisions and it all depends on who is elected not how they were elected. Giving the right to vote to a non resident, be he part-time or absentee, means an uninformed electoriate and more opportunity for the wrong person to get elected. The good folks of Tucker County have been sold bill after bill of goods which promised wonderful things for them and theirs only to leave them with the short end of the hose. Just look toward Backbone Mtn and the windmill electric farm... Who do you think is raking in the profits from those? I guarantee that it's not the good people of Tucker County.
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

If what you are looking at is a means of stopping exploitation of the region for selfish and/or high profit reasons, it is the elected officials who make those decisions and it all depends on who is elected not how they were elected. Giving the right to vote to a non resident, be he part-time or absentee, means an uninformed electoriate and more opportunity for the wrong person to get elected. The good folks of Tucker County have been sold bill after bill of goods which promised wonderful things for them and theirs only to leave them with the short end of the hose. Just look toward Backbone Mtn and the windmill electric farm... Who do you think is raking in the profits from those? I guarantee that it's not the good people of Tucker County.




Anything that harms the residents of Tucker County also harms it's part-time residents/2nd homeowners! That's exactly my point. I'm sure none of the homeowners in Canaan Valley are raking in the profits off those windmills, either. I'm sure not.

There is nothing that would benefit me or other 2nd homeowners in Canaan that would harm the area's full-time residents. Also, the myth that 2nd homeowners are wealthy and full-time residents are poor, is just that, a myth. I think that many 2nd homeowners are of comparable economic status to a good number of the area's full-time residents.
Tucker
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
"I think that many 2nd homeowners are of comparable economic status to a good number of the area's full time residents".....are you f#@$ing serious. This comment is ridiculous and shows that you know vary little about the area. Next time your up here in the valley why don't you drive into town or down to the county seat or atleast leave the subdivision you vacation to on the weekends...you might realize how ridiculous the comment you just made was. Or better yet why don't you do some research and find out what the mean income is for Tucker County. If you think most of the local people are on the same page as you....you have no clue what your talking about.

I've live in TUcker COunty for 6-7 years full time, I own a business that employs and supports the local economy, volunteer in, and I call TUcker county my home and community. I would call myself a citizen probably not local and definetily not native. YOur community is where you live, raise your children, volunteer in, and call your home everyday not where you have disposable income invested. (I don't mean that in a mean way I like to see all kinds of people from all kinds of places here enjoying all that is so great in the area)

I agree with the direction you would like to see the county move in tourism/environmental/outdoorsy over industrial but I'm sorry this entire conversation is filled with a basic non-understanding of local economy, business status, socioeconomic status, and politics. There is a long history of outside agencies taking advantage of native TUcker County people which I won't even go into, but that is also at the root of many of these issues unfortunately...yes it is unfortunate.

I would probably like to see the similar changes to the area that you would Ryan, but I find some of your comments arrogant and offensive and totally inconsistent with the true nature of things here.
DWW
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
It is naive to think that what benefits outside investors is the same thing that benefits local citizens. Sure, there are things in common - but also many things not. For example - second home owners want property price appreciation. Local citizens - not neccesarily. It creates a situation were full time housing becomes unaffordable and higher property taxes are levied on everyone - including those who didn't plan on selling thier homes. Some folks are ecouraged to sell thier family homes by realtors or forced to sell because of the high taxes. Even well intentioned outsiders don't neccesarily have the same interests.
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

"I think that many 2nd homeowners are of comparable economic status to a good number of the area's full time residents".....are you f#@$ing serious. This comment is ridiculous and shows that you know vary little about the area. Next time your up here in the valley why don't you drive into town or down to the county seat or atleast leave the subdivision you vacation to on the weekends...you might realize how ridiculous the comment you just made was. Or better yet why don't you do some research and find out what the mean income is for Tucker County. If you think most of the local people are on the same page as you....you have no clue what your talking about.

I've live in TUcker COunty for 6-7 years full time, I own a business that employs and supports the local economy, volunteer in, and I call TUcker county my home and community. I would call myself a citizen probably not local and definetily not native. YOur community is where you live, raise your children, volunteer in, and call your home everyday not where you have disposable income invested. (I don't mean that in a mean way I like to see all kinds of people from all kinds of places here enjoying all that is so great in the area)

I agree with the direction you would like to see the county move in tourism/environmental/outdoorsy over industrial but I'm sorry this entire conversation is filled with a basic non-understanding of local economy, business status, socioeconomic status, and politics. There is a long history of outside agencies taking advantage of native TUcker County people which I won't even go into, but that is also at the root of many of these issues unfortunately...yes it is unfortunate.

I would probably like to see the similar changes to the area that you would Ryan, but I find some of your comments arrogant and offensive and totally inconsistent with the true nature of things here.




Do you know how much money I make? No, you don't. I don't own a business. So if you own a business that does well enough to employ people, surely you are holding your own. What I think is an arrogant, offensive statement on your part is that you seem to feel part-time residents are all wealthy people making six-figure incomes with a net worth in the millions, with money to blow. That is simply not the case. We are hardworking people that support Tucker County also have a vested interest in the community. Like other part-time residents, I eat and shop in Thomas, Davis, etc. and support local businesses and contribute to the community, just as you do. So you live in the area, support the economy, etc.- congratulations, SO DO I!!! Albeit on a part-time basis. With one difference, you can vote and I can't. Just because you live there during the week doesn't make you an "insider" and me an "outsider".

Given that I rent in Baltimore and own in Canaan Valley (a few yrs ago, I chose to buy in a resort area for long-term planning/early retirement purposes, and just rent in Bmore, as opposed to being house-poor and buying in Bmore's bubble market), I should really investigate declaring residency in WV since I have more to gain or lose regarding what transpires in Tucker County since I don't have any vested economic interest in Baltimore City.

The thing is, I plan to be a full-time resident of TC down the road, and enhoy spending as much time there as I can now, so I care just as much about the community as you do. I wouldn't have chosen the 'buy my 2nd home first' approach if I didn't. Though more and more people are starting to do this now.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 13, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
Quote:

Old timers and locals should realize that voter registration is easy to get for a part time home owner who is willing to pay at least partial taxes. Setting your residency to that alternative address is basically just a paper process.




Well for voting purposes yes, although it is illegal to vote in a municipality that is not your permanent residence.

Taxes, however, can cause some problems. You have to be able to PROVE to IRS that you have spent 180 days in WV to make that claim for tax purposes. If your pay check is cut by a dc business or government agency that will be hard claim to make unless you have the world's greatest telecommuting plan. I suspect IRS has an algorithm that cross checks place of business vs. place of residence to catch such discrepancies.
Tucker
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
RYan I don't know how much money you make, I never claimed to nor did I claim " part time people are wealthy people making six figure incomes with money to blow". YOu are just twisting my statement around...what I was commenting on was your statement that said "I think that many 2nd homeowners are of comparible economic status to a good number of the area's full time residents"...which is a ridiculous comment.

I am able to hold my own as you say and I worked and am working vary hard to do so. I didn't make an assumption about your economic status but you are making an assumption about mine.
Roger Z
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Ryan, everytime someone from West Virginia speaks up, you insult them. That alone is cause for concern. But you put words in people's mouths to make you look like a victim:

Quote:

What I think is an arrogant, offensive statement on your part is that you seem to feel part-time residents are all wealthy people making six-figure incomes with a net worth in the millions, with money to blow.




