With time before the County Council votes you may want to consider writing a letter to the editor yourself. If you need assistance with the process contact Greg and Terri Kordal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerns mount over Love Creek RV park
The following letter was sent to members of Sussex County Council with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
We wish you and your family a wonderful and joyous holiday season.
Please hear our concerns regarding the proposed RV park at Love Creek that piggyback heretofore well-researched information that demonstrates the many problems this wonderful area will incur.
After reviewing our below chronicled concerns, we urge you to vote no on this proposal and any similar ones that will denigrate our special community.
Area residents - your taxpayers - bought homes with the understanding that there may be future development on agricultural lands, but the expectations were clearly for homes - not a dense RV Park of 628 sites with cabins that threaten their property values. A commercial enterprise with this density is not in character with the area.
Traffic congestion on routes 1 and 24 and along Postal Lane and Plantation Road is getting worse, not better, and an influx of 500plus large RVs on check in days will compound an already serious situation. Think too of the safety of children, pedestrians and cyclists who travel these roads Traffic is a quality-of-life issue, but traffic congestion and large RVs raise the bar to create safety and health concerns. Response times for emergency vehicles and volunteer firemen are bound to suffer.
The area’s infrastructure, like hospitals, is already stressed and residents at times are waiting for beds. A large influx of up to 2,500 temporary residents would add to the demand and be difficult to meet.
Love Creek is already impaired from nutrients (nitrogen) and bacteria. The large number of RV pads, cabins, roads and parking lots will increase the impervious surfaces, result in massive deforestation, and likely impair Love Creek further from runoff.
The EPA currently lists Love Creek as impaired; for high nutrients (nitrogen) and bacteria! The large number of RV pads, cabins, roads and parking lots proposed for the resort will cause massive deforestation and increased imperious surfaces. These factors combined with extensive development within the 100-year floodplain will unavoidably increase pollution into both the creek and the unconfined aquifer, Sussex’s main source of drinking water which flows within a few feet of the surface. Former DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara stated that DNREC “strongly believes that the site is worthy of permanent protection.” The RV resort is really just a parking lot with landscaping.
There are already approved developments totaling over 1,450 lots in the general area of the project and the infrastructure today cannot handle this type of growth as well as an RV Park.
Such a development, in addition to already approved area development, would also negatively impact the environment, coastal waterways and endangered species. Furthermore, it would overburden public services and public utilities.
Financial burden to taxpayers - the RV campground provides no transfer tax income to the county - unlike residential homes, resulting in estimated $9 million lost revenue over 20 years for a residential development of comparable size. It will be a burden to Sussex County taxpayers to support infrastructure needs (police, emergency response, hospitals, etc.) for up to 2,500 nonresidents.
We don’t want to prevent sensible land development. Residents are in favor of planned, sustainable growth. Let’s coexist in this beautiful and great county.
Cornelius and Patricia Sullivan
Sussex council implored to vote no on RVs
The following letter was sent to Sussex County Council with a copy submitted to he Cape Gazette for publication.
My wife and I have been coming to the Lewes area for over 40 years. We now reside here, in the Retreat at Love Creek community and feel we may bring a unique perspective regarding the area.
We have seen quite a bit of development, both good and bad, over all these years.
This coastal area is very environmentally sensitive simply due to its location. When we first heard of the proposed RV park being developed we could not understand why or how that could possibly happen.
The stress on the infrastructure would be huge considering all the development which has already been planned, such as the Coastal Club of 630 homes, Creek Landing of 213 homes, a new elementary school, and a new police barracks, just to name a few.
There would be no transfer tax. The impact on the police department, medical staffing and hospitals would all be strained with 2,500 new non-residents.
The environmental impact goes without saying. Former DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara stated that he “strongly believes that the site is worthy of permanent protection.”
We live in low-density housing and in a community that was very well planned, with little impact on the environment or the infrastructure. Please don’t misunderstand, we are not against development, but we are in favor of well-thought-out development.
I am sure you ran for the position on the council because you wanted to protect and enhance our communities. What other reason could you possibly have for serving?
Future generations will be impacted by your vote on RV City. Please make the right decision! Please send a message that you want to protect this beautiful area for future generations.
We are proud to be Delawareans, as I am sure you are. Make me proud of my government and vote no on RV City.
Tom and Linda Evans
Retreat at Love Creek
Don't threaten our quality of life
The Nov. 14 Cape Gazette editorial addressed the issue of pollution of our waters caused by stormwater runoff. DNREC closed the shellfish beds at the mouth of Love Creek in May of 2013, and they are still closed. The proposed 628 RV sites for the RV Resort and Campground, with its impervious surfaces on the roads and pads, will only increase the stormwater runoff and pollution of Love Creek.
Delaware’s Inland Bays Foundation needs the council to take a proactive role in voting down the RV park to protect our waters. We thank the Cape Gazette for drawing attention to one issue with the proposed RV project on Love Creek, but there are many other issues that remain.
So far the council has approved nine developments that are not yet built. These will add 1,450 homesites that will create more stress to an already stressed infrastructure like hospitals, emergency vehicles and volunteer firemen.
Add these homesites with residents and additional traffic to the current impossible summer traffic, and the outcome will be even worse when all these developments are built. Homeowners will use Kendale, Robinsonville, and Cedar Grove roads to bypass Beaver Dam and Plantation Road. These narrow country roads were not built to handle this volume of traffic, and certainly not all the large RVs that will be using the same roads.
A new elementary school will be built on the same parcel of land, and parents will be concerned about the impact of the high level of traffic on the safety of their children.
As area residents, we are not opposed to reasonable building in Sussex County. But the comprehensive plan called for singlefamily homes, not a sprawling 628-site RV park.
County revenues are estimated to be $9 million lower over 20 years with an RV park than if homes were built. And this figure doesn’t include lost revenue by full-time homeowners who would otherwise spend at area businesses.
We urgently need a county planner to oversee the growth of our beautiful towns to ensure that our quality of life is not lost.
We ask the council to vote no on the RV city issue and keep our neighborhoods safe.
Dennis and Mary Fisher
Love Creek a sensitive ecological area
We feel that one small way Sussex County can help reduce pollutants and negative effects on our creeks, streams, ponds and bays is to prohibit harmful development within the environs that bound these areas.
In light of Gov. Markell’s Clean Water Initiative why, in all good conscience, would Sussex County Council consider approval of a project the scope of the Lingo Townsend RV City rezoning within a very sensitive ecological area? A project that would contribute to a problem that, according to Gov. Markell, poses an environmental and economic liability to a cash-strapped state budget and has the potential to add to the tax burden of all state residents in an admittedly stressed state economy.
County Councilman Sam Wilson, on many occasions, has stated his opposition to spending taxpayer dollars in a wasteful manner. In this we all agree. We submit that denying the Lingo Townsend plan along Love Creek will save taxpayer dollars by not adding to the pollution issues outlined by Gov. Markell.
County Councilman Vance Phillips stated that he was in opposition to the Social Security Office being relocated to Lewes due to the burden his constituents have navigating Route 1 and the eastern section of the county. A lot of ink has been used to discuss Route 1 problems. How does adding a large amount of additional oversized RVs to these roads ease the concerns of Councilman Phillips’ constituents - not to mention the burden to the DelDOT budget for road improvements.
One would hope that the delay in the decision by county council is to enable county council time to evaluate Gov. Markell’s initiative. We urge the Sussex County Council to vote in opposition to the Lingo Townsend RV City project to preclude additional pollution to our streams and rivers, further economic stress on taxpayers and the burden of oversized vehicles on under-designed roads on the “Gold Coast” of Sussex County. Let there be a decision by county council that makes sense environmentally and economically for all of Sussex County.
Linda and Jim Taylor
RV City a formula for failure
The following letter was sent to members of Sussex County Council with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
As elected officials, it is critical that you be responsive to the wishes and concerns of your constituents.
We are the HOA board of directors for Hart’s Landing on Route 24, and represent 143 homeowners. Our homeowners voted at our annual meeting last week to have us, the HOA board of directors, compose a letter to you on their behalf in opposition to the proposed RV campground at Love Creek. While we may not have the expertise to address all infrastructure issues relating to waste and water, we can certainly speak to the issues of transportation, emergency services, and health services in our area.
Here are the facts as we understand them, and our concerns: Fact: RV City will be a sprawling development with 162 acres and 628 sites including RV pads, cabins and tents. The amenities include a clubhouse, pavilion, dock, amphitheater, pool, general store, laundry center and more.
Concern: Quality of Life - The project positions the RV city in the middle of a suburban area, and promises to destroy the quiet lifestyle that drew so many of those residents to Sussex County. The residents from many communities have spoken out against the project, including: The Retreat at Love Creek, Sandy Brae, Hart’s Landing, Briarwood Estates, Webb’s Landing, Plantations East, Bayfront and Ward Road. There have been numerous letters written to the Cape Gazette, and a petition signed by over a thousand residents expressing their concerns.
Fact: Current approved development in the area - new elementary school, Coastal Club (630 homes), Winswept (81), Love Creek Landing (213), LC Homes -Cedar Grove (25), etc.
Concern: Infrastructure Stress - These approved developments will put increasing stress on the area’s infrastructure, traffic congestion and residents’ safety. It already takes a considerable amount of time to leave our development and cross the road, not only in summer, but also early mornings and late afternoon during the week throughout the year. A number of residents have been forced to drive west on Route 24, and make a U-turn, to drive east.
Just today, an article on the WBOC 16 website titled “Fatal Route 24 pedestrian accident ignites safety concerns.” Here are two quotes from that article: “The Office of Highway Safety did not have 2014 numbers on the amount of accidents, but tell WBOC there were 158 accidents between Route One and Camp Arrowhead Road between 2011 and 2013.”
“The Delaware Department of Transportation told WBOC that this intersection, along with many others on Route 24, is considered an area that needs safety improvements.”
Several of our homeowners have had accidents leaving our community trying to avoid cars travelling in excess of 50 mph. The traffic study paid for by the developer had significant flaws, and did not have a comprehensive review of area growth. A traffic study needs to be done to include weekends, morning and afternoon rush not only in winter, but in the summer when the population grows significantly and when the RV site would get most usage. In addition it must include a study of the roads coming into the area from all directions. Route 24 is heavily trafficked, and yet Route 1 was the major focus of the study which was done. Adding RV City and all the large vehicles and traffic from the 628 sites to our area will make traffic a nightmare for our residents and all the surrounding communities.
Concern: Emergency responsiveness - While increased traffic is a quality-of-life issue, it is also certainly a safety concern for residents in their own homes. Emergency responsiveness is impacted by the heavy traffic. We have already had two houses totally destroyed by fire, yet we are within two to three miles of two fire departments.
Fact: The RV campground provides no transfer tax income to the county.
Concern: Financial - A development of perhaps 200-300 residential homes would result in increased revenue to support Sussex County infrastructure needs (roads, police, emergency response, hospitals, education, etc.) Fact: The EPA currently lists Love Creek as “impaired” for high nutrients (nitrogen) and bacteria!
Concern: Environmental Impact - The large number of RV pads, cabins, roads and parking lots proposed for the resort will cause deforestation and increase impervious surfaces which will increase pollution into both the creek and the unconfined aquifer, Sussex’s main source of drinking water which flows within a few feet of the surface. Former DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara stated that DNREC “strongly believes that the site is worthy of permanent protection.”
Fact: The Planning & Zoning commissioners dismissed all public testimony as remarks from “non-credentialed” individuals and unworthy of consideration.
Concern: Dismissal of Constituent Concerns: -This is incredulous and disrespectful to all residents.
Our most critical concern is that the county, particularly the high-density eastern side of Sussex County, has no comprehensive plan. Rather than be proactive and take a broader study view of our future, decisions are made reactively on a project-byproject basis. Based on the above reasons the board of directors of Hart’s Landing urges you to vote against the proposed campground.
A vote for the campground is a formula for failure.
Hart’s Landing Homeowners Association
RV park could ruin the environment
We applaud the Cape Gazette for highlighting the problem of bacterial contamination in the Inland Bays in its editorial of Nov. 15. It is indeed a serious concern with implications for public health, tourism and how we choose to regulate land development. We were alerted to the issue when DNREC closed shellfish beds at the mouth of Love Creek in May of 2013.
These beds remain closed. In a letter to the Cape Gazette published Feb. 28, we documented that bacterial contamination in Love Creek has worsened significantly over time and pointed out that a proposed RV park on Love Creek will plausibly exacerbate the problem while simultaneously risking the health of its guests and area residents.
Meanwhile, bacterial contamination in Love Creek continued unabated in 2014 with levels significantly above the EPA-recommended standard at multiple sites along the creek and its tributaries. In fact, total enterococcus values in Hetty Fisher Glade, which forms the eastern boundary of the proposed RV park, were 30-fold higher than the EPA standard!
The Cape Gazette editorial suggested stricter regulations on development and increased taxes as means to control the bacteria problem. The proposed RV park exemplifies many practices that should be regulated now to avoid increasing taxes for all citizens in the future.
For example, 628 RVs and cabins will require an extensive network of roads, RV pads and parking lots that will be paved to prevent large (30,000 pound) RVs from sinking into weak, sandy loam soils underlaid by a high water table.
This massive increase in impervious surfaces coupled with largescale deforestation and minimal forested buffer zones along Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade will unavoidably contribute to increased runoff into groundwater and adjacent surface waters.
Even worse, up to 15 percent of the RV sites are targeted for season-long rentals in the 100 year flood plain, some within two to four feet of mean water. While it is legal to park “roadready” RVs within the flood plain, who will disconnect the sewer hookups and move the vehicles if low-lying areas are flooded by another super-storm or even run-of- the-mill nor’easters?
As professional scientists with doctorates in biology and microbiology, we call on the elected representatives of Sussex County to address these issues now before the problems become larger and even more expensive to control. As a first step, we recommend denying the zoning changes that would permit the RV park to proceed.
Steve and Judy Britz
Retreat residents oppose RV City
The following letter was sent to Sussex County Councilman Michael H. Vincent with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
On behalf of our community’s 300-plus residents, The Retreat at Love Creek HOA Board of Directors is writing to express our opposition to the proposed RV Resort and Campground that borders Love Creek off Cedar Grove Road in Lewes. The Retreat, a development of 161 homes, was established in 2006 and is located at the corner of Cedar Grove and Robinsonville roads. Demographically, over 75 percent of our residents are full-timers consisting of both seniors and families.
Our residents have been steadfast in their opposition to the RV park (commonly called RV City) since we first heard details of the project in December 2012. We have joined with other communities and voiced our opposition by signing petitions, writing letters to Sussex County Council and Cape Gazette, providing testimony and attending all the relevant public hearings and meetings.
Nearly two years later, hardly a week goes by without a Lewes resident asking about the status of the undesirable development and what else can be done to convince our elected officials that this RV City does not make sense nor fit in with the surrounding residential area.
Already, our fact-based arguments are part of the record. But here’s a sampling of the reasons for denial that are most often mentioned by our residents: Area residents - your taxpayers - bought homes with the understanding that there may be future development on agricultural lands, but the expectations were clearly for homes - not a dense RV park of 628 sites with cabins that threaten their property values. A commercial enterprise with this density is not in character with the area.
Traffic congestion on routes 1 and 24 and along Postal Lane and Plantation Road is getting worse, worse, not better, and an influx of 500-plus large RVs on check-in days will compound an already serious situation.
Traffic is a quality-of-life issue, but traffic congestion and large RVs raise the bar to create safety and health concerns. Response times for emergency vehicles and volunteer firemen are bound to suffer.
The area’s infrastructure, like hospitals, is already stressed and residents at times are waiting for beds. A large influx of up to 2,500 temporary residents would add to the demand - and it would be difficult to meet.
Love Creek is already impaired from nutrients (nitrogen) and bacteria. The large number of RV pads, cabins, roads and parking lots will increase the impervious surfaces, result in massive deforestation, and likely impair Love Creek further from runoff.
There are already approved developments totaling over 1,450 lots in the general area of the project, and the infrastructure today cannot handle this type of growth as well as an RV Park.
Parents are concerned about the danger of large vehicles and the safety of their children during school season as the park will be open from April through November. The fact that a new school will be added on the same parcel of land augments the risk.
County revenues will be lower with an RV park than if permanent homes were built.
In summary, for the reasons noted above and others, on behalf of the Retreat of Love Creek residents, the board of directors unanimously opposes the RV Resort and Campground, and requests that you vote no on the issue.
William C. Baydalla
president of the HOA Board
The Retreat at Love Creek
Development will lead to higher taxes
I read with interest the Ron MacArthur article with the comments of Councilman Sam Wilson concerning Councilman Cole’s recommendation that the county perform a “carrying capacity study.” It also amazed me that Councilman Wilson has complained about the county and the state attracting people to live in Sussex County.
Doesn’t the councilman understand that every time he votes “yes” for another development without consideration for the infrastructure that he is the problem himself?
Wilson also said that the state needs to begin spending money on the roads. I guess that means the state is going to start taxing me more to get this money to build the roads. Wonder whether it will be in the form of a gas tax or just raising my state taxes.
Something is wrong here. The county keeps the taxes low because their budget is basically based on development. They get a chunk of the transfer tax on every property sold or built and sold. That is why our taxes are so low.
However, they do not require developers to pay impact fees to contribute majorly to other infrastructure needs including major road expansions. Who is eventually going to pay for this? Me and you!
Also, I invite him to bring his car and farm equipment over to where I live in Sandy Brae off Plantation Road and try to drive where I have to drive. This will be especially interesting if he votes to approve over 600 RV sites around the corner from where I live. He has already voted for over 1,400 yet unbuilt houses within this same area.
Oh, did I mention the county will not get any transfer taxes on these RV sites? Oh well, there go my taxes again.
Sandy Brae Development
Sussex bound by plan to deny RV City
I am writing regarding my opposition to the proposed plans for the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, requiring rezoning and conditional-use approvals to allow for an RV resort and campground to be located south of Ward Road near Cedar Grove Road in Sussex County. Growth shall be appropriate and the surrounding development must be considered.
As evidenced by the stream of letters to the Cape Gazette and the number of attendees at the meetings of the Sussex County Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground will totally stress an already stressed infrastructure.
This infrastructure cannot withstand the abuse and ultimately will devalue the nearby residential properties.
Attendees from the communities of The Retreat at Love Creek, Hart’s Landing, Sandy Brae, Briarwood, Webb’s Landing, Plantations East, Bayfront, and Ward Road have spoken about the ill regard for the environment, traffic congestion, deforestation, and increased impervious surfaces.
Since the meetings held two years ago, additional development has been approved in the area; namely, a new elementary school on Route 24, Coastal Club (630 homes), Winswept (81 homes), Love Creek Landing (213 homes), and LC Homes at Cedar Grove (25). Guidance for decision-making by the Sussex County Council is outlined in the Sussex Comprehensive Plan updated August 2013.
It identifies that a significant portion of this property is located in an area slated for mixed residential use with an Environmentally Sensitive developing overlay. Rezoning of this property is in direct conflict with the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan, specifically, there is no exception for downzonings to a less intense designation for the purpose of trying to obtain a conditional use.
Second, the designation of an Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area as a growth area requires consideration of the implications by council members. Intended use does matter. Allowing any type of growth undermines the integrity of the entire zoning process and regulations.
Finally, the plan states that if the rezoning decision does not correspond with the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, then it must be denied.
The projected overdevelopment in the areas along routes 1 and 24 must be addressed by the council members now since the Comprehensive Plan among other things serves as the standard for how development will proceed and how land use will be governed over the course of the next five years.
Such plans are used by local governments to not only establish land-use policies and identify growth areas, but also to give consideration to various other community concerns, such as affordable housing availability, agriculture preservation, open space protection, historic preservation, economic development and transportation mobility (reference: Sussex County Comprehensive Plan website). It is time for the county council to stop and evaluate the direction of development in the county.
The framework of the plan is not upheld if the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground is approved. The county council is bound by the plan and legally must uphold its tenets for the benefit of everyone. Therefore, there is no choice - the vote cast by every county council member shall be no.
More reasons to vote down RV City
I am closing on my new home in Beachwood the end of this month. As I plan my transition to the beach from my Pennsylvania home, I am concerned about the potential development of RV City. The property that I chose to invest in is my perfect paradise. It is wooded, secluded, on a no-outlet low traffic road, private and quiet. The name of the development says is all - Beachwood -close to the beach but the tranquility of living in a rural wooded area. I would like to stress, that I will be living there - not just a weekend warrior passing through the area in an RV.
The plan/ location for RV City is poorly thought-out and just not a good fit for that area. Here are the areas of concern that I see. I will elaborate on each.
• Local Roads / traffic/ infrastructure : In order to access the planned RV City, there are limited options with regard to available roads. From the north, the most direct route from Route 1 is to work your way through that horrible intersection near Lowe's where Beaver Dam, Route 9, Route 1 and Plantation all come together. Maneuvering through that area in a car is never fu;, can you imagine having 600-plus travel trailers/ RVs that may be 20-35 feet long working their way through that nightmare and how it will impact overall traffic?Granted, the RVs could continue down Route 1 and turn onto Route 24 or cut over to Plantation Road by using one of the smaller cut-over roads; but if they don’t pick the correct turn where there is a light, and think they will easily be able to make a left on to Plantation - there will be some major traffic issues! A 30-foot RV trying to pull on Route 24 is already extremely overloaded. Enticing 600-plus RVs will make Route 24 impossible! I know area developers think t be solved by adding lights or changing road designs; but who pays for that? Not the guy driving the RV!
