Letters to Council Members
November 24, 2014
The Honorable Michael H. Vincent
734 East Ivy Drive
Seaford, DE 19973
RE: Love Creek RV Resort and Campground/Applications #CZ-1725, #CU 1951
Dear Mr. Vincent,
Before the Honorable members of the Sussex County Council make their decision on the applications for rezoning and conditional use regarding the proposed Love Creek RV Campground, I implore them to consider the following.
Importance of Public Comments: First, I urge the Council members to consider the importance of a significant volume of public comment received from numerous local citizens. Perhaps comments from the Planning and Zoning Commission may have implied that expert testimony by the applicant should bear more weight than that of the public. The foregoing opinion about expert vs. public opinion just that--an opinion, it is not Delaware law. Consider the following comment from Bayville Shore Development Corp. v. County Council of Sussex County, 1991 WL 202182, at *4 (Del.Ch.): "The Council, [however], is free to weigh the evidence presented to it, determine the testimony's credibility and draw its own conclusions. There is no requirement that the opponents of a rezoning must rebut each opinion expressed by an applicant's expert by their own expert." Further, the Court of Chancery has also supported the Council’s obligation to consider "public comment" in other cases. Therefore, public comment does legally matter. The members of the public who have spoken out against the RV Resort and Campground are not legally required to be experts, and the comments made have not sought to deny a property owner from doing what the neighbors are already doing. Rather, the public comments and opposition were focused on the public health, safety and welfare of the surrounding community and the legal mandates of State law and the County Code.
Requires Amending The Comprehensive Zoning Map: Legally, one’s ability to request a campground as a Conditional Use for a parcel of land ONLY arises if the correct zoning is in place. That is simply not the case for a significant portion of the proposed RV City site that is currently zoned GR. Therefore, a change to the existing Comprehensive Zoning Map needs to be made, otherwise, the CU is not even an option for that part of the applicant's land.
Furthermore, the Delaware courts have ruled that the intended use of an applicant’s property is an important and required consideration when rezoning is requested.
With any requested zoning change, such change must correspond with the Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Land Use maps, which tells what is appropriate in terms of determining rezoning decisions. That is the law in Delaware (see Delaware Code, Title 9, Sections 6904, 6951 and 6959). This is important because changing the zoning from GR to AR-1 is not in keeping with the Future Land Use map. Simply because the proposed rezoning would match up with an adjacent property and simply because it is arguably “down-zoning”, does not automatically translate to compliance with the Future Land Use map and other legal requirements.
Environmental Sensitive Developing Area (ESDA) and “Growth Area”: Third, I would ask the Council to consider what it means to be located in an Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area (ESDA) with the designation of such an area as a “growth area”. Council must take into account the type of growth proposed for the ESDA in the pending applications. Here, the proposed Conditional Use variation of the subject property for “growth” is a commercial campground. While arguing that a campground may represent "growth", that does not automatically translate to it being allowed. The proposed use must still be appropriate for the area in question and in compliance with State law and the Comprehensive Plan. To simply say a particular Conditional Use represents “growth” and thus is permissible, undermines the integrity of the County’s zoning process and zoning regulations.
In addition, I urge the Council to keep foremost in their minds the requirements of Title 9, Section 6904 with regard to the rezoning. Two of the most important of those requirements is the "character of the particular district involved" and "the general and appropriate trend and character of land, building and population development." The foregoing is what makes the residential nature of the vast majority of the surrounding area so relevant.
Finally, in closing, I urge Council to first consider the overwhelming amount of the public comment received, the appropriateness of the applicant’s request for a Comprehensive Zoning change simply to accommodate a proposed Conditional Use application, and the inappropriate application of a RV Campground as a “growth area”. It respectfully requested that Council members adhere to the Future Land Use map, which is part of the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan and which carries the force of law, is an incredibly important, legitimate, and the legal issue to focus on when making a decision concerning the pending applications.
In summation, I urge the Council to abide to the Comprehensive Plan and, therefore, reject the proposed amendment of the Comprehensive Zoning application # C/Z-1725 and, accordingly, reject the associated # Conditional Use C/U 1951 proposed for the RV Campground at Love Creek by Lingo Asset Management, LLC.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Coalition to Stop RV City,
November 24, 2014
The Honorable Michael H. Vincent
734 East Ivy Drive
Seaford, DE 19973
RE: Love Creek RV Resort and Campground/Applications # CZ-1725, #CU 1951
Dear Mr. Vincent,
I am writing in opposition to the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground Applications proposed by Jack Lingo Asset Management. There are several reasons why I object to the development of such a large and non-permanent development within what is now a quiet and residential area.
First, the additional stress on the already burdened county infrastructure is readily apparent. The secondary rural roads will be directly impacted by the significant seasonal increase in volume of transient traffic. As any resident who lives within the immediate area affected, the congestion from such large vehicles driving over the already crowded two lane roads will simply not be manageable.
Secondly, there are numerous environmental impacts. RVs and other vehicles will be allowed to encamp very close to the water of Love Creek. As has already been demonstrated through closure due to contamination, this body of water has already been impacted by too much nitrogen and bacteria. Sources of suitable drinking water within the proposed campground, as well as the surrounding communities, will also be adversely depleted. As elected caretakers of the future, I expect your support in protecting our treasured inland Bay resources, not just for recreation, but also for livable environment for its residents.
Perhaps key, safety of the residents and their children is a critical issue. As the new Elementary school is constructed off Mulberry Road and Route 24, there will be many buses and personal vehicles coming and going to the new school. These vehicles will be traveling over the same narrow roads at the same time as RVs and campers during most of this period. In addition, there will be issues from the various agricultural activities in the area. Farmers who move oversized, wide equipment on Cedar Grove Road will need to contend with these same RVs and campers. It is not uncommon that when either of these vehicles come to the numerous curves in the existing secondary roads, they actually extends over mid-line of the road, not allowing for sufficient passage of either vehicle.