Where the HELL did Tucker say that? Show us the quote where Tucker accused you of being a millionaire with money to blow. My gosh, do you listen to ANYONE on this board besides yourself?

If you had an ounce of integrity, you'd stop trying to claim that there is no wealth gap between second homeowners and residents in rural areas such as Tucker County. You'd also stop pretending that there's no difference in interests between second homeowners and local residents. If there wasn't, you wouldn't be demanding voting rights. You clearly want to change the political scene in the county and think that either the locals either have different interests than yours... or are too stupid to protect their own interests. If the first is true, you voting in Tucker County is only going to make things more antagonistic, not less. If the second is true, you are completely condescending and will NEVER fit in out there, no matter how many days a year you spend there.

Frankly, if you do look down on West Virginians so much, you're going to hate it out there, because these will be your neighbors, and you apparently can't get along with them.
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Ryan, everytime someone from West Virginia speaks up, you insult them. That alone is cause for concern. But you put words in people's mouths to make you look like a victim:

Quote:

What I think is an arrogant, offensive statement on your part is that you seem to feel part-time residents are all wealthy people making six-figure incomes with a net worth in the millions, with money to blow.




Where the HELL did Tucker say that? Show us the quote where Tucker accused you of being a millionaire with money to blow. My gosh, do you listen to ANYONE on this board besides yourself?

If you had an ounce of integrity, you'd stop trying to claim that there is no wealth gap between second homeowners and residents in rural areas such as Tucker County. You'd also stop pretending that there's no difference in interests between second homeowners and local residents. If there wasn't, you wouldn't be demanding voting rights. You clearly want to change the political scene in the county and think that either the locals either have different interests than yours... or are too stupid to protect their own interests. If the first is true, you voting in Tucker County is only going to make things more antagonistic, not less. If the second is true, you are completely condescending and will NEVER fit in out there, no matter how many days a year you spend there.

Frankly, if you do look down on West Virginians so much, you're going to hate it out there, because these will be your neighbors, and you apparently can't get along with them.




Oh, that's right, according to you I shouldn't be able to speak up. Since you're such an advocate of folks from WV, let me ask you: Do YOU own property in WV? I'm guessing the answer is no. Well, I DO! I am a West Virginian as well as a Baltimorean. So maybe one of these days you'll crawl out of your high and mighty ivory tower and be a property owner with a vested interest in a community as well instead of a complete ass that pretends to care about a community they aren't from and don't own property in. Until then, put up or shut up. And learn to read properly and stop putting words in my mouth. If I had a problem with Tucker County I wouldn't have bought there, but you're obviously either too stupid to grasp that concept, or are simply trying to discredit me because you can't handle the truth.

What your simple little mind doesn't seem to understand is that I LIVE IN WEST VIRGINIA. I don't have to spend every night there in order to care about the same issues as full-time residents. You keep pitting locals against 2nd homeowners, when most of us Tucker County residents (of which I am but you are not) agree on most issues. But no, because then you couldn't pretend to be the savior of people in a community that you have no vested interest in.

While I can agree to disagree on issues regarding voting rights (it's not a be all, end all solution and I never said it was) you seem to think that I'm the bad guy because I want to add my voice to local issues. Of course the full-time residents should have more of a say than part-time ones, but does that mean we should have NO input?
Tucker
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Ryan do you ski on snow skates or sled dogs?
jimmy
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Can anyone tell me whats the fastest way to get to Canaan Valley?
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Can anyone tell me whats the fastest way to get to Canaan Valley?




I think I've tried every single way ever mentioned on these boards going back since it's inception, and then some. The only easy way to get to Canaan is to make millions and pay a private pilot to fly you into Windwood airport. Now that would be nice...
Tucker
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Not snow skates or sled dogs...well then is it ski blades?
fishnski
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Hey Ryan, I catch your drift,you had a sensable request that I didn't feel was out of line. Now you have a feeding frenzy with you being the meal!They have you boxed into a corner & as you get weaker & lose your energy they are pouncing on your mistakes...WE NEED A SNOWSTORM!! Hey Tucker, How can anybody be poor in tucker co with all the work up there??!!? I can personaly account for pumping over $200,000 into the area & still pumping it in! It takes months to get anything done up there with all the backlog! I bet I could move up there tomorrow (full time) & have a profitable Buis going in no time...It doesn't make sense!
Tucker
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Yeah, I don't know but I often think the same thing. There is good opportunity if you have good business sense and are willing to work hard. I would like to see more businesses do well up here it would help everyone. Hopefully with future development on the way we will see some better foresight and planning in the area. What is really a bummer is the true lack of decent paying jobs. To find a job with benifits is almost impossible. Most jobs around here are still skirting right above minimum wage if not minimum wage. Organizations like CVI, that do provide good jobs and revenue, are being pushed out. Local politics still seem to be slanted towards industrial jobs when it seems tourism is the way to go(in my opinion). Sometimes it just makes you shake your head.

Tucker County Median Household Income 2003 - $29,449
rmcva
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/28/2004 🔗
187 posts
As a 2nd home owner in Randolph County, here's my two cents:

We purchased a large single family home a couple years ago and have been restoring it for future retirement. The house needed work and we've invested quite a bit now. As far as the locals, they could not be better. All of our neighbors there are outstanding, friendly, and will do anything they can to assist us. Not only are we making a positive investment for us, they are pleased at the improvements to their area also.

I think everyone should work to protect their investment. However, I do not think that means voting in an area you are not a primary full-time resident. If someone or a group wants to make a statement of some kind, the proper means should be by contacting the officials for that area and/or state. That can be done individually or by joining together as a group.

Property values are always going up and down (at least in most areas) so long term investments in real estate is usually a good thing. Short term investments increase your risks.

It doesn't matter if the locals are rich or poor. The key is to go to these areas and enjoy what you've been lucky enough to be able to obtain.

My suggestion is to work with the locals and government officals if you have concerns. Don't try to change the way they live - blend in and be part of their community.

Now - lets hope for a good snowy winter and have some fun!
fishnski
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
I think that they have been way behind the ball on thier estimates over the years. Its not only that they have been unaware of what they could charge, but the fact that they really take pride in thier work & that someone raised in the area had to be thrifty & that passed down to the amount they charged for thier work also.I have also noted that they do not like to cutdown anyone elses work or try to cut in on anybody....BUT that is changing...Starting with the guy who drilled my well..Jake the Snake I nicknamed him!The man kept raising his prices as he got closer to my place.I got in on the tailend of some decent prices but I'm sure there have been many workers taken advantage of over the years. Just like the crabbers down here in the carolinas..used to practically give crabs away! They used to ply me for info on prices in MD. I used to tell them prices that were half of what the really were(I thought I might go into the seafood buis) & it would blow thier mind!...That has changed too..got to catch em myself now!
Roger Z
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Quote:

While I can agree to disagree on issues regarding voting rights (it's not a be all, end all solution and I never said it was) you seem to think that I'm the bad guy because I want to add my voice to local issues. Of course the full-time residents should have more of a say than part-time ones, but does that mean we should have NO input?





So after sitting patiently through your temper tantrum, I found this worthwhile point. I don't believe I ever said that you should have NO say in local issues. As a matter of fact, I fully endorse John's earlier post that you can participate in interest groups. But I'm fairly certain there's a difference between second home owners and locals. I'm pretty certain of this because of trends and lawsuits and, heck, reading the local paper about disputes between suburbanites and farmers.