Road Danger/ community impact: Another issue regarding the roads is a major safety issue. Robinsonville, Cedar Grove and Mulberry Knoll are the three roads that these RVs would have to use in order to access RV City. These roads are all very narrow with a minimal shoulder . As an avid cyclist that enjoys riding the back roads in that area; the thought of these RVs flying along next to me where I only have a three-inch shoulder to ride is frightening! Many drivers, cars included, don’t know how to properly yield to cyclists. Vehicles that consume the entire lane are going to create a significant danger for anyone on a bike or even trying to walk along those roads.
At the moment, not many people typically do walk those roads; however – have the developers of RV City given any thought to the impact of the new school that is planned off Mulberry Knoll? Where ever there is a school, you will definitely have more children on bikes or walking. This is a huge concern. Granted, schools are closed in the summer which is when the highest RV traffic will occur; however, as a camper myself, the best time to camp is in the spring and the fall; especially for those that do not have school aged children. Once again, developers can say that the roads can all be widened; but who pays for that? Regarding the intended location of the RV City entrance, that area near Ward Road is right where there is a very sharp blind curve; once again creating additional dangers. A large RV or travel trailer cannot make a quick turn; so as cars come around that blind curve, there is an added risk.
Impact on Love Creek: This is actually what concerns me personally that most. Love Creek is the most perfect tranquil place. For homeowners or the occasional kayaker that finds their way on Love Creek, it is absolutely beautiful and peaceful. As a kayaker, it is peaceful because you rarely see anyone else out there- it’s a hidden secret that enticed many homeowners to invest in that area. It is also a wild life preserve with blue heron; American Bald Eagles; and a large variety of other unique birds. The more people that trespass on their (the birds) land, there is more of a chance they will be driven out. Seeing the Eagles out there is amazing, and I would hate to have the added, potentially disrespectful, humans drive them away.
Obviously if RV City has water access, there will be many more kayakers and boaters out there. This will take away the tranquility of the creek and most likely add to the pollution of the area. The creek itself is not ideal for boating because it is very shallow. If boaters are not familiar with the tides in the creek, they will most likely bottom out and get stuck. That in of itself adds the risk of environmental concerns if motors are damaged significantly causing oil or gas leaks. Seasoned locals understand the waterway; the occasional visitor will not! Once again, who is impacted by these long term affects? The environment, wildlife and local home owners pay that price.
Impact on home owners : As noted throughout this letter, the locals/ homeowners will be impacted by RV City. Traffic will be a nightmare, worse than it already is. Roads will become dangerous. Roads will endure added wear and tear with such large vehicles traveling along them. The noise level along Love’s Creek will increase. Noise along any tranquil waterway carries, so homeowners with waterfront property will be impacted! The addition of visitors along the creek will also take away from the privacy these homeowners currently enjoy. There is no need for a waterfront bar--there are enough of those venues in the area that are located away from residential properties. Loud music with a touch of alcohol late into the night will destroy the tranquility for sure!
Conclusion: There is no need for RV City in this area. I hope you will see that with what I have described and make the most logical decision to vote down the development of RV City.
Thank you for the time you took to read my letter. And thank you in advance for making the RIGHT decision to protect the environment and the local homeowners! Just say no to RV City.
Sussex council needs to be accountable
It’s difficult to understand Sussex County Council’s continued deaf ears to area residents presenting well researched data uncovering many problems with the proposed RV Park at Love Creek:
• Environmental issues - negative impact on coastal waterways and endangered species
• Traffic safety hazards
• Land use and structural inconsistencies with existing surrounding developments
• Noise pollution
• Overtaxing of public utilities, namely water supply and waste removal
• Lower tax revenues to Sussex County unless land remains residential and single-family homes built instead of RV Park
• Additional development on land contiguous with or in close proximity to proposed RV site which have serious traffic and safety implications - new elementary school, new state trooper building, new Cedar Grove housing development
• Rejection of state offer to conduct new traffic study taking new land developments into consideration (no cost to Sussex County).
It’s time for equality on the Sussex County Council. Council members need to listen to area residents and take our concerns and well-studied issues into their decision making process, as well as address the objectives of business and real estate developers.
We don’t want to prevent sensible land development.
Residents are in favor of planned, sustainable growth. Let’s coexist in this beautiful and great county. I urge council members to vote no on the RV City proposal.
I urge the current council to defer the vote until new council member Rob Arlett has the opportunity to evaluate RV City and make an intelligent, honest decision. He promised to listen to area residents in his campaign run, underscoring his objectivity and honesty in speeches.
The council needs to be accountable to residents, not just business interests. It’s time for responsible decisions for the good of the community as a whole.
resident at The Retreat at Love Creek
Traffic problems a major RV City concern
The following letter was sent to each of the Sussex County Council members with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
My wife and I are writing you to express our continued opposition to the RV Campground at Love Creek (RV City). It has been well over a year since this application was before Sussex County Council where the citizens made many valid arguments against this ill-conceived proposal. I want to highlight our major concerns.
The proposal for RV City is for 628 living sites. This proposed area is surrounded by the residential communities of Webbs Landing, The Retreat at Love Creek, Briarwood, homes on Ward Road, and Hart’s Landing where I live. The combined number of homes in these five communities are less than all the living sites at RV City, and the density of spaces in RV City is more than double the density of these surrounding communities.
Recently the council voted to reduce the density of the Winswept Stables application to better fit in with the surrounding communities. The demographics of the overall area continues to reflect growing home ownership with new developments both under construction and/or planned. The RV Resort and Campground and its density just do not fit in an area populated with current and future residential communities.
Traffic and traffic safety were highlighted at both the planning and zoning and the county council meetings on RV City.
Traffic has only gotten worse in the last year and a half. Routes 1, 9 and 24 all have major congestion that affects emergency vehicles servicing the citizens of Lewes and Rehoboth. Traffic congestion is most definitely a quality of life issue, but severe traffic congestion is a major safety issue.
The access roads to RV City such as Cedar Grove, Robinsville Road, Mulberry Knoll Road, Postal Lane, and Plantation Road are not built to handle the increased traffic of RVs. In addition there are many new announced developments such as the new school, new police barracks, new homes on Cedar Grove, Winswept Stables and Coastal Club. These will only increase traffic and safety risks.
I occasionally visit my brotherin- law, who lives in Berlin, Md., on Saturdays in the summertime.
Turning from Route 24 onto Route 113 south, I see bumper-tobumper northbound traffic from 24 back to Frankford and this traffic is filled with RVs coming from Castaways RV Park. I can just visualize how congested the traffic will be on routes 1, 9 and 24 with the potential of 500 RVs checking in or out on any given weekend.
Lastly, and equally importantly is the effect on the environment.
The EPA currently lists Love Creek as impaired with high levels of bacteria such that shellfishing was stopped. In addition, the rise in sea level is becoming a growing concern and RV City has a portion in the 100 year floodplain. Development on this site will only increase the risk of pollution into Love Creek and the aquifer, but may also be catastrophic with a major storm.
For the above reasons and others I am asking you to vote no when the RV Park at Love Creek comes up for a vote.
Protect our homes - vote no on RV City
With the Sussex County Council set to vote on the proposed RV City - otherwise known as the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground - I thought it important to remind our elected representatives why so many people are opposed to the mammoth development.
The project, which calls for building 628 sites for RVs, cabins and campers, would bring an estimated 2,500 people and hundreds of oversized vehicles to a bucolic area now filled with farms and residential homes. With its proposed 80 cabins, amphitheater and dock for canoeing up shallow Love Creek, the sprawling city is wholly out of character with the area’s residential lifestyle that first attracted families and retirees to Sussex County.
Our country roads - curvy, two-lane ribbons lacking shoulders - aren’t built for an invasion of wide RVs, which will inevitably create traffic accidents and congestion on already crowded roads. And the planned location is surrounded by sensitive wetlands, an aquifer and porous soil - all threatened by an environmental stew of pollution and runoff from the development.
Other than profits for a single business interest, the project makes no financial sense for the county, as one financial expert testified at hearings before Sussex County Council and Sussex Planning and Zoning Commission.
In the two years since Lingo/ Townsend first announced the project, a number of events have made a bad idea only worse. Our roads have become even more clogged and dangerous, especially for emergency vehicles trying to reach the victims of fires and accidents. More newcomers have purchased homes in the land surrounding the proposed city - putting their property values and quality of life at risk - and other developments are in the works. And community opposition to the development has remained strong: More than 1,200 citizens signed petitions opposing the project - about 45 percent the total population of Lewes.
Residents from seven subdivisions containing more than 1,100 homes even formed an organization, the Stop RV City Coalition, to express their opposition to the project.
Today, many of my neighbors and I believe that the county is at a tipping point, that it could take just one more development like the RV City to destroy the enviable lifestyle we have in Sussex County. So I urge members of the county council to consider the overwhelming evidence above and presented into the record, listen to the united opposition from your constituents and exercise your wisdom to protect our community for the good of all.
Please vote against C/Z #1725 and C/U #1925 and stop the RV City sprawl before it happens.
Michael J. Weiss
RV City: Tipping point for land use decisions
The voters have spoken across America and also in Sussex County. They want government to get things done. It is time for Sussex County Council to listen to constituents and make decisions that work in the best interests of the citizens. No better example than the RV City zoning changes project that still looms as a tipping point for land use decisions in our region.
It is possible that Sussex County Council will place the Love Creek RV campground project on the agenda in December of this year. This project was introduced at Sussex Planning & Zoning in January 2013, and records were closed by council in June 2013. There has been no official action for 18 months. However, much has occurred in the area surrounding the campground site that makes approval of the zoning for the campground even more questionable today.
Many of the issues the opposition presented at the public hearings back in early 2013 have become even greater concerns today, including:
Stress on Infrastructure/Traffic/Safety: Current and approved development in the area – new elementary school, Troop 7 headquarters, Coastal Club (630 homes), Winswept (81), Love Creek Landing (213), LC Homes Cedar Grove (25), etc. – will put increasing stress on the area’s infrastructure, traffic congestion and residents’ safety.
Environmental impact - The EPA currently lists Love Creek as "impaired" for high nutrients (nitrogen) and bacteria! The large number of RV pads, cabins, roads and parking lots proposed for the resort will cause massive deforestation and increased impervious surfaces. Remember - former DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara stated (in the public record) that DNREC “strongly believes that the site is worthy of permanent protection.”
What could be the reasons council has delayed the vote for this extended period?
They have heard the opposition voices: representation at the council meeting, 1,245 petition signatures, nearly 100 letters to the editor, rejection of Vance Phillips and Bob Wheatley (he voted in favor of the RV park as planning and zoning president) by voters, etc.
I believe the public hearing process is unfair to the opposition - possibly even illegal. That the P&Z characterization of opposition as "non-credentialed" was prejudicial.
The quality of life of residents does trump the economic gain of a landowner (who sold portion of same parcel for the new school for $1.75 million - after record closed on the campground).
DelDOT and the Traffic Impact Study (written by the developer's engineer on questionable statistics/assumptions from 2012 and prior) got it wrong. The conclusion that no traffic would enter from the west was terribly flawed. Traffic to the park will access narrow/winding roads that create safety issues. Possibly they drive on Cedar Grove Road to Robinsonville Road or down the full length of Postal Lane experiencing the narrow roads, no shoulders with residential housing along the way.
There must be an understanding that the RV campground pays no realty transfer tax and will be a burden on funding levels for infrastructure, paramedics, fire department, state police, etc.
I've listened to the constant theme in the media regarding council's need to properly address land-use decisions, traffic issues, need for certified county planner, etc., including the editorial in the Cape Gazette Nov. 7.
They became aware of DelDOT programs called Traffic Improvement District (TID) and Traffic Operational Analysis (TOA) which offers local governments opportunity for objective 20-year forward looking traffic study of specified area.
I urge Sussex County Council to vote no for the RV City zoning changes - listen to the people. Begin the process of real comprehensive planning that balances the quality of life of residents and rights of land owners. You have the opportunity to create positive change for our future.
Love Creek RV Park an ill-conceived idea
The following letter was sent to Sussex County Council with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
In the two years the debate has been raging about the proposed RV park off Cedar Grove Road, nothing has changed nor have any supportive facts been presented which would call for a different outcome from the opinions of the populus. Quite the contrary.
It was an ill-conceived idea from the outset and hundreds of people have presented lucid arguments which continue to support that position. What has changed, and will no doubt continue, is new construction projects have been approved by the P&Z commission members and supported by our elected representatives, which will only worsen the situation and the quality of life of county residents living and traveling through this several square mile tract of land.
At one of the council hearings, I presented a map which clearly showed approved residential developments around the site being proposed for the RV park. My sense is that it was not taken to heart by the council members, and probably never made it into the public record. So let me reiterate what I said over a year ago, and update it with the latest projects in the area.
For example, a new middle school will soon be constructed off Route 24 at Mulberry Knoll and right next to that a new Delaware State Police barracks. Construction has started on Cedar Grove Estates (49 homesites) and two additional developments along Cedar Grove have been approved (100 homesites). On Beaver Dam Road, still very much in this sweet spot, Coastal Club is well underway (600 lots) and many houses have already been built in Lewes Crossing.
On Robinsonville Road, Love Creek Landing has been approved (183 lots) and I note that a large tract of land has been sold right next to Webbs Landing Road (another 200 lots). And we all know the Winswept Acres site has been sold on Route 24 with an anticipated 81 lots within the planning horizon of the RV park. All told, there are around 1,450 homesites being planned in this neck of the Sussex County woods!
It just boggles my mind that there is even a question here in the minds of our council members as to what the right course of action is. For goodness sakes, help restore our faith in our elected county representatives by voting against this project.
Sandy Brae residents' lives in peril
The following letter was sent to Councilman Michael H. Vincent with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
Sandy Brae is one of the oldest developments in Sussex County, being approximately 48 years old and consisting of 264 homeowners on the corner of Postal Lane and Plantation Road. Our board of directors is opposed to the proposed RV park on Cedar Grove Road which is two lanes with no shoulders. Because we are one of the oldest communities our residents are more of an aged population and this will have a major impact on our quality of life.
The Sandy Brae development already experiences major problems during the tourist season, which gets longer every year. Postal Lane and Plantation Road constantly back up and drivers cut through Sandy Brae to avoid the intersection of Plantation Road, Postal Lane and Cedar Grove Road. This creates major safety hazards in our development, which has no sidewalks and our residents are walking their dogs when these cars come racing through our community.
They are frustrated because they have been sitting and driving in heavy traffic now for hours. The new light may ease this some, but when the light is red and traffic is backing up, they will cut through Sandy Brae. If we add 600 to 1,000 more cars and RVs to this intersection it will be bedlam and total gridlock!
The RV park will be operating from April to November, once again increasing the tourist season longer. Already during the tourist season, our residents cannot get out of our development. This used to occur mainly on Saturdays; however this past season it began on Thursday and Friday. It is getting worse every year and it will continue.
There are already over 1,450 lots approved by the Sussex County Council immediately around the proposed RV Park within a square mile and a half that have not yet begun to be developed. There will be 1,450 more homes and at least 1,450 more cars on our roads. Also, there is a new elementary school, a Delaware State Police barracks and another development, Winswept planned on Route 24. All the roads in and surrounding this proposed development are two lanes, and many of them do not even have shoulders. These roads include Plantation, Robinsonville, Mulberry Knoll, Cedar Grove, Postal Lane, and John J. Williams Highway.
If the RV park is approved it will be impossible to get someone who is having a heart attack in our development out on the congested roads to get to Beebe during the heavy tourist season. We are on the west side of Highway 1. We will have to be helicoptered out, and we pray that our residents would make it.
Sandy Brae Board of Directors
Will the people’s voices be heard?
With the news that the Love Creek RV Resort Park project is soon to be placed on the Sussex County Council agenda, it is time to reiterate how inappropriate this project is for this particular site.
In the period of nearly two years since this project was originally proposed, there have been significant changes approved in the immediate vicinity that now make this project more ill-suited than ever before.
Over this time period, the following additional projects have been planned or approved: A new 600-plus student elementary school located nearby an existing fully-enrolled middle school, a new development at Winswept Stables with 81 units, a Coastal Club development with nearly 630 homes, a LC Homes project at Love Creek with over 200 homes, a Cedar Grove development with 25 homes and a proposed new facility for the Delaware State Police. If you were to consider only these projects, the immediate increase in the traffic generated by that many additional residents, students, and police activity alone will more than cause gridlock on an already strained road infrastructure that will be unable to sustain that type of growth without major road additions and improvements.
Furthermore, if you were to add a 625-plus site RV resort, with oversized vehicles, many the size of a city bus, you’d be creating ongoing traffic paralysis for nearly half of the year as the proposed operating schedule of the RV park is purported to be from March to October. This time period will cause at least a four-month overlap of school and RV operations, during which both use the same heavily trafficked and narrow roads simultaneously. And as you know, the proposed RV site will be within two-and-a-half miles of both fully enrolled elementary and middle schools that will utilize buses and most likely, increase their number of walkers.
Besides the major traffic concerns, there are environmental issues, dangerous safety considerations, evacuation planning obstacles in the event of major storms, an increased need for public services, an existing overstrained sewer system that is nearing capacity, loss of potential revenue from transfer taxes plus the fact that this proposal will be situated in the middle of quiet residential communities that are obviously not compatible with this proposed land use.
To add more credence to the negative impact that this project will have on traffic and the environment, Councilman Sam Wilson said in a Nov. 7 story published in the Cape Gazette, that he wondered if Sussex County was already full and that “he is tired of trying to maneuver his car and farm equipment on clogged Sussex roads.” How might he react if an additional 600 plus RV vehicles started driving by his property as well?
Some of the country roads to get access to the Love Creek Park are as narrow and winding as his must be and are probably more heavily trafficked. How can he possibly vote yes with good conscience to this potential nightmare to the nearby residents when he himself is disgusted with his own traffic situation?
Additionally, in an interview aired on WBOC Nov. 17, Bob Wheatley, who is the chairman of the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commission, questioned why the vote on this project has taken so long. He inferred that it was “politics,” and the probable impact that it would have had on the elections. By that, he implied that there would have been negative consequences to the candidates if the vote had happened before the elections.
So in other words, he thinks that there was enough voter opposition to this project that the vote was postponed until after the election. That could mean that some might possibly be planning to ignore the wishes of the majority of the citizens that they supposedly represent. Remember, the issue being voted on is that the developer is applying for a zoning change in an area that had for many years been designated as AR-1.
Most of the nearby residents who settled in the surrounding communities relied on that fact and purchased their homes expecting a non-commercial environment. Thus, the council is voting on whether or not that change in land use is appropriate and it is not, based on all of the above mentioned issues.
Finally, we ask that the county council fully consider the facts of this project and recognize that if they vote yes, many of Sussex County residents and future visitors will be forced to continually regret that decision. Please vote no! It is time to finally put this issue to rest. Thank you.
Dan and Marie Ahearn
RV proposal highlights need for a plan
By Richard T. and Margaret E. Marino | Apr 25, 2014
The proposed Love Creek RV City project in Lewes has created a storm of protests from the surrounding communities. Communities that contain taxpaying citizens who take pride in their homes and surrounding communities and are very concerned about the impact of a massive 600+ RV development.
My wife and I moved into The Retreat at Love Creek in Nov 2012. It is a wonderful community of caring families who now see their lives seriously affected by the proposed RV City with the resulting increase in traffic and serious environmental impacts.
The developer wants the proposed RV City location to be re-zoned citing lack of RV locations in the Lewes area. Yet it has been established that there are over 4,000 currently available RV sites in the area.
The developer also wants to include besides the 600+ pads, a boat launch/ tiki bar/ cabins and kayak launch. These projects are in violation of County Code Article XXIV, chapter 115.172, section H.
The property could be developed with low density housing which would provide greater tax revenue to the county but less profit to the developer. The developer also paid for a traffic study that supported his claims but used incorrect statistical models to make their case. Please take the time and effort to examine this study carefully.
It is important for our community to have an approved plan for future growth and revenue but it should be done in a coordinated way. The local taxpaying citizens need to have their concerns heard and proper attention giving to them.
Richard T. and Margaret E. Marino
Listen to the people: No RV park
By Raymond & Andreina Crimmins | Mar 20, 2014
I applaud the recent editorial by the Cape Gazette, "Public officials must remember who they serve," which admonishes county planning officials for dismissing citizens who dare to take part in the land use process. As stated, this region continues to grow and the roads are becoming increasingly more congested and dangerous.
Comprehensive planning and zoning rules appear to be manipulated by officials in favor of developers’ wishes. Citizens’ inputs to the issues of this uncontrolled development are being rejected by officials - in an offensive manner. It is time our elected officials act as the tenants of our democracy - for the people!
