Sussex won't profit from Love Creek RV city

April 4, 2013

I am a resident of the Retreat at Love Creek in Lewes and am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground. There are numerous flaws with this proposal including, but not limited to, traffic and road remediation by the developer, environmental issues including noise pollution, the need for increased police patrol and emergency response resources and sewage disposal and water supply.  You will hear much about these concerns from area residents, but I want to focus on the negative financial implications that the RV park will have on Sussex County.

When you analyze the short and long term financial impact of the proposed development, it becomes apparent that approval of the proposal is not in the best interests of Sussex County and its residents. If this parcel were to be developed as a residential community, it would provide significant initial and on-going revenue streams to the county.  If this property were to be developed as an RV campground, the amount of revenue that it would contribute to the Sussex County General Fund would be negligible.

The Sussex County budget’s General Fund (public safety/infrastructure expenses) totals $46,400,000. So 55 percent of revenues that support this fund are derived from the realty transfer taxes and property taxes. Lingo representatives indicated that if this property were to be developed as it is zoned, as a residential community, it would involve more than 400 homes. So, if one were to assume that 400 homes were built on this property at an average selling price of $400,000 with annual property taxes of $1,500, this parcel would produce $2,400,000 in realty transfer taxes and $600,000 in annual property taxes to the county. The RV development contributes zero realty transfer tax and minimal local taxes.

This proposal is bad financially for the Love Creek area, Lewes and Sussex County.  It is only good for Jack Lingo Asset Management. I respect property owners’ rights to develop the land they have invested in. However, it should be developed consistent with the comprehensive plan. This proposal is detrimental to the thousands of tax paying home owners whose communities surround this parcel. It will only serve to make the area less desirable for future residential development and drive property values down.

Delaware’s economic environment of low property taxes and no sales tax is a major draw to potential residents and business. It is obvious that careful planning - blending business, commercial and residential development - contribute to Delaware’s ability to provide this economic benefit. It seems obvious that the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, as is, gives thoughtful consideration to how different zoning classifications align with each other.

Full year residents support local businesses and stimulate the economy.  Permanent, tax-paying homeowners provide revenues to the county to sustain public safety resources (paramedics, police and firefighters) and invest in infrastructure (waste treatment).  An RV Park will prove to be a drain on county resources - putting stress on public safety and infrastructure.

I am not opposed to development. The ability of the Lewes community and Sussex County to flourish depends on prudent development consistent with the comprehensive plan. I am also not opposed to the creation of RV campgrounds. However, this should be restricted to property zoned for this use.  If Jack Lingo Asset Management feels so strongly that this region needs another RV campground, let them develop a piece of property zoned for this purpose.

Based on the above numbers, the elimination of this property as a generator of significant tax revenue would not appear to be in the best interests of Sussex County.  Please do not let one small group of individuals profit at the expense of thousands of concerned home owners and Sussex County.

I urge Sussex County Planning & Zoning and Sussex County Council members to vote against this proposal.

Stephen J. Byrnes

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