Rural areas are traditionally "industrial" areas. It's not the type of heavy industry you see in Pittsburgh, but resource-based industries that are noisy and noxious. They're still much more industrial than city folks tend to realize, and some regions are using their expertise in manufacturing and traditional wood products to stage small economic comebacks. Generally, subdivisions do not fit well in these industrial-like circumstances (unless they're cordoned off in some way), even if on paper it looks pretty ("aww, honey, we can live next to a cow farm!"). And, in general, when conflicts arise between rural ways of life and the new suburbanites, the suburbanites/second home owners almost always win.

Sorry if I get agitated about this in your eyes, but it's a pattern that I've seen repeated from Charles County to West Virginia to Iowa to Arizona to Nevada and beyond. Exurbanites and second home owners tend not to realize what they're getting themselves into when they move out into the country. They also tend not to realize the negative impacts they have when they move there, whether through the environmental impacts their communities have or the eventual policy positions they support and impose (yes, impose). Now, some second homeowners do, and I don't mean to speak out against "good neighbors." But in general, there's a bad track record between suburbanization (which really is what a resort community is, in a ceratin way) and rural lifestyles.

I don't care for seeing longtime residents stripped of their power on most matters. I don't trust the balance of power shifting away from them. If you want to support an interest group by sending money, by all means do so. If you want to protect your investment, sell it if things go awry. But don't get offended when people don't look at you like a knight in shining armor riding to their rescue.

All that said, if Tucker County tomorrow decided to grant second voting rights, well, that's they're perogative. I'm not going to stand in their way; it ain't my county. But I don't see Tucker County residents clamouring for this, just someone from Baltimore.
jimmy
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
BWWAAAAHHHH
Quote:

Starting with the guy who drilled my well..Jake the Snake I nicknamed him!


U two funny.

There have been some really nice homes built in the valley. Rented several over the years, my favorite was on loop road in Timberline, Snowbrook, view of the slopes, cool house but i think it's off the rental market now. Then there's the one year we stayed in the plywood palace, but that was the only bad one.
Roger Z
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Tucker-

What's your business, if you don't mind me asking? You're probably a real estate developer, aren't ya? (just kidding)

Generally, development plans are going to match people skills. If the majority of the workforce is educated and trained for blue collar work (read: manufacturing, logging, coal plants), that will often be the focus of a countywide plan. Whether that's right or not, I'm not speculating, just saying that economic developers tend to play the odds like the rest of us.

Entrepreneurialism is harder than it sounds. A lot of states have grants for entrepreneurial development though, and VA had one specifically for tourism and entrepreneurial businesses. Have you ever had a chance to see if WV has something similar?

BTW I've got some votes for sale in Maryland (my old, old address). They used to give these things away like candy when I lived near Baltimore... would you like a few for the upcoming gubernatorial election?
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Actually, RogerZ, I don't disagree with anything you said in your last post. In fact, I agree with you 100%. Certain people just aren't meant to live in rural areas. I probably dislike the "I don't want to smell cow poop from my new million dollar home" crowd as much as you do. I don't think that crowd would tend to be attrated to VW in the first place, though (there are obviously exceptions). Actually, my favorite thing about Canaan Valley is the mix of people, long-time residents, tourists, and part-time/2nd homeowners from urban areas- it's a much more eclectic, friendly, interesting mix of people than you'll find in Baltimore. Like I said before, I'd live there year-round in a heartbeat if only I could find that non-existent well-paying telecommuting job

The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
While I do not own a second home in Cannan Valley, I do own one in Westmoreland County, VA on the Potomac River-Nomini Creek in the "Good Old Northern Neck" of Virginia. The property has been in my family for nearly 50 years and all the discussions I have been reading about Cannan Valley locals vs second home owners sure rings a familiar bell! In the Norther Neck you are either a "born here" or a "come here"; and you could move and live there for a 50+ years but if you will never be a "born here". Over the years I have watched extensive growth (especially along the waters), continuation of inferior public schools, exploitation of the black locals, etc. I pay taxes but I can not directly influence the county politics. This is as it should be, even if I wanted to have a say. To me, the development across the creek from my place (previously darkened farmland) is not desireable...too many lights, huge houses, etc....but I am sure that when my place was built the locals felt the same way then. Things change, whether we like it or not, hopefully for the better. And if I had a say, would I rebel at the local tax structure that permits a much higher appraisal on my place (on the water, remember), would I ask that I pay even more taxes since my primary residence in Fairfax, Virginia is now worth approx. 70% of what my Rivah place is worth, but the taxes on my Fairfax home are four times those I pay in the country! Am I willing to pay the same rates as Fairfax to "improve" things in Westmoreland. Probably not! Do I want it to change...it will happen whether or not I like it!
I watch the fights between the developers and the locals with an interested eye. The "poor" former landowners get rich selling their farms for subdivisions, yet things do not seem to improve for the county's youth, etc. At the best I can only hope to enjoy what I have and maybe try to sway the locals thinking to make needed improvements. But I will never be able to change the existing situation where the wealthy "born heres" do not want higher taxes because most of the resulting burden will fall on their shoulders. I vividly remnember a quote in the local paper: "Spend money and improve the schools...if it was good enough for my grandparents it is good enough for my grandchildren"!
I have rambled enough. What I am saying is that the CV situation is not unlike that all over the rual Mid-Atlantic:
it is not a locals vs second home buyers skirmish, it is about change, and the desire to keep things as they are, whether you bought 50 years ago, or yesterday. Change is good when it is allowed and controlled, but who decides what is good change?
The Colonel
Roger Z
September 13, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
If you like CV, you'd love Lewisburg. I don't know why I'm letting you in on this secret (because secrets can't remain secrets if you post them on the web, now can they? ), but if you think CV has a good attitude, you oughta check out the rest of the state. A more wonderful place to visit and travel I have yet to find (well, except for SW VA - another one for ya Jimmy, GO HOKIES!!!). Coal country was a bit different, but apart from that... man.

My evil confession: every time I hear someone make fun of West Virginia, I encourage them. "Yeah, it's just like that- bunch of inbred hicks with sexual issues. Don't go there." Now that I'm out here in Kansas, I'm hearing similar things about northern Arkansas. And I've seen the pictures of Northern Arkansas. It's breathtaking. Word on the street is Ponca is the place to go down there. I'm planning my first hiking trip soon... I hope.

Truce? Can we get back to talking about the housing bubble now? I'd do a reverse mortgage if I were you and leave the bank holding that negative position you're about to acquire. Fortunately my home here in Kansas City is made of wood so when it's value goes to zero I can always use it to keep warm.

ps- Colonel, here's an article you might be interested in. It's about how the hunt for second homes in rural areas- nationally- is contributing to higher farmland values, making it difficult to keep farming:

http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/TEN/pdf/Summer06Farmland.pdf

It might speak a little to your concern that things don't seem to be getting better for some local folks.
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Canaan Valley tends to attract people from DC and it's suburbs. Many owners in my development are from the DC burbs, but I'm the only one from Baltimore. When people in Baltimore ask me "where's Canaan Valley", I say "in West Virginia, about an hour south of Deep Creek". Most people here have heard of DCL. Then I always get a weird look and they say "why would you want to go to West Virginia?" They don't know what they're missing, and that's fine with me. It's one place I can go and NEVER run into any co-workers. On any given weekend in summer, 1/2 of my co-workers are in Ocean City, MD!
dmh
September 13, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
This has been a fascinating discussion and I have little to add but in the spirit of DCSkis message board, will anyway.