Another recent example of the dismissive and pompous behavior of our officials was the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commission's explanation of their vote in favor of the Love Creek RV park project. They said the opposition was non-expert and non-credentialed in their testimony. Nothing could have been more offensive - as those citizens who testified described strong resumes in their areas of expertise.
P&Z sided, rather, with the developer’s paid “experts” - whose objectivity should have been strongly challenged. For example, P&Z asked the developer’s representative if this RV park would negatively affect local real estate sales activity and they answered no. This was accepted without any facts or statistics.
I urge the Cape Gazette editorial board to seriously reconsider their previous editorials regarding the Love Creek RV park project - where their position was a lukewarm OK for the developer. The high density RV park development - which is in close proximity to the Route 24 project (and the new elementary school) - will negatively impact this area in the same ways, and more. Traffic, environment, economic, safety, waste water and stress on infrastructure - these are just some of the issues that in other circumstances the Cape Gazette editorial board has condemned the perpetrators.
Sussex County Council will be voting on the RV park very soon - a new editorial specifically calling for a no vote would be consistent with your position on similar matters. Please revisit the Love Creek RV park matter - we (the people) all know this is the wrong place for an RV Park.
Raymond & Andreina Crimmins
There are alternatives to RV park
Mar 20, 2014
As you drive north on Route 1 past Dover, you enter the “Land of duPont,” as I call it. Northern Delaware is so lucky to have enjoyed the largesse of the duPont family with the museums, gardens, galleries, etc. What a legacy this family has provided to the residents of the area.
It would seem that the families of Townsend and Lingo might be willing to consider some ideas for southern Delaware, specifically the Lewes/Rehoboth area. Instead of using land for another RV park, wouldn’t it be nice to have a facility to use during the fall to early spring months when the beach is too cold to enjoy.
It seems from an informal observation of traffic in the area, there are more residents who are choosing to stay here during the winter months. But, other than charity balls, restaurant special nights, playing Trivial Pursuit at a bar/pub, and catching a movie, there doesn’t seem to be a thriving business which would keep residents interested in and active during the winter months.
Some ideas of establishments come to mind which could remain open throughout the year and provide a much needed outlet during the winter months. If you know the Washington, D.C. area, you’ve heard of the Torpedo Factory. Artists pay for studio space within the factory and tourists/customers can browse or purchase the art pieces being made within each studio. On the weekends, the Torpedo Factory’s central area is transformed into an entertainment area for balls and wedding receptions.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a visual and performing arts center on the land proposed for the RV park? Busloads of children and art students could visit the studios as part of an art class or have performances in the atrium. If the center were surrounded by a walking path with little waystations, painters, photographers, sculptors and other artists could take advantage of the beauty of the land and creek nearby.
If that doesn’t appeal, wouldn’t it be nice to have an indoor/outdoor pool available throughout the year. The schools could use it for swim team practice and people of all ages could enjoy the benefits of swimming or exercising in a pool, year round. Could you build an indoor sports complex where basketball and baseball could be played or practiced all year long? How about an indoor playground for children of all abilities with the floor being a rubberized material which is wheelchair friendly and/or prevents children from being seriously hurt if they fall.
There is an outdoor playground in McLean, Va. called Clemyjontri which was designed for special needs children but all children enjoy it (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/
Well, those are just some thoughts to ponder. Plenty of houses are being built and will continue to be built. Let’s shift our thinking a little from enjoying the beach and making this area one that can be enjoyed all year long. Instead of another RV park, could the developers come up with other ideas to keep residents thrilled to be living here all year long and add to the many advantages of living in this area?
Love Creek RV City could harm environment
By Linda and Jim Taylor | Mar 13, 2014
We have been following with interest the debate on the Clean Water Initiative proposed by Gov. Jack Markell and have read with concern the very informative and credentialed letter by Steve and Judy Britz (Cape Gazette Feb. 28).
We feel that one small way Sussex County can help reduce the pollutants and negative effects on our creeks, streams, ponds and bays is to prohibit harmful development within the environs that bound these areas.
In light of Gov. Markell's initiative why, in all good conscience, would Sussex County Council consider approval of a project the scope of the Lingo Townsend RV City rezoning within a very sensitive ecological area as outlined in the Britz letter. A project that would contribute to a problem that, according to Gov. Markell, poses an environmental and economic liability to a cash-strapped state budget and have the potential to add to the tax burden of all state residents in an admittedly stressed state economy.
County Councilman Sam Wilson, on many occasions, has stated his opposition to spending taxpayer dollars in a wasteful manner. In this we all agree. We submit that denying the Lingo/Townsend plan along Love Creek will save taxpayer dollars by not adding to the pollution issues outlined by Gov. Markell and the Britz research.
County Councilman Vance Phillips stated that he was in opposition to the Social Security office being relocated to Lewes due to the burden his constituents have by navigating Route 1 and the eastern section of the county. A lot of ink has been used to discuss Route 1 problems. How does adding a large amount of additional oversized RVs to these roads ease the concerns of Councilman Phillips' constituents, not to mention the burden to the DelDOT budget for road improvements.
One would hope that the delay in the decision by Sussex County Council is to enable county council time to evaluate Gov. Markell's initiative. We urge the Sussex County Council to vote in opposition to the Lingo/Townsend RV City project to preclude additional pollution to our streams and rivers, further economic stress on taxpayers and the burden of oversized vehicles on under-designed roads on the “Gold Coast” of Sussex County. Let there be a decision by county council that makes sense environmentally and economically for all of Sussex County.
Linda and Jim Taylor
Sussex must have comprehensive overview
By Mona Schwartz | Mar 14, 2014
Although I was unable to attend the Feb. 13 Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission meeting related to the rezoning of property in Sussex County, I wanted my concerns noted.
I am a resident of Harts Landing on Route 24 and consider myself a realist. When I purchased my home seven years ago, I recognized and fully expected that there would be growth and development in this very desirable location on the eastern shore of Sussex County. However, it was my hope and belief that the growth would take a logical course with consideration of the infrastructure needed to support that growth.
When one examines each of the individual requests for zoning changes before the committee for the areas between Route 24 and Route 1 and the Mulberry Knoll/ Cedar Grove and Ward Road areas, it may appear that each one may have merit. I believe the mistake, and potentially faulty review process if they all get approved, lies with each proposal not being evaluated as part of a more comprehensive overall growth plan. Not viewing each request within this broader scope will ultimately have negative implications for the environment and quality of living for residents and visitors.
When considering growth plans, it is imperative that an evaluation of infrastructure, as it relates to meeting the needs of a growing population, also be completed including traffic implications, road and light requirements, medical support, police and fire department services, etc. Anything short of a comprehensive evaluation, which certainly requires interface between all involved agencies, reflects an approval rather than a planning process and reflects negligence on the part of our elected officials.
The mere consideration to approve the rezoning for a 114 unit housing development at Winswept Stables, a new school adjacent to it on Route 24, and the rezoning of agricultural property to a 600-site RVpark on Ward Road and Cedar Grove Road, which connects to Route 24, without specific plans to install lights, widen roads, implement turning lanes, etc., is unconscionable based on its potential impact on the safety and quality of living of the members of the surrounding community.
I submit this letter in the hope that the individual zoning requests be tabled until a more comprehensive view can be taken and shared amongst all agencies involved to make sure the that decisions are in the best interest of community safety and living.
Harts Landing resident
Love Creek waters hold high nutrients
Although Delaware’s ocean beaches and well-flushed open waters of the Inland Bays have a deserved reputation for cleanliness and low bacterial counts, the same is not always true of tributaries of the bays. For example, the EPA lists Love Creek as impaired for recreational use because of high nutrients and bacteria. Problems with pollution and bacteria were highlighted in May, 2013 when DNREC closed shellfish beds in Love Creek because of high bacterial counts. The public safety issues posed by this bacterial contamination deserve more attention from the citizens of Sussex County and their elected representatives.
The University of Delaware Citizen Monitoring Program (www.citizen-monitoring.udel.edu) reports regularly on Total Enterococcus counts in Sussex County waters. Enterococci, bacteria found in feces of warm-blooded animals (birds, dogs, people), replaced fecal coliform bacteria as the federal standard for microbial water pollution and are considered a proxy for human pathogens. These organisms are naturally resistant to antibiotics and can directly cause urinary and blood-borne infections as well as wound complications. The EPA-recommended limit for Enterococci is a mean of 35 colony-forming units (CFU) per 100 milliliters of marine or brackish water calculated for several measurements over time. Counts above 35 CFU are cause to close areas for recreational activities. However swimming in water even at this level has been estimated to result in 19 cases of gastrointestinal sickness per 1,000 instances, so it is important to realize the EPA limit does not set a safe standard.
The Citizen Monitoring Program collected and analyzed between nine and 11 water samples between April and October each year from 2007 through 2013 for Love Creek where it flows under Route 24. The seasonal mean counts for Total Enterococcus were several-fold higher than the EPA limit every year. Moreover, the problem appears to be getting worse. A statistical analysis performed by us revealed a highly significant 2.5-fold increase in the seasonal means during the period 2007-13 with a probability approaching 99 percent confidence. This correlation was not explained on the basis of seasonal differences in precipitation, a factor often associated with increased bacterial counts.
Developments such as the proposed RV park along Love Creek are likely to worsen bacterial contamination. The scientific literature has established that increases in impervious surfaces beyond 10 percent of land surface are correlated with decreased water quality because of more rapid run-off. As reported by the Center for Inland Bays, the Rehoboth Bay watershed surpassed 10 percent impervious surface around 2007. We estimate the RV park is likely to have at least 30 percent impervious surface considering areas for RV pads, cabin roofs, roads, and parking. The developers could calculate this more precisely but did not provide the numbers.
A further implication is that potential recreational areas like the RV park, which is only one-half mile upstream of the Route 24 Love Creek bridge, may need to monitor bacteria and warn guests about the dangers of exposure to contaminated water that exceeds the EPA limit. Individuals especially at risk are those with immune systems that may be weakened by age (the very young and the old), those receiving therapy for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, or anyone who has recently been diagnosed or treated for cancer.
As professional scientists with doctorates in medical microbiology and biology, we are deeply concerned. We wonder. Will the future motto of Sussex County be “Clean Water - Wave Good-bye!”? It needn’t be so. We have a choice.
Steve and Judy Britz
RV Park would add to mounting traffic problems
It has been one year since the public hearings on the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground (RV City), and my husband and I remain opposed to this project. As an owner of a small business establishment, I have heard overwhelming and ever increasing opposition from my clients as well.
The reasons that our patrons oppose this commercial venture are many, and they mirror our concerns. They include traffic congestion, safety risks, property devaluation, poor financial economics for the county, environmental risks to Love Creek, and the simple fact that the proposed RV City is inconsistent with the area and the nearby neighborhoods.
In particular, I am becoming increasingly concerned that traffic risks are being ignored by the elected officials. Severe congestion of traffic is not only a quality of life issue, but also a safety issue. It does not require a consultant with a Ph.d. to realize that large recreational vehicles will add traffic congestion and safety risks to our roads.
My patrons - and many are senior city citizens - travel Route 24 and enter and leave my salon on a regular basis. I fear for their safety. Traffic accidents and hazards are getting worse on Route 24, not better.
Just in the last 12 months, I can recall several traffic incidents. Early last year, a young man passed out at the wheel of his car, ricocheted off my tree and crashed into my car. If my car was not in the driveway, this out-of-control vehicle would have driven right into my manicure room where two customers were getting manicures.
After that incident, there was a horrendous accident in front of my home that killed a 2-year-old child. The following week, my mailbox was hit and shattered all over my parking lot. A week later, yet another accident occurred. In fact, there is not a month that goes when an accident occurs in front of my salon - incidents that don’t always get into the paper. And I worry that the invasion of ever larger RVs will create even more accidents that result in property damage and the loss of life.
Traffic safety is not the only issue, but it is the one that all residents are concerned about, and our elected officials should review thoroughly the safety risks before they vote on this development. We trust that our public officials will realize that this area's infrastructure and environment cannot handle a dense RV city of 628 sites and up to 2,500 visitors in the Love Creek area. They need to recognize that the safety of our county’s residents is a priority issue.
Arlin and Marianne Berlinger
Final nail in coffin for Love Creek RV development
In case Sussex County Council needs one more reason to believe that the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campgrounds is out of character with the area, the Cape Henlopen School Board just provided it. The board unanimously approved a referendum on a new 720-student elementary school to be located on about 25 acres on Route 24, across from Beacon Middle School, with access also from Mulberry Knoll Road. It is important to note that this parcel is also part of the 360-acre tract owned by the Townsends that includes the proposed RV project.
The Gazette article that reported the story includes this important piece of analysis: “A population study completed by the University of Delaware shows district population growth concentrated along the Route 24 corridor. Board member Andy Lewis said that if the community sees the growth area, people will understand why the board chose the Route 24 location.” That is, the area surrounding the school is already slated for residential homes and families - and not compatible with a sprawl of transient RVs and visitors as envisioned by the Lingo development (628 RV sites/nearly 3,000 visitors).
It’s a well-established fact that land preservation is a grossly under-funded activity of state and county government in the Sussex County area. As a resident of The Retreat at Love Creek in Lewes, I have observed the fumbling and bumbling of officials during the Lingo/Townsend application process for a zoning change and conditional use for the RV Park on the banks of Love Creek.
All educated and reasonable people we have questioned agree that this is the wrong location for this type of development. Rodney Smith of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission stated this clearly when announcing his no vote on the project. The initial response to the proposal of Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Colin O’Mara was that the parcel of land in play should be preserved. He wrote a letter stating as much for the public record, but planning and zoning members (excepting Mr. Smith) dismissed it in favor of the views of a Lingo paid consultant.
Why have state and county officials ignored Secretary O’Mara’s position on preserving this land? I implore county council and all state officials to act on this issue now. Otherwise, this land will be developed as basically a parking lot - destroying the forest, disturbing the wildlife, harming the health of our waters and adding to the traffic and safety concerns of our residents. We want positive action to control development and protect our water, our home values, our safety and our precious land.
Why not include the land around Love Creek in the purchase of the school property from Townsends and keep this as preserved land? Make it a park, a place for our children to appreciate the environment and learn about protecting the water, land and wildlife. They won’t have far to travel – they will be in their classrooms right next door.
More thoughts on RV park
By Lewis Newman | Jan 30, 2014
In 2013, Long Neck Road residents had an unpleasant realization with the rezoning of 160 manufactured home sites to 320 R/V sites at Rehoboth Shores Manufactured Home Park. This brought stiff opposition from the home owners in the park arguing that their home values would be reduced with little chance to sell. Residents in adjoining communities raised their concerns about the effect added traffic would be to their life and safety - this is a dead end road at Massey's Landing.
The result was planning and zoning department approved the request actually saying traffic would not be a problem and county council fell right in line. You would expect this as planning and zoning personnel are appointed by county council.
Next came the proposal to rezone a large parcel of land at the end of Long Neck Road to an R/V park - this would eliminate Massey's Landing Mobile Home Park. This would have been catastrophic to approximately 90 lessees whom have invested heavily in their homes, left with the only choice but to take the few relocation dollars offered by the Mobile Home Relocation Program and watch as the land owners destroy their homes.
As a result of meetings between residents and county council, the land owners resubmitted a plan eliminating the destruction of Massey's Landing, hopefully with the realization of the catastrophic effects this would have been to their tenants. However, this new plan would rezone all of their remaining lands to R/V sites.
Knowing that Long Neck Road is a dead end road with very limited shoulders for the residents to walk, bike or run, adding more traffic will absolutely put lives at stake along the roadway. The emergency response time for fire companies, emergency medical rescue and emergency marine rescue which departs from Massey's Landing boat launch facilities will have delayed response times.
The added traffic created would be not just cars but R/Vs pulling boats or cars, keeping in mind that Long Neck Road is also the only evacuation route, can you imagine moving 300 R/Vs in an emergency situation with present traffic.
All of the above was again submitted for consideration to county council, with the new flood plain maps and wind design loads. I am quite sure county council really does not know how to come to a decision considering all of the above. Why would they even consider allowing an R/V park? The past hurricane Sandy only points out the only decision that makes sense in the Long Neck site. No R/V park.
This area would make a great wildlife refuge. The proposal to build a 600 R/V site along Love Creek is also a bad idea, with the present traffic problems on Route 1, Route 24 and Route 9 and Plantation Road, R/Vs pulling cars or boats will make traveling these roads more difficult. The residents of the Plantations are against this plan and rightly so.
In 2014, I hope the residents of Long Neck and Lewes are informed that the applications for the R/V parks are withdrawn. Perhaps planning and zoning and county council will listen to their constituents who were once told their opinions are not acceptable if not professionals in the field of their opinions.
Now would you believe the county is going to allow a new school on Route 24? Again, I am amazed. I doubt that DelDOT and the planning and zoning department considered this proposed plan in approving the Love Creek site. A traffic study by the state is required and not the developers hired company.
With the state spending 10 million at the Indian River Inlet, 300 R/V sites will be available with utility hookups, showers, laundromat, and providing a shuttle service to Rehoboth Beach, maybe the need for more R/V sites will be filled, especially with the 320 approved and 150 existing R/V sites on Long Neck Road. The Indian River Inlet and state beach park is where R/Vs need to be - not 20 or 30 miles away from the attractions that brought them here to vacation with their families in the Rehoboth Beach area.
Sussex must adhere to comprehensive plan
I am writing regarding my opposition to the proposed plans for the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, requiring rezoning conditional-use approvals to allow for an RV resort and campground to be located south of Ward Road near Cedar Grove Road in Sussex County. Growth shall be appropriate and the surrounding development must be considered. This proposed park is inconsistent with the surrounding area which is populated with residential homes.
The Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, updated August 2013, identifies that a significant portion of this property is located in an area slated for mixed residential use with an environmentally sensitive developing overlay. Rezoning of this property is in direct conflict with the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan, specifically, there is no exception for downzonings to a less intense designation for the purpose of trying to obtain a conditional use.
Second, the designation of an environmentally sensitive developing area as a growth area requires consideration of the implications by council members. Intended use does matter. Allowing any type of growth undermines the integrity of the entire zoning process and regulations. Finally, the plan states that if the rezoning decision does not correspond with the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, then it must be denied.
The projected overdevelopment in the areas along routes 1 and 24 must be addressed by the council members now since the comprehensive plan, among other things, serves as the standard for how development will proceed and how land use will be governed over the course of the next five years.
Such plans are used by local governments to not only establish land-use policies and identify growth areas, but also to give consideration to various other community concerns, such as affordable housing availabilty, agriculture preservation, open space protection, historic preservation, economic development and transportation mobility (reference: Sussex County Comprehensive Plan website). The concerns raised by the many constituents regarding the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground require a no vote and also for time for the county council to reevaluate the direction of development in the county.
The prudent course of action for the county council is to stop, assess, evaluate, and note that the framework of the plan is not upheld if the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground is approved. The county council is bound by the plan and legally must uphold its tenets for the benefit of everyone.
D. M. Torma
Wild Delmarva: Best reason to vote no for RV Park
I am constantly amazed at the beauty of this region - especially as depicted in the Kevin Fleming photography book titled “Wild Delmarva.” It captures stunning images of the wildlife and landscapes of this unique piece of America. I urge the Sussex County Council to peruse the pictures and the words of this book before deciding on their vote on the Love Creek RV Park project.
If they can still approve the zoning change and conditional use to transform this pristine land into a parking lot for RV’s, they do a terrible disservice to nature, the wildlife and especially to the future generations who will see this region depreciated. I ask the council members (and the Lingos and the Townsends) to read the words of famous individuals quoted in the book - words which hammer home the point that we must protect the gifts of nature. Present-day leaders would do well to heed these words if they wish to have a positive legacy.
Listed below are several of these quotes. They exemplify the feelings of residents and visitors of Delmarva.
“If people destroy something replaceable made by mankind, they are called vandals; if they destroy something irreplaceable made by God, they are called developers.” - Joseph Wood Krutch
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a commodity to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” - Aldo Leopold
“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.” - Stewart Udall
“Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property merely of the people who are alive today, but the property of unknown generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander.” - Theodore Roosevelt
"The quicker we humans learn that saving open space and wildlife is critical to our welfare and quality of life, maybe we will start doing something about it.” - Jim Fowler
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
Love Creek RV Park: Serious environmental issues
By Steve and Judy Britz | Jan 03, 2014
In an editorial, “RV park, crawl before walking,”
But, regardless of size, serious environmental issues remain for the RV park. Requests from DNREC to expand forested buffer zones along Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade beyond the 50 feet required by Sussex County were rejected, even though the developers expanded some buffers around Welches Pond, Ward Road and non-tidal streams. The literature supporting the value of wider riparian buffers to reduce pollution is extensive and has been summarized by the Center for the Inland Bays.
Is it possible this apparent unwillingness to incorporate adequate buffers or features such as rain gardens to filter pollutants is driven by a desire to develop extensive low-lying areas along Love Creek? It may not be apparent to the casual observer that a large part of the park is planned for the 100-year flood plain, since the developers did not include a topographic overlay in any of their plans, In fact, the flood plain at this site extends hundreds of feet inland up to six feet above mean high water.
