RV park indeed deserves attention

March 7, 2013

As the president of the Retreat at Love Creek Homeowners Association, I have been involved in a coalition involving more than a thousand homeowners to halt the proposed RV campground and resort. With over 800 signatures on petitions, over 200 individual letters, and after five-and-a-half hours of testimony at a public hearing attended by nearly 200 residents against the proposed RV campground, the coalition continues to grow.

It is our belief that this proposal not only effects those homeowners in the immediate vicinity of the RV campground and resort, but it also directly effects all taxpayers and homeowners within Sussex County. While the Sussex County Council is now considering whether to let the project proceed, I’d like summarize just a few of the reasons why we want the council to reject the requested zoning and conditional use applications.

First, the law. This development will not be in keeping with the intent of the Delaware Code to promote the health, safety, morale, convenience, order, prosperity or welfare of the present and future inhabitants (and taxpayers) of Sussex County. This project has been proposed for the sole purpose of providing revenue for the developers. The proposed re-zoning is inconsistent with the future land use map, especially as state law requires that all zoning regulations be in accordance with the comprehensive plan.

Second, the traffic impact on county residents. Common sense tells us why people would choose to vacation at an RV campground in this area. It provides access to the beaches, shopping, restaurants, and other amenities - all of which will require travel to and from the RV resort. Unfortunately, tractor trailer-sized rigs towing cars on rural roads that have no shoulders in the middle of summer peak traffic raise serious safety issues. And the developer’s Traffic Impact Statement (TIS) is flawed by using national mobile home statistics as their model for determining traffic flow, instead of a resort area model. The bottom line: the developer seriously underestimates the amount of traffic the project will generate. And increased traffic congestion from the RV campground will increase the response time for our first responders, creating potentially life threatening events.

Finally, the cost to county taxpayers. Frankly, this is a bad deal for all county taxpayers. The RV campground is not consistent with the county’s major revenue sources - annual property taxes and the realty transfer tax. If approved, the RV campground will significantly lower both annual revenue streams, as well as the one-time transfer tax revenues to all of Sussex County by up to approximately $2-5 million. And because the RV campground requires infrastructure capital investment by the county without the developer paying its “fair share” of those costs, the burden will be on county taxpayers to foot the bill.

Our coalition of homeowners knows that growth in Sussex County is an important and given expectation for citizens in our geographic location. Further, we are not challenging the applicants’ desire to build quality projects. We do, however, challenge the far reaching and long-term effects that such a proposed project, placed in a predominantly residential area, will have, not only our communities, but other planned or existing residential communities. We can only hope that our elected officials will take all these factors into consideration when making their decision. In the end, does the council wish to sustain and promote the quality of life in Sussex County, or should the decision simply be to promote the quantity of life?

Paul Hammesfahr

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