Registering to vote in a place where you own property is simple. It is not a matter of residence but domicile. The notion of domicile is not much a barrier for one who really in motivated to focus their civic energies on a place where they own a home. One can also, as others have pointed out on this thread, become involved through interest groups such as Highlands Conservancy and other such groups. For myself, I plan to move my domicile to Canaan at some point in the near to medium term and will become an active participant in the political process there.

I agree there is often a significant difference between the priorities of local residents and 2nd home owners. It is not that one or the other is wrong, it is simply that they are different. That is no different than other interest groups in northern Virginia where I currently live. My interests as a homeowner are not the same as developers, for instance. That is politics.

One difference is that where some see extractive industries (logging and mining in the case of WV) as positive economic goods I feel they are the road to hell. So I express my views through groups such as Highlands Conservancy through my donations and will experss them more directly when I becoming a voting resident of Tucker County. I suspect that a sufficient number of other current second homeowners will make the transition to Tucker County voters that it will fundamentally change the politics of the county. Some will think for the better, others not so much. But that is almost certainly going to happen and no one can stop it.
fishnski
September 13, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Quote:

Canaan Valley tends to attract people from DC and it's suburbs. Many owners in my development are from the DC burbs, but I'm the only one from Baltimore. When people in Baltimore ask me "where's Canaan Valley", I say "in West Virginia, about an hour south of Deep Creek". Most people here have heard of DCL. Then I always get a weird look and they say "why would you want to go to West Virginia?" They don't know what they're missing, and that's fine with me. It's one place I can go and NEVER run into any co-workers. On any given weekend in summer, 1/2 of my co-workers are in Ocean City, MD!


There's the answer to this post! An amazing # of folks don't know whats to the west of them...I bet you could poll 10 people even in the DC area & only 2 could tell you where Canaan is...West Va is still the last frontier(lower 48) THE SKY AIN"T FALLIN SOON!!!!
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:


Truce?




Sure, why not. If everyone was as spirited and passionate as us with regards to politics, what a mess it would be!
RyanC
September 13, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

This has been a fascinating discussion and I have little to add but in the spirit of DCSkis message board, will anyway.

Registering to vote in a place where you own property is simple. It is not a matter of residence but domicile. The notion of domicile is not much a barrier for one who really in motivated to focus their civic energies on a place where they own a home. One can also, as others have pointed out on this thread, become involved through interest groups such as Highlands Conservancy and other such groups. For myself, I plan to move my domicile to Canaan at some point in the near to medium term and will become an active participant in the political process there.

I agree there is often a significant difference between the priorities of local residents and 2nd home owners. It is not that one or the other is wrong, it is simply that they are different. That is no different than other interest groups in northern Virginia where I currently live. My interests as a homeowner are not the same as developers, for instance. That is politics.

One difference is that where some see extractive industries (logging and mining in the case of WV) as positive economic goods I feel they are the road to hell. So I express my views through groups such as Highlands Conservancy through my donations and will experss them more directly when I becoming a voting resident of Tucker County. I suspect that a sufficient number of other current second homeowners will make the transition to Tucker County voters that it will fundamentally change the politics of the county. Some will think for the better, others not so much. But that is almost certainly going to happen and no one can stop it.




I live and work in Baltimore, but rent in Baltimore and own in Canaan Valley, so I need to seriously check into how I could legally declare residency in WV, given that I have more at stake there than in BMore. Have you checked into the legalities yourself. If so, would you mind sending me a PM with some details?
tgd
September 14, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

There have been some really nice homes built in the valley. Rented several over the years, my favorite was on loop road in Timberline, Snowbrook, view of the slopes, cool house but i think it's off the rental market now.




Hey Snowbrook! That's my neighbor! Yep off the rental market now.
Roger Z
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
"Wood products" as the logging industry is now called (for both euphemistic and real reasons- for instance, it's not just logging but finished products such as handmade chairs and things like that that fall in the industry) still plays an important role in most rural areas in the Appalachians. It's even undergoing something of a revival.

I'm hesitant to support policies that would limit economic development opportunities for rural areas, even if they look "ugly" to some people. And, frankly, jobs like logging or other wood products are better jobs than service jobs- benefits, higher salary, better career opportunities, etc.- so I tend to be sympathetic to them (and, yes, manufacturing).

One thing that is receiving a lot more support and attention these days is sustainable forestry- much more environmentally friendly and ensures jobs for a longer time horizon. I think it'd be nice to see second home owners work with existing industries to expand sustainable practices. It'd be a good quid-pro-quo: locals often help with environmental protection issues, it'd be "neighborly" to reciprocate on an issue like this. I'll bet CVI has some good info on sustainable forestry.
DWW
September 14, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
It would be nice to see second homeowners take a more proactive role in sustainable living. Many talk about the environment and the problems with extractive industries - yet fully support these industries with SUVs and less than sustainable and less than efficient homes. Maybe CV could become the Silicon Valley of sustainable technology - solar, wind, geothermal, recycled building products, sustainable building design, etc. The resorts could go a long way as well using alternative energy sources - which could in fact lower thier operating costs over the long term - and possibly offset the global warming forces that threaten the skiing industry.
kwillg6
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,032 posts
This past weekend I was up in the valley working on one of my "second" homes. I look at them as an investment for my future in retirement. I also look at the tax advantages of owning/purchasing property. My income is average to low in the area that I live in, so therefore I can't afford to purchase properties where I live. If I hadn't bought my house in Culpeper 20 years ago, I could never afford it at today's appraised price, soooo...
An observation, though, if I may. Last year, my son, tried to be a local in the valley by living and working there. He discovered that his lifestyle had to change due to the wages he was earning. We are talking at what his friends in the area called "good" money. I may add that he discovered that a livable wage is relative to where you live and work and that it affects how and what you can do. In the Central/Northern VA area, he earned twice the hourly wage that he did in Tucker County for doing the same work. He stayed at my condo, rent free, and only had to pay the utilities, and had to work a second job to make ends meet. I guess what I'm trying to say is that one has to do their homework to understand what it's really like to be a Tucker County local. After 13 years in the valley, part time, I am beginning to understand their problems and needs. As an outsider, although my family is originally from WV, it's hard to comprehend some of the issues locals face. We all tend to look at things based upon our own experiences. If we have never experienced the same issues as someone else, we cannot really understand how they truely feel. I guess it's all relative to where you've been.
KevR
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Roger, check out the photos in Seneca rocks visitor center of an unbridelled "wood product" industry ... or at least the side effects thereof, in earlier part of the 20th century.
wvrocks
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
kwillg6, you are excatly correct. When someone says that people in Tucker County earn close to what people in the city do they are very wrong. But maybe this is due in part to what the average tourist sees when they visit our area. Tucker County is not only Canaan, Davis, Thomas but thats another story. Even if it were that observation would still be wrong. When tourists come in they see a lot of other toursits. Just for fun, next time you are in the valley, drive down to Hendricks or Hambleton or St. George or Parsons or even off the main road through Davis or Thomas. Take a side road. This is where Tucker County lives, it looks very little like the Valley and even less like the NoVa suburbs.

I personally know several people who were born and raised in Canaan who have never, NEVER, skied. They didn't have the money. You don't see true "born there" locals out to eat very often, or at the slopes or in the ski shop or the Purple Fiddle. They work very hard to get by and they can't afford those things. Increasing property values and higher taxes hurt these people.

