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Watauga Commissioners Voice No Objections To Indoor Water Park, Approve Height Variance

Preliminary Plan for Middle Fork Falls Resort
Preliminary Plan for Middle Fork Falls Resort

By Jesse Wood

Jan. 17, 2012. On Tuesday, the Watauga County Commissioners unanimously approved a variance from the height requirements of the High Impact Land Use Ordinance for the indoor water park located in between Mystery Hill and Tweetsie Railroad on U.S. 321.

The master plan for the 42-acre project titled Middle Fork Falls Resort was approved by the Watauga County Planning Board in December.

However, the developer Steve Moberg of Satchmo & Company, LLC, has several more hoops to jump through before construction can begin, said Joe Furman, director of the Watauga County Planning and Inspections, at Tuesday’s meeting.

One of the main reasons for the approval of the height variance is that the project has sprinklers in the building and local fire departments have ladder units that easily top the 58 feet being requested by Moberg.

Moberg said the main reason he was requesting the height variance is that “without a variance we can’t get water slides and make the water park work.”

Mentioning Mystery Hill and Tweetsie Railroad surrounding the water park; the very few neighbors to speak of nearby; and the potential jobs and tax money from the resort’s year-round operations, the board of commissioners voiced no objections the plans of the 60,000-square-foot indoor water park.

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.

All along, Moberg’s goal has been to begin construction in the spring and be ready to open in the spring or summer of 2014.

Below is a partial list of conditions that the Planning Board mentioned in December that needed to be approved before construction could begin. On Tuesday, Moberg said most of the contingencies had been taken care of. 

  • 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

For many more details on this project and maps, 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 

For more info about the Planning Board meeting, click to https://www.hcpress.com/news/watauga-planning-board-conditionally-approves-master-plan-for-indoor-water-park-development-beside-tweetsie.html