Lake the Subject of Battle Over Development

A lake in Lycoming County has been the focus of a battle between those who support future development on the grounds and those who oppose it.

A decision could come as early as Tuesday that would bring a developer one step closer to building new homes.

A frozen Rose Valley Lake sits several miles north of Williamsport, largely undeveloped.

Now a heated debate centers on the state-owned lake which was purchased with taxpayer money some years ago.

Developer Bobby Maguire has asked the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to grant him a right of way in order to build several homes on land he owns near the lake.

In exchange, Maguire would pay the state $15,000 and give up an acre of land.

“I think what’s been misconstrued here is that I’m using public lands, and that’s far from the truth,” said Maguire.

All Maguire is asking for right now, is a 33-foot right of way granted by the Fish and Boat Commission so he can develop properties along Rose Valley Lake. Folks who live along the lake believe it would be a dangerous precedent that would lead to more development of a pristine area of Lycoming County.

“Some people would say that’s bribery, some would say that’s equal payment for what’s asked, all depends where you’re at,” said Rose Valley Lake resident Jim Smith.

He, like his neighbors who have banded together to get signed petitions against the deal, fears if Maguire gets his way there is a chance Rose Valley Lake could lose its character and become overdeveloped.

Maguire insists if he can, he is moving ahead with plans to build new homes around Rose Valley Lake.

“Change is inevitable, we’d be better to embrace opportunities from an environmental aspect than just trying to stop it,” added Maguire.

The Fish and Boat Commission is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday and the plan would also need approval from lawmakers and the governor.

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