Our own topographic map, constructed combining data from the Delaware Geological Survey and a digitized site plan, was submitted both to council and planning & zoning in earlier testimony. This map showed numerous RV sites as low as two to four feet above mean high water. Although legal, these sites are in danger of flooding from run-of-the-mill storm surges. Since the developers want to emphasize season-long rentals in “premium” sites along Love Creek, it's quite possible that absentee owners will leave RVs stranded in the event of flooding, thus endangering local ground and surface waters. More severe flooding risks additional RV sites plus cabins, a bathhouse, the canoe rental facility and the dockside bar, all planned within the 100-year flood plain.
Because the flood plain soils are sandy and unstable (USDA-NRCS analysis) and because groundwater is within three feet of the surface (Delaware Geological Survey data), access roads and RV pads will be paved to prevent large RVs from sinking into the ground, effectively converting the RV park into a huge asphalt parking lot. Typical problems from parking lots include hydrocarbon and heavy metal run-off from vehicles. If flooding ruptures connections between RVs and waste lines, then sewage and chemicals used to clean waste storage tanks may further contribute to the noxious cocktail potentially contaminating nearby ground and surface waters.
We urgently need to preserve undeveloped land along our Inland Bays and tributaries to protect surface and ground water resources. Ground water, aka the unconfined aquifer, is the source of all drinking water in Sussex County and the main source of fresh water for the Inland Bays. Thus, the aquifer has a major impact on the health and well being of our fellow citizens and the recreational value of the Inland Bays, a major tourism resource. Do we want to experiment with these resources?
DNREC Secretary O’Mara stated he “strongly believes that this site is worthy of permanent protection” (letter dated January 24, 2013, to Planning & Zoning Chairman Wheatley). We urge adoption of Secretary O’Mara’s proposal and suggest the council investigate a suitable exchange of development rights to preserve this site in future.
Steve and Judy Britz
Lewes, the Gazette suggested a half-size, 300-site version of the proposed Love Creek RV park to evaluate potential traffic and environmental impacts. Left unclear was how impacts will be evaluated or by whom or for how long. A “successful” trial, however it is determined, could lead to approvals for a full-size 628-site park even though it does not logically follow that a much larger park will be acceptable even if the smaller version somehow works.
Love Creek RV Park cabins don't conform to zoning
By Jim Schneider | Jan 03, 2014
Are you aware that the Love Creek RV Resort proposal includes 82 cabins? The average number of rooms in a Best Western hotel is 76. This fact alone is one more reason that the Lingo application for a zoning change and conditional use approval must be rejected: A hotel-like project does not conform to the comprehensive plan for this residential area.
I agree with the many letters citing reasons for opposition to the campground: the negative impact on traffic and the environment,strains on emergency services at taxpayers’ expense, reduced revenues to the county versus a housing development on the site, and the fact the proposed RV park just doesn't fit with the residential character of the neighboring community. The inclusion of cabins is just one more piece of the RV park development that just does not benefit the residents and taxpayers.
The Lingo application provides no details on these "cabins" except that they are clustered together. Given the Cape Gazette's editorial claim that Lingo is a quality developer, let’s assume that these are "luxury” cabins. The “luxury” cabins in Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Milford sleep up to six people with two full/twin bunks and a love seat, and includes a number of amenities: bathroom with a shower and sink, kitchenette with a refrigerator and sink, an oven-cooktop combo, microwave, cable TV air conditioning and heat, paddle fan and table with chairs." This "cabin" sounds more like a small rental home.
More important, council members need to evaluate why this kind of cabin isn't considered a dwelling or upgraded motel unit, and thus subject to the zoning requirement (two homes per acre) rather than the AR1-zoning that Lingo is requesting. If approved, what would stop Lingo or other developers from putting up campgrounds with 80-plus cabins in other locations in Lewes, Rehoboth, Bethany or Fenwick Island? As noted in the opposition attorney's submission into the official record, cabins are not permitted in campgrounds
The answer to these concerns is having the county council vote no on the Lingo/Townsend application for the Love Creek RV Campground. Cabins and the rest of the RV park just do not fit with the residential nature of the area.
We all have power to change uncontrolled development
By Betty Deacon | Jan 03, 2014
I wanted to share my understanding of the process between the state and Sussex County when a big development is proposed and what I believe is a real problem in the planning process. We need to hold our county council and state senators and representatives responsible for what is going on in the eastern side of the county. I have heard numerous times from our elected state leaders that land use is a county issue and not the state’s. Not true! Several state agencies are involved in the process including: DelDOT, DNREC, Department of Agriculture, and the state planning commission, to name a few.
When a developer begins the process for getting a zoning approval to build a development or RV park they file with the county council and the process begins. However, prior to this they have met with state agencies. If it is a large development, DelDOT says that the developer needs a traffic study. Then the developer hires its own traffic consulting firm to do the study. If these studies are closely read, sometimes the direction the roads run are not even correct. The study is then 95 percent of the time approved by DelDOT with some minor suggestions. However, none of these studies ever take into consideration all of the developments that have already been approved, but not yet built.
Currently, there are housing developments approved by the council on a total of 983 acres with the potential of 1,369 new homes in the area immediately surrounding the proposed RV park on Cedar Grove Road. None of these were considered in the developer's traffic study for the RV park on Cedar Grove Road that was approved by DelDOT. When this happens, the developers are not held responsible for putting up the money to make road improvements except for immediately in front of the development. Who ends up paying for this? We do -the taxpayers - while the developers walk away with their money.
I believe we need to hold our state and county council officials liable at the voting booth if they are not protecting our interests. The state elected officials need to take a close look at DelDOT and make the necessary changes that would make traffic studies work for all of us. The process for the approval of a development also happens at the state level with agency reviews prior to coming to the county council and planning & zoning. This review process needs to be reviewed and strengthened. Finally, three people on the county council make all the decisions on what goes on in land use in the county. They make the appointments to planning & zoning and the board of adjustment. Three people!
The county council needs to be held liable for passing a land use ordinance, but never passing the supporting ordinances that would strengthen it and preclude the ability for the developers to file lawsuits so easily. It is outrageous that a council member cannot attend community meetings where legislation they are considering is being discussed. Where is that written or not written? We need supporting ordinances. Finally, this county needs a certified planner to oversee what is going on around any development that is being proposed and to make rational recommendations that will halt this uncontrolled development.
I will end with a couple of direct quotes from a council member and planning & zoning board member:
Quote from a council member who always votes for every development on the east side of the county, concerning moving the Social Security office from Georgetown to Lewes: the county councilman said he strongly opposed the move because Lewes area roads can be quite crowded in the summer, and he didn’t want people in his southern Sussex County district to have to drive there to get Social Security help. “The idea of traveling north on Route 1 in the summertime to get to the Social Security office is almost nightmarish. It’s more convenient for most of the county to go to Georgetown.” News Journal 11/14/13.
Quote from a planning & zoning board member when voting for the RV park:
“I can assure you we vote for a great deal of things we don’t like. As the record has proven whenever we act outside the ordinance we tend to get overturned and usually sued and fined in the process. It has happened a couple of times. The message from the courts is loud and clear: it’s all about the ordinance. I think their avenue for change is the polling place. Show up on . The (County) Council is the group that can change the ordinance.” Delaware.Newszap.com 8/27/13
I am going to be asking questions of all the candidates who come to my door asking for my vote in November, What are you going to do about all this uncontrolled development? I will not accept from any candidates for any offices on the county or state level that it is not their responsibility, because all of them have the ability to change some part of the process.
The Cape Gazette
Are you aware that the Love Creek RV Resort proposal includes 82 cabins? The average number of rooms in a Best Western hotel is 76. This fact alone is one more reason that the Lingo application for a zoning change and conditional use approval must be rejected: A hotel-like project does not conform to the Comprehensive Plan for this residential area.
I agree with the many letters citing reasons for opposition to the campground: the negative impact on traffic and the environment, strains on emergency services at taxpayers’ expense, reduced revenues to the County versus a housing development on the site, and the fact the proposed RV Park just doesn't fit with the residential character of the neighboring community. The inclusion of cabins is just one more piece of the RV park development that just does not benefit the residents and taxpayers.
The Lingo application provides no details on these "cabins" except that they are clustered together. Given the Cape Gazette's editorial claim that Lingo is a quality developer, let’s assume that these are "luxury” cabins. The “luxury” cabins in Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Milford sleep up to 6 people with 2 full/twin bunks and a love seat, and includes a number of amenities: bathroom with a shower and sink, kitchenette with a refrigerator and sink, an oven-cooktop combo, microwave, cable TV air conditioning and heat, paddle fan and table with chairs." This "cabin" sounds more like a small rental home.
More important, Council members need to evaluate why this kind of cabin isn't considered a dwelling or upgraded motel unit, and thus subject to the zoning requirement (two homes per acre) rather than the AR1-zoning that Lingo is requesting. If approved, what would stop Lingo or other developers from putting up campgrounds with 80-plus cabins in other locations in Lewes, Rehoboth, Bethany or Fenwick Island? As noted in the opposition attorney's submission into the official record, cabins are not permitted in campgrounds
The answer to these concerns is having the County Council vote NO on the Lingo/Townsend application for the Love Creek RV Campground. Cabins and the rest of the RV Park just do not fit with the residential nature of the area.
Future growth must be planned carefully
The proposed Love Creek RV City project in Lewes has created a storm of protests from the surrounding communities that contain taxpaying citizens who take pride in their homes and surrounding communities and are very concerned about the impact of a massive 600-plus RV development.
My wife and I moved into The Retreat at Love Creek in Nov. 2012. It is a wonderful community of caring families who now see their lives seriously affected by the proposed RV City with the resulting increase in traffic and serious environmental impacts.
The developer wants the proposed RV vcity location to be re-zoned citing lack of RV locations in the Lewes area. Yet it has been established that there are over 4,000 currently available RV sites in the area!!
The developer also wants to include besides the 600+ pads, a boat launch/ tiki bar/ cabins and kayak launch. These projects are in violation of County Code Article XXIV, chapter 115.172, section H.
The property could be developed with low density housing which would provide greater tax revenue to the county but less profit to the developer. The developer also paid for a traffic study that supported his claims but used incorrect statistical models to make their case. Please take the time and effort to examine this study carefully.
It is important for our community to have an approved plan for future growth and revenue but it should be done in a coordinated way. The local taxpaying citizens need to have their concerns heard and proper attention giving to them.
Richard T. Marino
Compromise still an 'evil' solution to RV park
By Marion Gentul | Dec 23, 2013
Your recent editorial, On RV Park, Crawl Before Walking, concludes by offering a compromise regarding the proposed Love Creek RV City (300 RV sites, half of the 600 sites in the plan). This was astonishing to me that you basically call this a done deal when the county council has not yet placed their vote on the calendar!
Suggesting that council will “follow planning commission’s recommendation as it usually does” is a gross insult to the opposition and due process. All of the information presented thus far in your multiple reports demonstrates why RV city should not be approved. The opposition has supplied fact-based arguments on the significant issues proving why the Lingo applications should be denied. There appear to be a tiny handful of supporters of this project, in addition to the developer, and none of them have offered any substantial evidence as to the benefit of locating a large RV city in a residential area not easily accessed by major roads. A compromise solution is not appropriate here - the overwhelming majority of taxpaying residents call for rejection of this development.
When asked to compromise, one often hears the argument - choose the “lesser of two evils.” We, the residents opposed to this, should be grateful and accept that “only” 300 RVs will be permitted instead of 600 RVs? Please bear in mind, the lesser evil is still an evil. If this project is approved in any size, after the quality of life here is diminished by horrendous traffic and environmental destruction and taxpayers realize the lost revenue from transfer tax squandered by council members voting in favor of any size RV city - will you print an editorial admitting your misjudgment? It will be too late then.
RV City: P&Z commission ignores the people
By John L. Hornyak | Dec 23, 2013
Four months ago on , I sat in the planning and zoning commission meeting and listened with disgust to them vote 4-1 to approve the proposed RV city near Love Creek by Lingo Asset Management.
It was unsettling to hear the canned speeches made by the planning members Johnson and Ross, who seemed to fall all over themselves praising Lingo Asset Management for the great job they have done planning this project. Mister Ross said that DelDOT, the traffic “czar,” had given its blessing to the traffic impact study issues paid for by Lingo Asset Management. In turn, Mister Ross stated that environmental concerns and their impact, as cited by the Hon. Collin O’Mara, head of DNREC, were negated by an expert from Lingo management group and, therefore, a non-issue. I also find it very disturbing that the planning and zoning commission considered DNREC so inept at understanding the environmental consequences that this project will generate, as compared to the applicant’s “expert” who disagrees.
Worse were Mister Ross’s very condescending and insulting remarks with regards to the facts and opinions presented by residents and their experts in their detailed reports? Being a resident does not diminish our professional backgrounds as business owners, doctors, lawyers, environmentalists, geologists, and corporate officers, etc. The summaries by Mister Ross and Mister Johnson, simply presented points that distorted the facts to provide a winning position for Lingo.
By contrast Mister Rodney Smith showed the courage to object to his colleagues on the application, despite being the lone dissenter. The message to the residents of Sussex County is that the planning and zoning’s action was based solely on politics behind closed doors, and that the views of Lewes residents are not as important as the Lingo money and favors that may be garnered with it.
The four approving commission members apparently saw no problem with a wide range of critical issues including:
• traffic congestion of an additional 600 plus cars, RVs, trailers and boats on narrow Cedar Grove and surrounding roads
• additional traffic due to DART establishing a bus stop
• tying into Rehoboth’s waste treatment facility, which is already over capacity
• danger to pedestrian and bicycle traffic on area roads
• seasonal operation between March and November, which is over three months, during the school year, when some children will inevitably attend local schools.
• The impact on Ward Road, which would be designated as the Emergency Evacuation Route, despite being regularly flooded during rains and snow melt
The traffic impact study which was paid for by Lingo Asset Management, and approved by DelDOT, was limited in scope to one travel corridor to the proposed RV park. The route used to access the park would be Route 1 to Postal Lane to Cedar Grove Road, although vehicles can come from a number of other directions along ill-suited county roads. (Subsequently, Mister Ross commented at the meeting that additionally it is now Plantation Road, Route 24, Mulberry Knoll Road and Robinsonville Road, etc…)
Lingo agreed with DelDOT to widen a limited portion of Cedar Grove Road to a width of 50 feet, while some surrounding access roadways (mentioned above) are now approximately 20 feet wide shoulder to shoulder or 10 feet wide from the center line to shoulder, which is generally the case for a county road. (In general, Class A RVs range up to 45 feet in length, not counting a vehicle in tow; weigh up to 30,000 pounds (15 tons) and features, side mirrors and rolled awnings that approach 10 feet in width.
The county finance director’s report for revenue generation supports a residential area rather that an RV Park, and analysis shows nearly $9 million more can be generated with homes over 20 years. Full time residents will spend more over a full year than tourists will spend over part of a year
In summary, it is difficult for me to understand how a reasonable evaluation of all the information that has been brought forth over the last several months would lead anyone to a conclusion to approve an RV park at this location.
John L. Hornyak
Love Creek RV Park editorials questioned
By Greg Kordal | Dec 23, 2013
The Cape Gazette’s editorial positions on growth, land use, development, environment and zoning in Sussex County have been overwhelmingly supportive of the public interest. They offer support to common-sense arguments about controlling growth, hiring a county planner and protecting the Inland Bays - among other community-based decisions. So why are these positions inconsistent with the two editorials published regarding the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground?
The first summarized the positions of the developer and local opponents, but the reader had a difficult time figuring out what their point was. It included offsetting comments such as “the RV park fits the tourism industry” and “[whether] the project can be developed in an environmentally sensitive fashion and whether traffic can be managed to avoid creating safety and congestion problems.”
The editors did give Lingo group the benefit of doubt that they build “quality projects” and were meeting the (minimum) standards of DelDOT and DNREC, as well as regurgitated other benefits from Lingo’s testimony.
But it concluded without any final position taken. The more recent editorial was more of the same. The editors left out many of the most serious issues and concerns, choosing to focus on traffic and environment items. Again they coddle Lingo for some trivial concessions to their plan and for “developing quality residential projects.” (By the way – this RV city is not a residential development but a sprawl for recreational vehicles, tents and cabins.)
Sadly, they make an improper statement that Sussex County Council usually follows the planning and zoning recommendations – suggesting that the RV city vote is a done deal. However, the vote has not even been scheduled on the council’s agenda yet! The editors then offer a compromise suggestion to have Lingo build half the development and see how that works before completing the massive project. This amounts to taking no real stand at all.
Curiously, this apathetic position towards the Lingo development is in stark contrast to previous editorial positions taken by the Gazette - and which support many of the general issues raised by the opposition to the Lingo project:
• April 19, 2011 Hire a County Planner: “Sussex County is growing because its natural beauty and unhurried way of life are attractive, particularly when coupled with low taxes. But all of these qualities can quickly be lost to uncontrolled growth.”
• May 22, 2011 End Legal Battle Over Buffers: “If Sussex County doesn’t want DNREC to impose buffers, then county council should step up to the plate and adopt science-recommended buffer and vegetation requirements already in place in the rest of Delaware.”
• May 24, 2011 Time for Sussex to Hire a Land Use Planner: “Land-use planning is perhaps the most critical and controversial function council must accomplish. The cost of a planner is low when compared with legal costs of defending council’s decisions. The time for a planner is now. County council must act quickly to fill this critical position.”
• July 5, 2011 Council’s Reversals Need Better Reasoning: “In this case, council’s decision certainly helps one property owner, but what about the hundreds of manufactured homeowners, whose homes, as the planners stated, will diminish in value as a result of the RV park next door.”
• Sept. 30, 2011 Healthy Inland Bays Important to Sussex County: “Maintaining the positive trend in the bay’s quality needs to remain a high priority with a constant eye on the progress that can be made when wise action is taken.”
• February 22, 2013 Maintaining Sussex in the Midst of Growth: "We need to protect wooded corridors and wetlands that surround the hundreds of streams in Sussex that nurture wildlife that enriches our lives. We need to protect our hedgerows and the quality of our waterways. To do this, we must develop a park mentality toward the whole county. How do we encourage more and more people to visit and live here while not spoiling the park? Even more so, how can we make the park even nicer?"
• April 25, 2013 Improving Economy Demands Improved Infrastructure: "By harnessing the economic strength that comes with development, and using enlightened public funding to link all of these open spaces, the acres of preserved open space could and should be doubled to 200,000 so we and the wildlife and nature we cherish can continue to exist and contribute to our appealing, and we hope sustainable, quality of life.”
• Sept. 24, 2013 Council Must Enact Strong Criteria to Guide Rezoning: “It’s much harder to see how rezoning helps residents and other investors who own surrounding properties. People purchase land in areas zoned residential and surrounded by areas zoned residential because they don’t want the congestion that comes with commercial, business or industrial uses. Many come to Sussex to retire; they are coming to escape traffic jams and noise associated with business areas. Council should leave zoning alone until it enacts strong guidelines for making rezoning decisions that provide security not just for banks, but for everyone who lives and pays taxes in Sussex County.”
• Oct. 29, 2013 Patchwork Rezoning is a Threat to Public Safety: “Zoning is supposed to protect everyone by encouraging orderly growth in areas with enough infrastructure to handle the traffic it brings. If council wants to change the zoning map, it should hire a planner and do it right."
It seems as if the Gazette might have employed all these positions in a strong argument recommending council to vote no on these applications. Why they didn’t, only they can answer. But it would appear that, when it comes to the RV city project, they’re not being true to their values or the community they serve.
Sword of Damocles dangling over heads
By Shellie & Carmen DiLauro | Dec 23, 2013
These last days preceding the holidays are a busy time. However, our community and the other communities in our area remain very concerned since the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the RV campground at Love Creek application.
It is obvious the commission did not consider but, instead, dismissed all public testimony regarding concerns and opposition to the campground. Instead the commission based its vote on a flawed traffic study paid for by the developer. Did they consider environmental consequences of its approval?
Does the proposed application conform with the current Sussex County Comprehensive Plan? The future enjoyment of our homes and communities are now in the hands of Sussex County Council. We are relying on each member of county council to remove “the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.”
Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2014.
Shellie and Carmen DiLauro
RV park incompatible with community
We have a house on Railroad Avenue in Lewes and though it is only a few days before the holidays, one “gift” we don’t want is the Lingo developer’s dream of an RV park at Love Creek.
The whole idea is unnecessary and disruptive to even think about. The developer paid for the traffic study. That same type of thing happened where we live in the Friendship Heights area of Chevy Chase/ Washington D.C. It was a disaster with preferential findings, naturally in favor of the developer. Any traffic study has to be conducted by an independent traffic movement professional.
We do not need another RV site since there are already 4,000 spaces available for RVs in the area. This plan does not dovetail in any way with the county comprehensive plan, not to mention the environmental impact of having 628 RV pads and cabins as part of the site.