Not only is there a division in the way locals and non-locals think, there is also a gap between the Canaan Area and the rest of the county. The people "up on the mountain" are often in disagreement with the people in the lower areas (Parsons, etc.)

Also don't get confused about who is a local. As the Colonel said, it you weren't born here you probably aren't a local. We have friends who have lived full time in the valley for more than 20 years. Her husband was born here and so were the kids. She however was not and will be quick to tell you that she isn't regarded as local by a fair amount of people. Her husband and kids are though. She's about as active in the community as you can be but it makes little difference in some people's view.

My wife and I have lived in the Valley full time for 4 years and own our property. We volunteer in the community in several capacities and try to support local businees. I'm a native West Virginian but we certainly not locals in Tucker County. I may look like it to the tourists but not to the real locals.

My wife and I are lucky that we have good jobs. I have to travel an hour one way to mine but I choose to do that so I can live here. Its a beautiful place and I wouldn't want to live to many other places. But at the same time its a highly conficted area. There is a fair amount of ignorance, wrong perceptions and inflexiblity from all sides. Like it or not that is Tucker County.


PS. Tucker that question made me laugh so hard! You're killing me.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 14, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,925 posts
One thing that should be noted about "interest groups." Most bend over backwards to


  • Solicit inputs from locals.
  • Encourage locals to join as members and then recruit them to leadership roles.
  • Incorporate local points of views in policy decisions.


I once sat in on a board discussion with one of these groups, and was absolutely amazed at how considerate everyone was about local points of view. The board refused to take any position deemed contrary to local interests, even if that meant making hard compromises. Most of these groups are extremely sensitive about jobs and employment in the area.

BTW, definitions of "local" are at the heart of this debate. Is it someone who votes in Tucker County a local? Has a primary residence there? Pays taxes? Is native born? The law defines local differently than the community. In Austria, there's a great term for local called gemeinde. It literally means municipality and is the smallest administering unit in the country. The word also means community, and in that sense it is most instructive for our situation in the CV. The CV is at the core a community, and one's status in the community really is a function of how much time one spends there and how much one interacts with other members of the community. Someone who visits every weekend, attends functions and community events, joins local associations or clubs, volunteers, etc is more a member of hte community than someone who may visit 1 weekend a month during ski season simply to ski. People who are REALLY a part of the community (and sadly that does not include me) have more of a stake in its future than part-timers. I also agree with the COLONEL that change is what most locals fear the most, but in the end it will be up to them as to how they wish to manage (or not manage) change.

Oh, and how do you get to the CV? Go out to your favorite forrest or mountain on a nice day (winter, spring, summer, or fall), breath the fresh air, marvel at the wildlife, hike, bike, ski. You're halfway there baby and you haven't traveled a mile!
Roger Z
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I know what logging did 100 years ago Kevin. Have you looked at it since then?

Here's an interesting piece I just saw today on rural communities, logging, and the federal government:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/cc/?id=110008937

It's an opinion piece, and if you don't want to put up with the partisan hackery I've extracted the interesting points. These are things that I didn't know until reading this article, and it goes a long way to explaining why rural communities probably favor extractive industries on federal land:

"Since 1906, counties holding federal forestlands have received a share of the revenue generated by various management-related activities, including timber harvesting. While technically not a property tax, revenue sharing placated the Western solons who feared nationalizing public domain lands would make community formation impossible."

The article goes on to discuss how, as logging and other extractive industries has declined on federal lands, a "safety net" payment of $500 million a year was established to rural communities in lieu of extraction compensation. However, this "safety net" payment may be taken away in budget cuts. Nonetheless:

"...the $500 million is chump change compared to what's really been lost in recent years. Consider this: In 1991, 8.5 billion board feet of commercial timber was harvested from national forests. That 8.5 billion generated $5.5 billion in local income, another $325.5 million in shared harvest receipts and $831 million in federal income taxes. Grand total--$6.656 billion; more than 13 times what counties now get in safety net funding."

The question of government payments to these communities is real. It affects 700 counties nationwide. The payments used to be made based on revenues generated from land use. If the land isn't being "used," the payment has to come from somewhere else. Where?

My knee-jerk reaction is: use fees on public recreation. But then I rememeber that I'm a public recreator, and consider use fees as a double taxation that gets me all aflutter. Plus they may not generate the same amount of revenue. Land sales? Not likely. More timber harvesting? I think this board would be, to put it mildly, apoplectic at that possibility.

The only observation: county revenue is highly dependent on the federal government because of the government's land ownership. It's a serious issue for many rural areas, something for us to think about as well.
Tucker
September 14, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Right on WVrocks. That was the same point I was trying to make when my comments were twisted around by Ryan C. You made the point much better than I did.

Kwillgoski, I know lots of people(with college educations for what ever that is worth) probably about your son's age and mine, at the time, who are not native but enjoyed the area and wanted to live here. When they first moved to the valley they had to live out of cars, sleep on floors, and some rented six to eight deep in two bedroom places while they were working two jobs and still just scraping by... Because pay is so low, jobs so scarce, and affordable rentals are well almost non-existant. SOme moved on ...some stuck it out and carved a niche here and are actually able to pay bills and start thinking about health insurance and other like things that so many hardworking people cannot afford here now.
wvrocks
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Tucker you probably have a better feel for this than me. But it seems to me that good bit of the construction jobs in the area aren't really being handled by area residents. I've met several people who are working up here but are from Charleston or Parkersburg or MD,VA. What are your thoughts there? Even if they are hiring locally the jobs probably don't provide benefits beyond a paycheck and (hopefully) worker's comp.

Its sad that some of the thinking in the area is so backward. Politican's work against places like CVI because they don't understand them and aren't willing to even take the time to see what they really do. Instead they preach about wanting to bring more industy to the area. I see where they come from to some degree. There are a lot of unskilled laborers in the county that need jobs. Unfortunatly with the exception of timber, coal and the power plant, heavy industry is dieing in Tucker County.

The sad fact is that even with Corridor H completed we are unlikey to see a Toyota Plant in the Tucker Co Industrial Park. Companies that provide good jobs need to be looked on favorably by the County even some of them require a college education. If the county chases off CVI, other similar high tech companies probably won't be too excited about moving in. The thing that a lot of people don't realize is that high tech companies still need non college educated people to make them work. Buidling maint, grounds maint, Equipment operators, those types of things. And those jobs probably offer benefits.

It would be great to see a balance struck between light industry to provide jobs and benefits to the unskilled and high tech jobs to help the area move into the future and to keep Tucker Co kids in Tucker County. With that and Tourism/Service jobs we would have a pretty bright outlook. But I'm afraid the current political climate is a major hinderance to that kind of thing.
RyanC
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Tucker you probably have a better feel for this than me. But it seems to me that good bit of the construction jobs in the area aren't really being handled by area residents. I've met several people who are working up here but are from Charleston or Parkersburg or MD,VA. What are your thoughts there? Even if they are hiring locally the jobs probably don't provide benefits beyond a paycheck and (hopefully) worker's comp.

Its sad that some of the thinking in the area is so backward. Politican's work against places like CVI because they don't understand them and aren't willing to even take the time to see what they really do. Instead they preach about wanting to bring more industy to the area. I see where they come from to some degree. There are a lot of unskilled laborers in the county that need jobs. Unfortunatly with the exception of timber, coal and the power plant, heavy industry is dieing in Tucker County.

The sad fact is that even with Corridor H completed we are unlikey to see a Toyota Plant in the Tucker Co Industrial Park. Companies that provide good jobs need to be looked on favorably by the County even some of them require a college education. If the county chases off CVI, other similar high tech companies probably won't be too excited about moving in. The thing that a lot of people don't realize is that high tech companies still need non college educated people to make them work. Buidling maint, grounds maint, Equipment operators, those types of things. And those jobs probably offer benefits.

It would be great to see a balance struck between light industry to provide jobs and benefits to the unskilled and high tech jobs to help the area move into the future and to keep Tucker Co kids in Tucker County. With that and Tourism/Service jobs we would have a pretty bright outlook. But I'm afraid the current political climate is a major hinderance to that kind of thing.




The reason I'd like to vote in Tucker County (and why I'll probably be declaring residency in WV within the next year) is because I feel the same way you do about the current political representation, or lack thereof. Since things are inevitably going to change, they should change to benefit residents (full and part-time), not just heavy industry.
wvrocks
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Quote:

Since things are inevitably going to change, they should change to benefit residents (full and part-time), not just heavy industry.




See the thing is that heavy industry would benefit a large section of the population in Tucker County. They need the work and benefits so they can afford to go to the doctor or so they can get their kids off of free breakfast and lunch programs at school.

Am I saying that we need a strip mine in the valley and to clear cut the Blackwater Canyon? No. But once again, this issue is about more than Canaan Valley. Its about the entire county. Resource extraction is a big part of life in WV. Its in WV people to their core. Because of the history its all that many families know. The uncertainty of the future job market and the loss of jobs they can do is a frightening thing. Thats why there is a lot of resistance to change.

Tourism is big money in Canaan and to some degree Davis and Thomas. But as you go down the mountain that money dries up pretty quickly and the bulk of the population doesn't profit from it directly.

Getting jobs to the area that allow the common man a chance to support their family, stay in the area and not ruin the environment is a very important key to helping Tucker County grow. To oppose industry simply because you like trees is a vote against a good portion of the counties residents. As with everything, there needs to be balance. Sustainable jobs and environmental/tourism interests.
KevR
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Roger, i was actually only responding to this sentence in your previous email. "I'm hesitant to support policies that would limit economic development opportunities for rural areas, even if they look "ugly" to some people."

I think in retrospect, you were perhaps a bit over generalizing to make a broader point. Hardly anyone would want to go back to the "policies" of that time that resulted in the virtually the complete denuding of much of the forest along eastern seaboard (as I understand it)...

I don't doubt that we are in complete agreement on that.
Tucker
September 14, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
WVrocks,"that question made me laugh so hard"... yeah I'm still chucklin about it to...it took me a while to think of the politically correct terms for those damn things... I'm glad someone else appreciated it...I'm also guessing one of those rastafarian hats with the fake dreads or maybe one of those neon spike hats...well there go the rest of my stars...worth it..oh yes
Roger Z
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I thought the question was pretty darn funny too, Tucker. And point taken, KevR. Yes, I don't want to go back to those days, but I don't want those days to define the good things (as opposed to the bad things) some in the timber industry are trying to do now.
wvrocks
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
in relation to the denuding of the Eastern seaboard... I've always found it curious that Canaan Valley is reguarded as an ecological wonder yet its true glory was completely destroyed by those before us. Were it not for our total destruction of the environment, Canaan Valley would not be what it is today. Actually it would probalby be better if we left it alone but that's beside the point.
tgd
September 14, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:


See the thing is that heavy industry would benefit a large section of the population in Tucker County. They need the work and benefits so they can afford to go to the doctor or so they can get their kids off of free breakfast and lunch programs at school.




Heavy industry would benefit a good bit of the rest of the country as well - unfortunately, those businesses and jobs sailed from our shores long ago. Try to find something "Made in the USA" at your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or Target. With the present problems Ford and GM have - plant closings, lay-offs, etc.... my guess is that if Toyoto was going to open a new plant they would locate it somewhere that already has the infrastructure and trained labor force to support it, rather than start from scratch on a lonely plateau in the Potomac Highlands.

Even IT jobs have left the US at a rapid rate. Where do you think the software/firmware that runs Intel and Sun computers is written? Silicon Valley? Think again, India. They actually do it better AND cheaper than we do in the states.

As for the extractive industries - coal and timber. Well, automation has drastically reduced the labor requirements for these businesses. In 1950, the number of people employed mining coal in WVA was around 120,000 people. Today, there are less than 16,000 coal mining jobs in the entire state (14 mining jobs in all Tucker county even though those mines on Route 93 run 24X7). As for timber, according to the excellent article Tommo pointed us to, the number of jobs is "too low to count". Without some kind of long term vision, Tucker will continue to suffer from an economy based on absentee property owners (with an increasing percentage of 2nd home owners and investers) and minimum wage service jobs.

Tom
wvrocks
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Tom, I agree. Unfortunately some of the current politicans in Tucker County are too short sighted to see the writing on the wall with respect to heavy industry. I do however find those numbers to shockingly low. I know I see more than 14 trucks hauling coal on 93 everyday. I'm not saying that there are 100 jobs but I wonder what they considered a mining or timber job to be when they came up with those numbers. A good portion of the mining on 93 may techincally be in Grant County too. So that may skew the numbers.

At any rate, the future probably doesn't look very bright for a lot of workers in our area if they can't adapt to new jobs.
tgd
September 14, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

in relation to the denuding of the Eastern seaboard... I've always found it curious that Canaan Valley is reguarded as an ecological wonder yet its true glory was completely destroyed by those before us. Were it not for our total destruction of the environment, Canaan Valley would not be what it is today. Actually it would probalby be better if we left it alone but that's beside the point.




The resiliency of nature is truly amazing. Another area devastated by aggressive timbering around the turn of the century was the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. It took just over 15 years for J.E. Henry to completely clearcut 66,000 acres in Franconia Notch. A 10 day long inferno finished the forest off. The federal government purchased the land from bankrupt loggers in the 30's after over 1 billion board feet of timber had been extracted from the area. If you visit the region today, you will find some of the wildest wilderness on the East Coast - with plenty of Mountaintop vistas where no signs of anything man-made can be seen for miles in all directions. Truly beautiful and amazing.

Tom
RyanC
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Tom, I agree. Unfortunately some of the current politicans in Tucker County are too short sighted to see the writing on the wall with respect to heavy industry. I do however find those numbers to shockingly low. I know I see more than 14 trucks hauling coal on 93 everyday. I'm not saying that there are 100 jobs but I wonder what they considered a mining or timber job to be when they came up with those numbers. A good portion of the mining on 93 may techincally be in Grant County too. So that may skew the numbers.

At any rate, the future probably doesn't look very bright for a lot of workers in our area if they can't adapt to new jobs.




Exactly. I personally don't think many of the local politicians are doing much for the year-round residents or the 2nd homeowners for that matter.

There will always be a limited # of people attracted to live in rural WV to live and work. Most non-locals are 2nd homeowners that like to ski, hike, bike, etc. But many people would never move to a cold place that receives over 12 feet of snow a year, where is rains A LOT, and is cloudy 70% of the time. I have many friends that think I'm crazy for liking Canaan Valley simply because of the weather.
RyanC
September 14, 2006
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Quote:

Quote:


See the thing is that heavy industry would benefit a large section of the population in Tucker County. They need the work and benefits so they can afford to go to the doctor or so they can get their kids off of free breakfast and lunch programs at school.




