Corps rejects resort proposal at Raystown Lake

Official says ruling does not permanently kill project along edge of lake

A proposal to build a resort and marina along the northeastern edge of Raystown Lake took a blow Friday when the Army Corps of Engineers rejected developers’ plans.

In a news release, corps officials said the proposal by Austin, Texas-based Lancer Resources LP to build along the lake does not fit with a long-term plan for the lake’s management.

The company proposed last year to build a resort hotel on Terrace Mountain and a neighboring marina in the Hawn’s Bridge section of the lake.

Officials from the corps’ Baltimore district rejected the plan partly because the affected land is a “bat mitigation area” important to protected bat species, public affairs specialist Cynthia Mitchell said. The corps, which manages the manmade lake, is legally required to consider economics, public need and natural resources when weighing proposals.

Calls to Lancer Resources were not answered Friday. It was unclear Friday whether the company might still attempt to develop the land under a new or modified plan.

The corps ruling does not permanently kill hopes of a project there, Mitchell said.

The officials who rejected the resort plan followed guidelines from the 1994 Raystown Lake master plan, which sets standards and goals for development — but a new plan is set for conception in the coming months or years, she said.

“We need to update the master plan, and we’re looking for funding,” Mitchell said.

There’s no guarantee the next plan will include the same requirements at Hawn’s Bridge, Mitchell said. It could be a slow process, however, with the plan expected to take 18 to 24 months or even longer once money is obtained.

“We would then have to re-evaluate their proposal,” if Lancer Resources tries again, she said. “Refinements would have to be made to their current proposal.”

Developer Rod Roberts of Lancer Resources publicly addressed the plans in March 2016, describing a resort hotel that could include 200 to 300 rooms. The hotel would sit on Terrace Mountain land in Union Township formerly owned by Gladfelter Paper Co. The proposal included cabins and a lodge, along with possible hiking and biking trails, a spa, pools and a golf course. Developers said they expected the facility to operate year-round.

While the corps rejected the plan for now, changes in federal policy could make the lake area more amenable to private development in the coming years.

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, signed by President Barack Obama late last year, included a provision that the corps update its Raystown Lake plan — with specific recommendations that the corps consider recreational development and create an inventory of unneeded government-owned land nearby.

The Raystown Lake section derived from the 2016 Water Resources Development Act, proposed by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District. Roberts of Lancer Resources, who also owns a local gas pipeline and is involved in the oil and gas industry, donated to Shuster’s 2016 campaign, according to federal filings.

When he revealed the Raystown Lake project last year, Roberts described it as a long-term opportunity for the region.

“If we are allowed to build this, it will be built with the environment in mind. It will be a project you will be proud of,” Roberts told locals at the time. “It will be an incredible economic boom.”

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.

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