Categories: BuildingPublished On: January 25, 20240 Comments20.7 min read


Building in Snowshoe WV: Navigating Environmental and Architectural Challenges

Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of West Virginia, Snowshoe is a picturesque destination that attracts many seeking a serene and beautiful place to call home. However, building a dream home in this area comes with its unique set of challenges, primarily due to the environmental considerations for the Cheat Mountain Salamander and adherence to the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) guidelines. In this post, we’ll explore these challenges and offer insights on how to navigate them.

Protecting the Cheat Mountain Salamander

One of the critical environmental considerations in Snowshoe, WV, is the presence of the Cheat Mountain Salamander, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This salamander is endemic to the high elevations of West Virginia, making its conservation a priority in the region.

The Salamander Test

Before any construction begins, a mandatory ‘Cheat Mountain Salamander Test‘ must be carried out. This test involves a thorough survey of the proposed building site to ensure that the habitat of this delicate species is not disrupted. The test is conducted by environmental specialists who assess the presence of salamanders or their habitats. If salamanders are found, or if their habitat is present, builders must work closely with environmental agencies to develop a construction plan that minimizes impact.

This requirement often leads to delays and additional costs. Prospective homeowners must be prepared for a potentially lengthy process that can affect their building timeline and budget.

Understanding Pocahontas County's Cheat Mountain Salamander Inspection Requirement

Adhering to ARC Guidelines

Properties situated in Snowshoe Mountain Resort are governed by a range of covenants, restrictions, and design guidelines. A key stipulation is the mandatory approval required from owners and/or project managers before initiating any activities like site preparation, lot clearing, excavation, landscaping, construction, modifications, or renovations on resort premises. This approval procedure is overseen by the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) of Snowshoe, consisting of up to seven members appointed by the president of Snowshoe Mountain Inc.

Click here to review the ARC guidelines.

 Architectural Considerations

The ARC guidelines emphasize architectural harmony with the natural surroundings. This means that building designs should use materials, colors, and forms that blend with the landscape rather than dominate it. For homeowners, this can mean additional research and possibly higher costs to source appropriate materials and design a home that meets these criteria. Additionally, building in Snowshoe will require you to adhere to Snowshoe’s CCR’s (Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions).

Click here to review the CCR.

Community and Infrastructure Impact

Another aspect of the ARC guidelines pertains to the impact on the community and local infrastructure. Prospective builders must consider how their home will fit into the existing community fabric, affecting roads, utilities, and local ecosystems. This often requires a more collaborative approach with local authorities and communities to ensure that new homes are a positive addition to the area.

Navigating the Challenges

Hiring the Right Experts

To successfully navigate these challenges, it’s crucial to work with experts familiar with the specific requirements of building in Snowshoe. This includes hiring architects who have experience designing homes that meet ARC guidelines and environmental consultants skilled in conducting the Cheat Mountain Salamander Test. Also, you will need to submit the proper application(s) to the ARC. That can be completed online by CLICKING HERE.

Budgeting for Extra Costs

Prospective homeowners should also be prepared for the possibility of additional costs and delays. Building in an environmentally sensitive area with strict architectural guidelines often means investing more in the planning and construction phases.

Embracing the Process

Lastly, it’s important to embrace the process and view these challenges as part of the journey to creating a home that not only meets your needs but also respects and enhances the natural beauty and ecological integrity of Snowshoe, WV.


Building a home in Snowshoe, WV, is an exciting but challenging endeavor. The need to protect the Cheat Mountain Salamander and adhere to ARC guidelines can complicate the building process. However, with careful planning, the right team, and a commitment to these important environmental and aesthetic considerations, it’s possible to build a home that’s both beautiful and harmonious with its stunning Cheat Mountain surroundings.


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