The project will include 4 miles of road courses on which members can drive their high-performance cars up to 120 mph. It will have garages, a car wash, a gas station, a helipad for emergencies, a clubhouse, a swimming pool and athletic fields.
No competitive racing or professionally sanctioned racing events may be held on the course.
After Tuesday's meeting, developer Richard Muller Jr. said he plans to begin construction this fall or winter after receiving the remainder of the required state approvals.
Muller said he felt tired after completing the "long, hard" approval process. He said he has done his best to respond to residents' concerns about the project by completing all of the necessary studies and adjusting his plans accordingly.
But residents say Alpine Rose will destroy the tranquility of the Appalachian Trail and their homes and will alter the habitat in the Aquashicola Creek watershed. They also said supervisors should have required third-party impact studies on the environment and surrounding property values.
One resident, Dale Weidman, spoke in support of the project.
"If that was a housing development, you'd have almost the same thing," he said.
Attorney Charles Elliott said the two opposing environmental groups he represents likely will appeal the final plan approval in court.
The Blue Mountain Preservation Association and the Appalachian Trail Conference already have appealed the supervisors' preliminary approval to Commonwealth Court and are awaiting an argument date.
Anyone who invests money at this stage of the project "might as well be a riverboat gambler," Elliott said.
The environmental groups say that allowing Muller to build Alpine Rose would violate the township's duty under the Appalachian Trail Act to "preserve the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the trail."
The trail runs along the ridge of the Blue Mountain just south of proposed site.
Township supervisors sat in silence for several seconds after board Chairman Glenn Beers called for action on the final plan. Before he cast his "yes" vote, Beers said he has spent many hours thinking about what he must do.
"I feel that I have no other choice, with the rules that are in place," Beers said.
Ilene Eckhart was the only supervisor who voted to reject the plan.
At the supervisors' Sept. 15 meeting, Alpine Rose asked Eckhart to abstain from voting because she served as president of the Blue Mountain Preservation Association before she was elected as a supervisor in November 2003.
Eckhart said she could make a fair decision regardless of her prior involvement. The State Ethics Commission and the Second Class Township Code say officials can vote on issues they have publicly opposed in the past as long as they have no financial stake in the matter.
After Tuesday's meeting, she said she opposed final plan approval because she has concerns about the developer's ability to comply with noise restrictions, which she called the biggest quality of life issue for people who will live near the resort.
As it has during many past meetings, much of Tuesday's discussion focused on the noise restrictions with which Muller has agreed to comply. A covenant on the final plan says noise levels at about a dozen designated points on and around Alpine Rose property may not exceed the previously determined ambient sound levels listed in a May 2003 sound study by more than 5 decibels.
Elliott called the study "flawed and unscientific" and said the requirements on the final plan are inadequate to ensure the race course complies with the noise rule.
In a Sept. 15 letter to Eldred Township Solicitor Michael Kaspszyk, an attorney for the state Department of Environmental Protection questioned how township officials know that a 5 decibel limit will adequately protect the community and how the township will enforce the condition.
The letter says the township should not approve Muller's final plans until it has answered these questions. The letter says the state will help township officials learn how to evaluate the noise condition if they ask for this assistance.
Eckhart also was the only supervisor who said changes between the preliminary plan and final plan for Alpine Rose are so substantial the supervisors should reject the final plan or require Muller to resubmit a preliminary plan.
The changes include the switch from a package treatment plant to a sewage treatment lagoon and 22 more acres of deforestation to accommodate larger stormwater detention ponds.
Reporter Alyssa Young can be reached at 610-863-3841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.