Cumberland Times-News

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December 16, 2012

County laying groundwork to revive development plans

Negotiations between potential Cumberland Chase developer, Moorefield bank stalled

CUMBERLAND — Negotiations between a potential developer and a bank that owns the property once planned as the Cumberland Chase subdivision has stalled, but county staff continues to lay the groundwork for a possible revival of the dormant plans. The bank may decide to sell off the property in small parcels or as a whole, county officials said.

The subdivision was discussed at an Allegany County Commission work session last week at the county office building on Kelly Road.

County staff members presented a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek planning assistance with the development of a master plan for the project. The planned development is on 1,100 acres and adjacent to the Barton Business Park on U.S. Route 220 South.

An RFP is needed because of the stalled negotiations between the interested, unnamed developer and Summit Community Bank of Moorefield, W.Va. The master plan will help guide development of the property and provide an element of certainty to potential developers, officials said.

“The county commissioners appreciate that Summit recognizes the importance of this acreage to the county. We look forward to having a master plan to meet the requirements of the Planning and Zoning Commission as well as support the needs of the existing property owners,” said Commissioner Bill Valentine.

“This is the biggest tract of undeveloped land we have,” said Commissioner Creade Brodie.

“County staff has already invested significant time analyzing how to phase development of this acreage considering highway access, available sewer capacity, and access to potable water,” said County Administrator David A. Eberly.

The development has had a long history. Rob Markwood, Rob Kessel and another partner bought 2,000 acres in 2006. Kessell died in a 2008 plane crash and Markwood purchased the other partner’s interest in the project.

Building permits were tied up while the State Highway Administration reviewed the entrance and exit design off U.S. 220. In May 2010, Markwood killed his wife and then himself and the project has remained in limbo since.

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

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