Town house community convenient for skiers at nearby Wisp Ski Resort

January 13, 1991|By Audrey Haar

Skiers on Marsh Mountain in Garrett County can schuss right into their own backyard at the Villages of Wisp town house community, a 390-acre site south of the Wisp Ski Resort in McHenry.

The first section of 95 units is completed and now 18 of 40 town houses in the second section are for sale.

There are two town house models available. One sells for $100,000 and is 16 feet wide and has 1,536 square feet. It has two floors plus a finished clubroom basement, two bedrooms and two baths.

A larger $120,000 model is 20 feet wide and has 2,200 square feet. It features a loft off the master bedroom with a spiral staircase that could be used to create a third bedroom.

The developers are building 40 units per year and plan eventually to build a hotel.

The ski resort recently added five trails and three chairlifts to the east side of the mountain facing Deep Creek Lake, for a total of 23 trails covering 80 acres of skiable surface. The ski resort has an elevation of 3,080 feet with a 610-foot vertical drop, and 90 percent of the trails are lighted for night skiing.

"You can put on your skis and ski out your back door," said Bernie Dembeck, sales manager of Rolling Ridge Joint Venture, developers of the project.

Since the prime winter selling season started last month, three houses have sold.

Also part of the development are lots intended for individual homes that face Deep Creek Lake. Each lot has a private boat slip.

The new portions of the development are more accessible now that a two-mile road that winds up the mountain was completed earlier this month.

While most people use the town houses as vacation homes, a few people live there year-round. About 40 owners supplement operating expenses by renting the units part of the year through Garrettland Realty in Oakland.

The resort attracts people from Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Washington and West Virginia. Also some business was said to come from Delaware, New Jersey and Cincinnati.

The Villages of Wisp is developed by Rolling Ridge Joint Venture in Baltimore, which is owned by EPA Investors.

Rolling Ridge Joint Venture formerly was run by Rachuba Enterprises Inc. of Towson. Rachuba filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code last July.

Mr. Dembeck said, however, the Villages of Wisp development was not affected by the bankruptcy case, and in fact was a profitable venture for the company.

A spokesman for the Property Owners Association of Deep Creek Lake Inc. said area residents do not have any specific opposition to the Villages of Wisp, but are generally concerned about possible overdevelopment around the area.

John Nelson, planning and zoning director for Garrett County, said that about five years ago there was debate and public hearings about the proposed hotel. Residents were mostly concerned about increased traffic on a narrow access road. Building permits were issued at the time, but have since expired. "So far, the development is very appealing and works well with the mountainside," Mr. Nelson said.

The resort area is marketed as a year-round resort community and an alternative to the beaches. The ski resort also has an 18-hole golf course. In addition to the ski slopes, the major attraction is Deep Creek Lake.

The lake was built in 1925 by Pennsylvania Electric Co. when Deep Creek was dammed to furnish power. It is Maryland's largest freshwater lake and covers about six square miles. The deepest part of the lake is about 70 feet and attracts sail and power boaters.

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