We are opposed to this seemingly developer-driven and unnecessary intrusion into the purpose of the living style in Lewes; it simply is incompatible with the community.
RV park still just doesn't fit
Your Nov. 22 editorial, “On RV Park, crawl before walking,” is yet another example of what has become a popular and dysfunctional approach to governing in this country, especially from a Congress that has a reputation for being woefully ineffective. Namely: offer a compromise which gets you past the immediate stalemate while deferring dealing with the root issue.
The big difference here is that we aren’t talking about shutting down the federal government. We aren’t talking about a controversial drug where conducting a controlled experiment is worth the risk of the potential benefits. What we are talking about is a wildly unpopular RV park which has been shown by data, expert testimony and public comment to have significant negative opportunity costs to the county and its residents.
The tiered approach you recommended - permitting 300 units in Phase 1 before a review to permit another 300 units - allows the camel to get its nose under the tent, and we all know what happens after that. Plus you are opening yourself up to a due process lawsuit when agreement cannot be reached a couple of years from now that the “stipulations” of this controlled experiment have or have not been met. What happens then, another compromise or lawsuit?
The traffic and environmental concerns cited in the editorial are only two of more than six significant issues pointed out in testimony from knowledgeable county residents opposed to this development that concludes: It just doesn't fit in a residential community far from beach amenities. I have said it before and I’ll say again, that even if this were a five-star resort, It just doesn't fit. We don’t need to run a downsized trial only to find out a couple of years from now that, at any size, It still just doesn't fit.
To the overwhelming number of county residents opposed to this project, the only compromise is to instead approve a residential subdivision for this tract of land consistent with the surrounding area and the county’s comprehensive plan. This proposal would preserve the landowner’s right to earn a sizeable return on their investment while at the same time generating sizeable tax revenues for Sussex. Based upon the environmental findings presented at the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commission, that subdivision would be considerably smaller than what has been proposed by the Lingo organization, resulting in a much more manageable impact on all facets of the infrastructure.
I encourage the Sussex County Council to respect the will of their constituents and vote “no” to this development.
Many reasons not to approve RV park
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
Love Creek park raises issue of cabins in campgrounds
By Dennis Fisher | Nov 12, 2013
After attending the council's meeting Oct. 8, 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 Feb. 19, 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 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 one to four percent of the total number of sites, but the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground has 82 units or 13 percent 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 Sussex County Council consider this and all the other reasons citing problems with the development and to vote no to the zoning request that would allow construction of the project.
Sussex obligated to deny RV park rezoning
I am writing regarding my opposition to the proposed plans for the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground requiring rezoning conditional use approvals to allow for an RV resort and campground to be located south of Ward Road near Cedar Grove Road in Sussex County. Growth shall be appropriate and the surrounding development must be considered. This proposed park is inconsistent with the surrounding area which is populated with residential homes.
I am in agreement with the legal points that support denial mentioned in a recent Letter to the Editor submitted by Paul Hammesfahr. First, based on law, one’s ability to request a campground the Conditional Use for a parcel of land only arises if the correct zoning is in place. This is not the case for the 74 acres of the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground.
Second, Mr. Hammesfahr points out the Delaware courts have ruled the intended use of an applicant’s property is an important and required consideration when rezoning is requested.
The Sussex County Comprehensive Plan identifies that a significant portion of this property is located in an area slated for mixed residential use with an environmentally sensitive developing overlay. Rezoning of this property is in direct conflict with the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan; specifically, there is no exception for downzonings to a less intense designation for the purpose of trying to obtain a Conditional Use.
Third, the designation of an Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area as a growth area requires consideration of the implications by council members. Intended use does matter. Allowing any type of growth undermines the integrity of the entire zoning process and regulations. Finally, the plan states that if the rezoning decision does not correspond with the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, then it must be denied.
Therefore, it is the legal obligation of the Sussex County Council members as elected officials to deny this application.
D. M. Torma
Sussex council urged to reject RV City
As vehicles have descended upon our beach towns throughout summer in greater numbers than ever before, I’ve come to recognize the insanity of the proposed RV City project. There is no doubt in my mind that Lingo Asset Management’s vision of an RV development at Love Creek is an impending disaster that threatens county residents and potential visitors for a variety of reasons:
As a homeowner and taxpayer, I urge our Sussex County Council members to vote with the great majority of their constituents, not those few wealthy developers, against granting a conditional use of land for an RV campground. It’s a dangerous, unsuitable project that will benefit those with already deep pockets and destroy the quality of life of Lewes residents - and your constituents.
Sussex knows who has the power, money
On one side we have a Sussex County family who traces roots back in this area to just after the Pilgrims landed. They own thousands or more acres adjoining the Love Creek area. Family members have served Delaware at all levels of high political and judicial levels over the past centuries. They have Delaware's best interest in mind - not just another development.
On the other side we have a conglamaration of many transplanted retirees and seniors from Pennsylvania, Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. Many are fairly new to our great state. A good many live in their cookie cutter type developments on their one acre or smaller lots. Many are adjacent to the contested RV park.
They have written many letters to the editor, signed petitions, and formed coalitions fighting this zoning change. These acts did not change or influence the zoning board in the slightest! I am not inferring they already had their mind made up. But this is not rocket science!
The Sussex County zoning board knows who has the power and money in this area and they voted 4-1 in favor of the RV park. They send their recommendation to the Sussex County Council for a vote. Think about it ! I will be shocked if the Sussex County Council votes any differently than the zoning board!
How can Sussex P&Z justify decision?
My wife and I are products and past participants of the Baltimore City and Harford County, Md.'s local political process and decision-making methodology. We recently retired to Lewes with the hope of enjoying a more fair and equitable system of local government. Baltimore and many of the surrounding counties are fraught with an “old boy” network and “it's who you know” process of political decision making on many issues ranging from school reading materials, zoning changes, building projects, etc.
It is commonly known and acknowledged as being a dysfunctional system of governing that has left most residents/voters feeling left out and powerless over many decisions that affect their everyday lives.
As current residents of The Retreat in Lewes, we have watched and participated in the RV City debacle from the beginning to the last “vote” by the P&Z commission. The similarities of this particular group are remarkably similar to the dysfunctional ones we left in Maryland. A distinct arrogance and self-serving attitude presented by some members of the board demonstrated a willingness to ignore and/or distort a variety of facts presented by multiple community members. Legitimate hard data was deemed inadmissible and is being excluded.
We are at a continuing loss watching expert testimony, when presented by community members, being routinely discounted or misinterpreted. Many individuals continue to question how such a decision by the P&Z commission can be made when the fiscal data presented by the county's own financial director and a retired financial expert from major business corporations is minimized and discounted; one has to redefine the reasoning behind such a denial. I too, groped with this illogical reasoning and subsequent decision-making process, but then it dawned on me.
An objective, rational and logical mind can only conclude there has to be a hidden agenda in play and the facts, fiscal data and the will of the majority are irrelevant variables to this committee.
If the will of the majority, coupled with supporting evidence and data, is not used in a democratic decision-making process, then one has to assume the ideals of the democratic process are being ignored in place of special interests.
A true democratic process must not only accept objective opposing and divergent views, but they must solicit them in order to present a fair and unbiased opinion and subsequent decision. The dismissal of the taxpayers/voters say in this matter by using the familiar smear-like tactics of “our experts are better than your experts” or the ever popular NIMBY accusations, are based on emotional and self-serving needs - not data or the will of the majority.
No one has to agree with any political and/or local government decision, but we must accept them when they are derived fairly and objectively by utilizing a true democratic process. This is what makes us different - the freedom to disagree through appropriate dissension and the voting process. It is our responsibility and obligation to challenge any unfair/biased decision-making processes like the one being played out in the Lingo RV City fiasco.
Dale E. Smith
Why Sussex must reject Love Creek RV City
Before the honorable members of 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.
First, I urge the council members to consider with caution some of the comments presented by the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commissioners, specifically Mr. Martin Ross, as regards the importance of public comment received from numerous local citizens. Mr. Ross' comments implied that expert testimony by the applicant should bear more weight than that of the public.
Further, he suggested that the applicants’ expert opinions must be countered with other expert testimony, and that any public comment from "non-credentialed" people must be entirely factual. The foregoing opinion about expert vs. public opinion just that - an opinion about what Mr. Ross finds compelling or convincing. It is not Delaware law.
Consider the following comment from Bayville Shore Development Corp. v. County Council of Sussex County, 1991 WL 202182: "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, so long as the public opposition is not just an attempt to deny one property owner the right to do what others in the area are already doing and provided the comments rationally advances the public health, safety or welfare. Therefore, public comment does legally matter.
The members of the public who have spoken out against RV City 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 Sussex County Code.
Second, as agreed by all parties in the public hearings, the two applications by Lingo Asset Management (one regarding zoning and one regarding conditional use) were definitely inter-related. Legally, one’s ability to request a campground the Conditional Use for a parcel of land only arises if the correct zoning is in place. That is simply not the case for the portion of the proposed RV City site that is currently zoned GR.
Therefore, contrary to Mr. Ross’ opinion, the rezoning decision really needs to be made first because, otherwise, the CU is not even an option for that part of the applicant's land. Only the portion of the parcel that is already zoned AR-1 is eligible for consideration as a campground Conditional Use.
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 zoning change, the change must correspond with the Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Land Use maps - that is the law in Delaware (see Delaware Code, Title 9, Sections 6904, 6951 and 6959).
In this case, the Future Land Use map identifies a significant portion of the proposed campground area for which the rezoning is sought as being in a Mixed Residential (MR) area with an Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area overlay. These designations tell us what is appropriate in terms of future rezoning decisions.
This is important because even though, as pointed out by Mr. Ross, there exists AR-1 zoned property adjacent to the GR zoned property for which rezoning is sought (and which is identified as MR for future use), changing the zoning from GR to AR-1 is not in keeping with the Future Land Use map and is certainly not a “slam dunk,” to quote Mr. Ross.
I would argue that any expert would suggest that simply because the proposed rezoning would match up with an adjacent property and simply because it is arguably a “down-zoning” do not automatically translate to compliance with the Future Land Use map and other legal requirements.
Third, I would ask the council to consider the implications of the comments made by Mr. Ross and his interpretation of what it means to be located in an the Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area (ESDA) and the designation of such an area as a growth area.
While it is true that an ESDA is a growth area according to the Comprehensive Plan, the council must take into account the type of growth proposed for an ESDA like that at issue in the pending applications. Here, the proposed use of the subject property is a commercial campground.
Simply because this may, in some persons’ minds, 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 use represents “growth” and, thus, is permissible undermines the integrity of the County’s zoning process and zoning regulations.
If one were to use Mr. Ross’ apparent logic, any kind of "growth" would be acceptable in an EDSA and that just does not adhere to the guidance provided by all the laws and regulations in place. State law, the mandates of the county code and the Comprehensive Plan, particularly the underlying zoning designation on the Future Land Use map - all still matter.
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. In fact, this consideration appeared to be at least one of the reasons for the dissenting vote cast by Commissioner Smith.
Finally, in closing, I cannot emphasize enough for the council members that the Future Land Use map, which is part of the Comprehensive Plan and which carries the force of law, is an incredibly important, legitimate and legal issue to focus on when making a decision concerning the pending applications.
I urge the council to first consider the appropriateness of the applicant’s request for a zoning change in light of the above, as well as the overwhelming amount of the public comment received, which was essentially disregarded by some of the planning and zoning commissioners.
Taken in this context, I urge the council to reject the rezoning application C/Z-1725 and, accordingly, also reject the associated Conditional Use C/U 1951 proposed for the RV Campground at Love Creek by Lingo Asset Management, LLC.
Coalition to Stop RV City
Voicing opposition to Love Creek RV City
Once again, Lingo proposes a development that will surely "kill the goose that laid the golden egg."
We cannot believe this proposed project would be approved.
DelDOT traffic study on RV City flawed
The DelDOT study concerning traffic going to the proposed RV City ignored the actual routes that RVs will likely take if they use a navigational tool. This is not rocket science. Simply doing a MapQuest search reveals the following: (use Coastal Towing on Cedar Grove Road as the destination).
1. From Dover: at Five Points make a right onto Route 9 W/SR404W/SR18W. Make a left onto Belltown Road, then a left onto Plantation Road, and then a right onto Cedar Grove Road. There is no mention of increased traffic at Five Points because DelDOT believes that people won't turn there, believing they will continue down Route 1 to Postal Road.
2. From Georgetown: Route 9, to right on Fisher Road, right onto Beaver Dam Road/SR 23, first left onto Kendale, left onto Robinsonville, right onto Cedar Grove Road. No recommendations or requirements for improvements for this entire route are in the DelDOT report.
3. From Millsboro: this route by MapQuest sends the driver on SR30/SR24, SR 30N/SR24E. The direct route is then make a right onto Jersey Road (which becomes Hollyville, then Hollymount), then left onto Beaver Dam Road (SR-23). Then right onto Kendale, then left onto Robinsonville Road, then right onto Cedar Grove Road.
Again, no improvements for this entire route of narrow country roads running through farmland and residential areas are recommended or required in the DelDOT report.
Robinsonville Road has been completely ignored despite the fact that it intersects with Cedar Grove Road.
The DelDOT study is clearly and seriously flawed and should not be used as a reason to approve RV City.
RV City: P&Z Commission ignores the people
On Aug. 27, I sat in the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commission meeting and listened with disgust to them vote 4-1 to approve the proposed RV City near Love Creek by Lingo Asset Management. It was unsettling to hear the canned speeches made by the planning members Johnson and Ross who seemed to fall over themselves praising the Lingo Asset Management for the great job they have done planning this project.
Mister Ross said that DelDOT, the traffic “czar,” had given their blessing to the traffic impact study issues paid for by Lingo Asset Management. In turn, Mister Ross stated that environmental concerns and their impact, as cited by the Hon. Collin O’Mara, head of DNREC, were negated by an expert from Lingo Management Group and, therefore, a non-issue. I also find it very disturbing that the commission considered DNREC so inept at understanding the environmental consequences that this project will generate, as compared to the applicant’s “expert,” who disagrees.
Worse were Mister Ross’s very condescending and insulting remarks with regards to the facts and opinions presented by residents and their experts in their detailed reports? Being a resident does not diminish our professional backgrounds as business owners, doctors, lawyers, environmentalists, geologists and corporate officers, etc. The summaries by Mister Ross and Mister Johnson, simply presented points that distorted the facts to provide a winning position for Lingo.
By contrast Mister Rodney Smith showed the courage to object to his colleagues on the application, despite being the lone dissenter. The message to the residents of Sussex County is that the planning & zoning’s action was based solely on politics behind closed doors - and that the views of Lewes residents are not as important as the Lingo money and favors that may be garnered with it.
The four approving commission members apparently saw no problem with a wide range of critical issues including:
• traffic congestion of an additional 600 plus cars, RVs, trailers and boats on narrow Cedar Grove and surrounding roads
• additional traffic due to DART establishing a bus stop
• tying into Rehoboth’s waste treatment facility, which is already over capacity
• danger to pedestrian and bicycle traffic on area roads
• Seasonal operation between March and November, which is over three months, during the school year, when some children will inevitably attend local schools.
• The impact on Ward Road, which would be designated as the Emergency Evacuation Route, despite being regularly, flooded during rains and snow melt.
• The Traffic Impact Study which was paid for by Lingo Asset Management, and approved by DelDOT, was limited in scope to one travel corridor to the proposed RV park. The route used to access the park would be Route 1 to Postal Lane to Cedar Grove Road, although vehicles can come from a number of other directions along ill-suited county roads. (Subsequently, Mister Ross commented at the meeting that additionally it is now Plantation Road, Route 24, Mulberry Knoll Road and Robinsonville Road, etc.)
• Lingo agreed with DelDOT to widen a limited portion of Cedar Grove Road to a width of 50 feet, while some surrounding access roadways (mentioned above) are now approximately 20 feet wide shoulder to shoulder or 10 feet wide from the center line to shoulder, which is generally the case for a county road. (In general, Class A RVs range up to 45 feet in length, not counting a vehicle in tow; weigh up to 30,000 pounds (15 tons) and features, side mirrors and rolled awnings that approach 10 feet in width
• the Sussex County Finance Director’s report for revenue generation supports a residential area rather that an RV Park, and analysis shows nearly $9 million more can be generated with homes over 20 years
• Full time residents will spend more over a full year than tourists will spend over part of a year
In summary, it is difficult for me to understand how a reasonable evaluation of all the information that has been brought forth over the last several months would lead anyone to a conclusion to approve an RV park at this location.
John L. Hornyak
If we let them divide us, they will conquer
It is most upsetting to read the recent letters to the editor in the Cape Gazette. Those of us who have owned property here for years need to pull together to stop this senseless, uncontrolled development. The most recent spate of letters is around all the RV parks proposed in the eastern side of Sussex County. The reality is that we have a land use plan that is useless.
Three men from the west side of the county control everything that is being built and will be built here regardless of the impact to the environment, traffic, safety and tourism. Yes, tourism. At some point, tourists will stop coming here, because it is no longer pleasant to visit here.
Why do they control everything? They appoint the members of the planning and zoning board and the members of the board of adjustment. There are five council members and three votes control all of this. Nothing will change until the voters change this.
It is not only the county, but also the state, that I blame for this horrible situation. The county is required to submit a land use plan to the state, which the state reviews and then requires that the county enact ordinances to support the plan. The county has never enacted these ordinances, which would have strengthened somewhat the land use plan. The state has never done anything about this in the past or now. Sussex County Council continually either votes to make something Conditional Use (big joke) or says they are down-zoning something, as in the case of the Cedar Grove Road RV Park (big joke again)!
Also, there is this whole DelDOT situation that complicates all of this. The developer hires and pays a firm to perform a traffic study and then DelDOT 95 percent of the time rubber stamps it. In the Cedar Grove Road RV situation, the traffic study does not even have the roads that are impacted going in the right direction! So, the RV park will be built, and DelDOT will play catch up with widening the impacted roads. The surrounding communities will be locked into their developments and will probably lose more of their land to the widening of the roads just as Sandy Brae has lost considerable land to the realignment of Cedar Grove and Postal Lane.
It is time that those of us who are concerned about this continuing circus get it together and not only changes this county council, but also get our state senators and representatives who are ignoring this horrible DelDOT rubber stamp situation to get on board.
Love Creek RV Park: The abuse of common sense!
By Dan Ahearn | Sep 03, 2013
I attended the Aug. 22 Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, which made me lose even more faith in county government and the integrity of the bureaucratic process to do what’s best for the general public.
I’m referring to the 4-1 commission vote recommending approval of the overwhelmingly opposed Love Creek RV Park and campground resort.
The citizens of Sussex County deserve better than to be subjected to the random decision making of a group of appointed commissioners, whose recommendations will adversely impact the lives of many county residents for generations to come. The increased traffic of 600 additional RVs, will affect the health, safety and well-being of those who drive on the inadequate road infrastructure during the peak summer season.
While we were informed that this proceeding was “not a popularity contest,” it appears that the commissioners seemed convinced that they don’t have to be guided by concerns of the local residents, supposedly non-credentialed citizens who opposed this project. This is truly a disturbing thought.
Yes, we may not be experts or credentialed in a legal sense, but we are the ones who will have to bear the consequences of the decisions of out-of-area commissioners who represent us, but who themselves will not be affected by their actions.
As an example, a commissioner cited that no data was provided supporting our contention that property values would diminish if this project was approved. Common sense would dictate that even a village idiot would be able to figure out that if the existing narrow roads were heavily traveled and backed up with over-sized vehicles, it would detract from the desirability of living in nearby homes and thus diminish their values.
Obviously, putting a commercial resort in the middle of surrounding residential developments would not enhance property values and will negatively impact their values.
Additionally, this project decision will one day create various other issues: impeding the evacuation process of people trying to escape storms in a timely fashion with many over-sized vehicles on the narrow roadways; possibly adding to flooding due to the reduction in drainage and creek shifting patterns; harming the ecological balance of both wildlife and plants; and eventually costing Sussex County taxpayers time and money due to providing increased emergency services, road provisioning and maintenance, increase overcapacity and the placement of public sewer pipes not yet connected (although cited as one of the reasons for approval of the project); and last, the potential loss of additional transfer tax revenues to Sussex County if the property were to be developed in an alternative fashion.
Many of those in attendance at the Aug. 22 meeting had to endure hearing the astonishing accolades from two commissioners about the applicant’s “generosity” in making never before seen “voluntary” revisions to the original plans. Their admiration for the developer sounded more like testimonial than legitimate reasons for recommending approval of the project!
Was it really necessary to cite more than 15 frivolous and bogus reasons why one commissioner thought the project would be beneficial to us, the nearby residents? Did these comments rationalize the guilt of making an unfavorable decision to those he supposedly represents?
Additionally, do the commissioners honestly believe that the handful of minimum-wage seasonal jobs to be created will shrink the unemployment ranks and benefit the coffers of Sussex County?
In retrospect, the commissioner seemed to do a more enthusiastic job of defending the project than the applicant’s team did at the earlier council hearing!
This commissioner's list of conditions was even more excessive than his reasons for approval. However, who is going to inspect and enforce those conditions and what will happen if the conditions are not met after the project is completed? As an example, it was stated no alcohol would be sold on the premises, but the fate of the proposed tiki bar was not mentioned nor denied. Can a tiki bar function if it cannot sell alcohol? Was it purposely omitted on the record so that it can be resurfaced at a later date?
Limiting the use of the amphitheater to operate between allows it to be used for up to 15 hours a day with possible music, movies and or services. Does that mean that nearby residents can look forward to hearing the reverberation of the sound system throughout Love Creek for most of the day? Will we need to bother the police to enforce noise pollution if it occurs?
We’re also confused about the conditional dates of operation which were somehow expanded from the previously proposed dates stated by the applicant at the county council meeting. Somehow, the dates went from , to . Does the applicant even know that he should be opening earlier according to these conditions? Should the commission be thanked for the extended bonus period?
Unfortunately, this now adds another month of higher traffic volume to the nearby middle school as buses pass right by the RV resort to pick up and drop off students. The RV park would now be open simultaneously for at least five months with the Cape Henlopen school system. Unfortunately, it will only take one incident involving a RV and a school bus on the narrow shared roads to realize that this potential incident could have been prevented. Hopefully though, this will never happen.
One also wonders when DelDOT plans to complete the road improvements that it recommended in reviewing a traffic study conducted by the applicant. Does its budget allow for these improvements and weren’t some of these improvements already delayed? Will the park open prior to these improvements or should we expect the park to open first and then have massive traffic problems with oversized vehicles traversing the roads while they are under construction?
The commission stated that it expects 80 percent road improvement funding from the state’s allotment from the feds, but only 20 percent of a portion of the improvements to be paid by the applicant. Additionally, with the task force that is currently investigating improvements for pedestrian safety on Route 1, how will this be impacted by the increased RV traffic? And more important, how will this affect the RV traffic?
Another point is how is the RV project going to be compatible with the ongoing search for a new elementary school site which has been narrowed down to two possible locations out of four, which are located fewer than two miles from the RV park?
Also consider that a new RV site, capable of holding another 300 RVs, has just been approved six miles away from the proposed Love Creek site. This means that within the next few seasons, if the Love Creek RV Park is ultimately passed, we would have an influx of more than 900 additional RVs travelling on many of the same roads to get to this area. Can no one envision miles and hours of backups throughout the area? These long waits might even cause some tourists to reconsider coming to the area for weekends as they may spend frustrating hours stuck in traffic.
The smart thing to do would be to build the roads first and have them come instead of having them come first and then building the roads! Is there no planning ahead to evaluate what the cumulative impact to total traffic will be on the area or is it all done on a project-by-project basis?
Please realize that this is not an opposition to RV'ers, but instead an opposition to the location of the proposed site as well as to the existing road infrastructure. It will create chaos and inconvenience to nearby residents and others coming to the beach areas.
One needs only to drive by the narrow roads that will access the park and experience the frustration of the already existing traffic of Route 1, Plantation Road, Route 24, Robinsonville Road and the nearby connecting roads. Route 24 is already decorated with memorials to those who were killed in traffic accidents. Inserting larger vehicles on busy one-lane roads can only add to these tragedies. Therefore we again stress that this is not the appropriate location for up to 600 additional RVs and even more personal vehicles that will be associated with this project!
Finally, while some commissioners realize that they are immune from accountability to the public for their voting decisions since they are appointed for long terms, I offer that their accountability will come in the form of their legacies and reputations. If this park creates any of the economic, ecological, safety and adverse traffic conditions previously voiced in our letters and at the hearings, I propose that we constantly remind everyone of any public official’s roles in allowing and approving this preventable and ill-advised project.
Perhaps, we can erect a plaque or a sign forever acknowledging their involvement. Of course, if this project is the massive success that they believe it will be, then they’ll be perceived as those who knew what was best for their “non-credentialed citizens.”
However, if there are any future disasters or adverse consequences associated with this project if it was to pass, we’ll be sure to write to the papers and remind everyone again of any public official’s names and that of the developer, whose participation contributed to this misplaced albatross. They had been advised of the potential adverse conditions and harmful consequences, but will have chosen to ignore these ominous warnings. They must obviously believe in the merits of their judgment, so it shouldn’t bother them to be forever associated with their decisions.
It appears that greed, profit and possible business cronyism might be at the root of this project’s approval, but for whatever the reason, we have 1,200-plus signatures on a petition opposing this project and it is a shame that these voices are being ignored. We have little recourse to hold officials accountable and to see so few selfishly profit from this project at the expense of many.
The future character of Sussex County will be forever impacted by this decision, and it is a true travesty of the abuse of common sense. This type of project has already been denied in other parts of the county with fewer disadvantages than this proposed site, so one can only wonder how it could ever possibly be approved.
Finally, I do want to thank P&Z Commissioner Rodney Smith, who was independent enough to vote based on his convictions, and was not necessarily influenced by his connections. We all hope that the Sussex County Council will have that kind of courage and use common sense in making their final and binding decision!
This Thursday, Aug. 22, after seven months of debate since the initial hearing on the Lingo/Townsend applications to build an RV City, the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commissioners must exercise its responsibility and vote on the proposed Love Creek RV Resort Park and Campground. The reasons for denial are overwhelming. One can simply go to the website www.StopRvCity.webnode.com to view the summary of objections or look up the 54 fact-filled letters to the Cape Gazette editor.
One of the many themes from the opposition can be summed up as follows: It just does not fit! The proposed RV development is not in character with the surrounding adjacent area. There are no RV parks or similar commercial tourist-type ventures within miles. There are many housing communities in multiple directions that either one must pass to reach the entry of the proposed RV project or are neighbors on the shoreline of Love Creek. There are several housing developments with the potential of adding an additional 1,000-plus homes which have already been approved. An RV city plopped among these residential communities "just does not fit."
In evaluating this RV city, the commissioners can refer back to their own comments on other projects in establishing precedence on the suitability of this kind of development in the proposed area.
In his comments recommending denial of the Castaways Bethany RV campground applications, Commissioner Rodney Smith noted that rezoning is necessary to accomplish the developer's goal of building a RV park and campground. He also commented that that it was not consistent with surrounding properties as well as Sussex County's Comprehensive Plan. If approved, it would be detrimental to the health, safety, convenience and general welfare of the neighborhood or community. Commissioner Michael Johnson also voted for denial and stated that that the recent development and developing trend have been for single and multi-family projects. All of this same logic exists with this proposed RV city - "It just does not fit."
About one mile downstream from the proposed RV site - as the local bald eagle would fly - is the Love Creek Landing subdivision approved with a density of only 1.12 units per acre on AR-1 zoning. When the initial development was approved in 2009, Mr. Johnson commented that it was a superior design because it had a density of only 1.12 units per acre while maintaining approximately 102 acres of open space and 60 percent of the forested land. At the same time, he recommended that the multi-family dwellings component of the development be denied because it was not consistent with the character of the surrounding property and the underlying AR-1 zoning of this property.
The proposed RV city requires re-zoning to AR-1 and conditional use approvals. The density of 628 sites on 162 acres translates to 3.88 units per acre, well beyond the approved density of current zoning and the standard of 2 per acre in AR-1 zoning. Furthermore, a resort park with RV sites and cabins is even more inconsistent with the area than a multi-family dwelling. Based on prior precedence, again, this RV park "just does not fit."
The most recent RV applications for Massey Landing also provide some insights and precedence. Again, Mr. Johnson then noted "The proposed use as a campground is consistent with other uses in the Long Neck Road and Massey's Landing area, and there are other campgrounds in the area that have been in existence for many years." It should be noted that the proposed Love Creek RV City area has no existing RV parks or campgrounds in the area. The residents who live in the nearby communities are not subject to this type of nearby commercial and tourist venture. In the commissioner's minds, a RV park may fit for Massey's Landing but to be consistent with their thinking, the proposed development for Love Creek "just does not fit."
In addition, there are many other factual reasons for the commissioners to vote no and stop this RV city. They have heard many solid arguments against from the residents. These arguments and volume of opposition should not be ignored.
We the people have spoken on RV park
On rare occasions, a majority of citizens come together to voice their opposition to a proposed action by a government entity which impacts their lives in a prolonged and negative way. Citizens can detect the realistic effects of a government action despite the rhetoric that is used. This is the case with the proposed RV camp at Love Creek.
A huge number of the population of Lewes has signed a petition against the proposed campground. The meeting hall is packed with citizens when the proposed RV Camp at Love Creek is on the agenda. And, the Cape Gazette has published many letters to the editor voicing opposition to the campground based on analysis of the detrimental environmental effect of the campground on the surrounding area, the loss of revenue for the county and its fiscal operating budget, and the perpetual gridlock which will be experienced on two lane roads which can barely handle the traffic now.
How does a county/state which promotes protection of the environment and encourages bicycling, tourism and a small town atmosphere, advocate a development which so directly opposes these basic benefits of living in Sussex County? Where is the clamor for spaces at campground locations? This development is not based on a dire need for more campgrounds. Wouldn’t it be better for the developers/owners to provide a service for their neighbors and residents of the Lewes/Rehoboth area? It doesn’t take long for a new resident here to see that there are many beneficial, financial endeavors that could benefit the entire population. I fear that the gridlock and congestion that we moved away from is coming to Sussex County very quickly, bringing with it many negative and costly aspects.
I think the only reason that the letters in opposition to the campground have slowed down is because we are repeating the same valid reasons for not wanting the RV campground to be built in a residential area bound by small, winding roads not built for recreational vehicles. At the P&Z meetings, we were directed to say “ditto,” if we agreed with the speaker voicing opposition to the campground. How many letters does it take to say, “ditto, we don’t want the RV campground built?”
Hopefully, the planning and zoning commission as well as county council will listen to the will and voice of the people and vote against the RV campground.
Susan K. Boyle
Retreat at Love Creek
We must actively oppose RV campground
By Tilden and Mary Edwards | Aug 10, 2013
A huge new transient recreational development plan is being proposed by Jack Lingo Asset Management off Plantation Road (Route 1D Alternate 24), on the border of Rehoboth and Lewes, labeled the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground. This proposal would radically change the current zoning in order to build a massive transient RC city for up to 3,000 visitors a year. If it is approved by Sussex County Council and the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission, it would have a seriously adverse effect on that property and on the larger community. Among other negative results would be:
• A serious disruption of a sensitive wildlife area; the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has rightly recommended against it, recommending instead that it become a permanent preserve for forest and wetlands. It also is considered to include historically significant Indian burial grounds.
• Plantation Road already is a crowded, winding two-lane road that most everyone in the area uses at one time or another, doubly crowded at the intersection of Cedar Grove and Postal Lane. As a parallel bypass to Highway 1, even more crowding on Plantation would likely lead to more cars further crowding Highway 1 in busy periods.
• The plan is completely incompatible with the current low-density residential area where it would be built, bringing up to 3,000 transient people into a surrounding community of a few hundred families, all having to use the same narrow Plantation Road to get anywhere, including many RV vehicles going to and from the new development.
• Among a host of other reasons for disapproving this ill-conceived project are the increased pollution and noise, the increased demand on fire, police, EMS, utilities, waste management and other civic services in an area that is already underserved in some of these services, and the likely depression of everyone’s home values in the area as the impact of the development becomes clear.
Plantation Road already is lined with new housing developments contributing to the crowded roads; the last thing needed in that area is such a massive new development with a potential population close to Rehoboth’s entire off-season population (and Lewes’ as well). As Lewes homeowners, joining many others in the area, we urge residents of Lewes and Rehoboth to actively oppose this proposal that would irreparably harm the natural environment and create many other long-term negative consequences for the area.
Tilden and Mary Edwards
Too many unanswered questions on RV park
Since early this year, my neighbors and I have been dealing with the threat of the Lingo organization developing an RV park on land adjacent to our homes which is not zoned for such development nor consonant with the character of the existing neighborhood of agriculture and single family-homes.
It endangers the ecosystem and the safety of our families by proposing utilization of currently inadequate dangerous county roads with no shoulders for access to this so-called resort.
I have attended meetings, studied the criteria for rezoning as well as DelDOT's feasibility reports and visited with planning & zoning. I keep asking what benefit does this Lingo commercial venture offer the county, its citizens or my neighbors and myself. I am unable to get any answers.
With several partners back in the early 80s, I purchased 18 acres along Ward Road and developed Beachwoods I & II. We believed the zoning was appropriate then as we do today. When we subdivide the property lots were a minimum of half an acre and we designed and paid for the roads and the drainage system to county specifications. Our plan was that our community would offer privacy, safety, easy access to the beaches, shopping and entertainment.
I live in Beachwoods now and plan to continue to call it home. There is absolutely nothing in the Lingo proposal that benefits me or anyone other than the Lingos. After a thorough analysis of our community's response to the Lingo plan, it is clear that there is virtually no support for this ill-conceived proposal.
While I was reviewing the DelDOT study, I noticed for the first time that subject area for this project abuts Route 24. From the original proposal presented by the Lingo organization in January and subsequent meetings, I have been unsuccessful in getting an answer to any of my questions regarding the suitability of this “resort” for our communities.
I have a new question today. If the Lingo organization is aware that access to their proposed RV park could be available off Route 24, why would their proposals recommend directing RV traffic to unsuitable and unsafe country lanes without shoulders and dangerous curves?
It's time for answers. It's clear that this RV park offers nothing to Sussex County. Our neighbors have made it clear that they are overwhelmingly against this project. We settled here because it was the right place for our families to live and we believed that the zoning would protect us from the invasion proposed by the Lingo organization.
J. Todd Miller
DelDOT campground traffic study ridiculous
I am writing about the proposed RV Park on Cedar Grove Road off of Plantation Road and the developer-paid-for traffic study rubber stamped by DelDOT. The company, Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, has offices in Newark, Delaware and Baltimore, Md., and none in Sussex County.
The first blatant mistake, which, I believe, calls into question the whole study is that they quote the direction of the roads they are commenting on going the wrong way.
They say that Plantation Road goes east and west, and that Postal Lane goes south and Cedar Grove Road goes north! Now, if they do not even know what the correct directions of the roads are in our communities, how can they make recommendations?
Next, I totally disagree with what they have said will happen once the re-alignment of Cedar Grove and Postal Lane happens with an inclusion of a traffic light. They say currently with the stop signs on a weekday evening it takes 424 seconds to get through the intersection and 239 seconds Saturday midday.
Anyone that has been here on a Saturday afternoon in season knows those numbers should at least be reversed. They then project that once the intersection is signalized that it will be 21 seconds weekday evenings and 20 seconds Saturday midday. That is absolutely absurd! When did they do this study? Was it on a winter day in a snow storm?
During the months of June, July, August and now even September cars, especially on Saturdays, are lined up from Route 1 to Planation Road on Postal Lane. Many of them decide to cut through Sandy Brae in order to avoid the intersection. How is a timed light going to get all those cars through in 20 seconds?
Just wait until they add RVs to this mix. Here is the recommendation that was also rubber stamped by DelDOT: "The developer should be required to identify routes to and from the proposed development that are well-suited to RV traffic and to encourage their patrons to use these routes when traveling by RV. Directions should be provided through signs, literature, and any website that may be created for the development. For example, traffic to and from the north and south could be directed to use Delaware Route 1, Postal Lane and Cedar Grove Road. Traffic to and from the west could be directed to use Delaware Route 24, Plantation Road and Cedar Grove Road."
The board of Sandy Brae has taken a position against this development, because of the heavy traffic impact. No matter what an out-of-area traffic consultant postulates and DelDOT rubber stamps, we know that we are going to be held hostage in our community many afternoons. We will also be side stepping and ducking all the cut through traffic that will increase if this is approved.
Love Creek campground an asinine idea
Sussex County Council will soon be voting on the possible campground near Love Creek. I truly believe everyone has written letters stating why this isn't a good idea.
The concerns for the traffic and the impact to the environment in the area have all been brought to everyone's attention. What more can we do? Logic would tell the majority of the people that this is an asinine idea and proposal.
However, having been in Delaware for nearly 30 years, it has been proven over and over that decisions are not always made for the well-being of the majority of the residents, but because some people have greater influence in the decision making process. What a shame it is!
If this gets even one vote of approval as Massey's Landing did, the people on the council and the representatives that are to represent us, will get the message next time they ask us for our vote!
Retreat at Love Creek, Lewes
There are plenty of RV sites available
The proposed RV City project has created a storm of protests from the surrounding communities - communities that contain taxpaying citizens who take pride in their homes and surrounding communities and are very concerned about the impact of a massive 600-plus RV development.
My wife and I moved into The Retreat at Love Creek in Nov. 2012. It is a wonderful community of caring families who now see their lives seriously affected by the proposed RV City with the resulting increase in traffic and serious environmental impacts.
The developer wants the proposed RV City location to be rezoned, citing lack of RV locations in the Lewes area. Yet it has been established that there are over 4,000 currently available RV sites in the area!
The developer also wants to include besides the 600-plus pads, a boat launch/tiki bar/cabins and kayak launch. These projects are in violation of County Code Article XXIV, chapter 115.172, section H.
The developer could develop the land with low density housing which would provide greater tax revenue to the county, but less profit to the developer. The developer also paid for a traffic study that supported his claims, but used incorrect statistical models to make their case.
It is important for our community to have future plans for growth and revenue, but it should be done in a joint, integrated way. The local taxpaying citizens need to have their concerns heard and proper attention giving to them. The developer's ambitions must be keep in check by the people who live and work in the areas affected.
Richard T. Marino
Stop RV City near Love Creek
The long-awaited traffic study concerning the proposal to build RV City was recently published. Bearing in mind that this study was paid for by the proposed developer, it comes as no surprise that the study contains numerous serious issues that were apparently overlooked or ignored in order to present a rosy picture regarding traffic to the hundreds of RVs that will make their way to RV City.
It is an insult to anyone's intelligence that we are to expected believe that there will be no, or minimal RV traffic coming from the west. The traffic coming from the west, traveling on eastbound Route 24 is expected to turn left at Mulberry Knoll Road, for which a traffic light will be installed. We all know what happens when a traffic light is installed - it backs up traffic until the light turns green. One would expect a traffic study professional to know this, and also know that the alternative to waiting for a traffic light to change or to avoid the back-up altogether, is to look for an alternate route.
Behold, there is already a traffic light enabling RVs to turn left on to Robinsonville Road and easily connect with Cedar Grove Road via a right turn. Why was Robinsonville Road, a narrow, windy country road without shoulders that follows Love Creek on the opposite side of the proposed RV City, not included in the traffic study? Then imagine driving your RV on Route 1 south, only to find yourself in slow-moving or stopped traffic (sound familiar?).
The natural alternative to the proposed route to RV City is to turn at Five Points and access Robinsonville Road from Plantation Road. Plantation Road will be backed up, possibly even worse because of the proposed traffic light, and people will make the turn onto Robinsonville Road. Does anyone believe that people with RVs do not use their GPS to plan routes and avoid traffic? RV drivers will punch in the RV City coordinates and go the way of the GPS, through Robinsonville Road, as well as through the Sandy Brae community and other local roads not intended for this type of use. Sadly, local car traffic will also add to this problem when trying to avoid the RVs.
Again, why was Robinsonville Road not included in the traffic study, paid for by the developer? Could it be that the developer would have to shell out even more money to improve the impacted local roads? At what point does it become not worth it to the developer to abandon this terrible use of land? Will the developers listen only if money talks?
County urged to vote down proposed RV City
As a 13-year resident and home owner in Briarwood Estates on Route 24, it is my opinion that the proposed RV City in Love Creek will hurt Sussex County financially as well as the residents in the area, the business people in the county and the visiting tourists alike.
The total inadequacy of the secondary and tertiary roads that must accommodate the RV traffic is already stressed during the summer months by vacationers. It seems obvious to me and must be realized by the Delaware Department of Transportation that the only benefactor in this endeavor will be the Lingo organization. The facts that were raised about the project during the Sussex County meetings last February are irrefutable and in some cases in violation of existing county law.
Even with proper infrastructure planning, the cost to the state and local government will ultimately filter down to the taxpayer. Such a negative impact on our county and its residents is not for the “greater good.”
Thanks to the Cape Gazette’s efforts to keep locals informed about this issue and hopefully Sussex County Council will soon vote to reject the Lingo RV City Project ASAP.
Sussex officials must follow wishes of people
Now that Sussex County officials have begun the formal debate over the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, it seems to me that the issue boils down to a simple question: Is our county government of the people and for the people - or for a single business interest?
As all Americans know, the role of government is to represent its citizens. Regarding the proposal to build the RV development on the banks of Love Creek, the citizens of Sussex County have spoken loud and clear to their government representatives - those members of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission and Sussex County Council - that they are overwhelmingly opposed to zoning changes that would allow this massive development to proceed. In recent months, they have expressed their opposition in every channel available to constituents in a representative democracy:
• More than 1,200 citizens have signed petitions in opposition to the project - the equivalent of 44 percent of the total population of Lewes (2,757 in 2011). As of June 10, only 11 people have written in favor of it.
• At the Sussex County Council public hearing on the matter, 190 people attended to oppose the development.
