Mount Haven Certificate of Use Determination 7/2/18 



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 shop, 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 new 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 Mount Haven 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 for 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 facility as a resort but with the facility 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 delivered to the Township that was 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 Har Haven 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 was 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 that was 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.

It was 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 would 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 legitimately used as a resort prior to the next exclusive reservation by SCHI.



The allotted time extension having passed, the Zoning Officer has reviewed the progress that has been made by Har Haven towards reopening Mount Haven as a resort.

The definition of a resort has great variability throughout the country.  However, as a Non-Conforming Use, the new resort use would have to be substantially similar to that of the previous use.  In the Zoning Officer’s August 15, 2017 determination to issue a Temporary Certificate of Use, Har Haven was informed that Dingman Township would require Har Haven to operate Mount Haven in a manner similar to the previous use, but that the Township would allow a little flexibility.  To that end, it would have to be demonstrated that the restaurant was open to the public a minimum of 42 calendar days per year, exclusive of the SCHI use.  The motel portion of the business would have to be open to guests a minimum of 183 days per calendar year.

It was the finding of the Zoning Officer that:

1-  The motel rooms have been renovated but there had been little evidence that they have been made available for guest use.  For most of the extended period the entrance sign remained covered by a sign indicating that the facility was temporarily closed.  Said sign was removed in late March.  On April 9th, a new sign was found to have been installed indicating that Mount Haven was available for group events.  Otherwise, no local advertising has been observed that indicates that the motel is open.  Most off-site signs that previously advertised the resort have been removed or painted over. 

2-  Har Haven has presented evidence that it ran a classified advertisement regarding the availability of Mount Haven on 

3- Har Haven has supplied the zoning officer with a list of 11 groups that are scheduled to use the facilities starting September 2018.

4- No action has been taken that might indicate that Har Haven has the intention of abandoning the use of the Mount Haven as a resort.

5- The Zoning Officer has been unable to verify that Mount Haven has been utilized by groups until after May 4, 2018 and then, only sporadically.  Furthermore, a legitimate local organization has reported that their inquiries to book the use of Mount Haven facilities were thwarted by excessively high prices

6- Discussions with State employees have found that as of June 29th, Mount Haven did not have the appropriate public water supply approval to maintain a restaurant.

7- Discussions with State employees have found that as of June 12th, Mount Haven did not have the appropriate food service license to operate a restaurant. 

8- A discussion with County officials has found that as of June 6th, Mount Haven had not applied for a license to collect the county room tax nor submitted the appropriate room tax for those dates that groups have occupied the motel.

9- It was found that as of June 28th, Mount Haven has not been keeping a register of the guests that stay in the motel as required by state law.

Therefore, based on the above findings, it is the determination of the Dingman Township Zoning Officer that the property known as Mount Haven is not currently being operated as a resort in the manner consistent with the previous use and can not, at this time be issued a Certificate of Use.  Hence, the motel, cabins, mansion building, and restaurant may not be occupied except for the purpose of the mechanics and artisans necessary to continue the renovation process.  Furthermore, without a Certificate of Use, the grounds may not be leased, rented, or otherwise used by any customers, group, or association.

When, and if, Har Haven has demonstrated compliance with the necessary state and county laws and operating approvals, Har Haven may reapply for a Temporary Certificate of Use.  Issuance of the Certificate will be for the minimum period of time necessary to demonstrate compliance with the operational requirements for the restaurant and motel as previously set forth by the Township.  Upon successful demonstration to that end, the full Certificate of Use may be applied for.  



Any party aggrieved by this determination may, within thirty (30) days of public announcement, appeal the determination before the Dingman Township Zoning Hearing Board.  For purposes of any appeal, the announced date of this determination is July 3, 2018.