Heavy industry would benefit a good bit of the rest of the country as well - unfortunately, those businesses and jobs sailed from our shores long ago. Try to find something "Made in the USA" at your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or Target. With the present problems Ford and GM have - plant closings, lay-offs, etc.... my guess is that if Toyoto was going to open a new plant they would locate it somewhere that already has the infrastructure and trained labor force to support it, rather than start from scratch on a lonely plateau in the Potomac Highlands.

Even IT jobs have left the US at a rapid rate. Where do you think the software/firmware that runs Intel and Sun computers is written? Silicon Valley? Think again, India. They actually do it better AND cheaper than we do in the states.

As for the extractive industries - coal and timber. Well, automation has drastically reduced the labor requirements for these businesses. In 1950, the number of people employed mining coal in WVA was around 120,000 people. Today, there are less than 16,000 coal mining jobs in the entire state (14 mining jobs in all Tucker county even though those mines on Route 93 run 24X7). As for timber, according to the excellent article Tommo pointed us to, the number of jobs is "too low to count". Without some kind of long term vision, Tucker will continue to suffer from an economy based on absentee property owners (with an increasing percentage of 2nd home owners and investers) and minimum wage service jobs.

Tom




I'm not going to go off-topic here, but I think in many ways the future looks bleak for many younger middle-class Americans, whether they're from Rockville or Parsons. Many people in my age group (mid-late 20s) have done the 'right' things, have a good education, good job, etc., but are still behind where their parents were economically at their age. it's really a national issue that affects all but the very wealthy, only it's exacerbated in urban centers and rural areas. just my 2c
jimmy
September 14, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:


I'm not going to go off-topic here,.........




LOL Dood we've been off topic since the 2nd page of this thread, it's an unseason thing no worries, 71 days til the season.

Tucker what's a sled dog. U better be careful cause i think ryan might be one of those crazy freeheel tellermarket guys.
Roger Z
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
RyanC- I've been banging this around lately, too. At work, I do research on low and moderate income populations (basically, people that don't make much money). The service sector is not good for them- it's good entry level work, a good place to build skills, but it's not a career. The thing that's attractive about manufacturing, wood products, etc is that it can become a career. But, as everyone is pointing out, the blue collar industries are floundering right now in this country. And, from a cold-hearted economic perspective, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. But from a humanitarian perspective it really sucks.

I'm not sure that things are bleak for everyone in their mid-20s, but the key is education. People who don't have a bachelor's (and, increasingly, a master's) are going to have an uphill struggle. Still, there's lots of opportunities to continue your education in non-traditional formats (like, for instance, online).

The problem in America is that we're developing a comparative advantage in producing nothing. That's basically what information management is, and that's basically what a lot of us on this board do in some way or another. It's a very profitable business for those of us who have the credentials (by chance, education, or experience) to participate on the high end, but the less-educated side of this industry is crap.

I'm not happy with the alternatives- trade barriers, living wage laws, things like that. Encouraging more people to take up vocational trades is one avenue- car repairmen and home improvement workers get paid well (for instance, the guy who fixed the wood rot on my windows had just returned from a 2 week vacation in the Phillipines!) and they learn a valuable skill- that might merit more attention. It'd certainly be a skill where locals in places like Tucker County could make some money (think of all the repair work on the second homes, for instance). It's not a cure-all though.

This is scatter-shot but I'm late for dinner with my cousin; my apologies that it's rambly.
stoweskiingdude
September 14, 2006
Member since 09/14/2006 🔗
2 posts
I am new here but have to voice a strong opinion on whether someone who is a home owner in a resort area does have a voice in running the place. Most definitely he does.

1. The $$ these second home owners bring to the community in additional taxes benefits all the locals even though the second home owners are not using the services.

2. The second home residents may not be able to vote but they can surely contribute to political parties and pressure groups even in areas where they don't reside. I do. A group of second home owners can band together and make a large political contribution. Ten thousand dollars to a local politician can call an election.
fb
September 14, 2006
Member since 03/16/2006 🔗
68 posts
Great & very interesting discussion.

It reminds me of 1998 when the eastern shore of MD was starting to be discovered and 'invaded' by outsiders. One of my customers, a lifelong local, had a bumpersticker that read; "We're not stupid, just rural". Just like in MD, WV, and many other areas around our nation, the 'outsiders' come in with cash and fist with the attitude of trying to 'save the locals from their own stupidity'. Two cultures mixing like oil and water. Another great quote she had was 'there is no life beyond the big ditch', in reference to the Chesapeake Bay.
tromano
September 14, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

"I agree with the direction you would like to see the DISTRICT move in tourism/environmental/outdoorsy over industrial but I'm sorry this entire conversation is filled with a basic non-understanding of local economy, business status, socioeconomic status, and politics. There is a long history of outside agencies taking advantage of native WASHINGTON,DC people which I won't even go into, but that is also at the root of many of these issues unfortunately...yes it is unfortunate.




**FIXED**

No Taxation with out representation, its on my license plate.
tromano
September 14, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

Do you know how much money I make? No, you don't. I don't own a business. So if you own a business that does well enough to employ people, surely you are holding your own. What I think is an arrogant, offensive statement on your part is that you seem to feel part-time residents are all wealthy people making six-figure incomes with a net worth in the millions, with money to blow. That is simply not the case. We are hardworking people that support Tucker County also have a vested interest in the community. Like other part-time residents, I eat and shop in Thomas, Davis, etc. and support local businesses and contribute to the community, just as you do. So you live in the area, support the economy, etc.- congratulations, SO DO I!!! Albeit on a part-time basis. With one difference, you can vote and I can't. Just because you live there during the week doesn't make you an "insider" and me an "outsider".




You have a house! Just go register to vote. It doenst matter where you sleep 5 nights a week.

https://ssl.capwiz.com/congressorg/e4/nvra/?language=en&action=form&state=WV

" To register in West Virginia you must: be a citizen of the United States; live in West Virginia at the above address; be 18 years old, or to vote in the primary be 17 years old and turning 18 before the general election; not be under conviction, probation, or parole for a felony, treason or election bribery; not have been judged "mentally incompetent" in a court of competent jurisdiction."
tromano
September 14, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

Can anyone tell me whats the fastest way to get to Canaan Valley?




Fly.
tromano
September 14, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

Great & very interesting discussion.

It reminds me of 1998 when the eastern shore of MD was starting to be discovered and 'invaded' by outsiders. One of my customers, a lifelong local, had a bumpersticker that read; "We're not stupid, just rural". Just like in MD, WV, and many other areas around our nation, the 'outsiders' come in with cash and fist with the attitude of trying to 'save the locals from their own stupidity'. Two cultures mixing like oil and water. Another great quote she had was 'there is no life beyond the big ditch', in reference to the Chesapeake Bay.




As you mention and as RogerZ's demographics point out, this is just the tip of the ice burg. It is part of the continuing and deepening conflict between the haves and have not's in America. And to be sure the have nots are getting more numerous. This scenario will be replayed many more times in communities arround the country.

As it happens the Downtown DC neighborhoods are also a current zone of interest. The outgoing mayor of DC, Anthony Williams has just over seen a huge period of economic growth in the district. Increasing home prices, a blanace city budget, improvement incity services, etc... However form the point of view of many life long DC people this is gentrification pure and simple. The city is becoming more weathy and more wihte and poor blacks are being pushed out. Where are they going?
Roger Z
September 14, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Quote:

The city is becoming more weathy and more wihte and poor blacks are being pushed out. Where are they going?




