With a 5-0 vote June 27, Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of two applications that would pave the way for an RV campground at the end of Long Neck Road.
Commissioners agreed that some of the concerns raised by residents who opposed Castaways at Massey's Landing can be addressed during the site-plan process should county council vote to approve the applications.
The developers, Ida Faucett and Ida Faucett Heirs LLC and Massey's Landing Park Inc., have filed applications for a zoning change on a 51-acre parcel from MR, medium-density residential, to AR-1, agricultural residential, and a conditional-use to allow the campground. A campground is not permitted in MR zoning.
The proposed campground would contain 322 RV sites and 10 remote tent camping sites. Commissioner Mike Johnson said all campsites must be at least 2,000 square feet, including the tent sites. Johnson said a 50-foot forested buffer around the perimeter of the park would be required.
While traffic on Long Neck Road surfaced as one of the main issues during two public hearings, Johnson said state transportation officials did not object to the project and noted that the RV park would generate less traffic than a 120-unit housing project already approved for the site. Opponents dispute that claim, which is based on a 2005 traffic impact study.
“If emotions were removed, the public would embrace this because there will be fewer trips generated,” Commissioner Marty Ross said.
Johnson said a campground is consistent with other land uses in the Long Neck area.
“This can blend in with the existing community,” Johnson said. “Issues can be addressed during the design phase. Conditions and limitations are subject to site plan review by planning and zoning to minimize impact on the area.”
Planned amenities include a swimming pool; pavilions; general store; welcome center; dog park; cafe and snack bar; bath houses; nature center; two lodges; fishing and crabbing piers; rental center for golf carts; DART bus stop; and a rental center for kayaks, canoes and other nonmotorized watercraft.
Johnson said the amenities can actually help alleviate trips to and from the park. “They can keep campers in the park; the park can become a destination,” he said.
The zoning change is needed because campsites are not permitted in MR zoning districts. The parcel was approved in 2007 for a 120-unit medium-density, residential planned community. That plan, which included a zoning change from AR-1 to MR, was abandoned because of downturn in the economy.
Sussex County Council has the final say on all zoning and conditional-use applications. There is no date set when council will vote on the applications; officials are off the next two weeks.
Among the long list of conditions the commission approved is one relating to the placement of campsites. According to county code, campsites must be at least 400 feet from all dwellings and 100 feet from all roads. On the Castaways site plan, some campsites are close to the 50-foot buffer around the proposed park and about that distance from manufactured homes in surrounding communities.
However, according to county code, manufactured homes are not considered dwellings; attorneys argued that the 400-foot rule does not apply. Opponents have argued that at least one stick-built home exists in Massey's Landing Park, which would affect the layout of campsites.
Johnson said the applicant would be responsible for a determination if any dwellings as defined by county code are affected by the placement of campsites.
Other conditions placed on the project include: central sewer and water systems; development of an emergency evacuation plan; no storage of RVs or travel trailers on site; a maximum of 322 RV campsites; no accessory buildings on campsites; and the developer must provide a DART bus stop.
In addition, the developer must adhere to a DelDOT requirement to fund an equitable portion of costs to construct a round-about or traffic signal at the intersection of Long Neck Road and Pot Nets Road. The campground could operate from April 1 to the first Sunday in November.
County council does not meet the next two weeks.