Zoning Officer's Determination Concerning the Extension of

Har Haven's Temporary Certificate of Use


Over the years, a series of rental cabins evolved into an entity known, at least colloquially, as the “Mount Haven Resort”.  The resort eventually consisted of a motel, cabins, restaurant, gift shops, swimming pool and recreational facilities, and other amenities. The Mount Haven Resort was established prior to the enactment of the Dingman Township Zoning Ordinance and in what would become a zoning district in which a resort could not be established under the Ordinance.  Due to the resort being located in a zoning district in which resorts are not listed as a use that may be permitted and that the resort pre-dated the establishment of the zoning ordinance, the Mount Haven resort is considered under the law to be a “Non-Conforming Use” and is entitled to the rights and protections provided by that status.

In early 2016, the subject property was transferred to Har Haven LLC.  Har Haven expressed to Dingman Township its intent to continue to operate the facilities as a resort but with the facilities reserved for a four to six week period for the exclusive use of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI), a separate entity based in Lakewood, New Jersey.

Shortly thereafter, concerns were raised to the Township by neighboring property owners and other township residents.  Among the concerns expressed were that the property was being used as a children’s summer camp and that the property was being used as a school.  Har Haven addressed these and other concerns in conversations with township officials and in a letter to the Township dated August 15, 2016. 

To alleviate public concerns, the zoning officer took the rare step of issuing a “Temporary Certificate of Use”, valid until September 6, 2017, in order to verify Har Haven’s actual usage of the property was as a resort and not as a camp, seasonal school or other non-resort use.

When Har Haven acquired the property, the principals were aware that renovation would be required.  Later, a more thorough examination of the buildings found that the required renovations would be much greater than previously thought necessary.

Har Haven prepared plans to renovate the motel rooms first.  Prior to applying for a building permit they voluntarily submitted plans for township review so that the township officials could be assured that the project would not violate any zoning requirements nor jeopardize the property’s Non-Conforming Use status.  On February 1, 2017, Har Haven applied for a building permit to perform renovation work on the motel units.  The permit was issued on April 12, 2017 and the work was deemed complete and the Certificate of Occupancy for the motel units was issued on June 30, 2017. 

As part of the Commonwealth’s food service license approval, the kitchen would have to pass the required drinking water testing and water system requirements.  The Department of Environmental Protection found problems with the water system and issued a “boil water order” until such time as the necessary corrections are completed and approved. DEP has not informed the Township that the boil water order has been lifted, nor that the food service license has been issued.

The Temporary Certificate of Use was set to expire on September 6, 2017.  On August 15, 2017, a request was received from a representative of Har Haven asking that the Temporary Certificate of Use be extended for one calendar year. 

It is the opinion of the Zoning Officer that:

1.  That Mount Haven was not open under Har Haven ownership for a period of time long enough to determine its legitimacy as a resort.

2.  That the Mount Haven facilities and infrastructure were aging and in terrible shape and that renovation was more than necessary to properly conduct the operations of a resort.

3.  That Har Haven has made a good faith effort and spent a substantial amount of money to complete the renovation work in a timely manner.

4.  That Har Haven should not be penalized for the lack of operation that resulted from the work required to bring the motel units and water system up to acceptable standards.

5.  That winter in Pike County is a difficult time to draw guests to resorts that are not centered around winter sports.  Mount Haven has never been a resort centered around winter sports.

6.  That a one year extension of the Temporary Certificate of Use should be excessive to the need of proving that the property is being used as a resort. 

Therefore, it is the determination of the Zoning Officer that the Temporary Certificate of Use be extended until June 30, 2018 at which time the use of the property will be re-evaluated.  The time extension should allow the appropriate amount of time:

1.  For Har Haven to complete the necessary upgrades to its water system.

2.  For Mount Haven to operate as a resort through the winter, spring, and early summer seasons 

3.  For the Zoning Officer to monitor the use of Mount Haven to determine if it is being used legitimately as a resort prior to the next exclusive reservation by SCHI.

The Temporary Certificate of Use is hereby extended to June 30, 2018.

Any party aggrieved by this determination may, within thirty (30) days of public announcement, appeal the determination before the Dingman Township Zoning Hearing Board.

Editor's note:  Determination was announced at the September 19, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting