Hilltop Hotel proposals to get review

HARPERS FERRY — A residents group’s recommendations for how to proceed with the redevelopment of the shuttered Hilltop House Hotel will get an airing by two boards.
Both the town’s Historic Landmarks Commission and its Board of Zoning Appeals will review a proposal by the Harpers Ferry Residents’ Group, following a vote last week by the Planning Commission to submit the recommendations to both panels.

Harpers Ferry’s zoning appeals board and the town’s Landmarks Commission will review two consultants reports about how to proceed with the redevelopment of the historic Hilltop House Hotel.

Harpers Ferry’s zoning appeals board and the town’s Landmarks Commission will review two consultants reports about how to proceed with the redevelopment of the historic Hilltop House Hotel.

The residents’ group held a public workshop last month to present the findings of two consultants it hired to make recommendations on effects to consider if a redevelopment plan for the hotel is ever submitted to the town.
The Planning Commission will also hold a work session to discuss the recommendations.
The Hilltop House Hotel closed in 2008 and was subsequently purchased by SWaN Investors in 2009. SWaN has since withdrawn its proposal for the site, even though it retains ownership of the property. SwaN’s proposal included replacing the current building with one nearly twice as large, which a coalition of town residents opposed.
The Hilltop covers eight acres and is situated close to private homes.
Richard Klein of Community and Environmental Defense Services, in Owings Mills, Md., and Tony Redman, of Annapolis, Md., said at the workshop traffic and parking options had to be considered, as well as design standards.
“We’re a small enclave in a county that is pro-development,” said Planning Commission Chairman Jay Winchester. “We need strict guidelines.”
Planning Commissioner Steven Ramberg suggested that the parking and traffic aspects of the consultants’ presentations be sent on to the zoning appeals board and the design standards be given to the Landmarks Commission.
The Planning Commission has been working on ordinances for East Ridge Promontory Overlay District where the Hilltop is located. Commission members will be meeting with the Harpers Ferry Town Council for further discussion on those proposals.
No date was set.

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