• At the planning and zoning commission public hearing, 110 attended to express their opposition - and 40 more people stood in the corridors outside the commission chamber ready to voice their objections.
• Residents of seven residential developments containing more than 1,100 single family homes formed an organization, the Stop RV City Coalition, whose sole purpose was to oppose this unwanted project. The residents live in The Retreat at Love Creek, Harts Landing, Briarwood Estates, Webb’s Landing, Plantations East, Bayfront and Ward Road.
• More than 120 area residents held a rally Feb. 9 on the banks of Love Creek to protest the proposed development.
• Forty-three area residents wrote letters to the Cape Gazette, the leading newspaper in our community, opposing the development while detailing dozens of concerns about the project.
• And several citizens with scientific credentials have researched the proposal from Jack Lingo Asset Management and found serious flaws that threaten area roads, environmentally sensitive wetlands, the aquifer and nearby subdivisions.
By contrast, public support for the project - in the record, at hearings and in the media - has been negligible. In fact, the developer has offered no rationale for building the project other than the profits to be reaped by a single business interest. In testimony to the planning and zoning commission and county council, it was made clear that the project doesn’t even make financial sense for county coffers. It would result in a decrease in tax revenues and an increase in costs incurred by the local government for additional municipal and county services to care for the extra residents of the RV development.
The members of the planning and zoning commission and county council have a clear and unequivocal indication of the wishes of their constituents in Sussex County. We have voiced our opposition to the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground and now we ask that our government representatives abide by the will of the people: Do not approve zoning changes C/Z #1725 and C/U #1925 that would permit the building of the RV City. To do otherwise would be a mockery of the ideals and practice of our democratic form of government.
Michael J. Weiss
Concerns with DelDOT report for Love Creek RV park
By James Schneider | Jun 28, 2013
"The developer should be required to identify routes to and from the proposed development that are well-suited to RV traffic and to encourage their patrons to use these routes when traveling by RV. Directions should be provided through signs, literature, and any website that may be created for the development. For example, traffic to and from the north and south could be directed to use Delaware Route 1, Postal Lane, and Cedar Grove Road. Traffic to and from the west could be directed to use Delaware Route 24, Plantation Road, and Cedar Grove Road"
My concern as a resident of Hart's Landing is with adding RV traffic to the existing traffic during the summer. It is very difficult for myself and other residents to make a left hand turn from Hart's Landing out onto Route 24 going east toward Plantation Road on Saturday and Sunday midday and now JMT is recommending the RV traffic come that way. I wished the person making this recommendation lived in Hart's Landing or better yet his boss lived here and you would see a very different recommendation.
In addition looking at any GPS coming from the south drivers would not come up Route 1 but more likely come up Route 113 to Route 24. Again the recommended directions from the north say to stay on Route 1 to Postal Lane, with the traffic on Route 1 that is not going to happen. Has the JMT consultant ever driven these roads during the summer?
My second major concern is the average delay times per vehicle listed in the TIS report for Route 24 and Mulberry Knoll. I will say I don't have the expertise to challenge the numbers, but common sense for anyone who comes to the beach up Route 24 during the summer can see issues with this report. For example, the report has delay times on Route 24 going east to Mulberry Knoll being less on Saturday midday than weekday evenings and about the same as weekday mornings, which is just wrong. From my personal experience, these delays are understated.
On Saturdays during the summertime I have observed traffic backup from Plantation Road to past the entrance to Hart's Landing, a distance of at least 1.4 miles. This leaves me to believe that the TIS was not done during the summertime which is the main season that this campground will be in operation. I ask the planning and zoning and Sussex County Council to ask when this study was done, and if it was not done during the summertime to throw out the TIS because it does not represent the traffic when the campground is in operation.
More concerns raised about RV city
My husband and I would like to express our concerns and opposition to the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground project. We have been intently watching the developments. As an owner of a small business establishment, I have also been listening to my patrons. As facts have been become more visible, I have observed that an overwhelming majority have grown from lack of awareness to opposition. Almost every day a concerned client asks me if there are updates.
Our concerns have been echoed by many of my patrons. Severe congestion of traffic is not only a quality of life issue, but also a safety issue. They are concerned about their ability to enter into and out of my salon on a regular basis, but even more during peak summer months when this RV park will operate. I fear for the safety of my patrons, many who are senior citizens. Traffic on Route 24 is getting worse, not better. There was one car accident when a young man passed out, ricocheted off my tree and crashed into my car. If my car was not in the driveway, this out of control vehicle would have driven right into my manicure room where two guests were getting manicures. Adding RVs and more traffic increases the danger.
Traffic safety is not the only issue. I am also concerned about the impact on sensitive Love Creek and surrounding area. I fear that visitors will be less caring than full time residents and excessive pollution/noise will be the result. Just like the Indian in that vintage commercial, I can envision teardrops in residents' eyes as they see garbage floating in Love Creek from such a large influx of transients or hear of further pollution issues like the recent closing to shell fishing. We personally have experienced vandalism, robberies and drunken people on our property. A city of 628 RV sites (potentially 2,500 people) adjacent to Love Creek adds risk to the environment and nearby residents.
Also, an RV park is not suitable for a residential area and raises concerns about property devaluation. We feel that the recent growth of low density housing in this area has been a benefit to our business (new, full time customers) plus they provide the county with tax revenues to support the infrastructure and local services.
We have heard from patrons that this RV park is a done deal as the Lingo/Townsend group is very influential. We hope not, and trust that our public officials will realize that this area's infrastructure and environment cannot handle a dense RV city of 628 sites and up to 2,500 visitors, and that our residents' safety is a significant issue.
Marianne and Arlin Berlinger
Love Creek too fragile for proposed RV city
The closing of a section of Love Creek to shellfish harvesting is a clear sign that the concerns about the adverse impact of RV city on Love Creek are real. The development site is on a narrow strip of land between Love Creek and a small feeder stream. The water table is only a few feet below the surface in some places, and contamination will have a short trip to Love Creek.
The planned campground will have a population density over four times as high as that of Webbs Landing. None of these people will have an investment in or a long-term concern for the health of Love Creek. I am sure that most of them will treat the environment the same as they would at home, but I doubt they will all have the same concern as homeowners.
Even with the best of care, too high a population density along the shores of Love Creek will add to the problems that resulted in the closing of a section of shellfish harvesting. Putting a high density campground where, for all practical purposes, it is right in the middle of Love Creek, is not a good idea.
Love Creek RV campground economics bad for Sussex
The Sussex County proposed 2014 budget delivered good news for residents -with property taxes and sewer costs held flat or reduced. The primary causes were lower debt financing and continued strong realty transfer taxes. I wrote a letter to the Gazette earlier this year in opposition to the Love Creek RV Resort campground - detailing the economic benefit to the county of housing development versus RV parks. It appears that the numbers continue to support this position.
It is worth repeating some of the factors that all tax-paying residents of Sussex County should be aware - that low density housing is the preferred choice versus RV campgrounds. In that earlier letter, I displayed facts provided by the county finance department where housing delivered millions more in revenues to the county versus an RV site.
Houses pay realty transfer tax - RV sites do not: “Realty transfer taxes will continue to be the county’s largest source of income, with $16 million in revenue expected in Fiscal Year 2014, almost $3 million more than was projected in FY2013. That source is expected to rise thanks to an uptick in the local housing market, both in sales of existing homes and new construction.” “Sixty one percent of General Fund revenues are derived from realty transfer tax and property tax.”
These are quotes from the 2014 county budget presentation (www.sussexcountyde.gov). The STOP RV CITY supporters (www.stoprvcity.webnode.com) have written letters to the Gazette with concerns of public safety and traffic. The county budget general fund spends 55 cents of every tax dollar on public safety. If RV sites pay little or no taxes/fees - they will certainly be a burden on tax-paying citizens.
The Love Creek RV campground’s large transient population would likely be a stress on local paramedics, police and fire departments - with kayaks, swimming pools, playing fields, campfires, tiki bar, plus all other activities. Who will fund those services - the rest of Sussex County tax-payers! We urge the planning & zoning and county council to vote no on the conditional use applications for the Love Creek RV campground. If they want continued strong fiscal performance for Sussex County, they need to make the right choice. Vote No!
Good development is appropriate development
The time is drawing near for Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission and Sussex County Council members to vote on the conditional use variance required for the Love Creek RV project off Cedar Grove Road. I hope and pray that the committee members have given this project serious reflection and will decide unanimously to turn down the developer's request for a zoning change to allow the RV campground (and potentially other non-residential development).
The proposed RV site is surrounded by successful single-family housing developments. Plus, there are numerous residential developments approved and planned for the area which will have the appropriate density and be populated by tax-paying citizens. The parcel in question currently has a zoning designation consistent with the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan - which should be maintained. The 628 RV, tent and cabin sites (plus all the amenities) planned for the banks of Love Creek are inconsistent with the area and the county’s strategic plan.
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful section of a small state that has few major roads, but beautiful national parks, 27 miles of beaches, varieties of wetlands and bay areas that are home to endangered species and migrating birds. If this national treasure is to be preserved for future generations, it must be protected. That is the purpose of the comprehensive plan and prescribed zoning rules. The developers have the obligation to be responsible stewards of the land and not be driven by economics alone. Our county officials have the duty to protect our environment and lifestyle. Our children and grandchildren will inherit the results of these decisions. Good development is appropriate development.
RV park a special concern to Plantations residents
As residents living in close proximity to the proposed Lingo/Townsend RV development, our community has been following closely the articles published in your newspaper on this issue. Everyone I have spoken to in our development is concerned about the same issues other writers from neighboring communities have expressed: safety and traffic issues, environmental damage, decline in property values, financial costs to the county, and a negative impact on the serenity of the area.
Our community is divided by Plantations Road. On the west side of Plantations Road is the first phase of the community, “The Plantations,” which has 232 residences, a club house, swimming pool, tennis courts and health club. On the east side of Plantations Road is the second phase of the development, “The Plantations East”, which has 379 residences and a very large pond for fishing, small sailboats and kayaks.
As a community, we experience firsthand the ever increasing traffic congestion and safety issues. In the summer, the traffic is so bad on Plantations Road that it is almost impossible for our residents to cross from one side of the development to the other so that we can safely enjoy the amenities each side offers. Our residents, their children, grandchildren and visitors - all find their safety in jeopardy when attempting to cross Plantation Road. Driving across is almost impossible, so most of us walk or bike, hoping for a kind soul stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic to let us across.
To complicate matters, traffic accidents are not uncommon as Richard Wright pointed out in his letter published in the Gazette April 18. After he witnessed two accidents, he was told by a state trooper that 10-12 accidents occur a year involving residents trying to cross from one side of the community to the other.
The proposed RV resort with 628 sites is more than double the density allowed by current zoning and bigger than other developments in the area. The funneling of big RV rigs as well as daily trips by their cars to and from the beaches and shopping to the intersection of Plantation Road, Postal Lane and Cedar Grove Road just south of us would make a bad situation get much worse!
If one looks to future development, the vision becomes even more frightening. Our infrastructure cannot handle the density and corresponding heavy vehicle travel of this development. Traffic generated by this development would not only be an inconvenience, but an increasingly dangerous safety issue to residents. We ask that the county council, planning and zoning commission, DelDOT, DNRECand our local community leaders not to approve this RV venture.
Many reasons to deny Love Creek RV City
As a resident of Lewes and the Retreat at Love Creek, I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed RV City. As has already been stated, the use of this land for this purpose will primarily benefit only the elite few, while the vast majority of homeowners and others who vacation in this area will experience a decline in lifestyle and lessen the attraction to visit and patronize local businesses.
Were I planning a trip to this area, I would need to factor in the extra amount of time it will take to travel here due to numerous large RVs plodding elephant-like down Rout e1 and Route 24 and then weaving their way around the narrow, winding local roads that lack shoulders, making it dangerous and impossible to pass them. Were I visiting the towns of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, I would have to compete with these large vehicles, which, in all probability will not fit in any normal-sized parking spaces.
Presumably, they would just give up after doing what they do best - clog the roads, especially on the weekends - and plod back to RV City - generating no income for the local shops and restaurants and no tourist revenue to speak of except perhaps at the outlet malls where there are elephant-sized parking spaces.
But wait, this is actually a good thing for RV City. A booming business is anticipated for the RV City tiki bar and presumed price-inflated food amenities the RV City planners have in mind for their captive, mosquito-plagued guests. (Surely there is a plan for mosquito control - possibly the use of chemicals that would then make their way into Love Creek and surrounding environmentally sensitive areas?) Ah yes, the tiki bar - liquor consumption followed by a dip or kayak excursion into Love Creek. Will firearms be permitted? If this passes, I suggest that there be a requirement for substantial monies to be set aside by RV City to compensate the police and rescue squad, who may or may not be able to get there on time when incidents occur, due to the large, plodding RVs clogging up the roads where, remember, there are no shoulders to pull over on or use to pass.
The good news - if approved, RV City will not operate year round. During this time, local residents and visitors who do contribute to the overall local economy will have a brief respite from the plodding, elephantine RVs and the numerous trucks that will be needed to haul out trash and empty/change the porta-potties on a continuous basis. During the off-season, without leaves on whatever trees are left after they strip and pave the land for parking spaces and campsites, we will be "treated" to the sight of the devastation of environmentally sensitive areas of Love Creek. Give me a housing development any day.
I welcome new neighbors and homeowners who pay real estate taxes and actually care about this area. Jobs are created when developments are built and afterwards, not just the few part-time, low income jobs that would come to RV City. Homeowners and those who visit and stay at hotels, rent houses and patronize businesses and restaurants benefit our local economy. RV City primarily benefits only the local elite who are proposing this and who, I suspect, do not live nearby. Dear council, please vote no to RV City.
RV City will be detriment to majority
I am a full time resident of Hart's Landing located in Lewes on Route 24, and the treasurer of our homeowners association. Although I have no personal bias against campers or RV users, I strongly object to the proposed RV City on Cedar Grove Road. I feel that the site will have significant negative impacts on the county and the homeowners who enjoy the lifestyle it provides.
While I do not have the credentials to speak to the issues of the environment, I can speak to the issues of safety, traffic and finances. My greatest concern relates to the issue of safety. The county already places a great deal of stress on its medical, police and fire personnel. This is evidenced by the wait time to get to see a doctor, and the limited number of officers and fire fighters we employ, while we simultaneously encounter a significantly growing population.
Additional stress to these services, especially within such a small area, will most certainly cause a deterioration of services that are critical to the health and safety of our current residents.
Traffic on Route 1 and Route 24 is already terrible. Adding 600 exceptionally large vehicles on narrow, curved and already burdened roads will only serve to create additional back ups, increase road damageand increase traffic incidents. Neither the developers, nor DELdot, have proposed wide enough changes to Mulberry Road, Cedar Grove Road, or Route 24 coming from both the east and west, to accommodate this increased traffic.
Traffic on Route 24 past our development already backs up over two to three miles in the warm months and without lights to allow for leaving the development, it makes turning out of our development extremely difficult, time consuming and dangerous. We have already had two accidents at the entrance to our development and with this increased congestion, accidents are bound to increase.
While taxes are paid by the land owners, temporary campers will not generate the same revenues as transfer and real estate taxes would generate if the land was developed for homes. With the federal government cutting back support and states strapped, generating revenue is a critical concern. If we do not generate the maximum revenue, stress will ultimately be placed on current homeowners who have come to live here for the tax benefits.
Bottom line is that I believe the RV City will be a benefit to few, while a detriment to most all of the constituents the planning board and county council were elected to serve.
RV park will destroy peaceful community
My family and I moved in November 2012 to a new home in The Retreat at Love Creek community in Lewes. We moved from a beautiful community outside of Raleigh, N.C. to what we believe to be an equally beautiful and peaceful community at Love Creek. The operative word is "peaceful." Much to our surprise we discovered in January 2013 that a major RV development with 628 units was proposed as our new neighbor.
In my opinion, the major negative to this proposed RV development is the lack of individual ownership by those using this RV site. The Retreat at Love Creek community is a beautiful and well ordered community primarily because the homeowners take great pride in their homes and property.
It is clear to me that this proposed RV development will do nothing to enhance the neighborhood, but rather it will decrease the surrounding property values, add traffic and noise and increase the pollution of Love Creek and the surrounding environment.
Please support the taxpaying citizens of Lewes who will be burdened by this proposed RV City and help stop this project. If the land is to be developed, it should be with single family homes in a community that takes pride in its appearance, provides tax revenues and keeps the surrounding areas pollution free. Please visit the website atwww.stoprvcity.webnode.com, for more information.
Richard T. and Margaret E. Marino
Retiress opposed to proposed RV park
We bought our Webb's Landing home because it sits on serene Love Creek, with natural wetlands and ever-changing wildlife. lt is a small residential community with wonderful neighbors, surrounded by farmland. When getting ready to purchase, we discussed the strong possibility of homes nestled among the woods and wetlands directly across from us. We did not anticipate having 620 RVs across from us most months of the year.
We love strolling and shopping in Historic Lewes and beachy Rehoboth. We like the variety of stores on Route 1 and our favorite local shop in Peddler's Village. Your restaurants are amazing. Your Health Care system is excellent, with caring staff and organized efficiency. All the current tax-paying homeowners support the county and these local businesses. The transient RV population (nearly 3,000) will stress our infrastructure and our fire, police, and paramedic resources. Their contribution to county revenue will be minimal.
lf this major change in zoning takes place for the proposed Love Creek ampground, say goodbye Love Creek as we know it. The serenity of Love Creek will be replaced with an outdoor bar and an amphitheater with loudspeakers, nighttime music and entertainment. Even after promised improvements (on one road only), can you imagine the gridlock at the intersection of Mulberry Knoll and Rt 24 , Plantation Road and Rt 24, and the Five Points intersection? lt will be easy for RVers to ask for directions .... the traffic will be at a standstill.
We are not opposed to residential development. Every new person we meet here has been friendly, helpful, and down to earth, which is just what we wanted for retirement living. We feel more at home all the time. That is why we moved here, to be in a residential area. We are opposed to a change in the existing zoning and the resulting huge RV campground and its permanent destructive effect on Love Creek. We urge the Planning and Zoning and County Council to reject the zoning change.
Joan and Pat Trunzo
RV park would violate state mandates
I watched the board members’ eyes glaze over at the February planning meeting as an environmentalist spoke about the endangered barking tree frog and eastern tiger salamander, their fragile ecosystem and the deleterious effects of the proposed RV camp on this unique Love Creek backwater. I know profits speak loudly, but Sussex County does not stand to gain financially from the Lingo park, only Lingo investors do. And we (Sussex residents) have a lot to lose. There are many reasons to preserve this unique ecosystem, the most important ones being to:
1) Maintain free navigation - The State of Delaware has determined that despoliation of wetlands, which the RV Camp will most decidedly do, will “disturb the natural ability of wetlands to reduce flood damage and adversely affect the public health and welfare; that such loss or despoliation will substantially reduce the capacity of such wetlands to absorb silt and will thus result in the increased silting of channels and harbor areas to the detriment of free navigation.
2) Preserve the natural environment of wetlands - “It is hereby determined that the coastal areas of Delaware are the most critical areas for the present and future quality of life in the state and that the preservation of the coastal wetlands is crucial to the protection of the natural environment of these coastal areas. Therefore, it is declared to be in the public policy of this state to preserve and protect the productive public and private wetlands and to prevent their despoliation and destruction.”
3) Insure the value of wetlands as sources of nutrients to finfish, crustacea and shellfish of significant economic value as mandated by the State of Delaware.
4) Protect wetlands as habitats for plants and animals of significant economic and ecological value (including the barking tree frog and the eastern tiger salamander) also mandated by the state of Delaware.
I encourage the planning board members to familiarize themselves with these protections put in place by the state to preserve Delaware coastal waters and wetlands. Love Creek is in confluence with Rehoboth Bay and is an important Delaware waterway.
In my opinion, approval of an RV park on Love Creek would be in direct violation of these state mandates.
Majority has spoken regarding RV park
The comprehensive plan’s stated purpose regarding the current zoning regulations is to promote (among other things) safety, order, prosperity and general welfare of the inhabitants of Sussex County. Taking into consideration the many possible negative outcomes from establishing an RV site on Love Creek: loss of county revenue from a residential development vs. RV Park, impact on traffic on Route 24, Plantation Road, Cedar Grove Road (danger on Cedar Grove with the short “S” turns on a narrow road), negative effect on the waters of Love Creek by people who don’t have a vested interest in our community, potential fires (unsupervised campfires), stress on emergency assistance, etc., it seems that common sense should prevail. With over 1,000 petitions in opposition signed by concerned tax-paying residents of Sussex County – we believe the inhabitants have spoken.
This matter has raised awareness of the critical need for the county planner position to be filled – ASAP. It has been several years since we had a person in such a position. We need a county planner who will defend the comprehensive plan for this area. We need a professional who is experienced, objective, and independent. We need a planner who will expertly advise planning and zoning and County Council members on the correct path to benefit not the pockets of a few wealthy individuals but of all the people - in this matter, those surrounding the proposed RV Park.
