Har Haven's permit extended another year

Code enforcement officer says deteriorated buildings need more work


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  • Har Haven (File photo by Anya Tikka)



Har Haven has “spent a substantial amount of money to complete the renovation work in a timely manner (and) should not be penalized for the lack of operation that resulted from the work required to bring the motel units and water system up to acceptable standards.”
Code enforcement officer Chris Wood

By Anya Tikka

— Har Haven Resort, long known previously as Mount Haven Resort, was recently granted another year’s extension on its temporary permit.

The extension will help Har Haven catch up with unexpectedly extensive renovation work, stated Chris Wood, Dingman Township’s Code Enforcement officer.

Har Haven has “spent a substantial amount of money to complete the renovation work in a timely manner,” said Wood. The owners should “not be penalized for the lack of operation that resulted from the work required to bring the motel units and water system up to acceptable standards.”

The seasons are also a consideration.

"Winter in Pike County is a difficult time to draw guests to resorts that are not centered around winter sports," said Wood. "Mount Haven has never been a resort centered around winter sports.”

The permitted use of the old resort came under scrutiny about a year ago, when neighbors questioned how the new owners intended to use the facility, and which uses were allowed in the zone.

Mount Haven operated as a resort, a use that transferred to Har Haven with the purchase even though current zoning doesn’t allow it. Mount Haven was able to operate as a resort because it was established before current zoning existed.

Har Haven indicated it too intends to operate as a resort, but “with the facilities reserved for a four- to six-week period for the exclusive use of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI), a separate entity based in Lakewood, New Jersey.”

Some residents raised concerns that the old resort use would be discontinued and the place used as a school and a summer camp for the SCHI school.

Wood said the main reason for the extension is the deteriorated state of the buildings at Har Haven. More time is needed to determine whether Har Haven will be used as a resort or for another, different, non-confirming use.

According to Wood, work on the motel rooms is now finished and the certificate of occupancy issued. But other work remains.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found Har Haven noncompliant with regard to its water supply. A food service permit could not be issued. Wood said the state has not yet informed the township.

The one year extension of the temporary certificate of use “should be excessive to the need of proving that the property is being used as a resort," said Wood.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected with information sent by the township attorney, who says Har Haven's use as a resort has already been determined, and that this use will remain. The original story incorrectly said the use was still to be determined. The Courier regrets the error. The full text of the attorney's letter may be found here.


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