Many reasons not to approve RV park

November 13, 2013

The following letter was sent to Sussex County Council with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

As you get closer to a final vote on the proposed Love Creek RV City Park project, many citizens are hoping that you have evaluated all of the issues with an open mind and will render a fair and impartial decision based on all of the concerns and facts that have been presented.

The few benefits that the developer has provided to the county have only been a limited number of seasonal jobs and a one-time infusion of revenue to the county that will be overshadowed and more than balanced out by the costs to the county in various financial ways, including road improvements, sewer connections, maintenance, a shorter economical life of the sewer system, the forfeiture of potential recurring transfer and property taxes, and increased emergency services.

These do not include the deterioration of the character of the county, the anger and frustration of the nearby citizens and the inevitable traffic jams and increased accidents that surely will occur. This project will also interfere with and impede any cohesive long-term development plans that will help create a more organized and efficient future for Sussex County. If projects like these are continually approved and randomly intermingled beside nearby residential developments, you are creating an unsustainable blueprint for intelligent growth and harmony in this area.

Please understand that the opponents of this project are not against growth; however, we advocate and expect smart growth. We are not selfishly trying to protect and prevent development in our nearby communities, but we are expecting that the growth will conform to what we bought into when we purchased our homes - quiet neighborhoods and the quality of a peaceful way of life. A co-located RV park does not conform to those ideals and does not follow the county’s comprehensive plan.

While it has been said that some people might resent those of us who moved into this area from somewhere else, they need to realize that we all came from somewhere else at one time or another. The hidden undertone of their message suggests that we are trying to impose our former way of life into the way things are run down here by controlling or preventing growth. A writer even implied in the Cape Gazette that the founding fathers of this area basically have the right to do whatever they want with their properties and those of us in the “cookie cutter” developments will have to live with it. (In other words, they assume that we are getting what we deserve.) However, we hope that isn’t the overall opinion of many.

A good number of us who bought in these new developments are veterans who fought for our country, and thereby have the right to choose to live wherever we please if we can afford it. Wouldn’t you agree? Also, it is the so-called “founding fathers” families who are selling their lands to the developers as they no longer want to farm the lands like their ancestors did. While this has somewhat altered the past complexion of the county, it should not destroy the character of the area by allowing inappropriate growth into areas that are not zoned for that purpose once nearby communities have already been established. Many of us did not purchase our homes expecting to be surrounded by an RV park with increased traffic and congestion, especially with the local road structure being inadequate for that type of traffic.

And although you have heard this before, if you expect tourism to increase and flourish, probably one of the worst things you can possibly do is to create traffic jams and gridlock caused by bottlenecks, which will certainly happen if you vote to pass this project. For those who come down to our area for the weekends, they will not tolerate and accept being stuck in traffic for long periods of time. Do not kill the “Golden Goose” forever for an ill- conceived and misplaced project for a small one-time inadequate revenue boost.

Obviously, many are worried about the outcome of your vote. It concerns us that the recent trend of voting results seem to be on the side of the developers, regardless of the opposition’s legal and legitimate arguments and concerns. Shouldn’t citizens' legitimate arguments expect to have equal weight and support from all of the council members on matters involving powerful and heavily financed development projects; or now is business growth the highest priority? Inevitably, does it make sense that the welfare of citizens in the proposed and impacted areas be ignored and outvoted by those in areas who are not affected by this vote?

While I am not political, I’d like to quote a statement that I just heard the other day that illustrates good government sense from Gov. Chris Christie, after he won his re-election. He said that “Good leadership does not mean being a good talker, but instead it’s more important to be a good listener!” We ask that you respectfully listen to a vast number of your constituents' legitimate arguments and concerns and vote no on this project. Obviously, the planning and zoning commission didn’t listen as evidenced by their mostly one-sided vote and lack of discussion in our presence, which was insulting. They also ignored and arbitrarily discounted our input as unqualified; however, you the council now have the opportunity to demonstrate what’s right about our government process. Vote no! Thank you.

Dan and Marie Ahearn

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