First ring suburbs. Not unlike European cities. Wealth/poverty in urban areas tends to wave back and forth, unless it gets locked in by stringent zoning regulations. Given flexibility, the poor will be back in the city centers in 30-60 years. It sounds like a while, but that's only 2-3 generations, tops. Not long at all.
Tucker
September 15, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
"***fixed***"

that's pretty clever... but I didn't say anything about representation or voting
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
September 15, 2006
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Quote:

First ring suburbs. Not unlike European cities. Wealth/poverty in urban areas tends to wave back and forth, unless it gets locked in by stringent zoning regulations. Given flexibility, the poor will be back in the city centers in 30-60 years. It sounds like a while, but that's only 2-3 generations, tops. Not long at all.





Hi there... The poor are exiting the cities in masse, but not for the first-ring suburbs, perhaps third ring. Too many zoning laws that are here to stay. In DC, certainly not... Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase and McLain are certainly not becoming the home of the downtrodden. Arlington's average home is now in the '800s. Even Silver Spring is spruced up and gentrified. In Philadelphia's Gladwynne and Bala Cynwood, and New York's Scarsdale and Westbury, the inner suburbs have always been the home of the old money and they're not going away. For the underclass in DC, far-out PG County and the cheap apartments in Manassas are becoming their new homes.

What does that have to do with skiing? Not much, other than pointing out the tremendous disposable income of the DC nuveau rich now buying off entire swaths of West Virginia and Western Maryland.
Roger Z
September 15, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Quote:

For the underclass in DC, far-out PG County




Lou- PG County borders DC. The countryside there is closer to the DC border than the town of Fairfax is. Criminy, don't you northern Virginians EVER go east of the River?

The general trend nationally is first-ring suburbs. It's the latest navel-gazing, head-scratching mystery among planners. I'd be happy to find some articles for you if you'd like... tomorrow, when I'm recovering from my hangover.
JohnL
September 15, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,516 posts
Quote:

For the underclass in DC, far-out PG County and the cheap apartments in Manassas are becoming their new homes.




????????????????????????

Ever been to Suitland, Marlow Heights, Camp Springs, Oxon Hill, Capital Heights, etc? PG county inside the Beltway is probably the most dangerous section of the DC area and has among the worst poverty and social problems. Gentrification in DC is pushing the poor in DC to inner PG County.

I've worked in Suitland for the past four years....
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
September 17, 2006
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Oh yes Z - paid my dues in PG - done more take-offs and landings from Andrews AFB than I care to count... you're right in that respect, but that's about the only part of the first ring suburbs that is the outlet for the lower-middle and lower classes displaced by gentrification. The North and Western inner-ring suburbs are way too expensive. But then, the way outer suburbs in NoVA are serving as outlets too... that's where the affordable housing is..

Back to the main subject and that is the price of real estate in the ski properties... just noticed a HUGE spike in the inventory of properties for sale at Snowshoe. Especially the new properties at Seneca, Allegheny Springs, etc. Don't count the Seneca because it is virtually condemned. (Despite what some on this site berated Rich about, unescorted entry into the Seneca is impossible with signs to that effect, so owners of these units are probably stuck). I gather the speculators are getting the jibbies, especially the folks who bought new properties that are now hard to flip. There may be a correction to all the units at Snowshoe simply because of the huge availability of properties, but it is probably a correction, not a disaster... Summit condos are now all over 200K, and some are asking over 250K. Took a major outside remodeling, however, to make this happen....
giantjr
September 18, 2006
Member since 09/18/2006 🔗
29 posts
Does anyone know why so many properties are for sale at Allegheny Springs and Rimfire? Also, what is the buzz about Fortress Investment purchase of Intrawest?
DWW
September 18, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
Inventory is up significantly at all the properties at SS. We are seeing a good old fashioned downturn in the market. Many folks who bought in the last year or two are probably panicky. Many are listing at high prices - but really not expecting to sell. Variable rate mortgage resets are kicking some folks butts - may have to sell. Flippers are stuck. Look for some buying opportunities. No word on Fortress. Deal closes in October. Don't expect any change through winter. Hoping for some news next year on capital improvements, which would spark things up again. There have been some condo sales recently, and generally prices seem to be holding up reasonably well - but sellers can expect to wait 12 -18 mos unless they are lucky.
fb
September 19, 2006
Member since 03/16/2006 🔗
68 posts
Allegheny typically has lots of units on the market and has over the past several years. This spring there were 40+ units available and about 30 now. Allegheny is nice but it comes at a very steep price- someone has to pay for that daily maid service and valet car service, whether its used or not. HOA fees alone in some units are up to $1K.

Back in 02 I met an A'springs couple in line while waiting for a table at F'fire. I mentioned the HOA fees and the wife turns to the hubby, 'do we pay that much per month?'.
he gulps, reluctantly shakes his head and nods yes.

i wish i didnt notice when 1K fell out of my wallet.

what i see is more units pushing the incentives to differentiate units, like 6 months + hoa fees.
jimmy
September 23, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

Right on WVrocks. That was the same point I was trying to make when my comments were twisted around by Ryan C. You made the point much better than I did.

Kwillgoski, I know lots of people(with college educations for what ever that is worth) probably about your son's age and mine, at the time, who are not native but enjoyed the area and wanted to live here. When they first moved to the valley they had to live out of cars, sleep on floors, and some rented six to eight deep in two bedroom places while they were working two jobs and still just scraping by... Because pay is so low, jobs so scarce, and affordable rentals are well almost non-existant. SOme moved on ...some stuck it out and carved a niche here and are actually able to pay bills and start thinking about health insurance and other like things that so many hardworking people cannot afford here now.




Kwillgoski, funny Tucker ...yellow dots are back... I get the impression that recreation is the future of Tucker County. Tucker you're right pay in the recreation industry is low and that's not going to change much. Ski season is the High Season, heh that'd be a good signature line and I think CV area needs more attractions in the low season. Affordable housing seems scarce down there. Where do The People live?
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 7, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Good, if superficial article in the Friday 10/6 Home Guide of the Washington Times on Boomers and Second Home Sales. A few factoids:
Those born between '46 and '64 accounted for 40% of second home sales in 2005 (NAR).
Typical second home buyer in '05 was 52 yrs old with salary of $82,800 with primary residence about 200 miles from second home.
Median price of second home was $204,100 in '05, up 7.4% from '04.
Skiing, beach were mentioned as frequent motivations for buyer. A Wintergreen buyer was quoted that investment appreciated $60k since purchase three yrs ago.
Second home mortgages run about quarter to half point more than primary.
WV is sixth fastest growing second home destination in US (Bureau of Census data). Pocahontas County (home to Snowshoe Mtn) has the most second homes in state.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
October 8, 2006
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
The first property at the Summit closing for over $240K happened last week. With all the properties available at Snowshoe, there seems to be a new look at the pre-Intrawest properties. Frankly, I'd rather have a Wabasso or a Treetop townhouse than an Allegheny condo. The value is definitely on the side of the older units. Yes, some sweat equity may be required but the quality of life can be much better.
warren
October 9, 2006
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
Lou,
I'd have to agree with you. I've been staying at Treetop for the last several years now. They don't tend to be on the market all that often. That tells me the current owners are happy with what they have and are staying put!

-Warren-
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.29 seconds