By Jesse Wood
December 18, 2012. On Monday, the Watauga County Planning Board approved the master plan for the ambitious Middle Fork Falls Resort, which includes a 60,000-square-foot heated indoor water park, contingent on conditions to be addressed by the developer behind the project Steve Moberg.
Moberg said those “standard” conditions would be “absolutely no problem” to keep the project on schedule to break round in the spring and open in the summer 2014.
A partial list of those conditions on approval include:
- driveway connection permit
- water and sewer permits
- high impact land use ordinance compliance
- watershed Ordinance compliance
- NCDWQ storm water/wetlands compliance/CoE
- flood damage prevention ordinance compliance
- erosion control ordinance compliance
- trout buffer waiver
- fire code compliance
- establishment of POA covenants for maintenance of water/sewer/storm water facilities
- preliminary plat submissions as appropriate
- bridge to meet NC DOT standards
- showing parking at cabins
Moberg envisions the park as a year-round, one-stop destination, where all amenities are located onsite. The resort also includes 1,200-foot-community center, a 150-room hotel, a 40,000-square-foot retail center, 10,000-square-foot restaurant, more than 50 two-bedroom rustic log cabins. The development includes a gas station, convenience center and includes 1,000 parking spaces.
“What we are [aiming for] is a destination resort. I don’t want to say a little Gatlinburg or a little whatever, but truly come up here and spend a couple days and enjoy what you want to do,” Moberg said last month, adding that, more than anything, it will help combine Mystery Hill, Middle Fork Falls and Tweetsie Railroad into a single destination.
The 42-acre development will be situated off of U.S. 321 in between Boone and Blowing Rock, wedged between Mystery Hill and Tweetsie Railroad, and is a project unlike any that has come before the board before.
“To some degree, this is a little different than we are used to. Usually residential only with a clubhouse like Yonahlossee,” Planning Board Chair Rick Mattar said. “It has more components to it and is highly commercialized.”
While some have feared this project will turn the High Country into a Gatlinburg-type town, Mattar thinks this project will be positive for the area.
“Just building the place will be a boon to the economy,” Mattar said. He added, though, that the 400 employees Moberg mentioned to be hired to operate Middle Fork Falls Resort sounded “a little optimistic.”
Mattar is a stockholder of Tweetsie Railroad and said that Tweetsie CEO Chris Robbins, who was involved in the negotiations to sell Moberg the 42 acres under the Middle Fork LLC entity, considered a development similar to this one many years ago that would go “hand in hand” with Tweetsie and would cross-utilize the property.
After months of negotiations, Moberg said he is expected to finalize the contract for the land very soon and that the contract will include a cross-easing parking situation with Tweetsie.
Last night, Moberg spoke before the Watauga County Planning Board and said the project was well received.
“I think everyone is excited about the project and want to see something positive happen in the county with the economy,” Moberg said.
For much more details on this project, click to www.hcpress.com/news/ambitious-42-acre-destination-resort-in-watauga-to-break-ground-in-spring-50000-sq-ft-indoor-water-park.html
View Master Plan:
Click on the plan to view larger and rotated.