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Council shoots down development near lake in Carbon County

A vote by Jim Thorpe Borough Council and the surprise emergence of a new buyer derailed the development plans altogether.

JIM THORPE, Pa. — It was a long but rewarding victory for residents in and surrounding the borough of Jim Thorpe.

At Thursday night's meeting, borough council voted not to change any zoning ordinances that would've allowed developers to put houses on Mauch Chunk Lake.

"But if anybody who's here for the lake cause could stand up real quick. We have a lot of support here this evening. Thank you, everybody, for coming out; this one is very important to a lot of people in town," said Brandon Fogel of Jim Thorpe.

The mayor of Jim Thorpe surprised the meeting by announcing that earlier in the day, Carbon County had acquired the land around the lake, leaving only 10 acres to the original owner, who looked to develop the property.

Residents rejoiced at the news.

"I wanted to get it on the record; thank you very much for your action," said Ed Hawk of Jim Thorpe.

Susie and James Whitehead of Mahoning Township have deep family ties to the property surrounding Mauch Chunk Lake.

They are happy that it will continue to be preserved.

"A lot of people enjoy it, and this way, it will, my granddaughter was here today, and that's their future," James said.

"I'm looking forward to a boat ride and a kayak ride and another walk across the breast of the damn. It's just gorgeous and just beautiful. Just happy we could be a part of Save the Lake," added Susie.

Stanley Bielicki says the vote marks an end to two months of meetings, finally securing a future for the land around the lake.

"You know, if you make a change now, it's a change you can come back 15, 50 years 15 or 50 years, and you suddenly see what you did today has terrible effects on the future," said Bielicki.

Mauch Chunk Lake stretches across three municipalities: Jim Thorpe, Summit Hill, and Mahoning township.

Parts of the surrounding land are already developed; Jim Thorpe wants to find a permanent way to keep its section pristine.

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