Finally, thousands of permanent residents and tax payers of the eight (8) communities directly effected by this proposed RV Campground have written letters, signed petitions and attended meetings opposing this RV City. I urge you, as our elected County Official, to listen to vast number of local residents of this area of Sussex County who continue to express their objections to the campground.
Vote NO on the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground/Applications #CZ-1725, and #CU 1951.
Dear Council Members:
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 & 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. Someone 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. However, we hope that isn’t the overall opinion of many.
Many 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 changed 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 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 caused by bottlenecks, which will certainly happen if you vote to pass this project. For those that 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. That is not growth but instead, misguided greed!
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 & legitimate arguments and concerns. Shouldn’t citizen’s legitimate arguments expect to have equal weight & support from all of the Council members on matters involving powerful and heavily financed development projects; or is business growth now the highest priority? Inevitably, does it make sense that the welfare of citizens in the proposed and impacted areas be ignored and out voted 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 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 constituent’s legitimate arguments and concerns and vote NO on this project. Obviously, the Planning and Zoning Commission didn’t listen as evidenced by their 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 this Government process. VOTE NO! Thank you.
Dan & Marie Ahearn, Lewes
Honorable Michael H. Vincent
Sussex County Council
2 The Circle, P.O. Box 589
Georgetown, DE 19947
October 25, 2013
Dear Mr. Vincent, Re: Application #CZ-1725, #CU 1951
After attending the Council's meeting on October 8, 2013 and then reading the minutes concerning the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, I believe that there has been incomplete information provided to the Council members regarding the permissibility of cabins. While the general heading in Zoning Ordinance Chapter 115-172 H of the Code of Sussex County does read as stated in your minutes, “Parks and campgrounds for mobile campers, tents, camp trailers, touring vans and the like”, cabins are omitted in paragraph 115-172 H(9), which states:
“With the exception of structures mentioned in Subsection H(8) above, there shall be no other structure or manufactured home located on and campsite within a campground. All units to be used for the purpose of human habitation shall be tents, travel trailers, recreational vehicles and equipment manufactured specifically for camping purposes. For the purpose of a resident and/or office for the park manager, there may be one structure or manufactured home within the campground area”.
This fact was originally covered in the testimony of Mary Schrider-Fox, ESQ. at the Council’s February 19, 2013, meeting. If you research manufacturers of cabins or the new title “park models”, they are produced by manufactured home companies. Cabins are not equipment manufactured specifically for camping purposes but a change in name only. Just because it is called a cabin doesn’t change what it really is. Peel back the exterior imitation log covering and it is a manufactured home. In Chapter 71-6 (Definitions and Word Usage) under paragraph B, there is no definition for a cabin though, in fact, it structurally resembles a single-family dwelling or manufactured home. And as stated above, there can only be one (1) structure or manufactured home within a campground. Therefore, a cabin is a structure (single-family dwelling or manufactured home) of which only one is permitted in a campground for the purpose of a residence and/or office for the park manager.
To say that cabins are permitted is not the same question as, whether they meet the Sussex County Code. Yes, cabins are currently available in several campgrounds in which the cabins make up 1% - 4% of the total number of sites, but the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground has 82 units or 13% of their sites earmarked for cabins, which would be considered high-density development. As it usually happens, when something starts out small and is not checked, it will grow over time until it is too late to stop. Therefore, the citizens of Sussex County urger you to either change the Code or enforce what is written. Furthermore, the existence of 82 cabins is in effect the equivalent of a small motel—which is also prohibited on the property according to the zoning ordinance. Clearly, one cabin is inconsistent with the code but a large group of 82 cabins is completely inappropriate—and illegal.
This is one of many issues that I have with the proposed RV Park and Campground adjacent to Love Creek, I ask that you consider this and all the other reasons citing problems with the development vote NO to the zoning request to allow construction of the project.
Thank you for your attention,
July 29, 2013
The Honorable Ms. Joan R. Deaver
Sussex County Council
2 The Circle, P.O. Box 589
Georgetown, DE 19947
We would like to express our concern and opposition, as already registered by many other concerned local voters and taxpayers, to the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground proposed by developer Jack Lingo Asset Management to be located at the intersection of Ward Road and Cedar Grove Road in Lewes.
Although the following has been said before we feel it bears repeating: The Sussex County Council and Planning and Zoning members should consider the following when making their decision on this proposal:
Housing delivers millions more (realty transfer taxes) in revenues to the county versus zero dollars from RVsites. Sixteen million dollars is expected in FY 2014, 61% of General Fund revenues are derived from realty transfer tax and property tax.
The final Traffic Impact Study (TIS) for this project raises more questions than it answered. It has been noted that all other RV sites in Sussex County have easy and direct access entry to their sites, not requiring multiple small country roads that must be used to access the park, unlike the proposed Love Creek site.
This RV mini-city will potentially draw up to 3,000 visitors from spring to the fall of the year and would place increased demands on fire, police, EMS, utilities and other civic services. Will there be a need to increase staffing for these services and who will pay for it?
The unique and sensitive environmental nature of Love Creek will be lost if the RV site is approved at this location. DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara states that DNREC “strongly believes that the site is worthy of permanent protection.”
As local homeowners and taxpayers we ask you to vote against amending the Comprehensive Zoning Map (C/Z#17825) and against granting a Conditional Use of Land for an RV Campground (C/U#1951) as requested by Jack Lingo Asset Management for the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground
Thank you for you consideration,
Carol and Thomas Galish