Cumberland Times-News

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February 20, 2013

Allegany development: Ex-Cumberland Chase area gets another look

Commissioners seek proposals for master plan

CUMBERLAND — Getting homes and businesses sprouting on the largest remaining tract of development-friendly land in the county is the goal of Allegany County officials, said County Commissioner Bill Valentine.

The county is looking for proposals for a master development plan for the area.

That land is what was to be the Cumberland Chase Planned Development on 1,100 acres near Rawlings.

Plans for the initial development tanked after a series of financial troubles for developers. Any subsequent plans to bring a new developer into the picture have remained stalled because of the inability of the bank that owns the property and potential developers to get things moving.

Summit Community Bank of Moorefield, W.Va., owns the property.

“The county will not have any ownership interest,” Valentine said. The benefits to the county from getting development going would be many, including new residents, businesses and of course, tax dollars.

The firm designing the plan will have to meet several criteria.

“The awarded firm will provide future land-use designations with suggested zoning changes, prepare an estimate of the associated infrastructure costs, develop a strategy for marketing the development as an attractive and viable place for residential living and a commercial business opportunity and guide potential partnership(s) and financing strategies,” according to the proposal request.

Some infrastructure is already present on the property, but may need to be modified and expanded.

“Section A of Chase includes installed water mains, hydrants, a gravity sewer interceptor with manholes, underground electric with junction boxes, rough grading on Laurelhurst Boulevard and about a 50 percent complete stormwater management solution,” the request said.

Other sections of the property have some infrastructure, while others have none.

“Due to the somewhat complicated state of current infrastructure ... a multiphase approach to development would be appropriate to capitalize, initially, on areas where significant investment has already been made,” the RFP said.

In addition, roads to enter and leave the property remain an issue.

“A State Highway Administration entrance must be approved and constructed at the intersection of Laurelhurst Boulevard and Route 220 to gain access to the planned development. The four-lane entrance that was originally proposed for the Chase subdivision (not approved) was estimated to cost between $1 million and $3 million to complete. This cost could be reduced by simplifying the design for Laurelhurst Boulevard. This potentially could be the only major improvement needed to get started with a phase one development,” according to the RFP.

The cost of the master plan won’t be clear until proposals have been submitted.

“Funding for the Master Development Plan will come from Allegany County government with the possibility of supplemental grant funding,” the request states. “Compensation will be made in the form of monthly payments based upon the man-hours performed and/or subcontractor services performed monthly. Ten percent ... on each monthly invoice will be retained until project is completed and final approval made,” the proposal request said.

Today, a preproposal meeting is taking place at county offices at 10 a.m. Proposals are due by 3 p.m. on March 5 and a review committee is planned to make an award by April 4, according to the county’s request for proposals.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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