The majority has spoken - with over-flowing attendance at public hearings, 1,000+ petitions, numerous letters to officials and media, etc. We hope that our county representatives have listened and we urge them to vote against the zoning changes requested by Townsend/Lingo. Plus – fill the county planner position.
Anne & Patrick French
Retreat at Love Creek
Increased traffic from proposed park a great concern
My wife and I recently moved to The Retreat at Love Creek in Lewes and were very much disturbed to learn of the proposed development of the 628-site RV City. We were particularly concerned about the prospect of having to deal with the significantly increased volume of traffic that this development would create to say nothing of the increased potential for accidents on the narrow and curvy access roads to our community.
When we first considered moving to the Lewes area, we were prepared for the major increases in the volume of traffic that would occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day on all of the roads around our community.
There are currently about 1,100 homes in eight nearby communities. Plopping in this high-density RV City will dramatically increase the number of living sites in the area by over 60 percent. The monumental traffic problems that would be caused by the approval of this development are very dismaying.
Traffic is a quality-of-life issue that affects us and all of neighbors. However, traffic congestion could be life-threatening. Traffic congestion can dramatically affect the response time for our police, EMS, and firefighters as well as our ability to travel to the hospital in an emergency situation. The risks to residents and citizens of the greater Lewes area will surely increase.
In addition, safety concerns exist as the beautiful, winding roads that surround our community would become a treacherous challenge for those who look forward to bike rides or just walking.
For the reasons mentioned in this letter as well as the financial and environmental reasons mentioned in nearly two dozen letters in the last month, we vehemently urge the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission and the members of the County Council not to approve the zoning request for the development of the RV City.
Michael and Karen Saxe
Observations about letter supporting RV park
The following are a few observations regarding a recent letter in the Cape Gazette (3/29-4/1 edition - “Sussex should embrace proposed campground) in support of the proposed RV Park.
The issue of “campgrounds today being far different than 20-plus years ago." How so? Because the price of the equipment is greater? This will make the imprint on the eco-system less invasive? We think not, as outlined in the well-documented letter in the same edition entitled “Proposed park inappropriate."
We cannot understand the point that a camper “will contribute more to the local economy than the average vacationer." This project has been proposed as a “destination resort." If, as stated, the “$50,000 campers and motor homes” bring all their amenities with them how does that help local merchants? Oh, and how about lost hotel and motel revenue? Does not the existing zoning provide year-round revenue for “supplies, groceries, equipment and other ancillary items which support local commerce?"
Regarding traffic studies. There has been little evidence submitted to date supporting a comprehensive and all-inclusive study of the roads leading to the RV resort from all directions.
The last issue to be challenged in this correspondence is the conception “that some residents despise new development and would be happy to never see another house constructed." We do not recall comments of anti-development. This issue is being challenged for land-use revision, lost tax revenue to Sussex County as well as strain on traffic and services such as police, fire, ambulance.
In closing, we do not see this issue as anti-commerce and feel that these “responsible developers who have a long history of creating well planned communities” can still generate income from this property for themselves, their investors, Sussex County and local merchants by designing a suitable project within the guidelines of the existing zoning.
Linda and Jim Taylor
Several factors weigh into RV park opposition
My opposition to the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground proposal is based on several factors including traffic, safety, county economics, and status of other RV parks. I have history in this area, having owned a home in Plantations East for 12 years prior to relocating to The Retreat at Love Creek in 2011.
The primary cause of my move was the dramatic increase in traffic and safety issues on Plantation Road. Traffic routinely backs up on Plantations Road/Waverly Road from Robinsonville to Old Landing Road. It is not unusual for this approximate 3/4 mile drive to take 25 minutes on a weekend or holiday. The accidents were so frequent in front of the Plantations, a system of lane markers was deployed with little success.
I personally witnessed two accidents and a trooper mentioned 10-12 accidents occurring in a year. Adding tractor-trailer sized vehicles to this traffic equation will only increase the stress on these roads and further endanger local residents.
I fully support sensibly planned housing growth for this area – consistent with current development. Tax revenues can only make our county better. As previously commented on in this publication, minor revenues will be collected by a RV park, zero realty transfer taxes.
These campgrounds will always start with glorious presentations and commitments from the developer. Have you ever seen an ugly brochure? Then when you arrive at the destination you realize the pictures deceived you. Based on visits to other local parks, it is my view that this project will never fit into the local area.
It is not consistent with the County Comprehensive Plan and other development (existing or planned). I urge our government officials to deny the conditional use and for the developer to do the right thing – create the appropriate project for this pristine land.
RV Park will ruin nature and tranquility
It is very disturbing to think that our lovely community in The Retreat at Love Creek and other surrounding neighborhoods would be ruined if Lingo develops the RV City. My husband and I have lived in Delaware for 29 years and we are small business owners in this fine state.
We love our new community for its peacefulness and the natural, beautiful surroundings of Love Creek. Now the developer plans to put in a tiki bar and amphitheater in our backyard. What a travesty!
It’s obvious to us that this RV development will damage and pollute this serene area. Cedar Grove is a very winding, narrow road, and Robinsonville Road could never handle the increased traffic load that will be created by the project. And what about Postal Road and Plantation Road from Route 1, which already experience bumper-to-bumper traffic from Memorial Day through Labor Day? What terrible logic to now add a 620-site RV City!
The right thing to do is to reject the rezoning and reject this development. I encourage our Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commissioners and County Council members to Vote NO to the RV City.
Thank you for your time and listening to all of us.
Drs. Lydia and Stacy Cohen
RV Park will damage stability of affected communities
I am writing in response to Casey Kenton’s March 28th letter “Sussex should embrace proposed campground” in which he expresses support for the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground. He notes that today’s camp-goers, in their $50,000 RVs, are not your father’s campers (implying they are wealthier, or perhaps less willing to “rough it”), and the area’s economy needs the influx of their vacation dollars. This short-sighted attitude does not take into account the long-term damage that such a large development can do to the stability of the affected communities and the economy.
For this isn’t a resort or campground in any traditional sense of the words. It is a massive city covering over 160 acres that is designed to accommodate a transient population of 3,000 people for seven months of the year with commercial outlets that include a general store, fitness center, boat launch, laundromat, storage facility and dockside bar. This commercial venture is out of keeping with the area’s surrounding farmland and residential neighborhoods, and it threatens environmentally sensitive wetlands. Furthermore, because the “resort” will be open from April to October, its employment opportunities will be seasonal, and it will not attract full-time residents who bring long-term economic stability to the county.
As a journalist and author of three books on American lifestyles, I have witnessed what outsized developments can do to communities. Whether they spring up in small-town Iowa or command several blocks in the South Bronx, these out-of-character developments ultimately destroy the prevailing character and cohesiveness of the surrounding communities. They subvert the organic process of how a community grows and changes. And they undermine the social contract between residents and their local leaders who were elected to safeguard the community and their way of life.
Indeed, if local leaders approve the zoning changes necessary to allow the development of this RV city, it will brand the county and its leaders as a locality that ignores the interests of its residents—including nearly 1,000 who have signed petitions against the development and expressed their opposition at the Planning and Zoning and County Council hearings. As a real estate broker testified at one Council meeting, no one wants to buy a home near an RV park. So the proposed project not only condemns current residents to declining property values (with the associated reduction in tax revenues); it also severely impacts the ability of the county to attract future year-round residents.
There’s an old adage in marketing: Happy customers tell 10 people but unhappy customers tell 100 people. Given the adverse reaction that this project has generated in the community, our county leaders cannot afford to endorse this project and risk destroying the area’s reputation for a quality of life that any other community in Delaware—or the nation for that matter—would eagerly seek to protect.
I hope our leaders will do the right thing and vote against the zoning changes, recognizing the serious concerns about this site and realizing that short-sighted thinking undermines the long-term health of our community.
Michael J. Weiss
Sussex won't profit from Love Creek RV city
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
RV park at Love Creek: Commercial editorial?
Since when do commercial advertisements appear as newspaper editorials?
There were many statements in the Cape Gazette’s March 8 editorial that appear to be right out of the developers’ original published proposal.
As local residents, we believe that developers should not be granted development rights for a venture just based on their legacy of building quality projects. I question whether this project is appropriate for this area and whether its overwhelming issues outweigh any perceived tourism benefit beyond the real benefit to the wallets of the developers.
After reading articles in the Cape Gazette that are in opposition to the proposed RV project by Townsend and Lingo on Love Creek, personally I cannot see the public benefit of such a project in this area.
I have attended and witnessed the presentations of the opposition which were impressive in the facts and concerns that were presented. In just a short time (since late December), momentum has been building in opposition as evidenced by over 800 signatures and nearly 200 people attending the council meeting who were against the development. These public citizens do not perceive a benefit to them.
These previous articles and presentations cannot be overload or ignored; these are the facts. Until these noted concerns can be corrected by either state or county involvement, we must remain in opposition to this type of undertaking. This purposed project is out of context with the entire Eastern Sussex County community. It is out of character with the entire surrounding area. It will clearly add traffic congestion and cause safety problems as well as create a financial drain on our county's budget.
Certainly, there must be other areas in Eastern Sussex County that would be more applicable to this type of project. The RV park does not fit in the greater Lewes area and on Love Creek.
P.G. and S.A. Fair
Proposed RV city a monstrous idea
I am writing this letter to express my opposition to the Lingo/Townsend RV city proposal. Before I tell you why I am opposed, I want to state that some of my fondest memories have been my camping vacations. I was a Girl Scout camp certified leader and have tent camped for years with family and friends. I hold no ill will towards anyone who camps in an RV or tent or cabin. I just don’t think this land is really suited for a sprawling RV city.
This plan includes 516 RV sites, 30 tents and 82 rental cabins, all within 162 acres. This type of density is totally incompatible with the surrounding area of residential communities and would be better suited for a rural area. To a previous writer who questioned why we would prefer a housing development rather than a campground where the trees would be left intact, I suggest you take a closer look and tell me how the developers are going to build a tiki bar, marina, community center, general store and several hundred RV spaces without cutting down trees.
My partner and I are full time residents at the nearby Retreat at Love Creek, having bought our house seven years ago. I, a transplant and she, a native of Sussex County, settled in this community for the peace and tranquility of the countryside, for the jobs we were fortunate to have here, and for the breath of fresh air by the ocean. We began setting our sights to our retirement goals and have no desire to move out of Sussex County. As a matter of fact, we felt a move to a smaller house would be the right move for us for both financial and long-term health reasons.
We considered several other local communities - closer to the water, inland, for over-55-year-olds, water privileged and even condos or older homes in town - but we kept coming right back to our own neighborhood. That’s how much we love living here. We have a great community, fabulous neighbors and lots to keep everyone busy. So we purchased one of the last lots and are building a house right around the corner from where we are living today.
We hope we can sell our current house, but all of the publicity about RV city seems to have affected the traffic of potential buyers for our house. Some Realtors have even commented that this RV development may be detracting some prospective buyers from even considering this neighborhood. When we moved here, we knew there would be development, but we expected it to be in character with the other housing developments. We never dreamed that developers would try and change the zoning to build a monstrous RV city!
The Townsend and Lingo families have lived in this area for many years. If they responded to the outpouring of opposition that the local residents have to their plan, they would do the right thing and withdraw their application and submit it for a more suitable location.
Sherry L. Berman
Many reasons to deny RV park
I am writing to express my opposition to and concern about the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, a large transient recreational development that would be bounded by Mulberry Knoll Road, Cedar Grove Road, and Ward Road, now a quiet residential area adjacent to my home.
The proposed project is out of character with the surrounding area. The campground with 628 proposed camp sites is a commercial venture that has no broad based support, no economic benefit to the local community, and is inconsistent with uses provided in the county’s AR-1 zoning.
This is a uniquely sensitive area with wetlands that are home to two rare species. Land disturbing activities, such as this proposal, will have a significant environmental and natural impact. According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) the Eastern tiger salamander and the barking tree frog live on the site.
Jason Beale of the Delaware Nature Society said that there are only five places in the state that the eastern tiger salamander can be found and this site is one of them If this site is developed, that uniqueness will be lost.
An increase in this intensity of use will destroy the unique qualities of the area, specifically the wildlife that is intolerant of humans. Because of its proximity to Love Creek and wetlands, DNREC officials call the parcel an environmentally sensitive area that should be preserved and not developed.
The 516 RV sites, 82 cabins, an amphitheater, welcome center, fitness center, laundry, clubhouse, general store, several pavilions, swimming pool and tiki bar, plus paved roads would create an extraordinary amount of impervious surface, in turn creating a hazardous potential of flooding and runoff into Love Creek, a tributary of Rehoboth Bay.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has recommended that Rehoboth Bay and its tributaries as critical areas. Ecologically important wetlands help absorb flood water and provide extensive habitat for flora and fauna, and has great impact on water quality and upon natural habitats. Very careful control of stormwater runoff is an especially important concern to keep sediment and other pollutants out of the bay.
The bay has suffered significant loss of its marsh fringe through development. The ecological health and productivity of the bay and its tributaries must be conserved. The surrounding wetlands represent an essential link in the life cycle of the fish in the marshes, estuaries, and offshore waters of Delaware. Wetlands contribute to better water quality and coastal stabilization. It is important that public and private wetlands are preserved and protected to prevent despoliation and destruction.
The position of DNREC is that the whole parcel should be permanently protected from development because of its proximity to Love Creek.
I am also concerned about the lack of infrastructural demand. There is no talk of noise abatement, police patrols, emergency response, sewer capacity, sub-leasing restrictions, and most important, the narrow roads approaching from the west.
Proposed RV park inappropriate
By Steve Britz | Mar 26, 2013
I was disappointed in the Gazette’s editorial of March 1 supporting the RV resort on Love Creek. In contrast to your opinion, I found many of the analyses prepared and presented by the RV development team to be superficial and self-serving, especially in regard to the project’s likely negative impact on the quality of water in our wells, creeks and the Inland Bays.
For example, using data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the developers showed that much of the soils in the proposed site are well-drained sandy loams and concluded the site is well suited for the proposed use. However, this assessment is only a limited part of the picture.
NRCS soils data are available online via the agency’s Web Soil Survey app (https://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm) and can be analyzed against various land-use criteria. Soils over the entire RV site received the poorest score in the NRCS analysis when evaluated for “aquifer-fed, excavated ponds” (i.e., retention ponds that figure prominently in the RV campground design), a result of high water table and unstable, erodible soils.
Similar analyses show the entire site is unsuitable for any kind of excavation and, in addition, compactable and unstable soils are prone to rutting when subjected to heavy vehicular traffic - such as RVs traveling over gravel roads.
Online data from the Delaware Geological Survey, a science-based state agency, indicate the water table is less than six feet from the surface of the land for much of the proposed RV development over most of the time during a 30-year evaluation period (https://www.dgs.udel.edu/projects/delaware-geologic-information-resource-dgir-web-application). The water table here represents the interface between the unconfined aquifer and surface soils.
Retention ponds, proposed as storm water collection basins for the project, would essentially become direct conduits into the aquifer because there is insufficient underlying soil to trap and transform pollutants entrained with run-off. Since the aquifer in this area is relatively thin and transmissivity is relatively high, the area has the potential for rapid movement of contaminants into Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade as well as toward downstream wells that tap the unconfined aquifer.
The unconfined aquifer, of course, is the source of most water for homes and irrigation in Sussex County as well as the source of most fresh water for the Inland Bays. To say that the health of the aquifer is a big deal is a vast understatement. I am concerned that the RV resort, which is in effect an enormous parking lot, will pose a serious environmental threat to area waterways as well as to area residents who have been largely ignored by the developers.
I am not against development, but actions taken in haste can be regretted at leisure. Sussex County may have all eternity to regret this hasty and inappropriate development. I urge the developers of the proposed RV campground to reconsider their plan and select another site.
Many reasons to deny RV city
Here we go - a developer wanting to change zoning to facilitate their plans from residential to commercial in order to put in a 620-site RV city. Living in Webbs Landing, in the area where this resort is proposed, we know what
the impact of this "city" will cause.
We have seen the increase in traffic over the many years we have lived here. Our roads cannot handle the added RV traffic that will descend upon many back roads to this development. Widening one small portion of road is not a solution. Numerous roads that would be travelled: Route 24, Robinsville Road, Cedar Grove Road, Postal Road, Plantation Road, Mulberry Knoll Road, Dairy Farm Road, Kendale Road, Route 9, and Jimtown Road - to name just a few.
These back roads are quickly found by visitors to our beaches.
The developers try to tell us that this will be a one-stop destination. I think we are a little smarter than to believe that. People who go to campgrounds will venture out to the beaches, outlets and restaurants. They will not be seasonal residents - most people will camp for a weekend or week. The demands on police, EMS and firefighters will be greatly increased.
While we will be paying extra taxes for more services that will be needed to accommodate this campground, the campers will not be contributing. This is a money-making project for the developers who simply are not taking into consideration what the majority of the people want. Developers can have zoning changed at their whim, develop and leave.
We can see why Love Creek itself is such a draw - boating and a tiki bar/dock on the water. But the upper end of Love Creek cannot be used for the constant activity that will occur. The ecological effects will be devastating. This creek is directly across the street from our home, and the beauty and serenity of the wildlife and plant growth would be so disturbed that it would never again be what it is today.
We strongly urge that this proposed RV campsite be rejected.
Bill and Liz Becker
Join the fight against RV city
What economic value does another RV Park bring to Lewes? If Jack Lingo Asset Management has its way, we will have a 620-unit RV resort and camp-ground built on Cedar Grove Road just west of Plantation Road, surrounded by established residential communities.
Many local residents strongly oppose the proposed rezoning required to per-mit this development in the environmentally sensitive Love Creek area. The opposition is not because they hate RV parks. They oppose it in this location because it will bring lower economic benefit to the town and county versus more suitable residential housing.
Where does an RV'er spend discretionary income? If you were to believe Lingo, the campers will not be clogging our roads because they will be staying within the confines of their resort. So, that would mean little spending. In another breath, Lingo says an RV park will aid the local economy. You can't have it both ways. I believe they will go to the grocery stores, restaurants, beaches and maybe the outlets.
I argue that they will not spend money at the same level or on the variety of items homeowners do. People who buy a new home or move into the area spend thousands of dollars on furniture, appliances, window treatments, fans, lighting, storage, carpets and all the other decorating items.
They also employ local decorators, landscapers for maintenance, and new landscaping. They employ electricians, plumbers, contractors and painters. They have pets that visit groomers and vets. Residents eat in local restaurants and support local mom and pop stores - year round!
Permanent residents take pride in their property and community. Their commitment is far greater than those who come here to camp for the weekend, week or even the summer. A resident’s commitment is for years. An RV'er has little commitment to anything in Lewes. They pull their house in and out as they desire.
So, I ask who brings more to a community - a seasonal vacationer or a committed resident? I contend the full-time resident generates significantly greater support to the local economy - creating jobs, driving tax revenues for the county, and supporting businesses year round. The RV’er burdens our public safety services (law enforcement, fire, rescue, hospital) and does not pay for them.
Development will happen. But, what kind of development does Lewes want or need to make it a wonderful place to live for the future? Lewes has become a highly desirable place for retirement as well as for families looking for a less hectic lifestyle. I believe this is what we want to attract to maintain the reputation that Lewes has established as a great place to live now and in the future.
I urge you to join us in the fight to prevent the rezoning of land for the sole purpose of creating an RV Resort and Campground in the midst of our residential communities. Go to www.STOPRVCITY/webnode.com to educate yourselves on what is happening in your surrounding area and get involved.
Many reasons to deny proposed RV park
I have owned a home on Ward Road adjacent to the proposed RV park for the past 32 years. I have expressed my opposition to this inappropriate rezoning for many reasons - in letters, phone calls and at meetings. After the huge display of no votes and the very few yes votes at the recent council meeting, I should be able to have confidence that our council will do the right thing and turn down the rezoning proposals.
Sadly, the Love Creek communities can't be assured that the evidence we have submitted can defeat the ill-conceived plans of the Lingo organization.
The few issues which I feel have not been sufficiently addressed are simply safety and traffic, which essentially are the same thing when a project like this is dropped in the middle of such an idyllic community. The entrance to the RV park plan is from Cedar Grove Road, an approximately two-and-a-half mile narrow and curvy country road with no shoulders which is already inadequate.
In my years on Ward Road, I have witnessed numerous serious auto accidents at the intersections of Ward Road and Cedar Grove as well as Cedar Grove, Postal Lane and Plantation Road. I have frequently pleaded with DelDOT for 25 years to improve these intersections and have never received a response.
I have a simple, inexpensive and conclusive plan which will bring the RV resort issue to an end. DelDOT should measure the width of Cedar Grove Road pavement (with non-existent shoulders), measure the width of a fire truck, ambulance or school bus and add the width of a typical RV.
It will be clear to everyone that Cedar Grove is inadequate to handle the traffic of the proposed project and protect the safety of current residents.
As a long-time Sussex County resident and taxpayer, I and my family deserve to be protected from the greed of this developer and be able to enjoy our home and our community.
RV Park would impair quality of life
When considering land use applications, the Sussex County Council has generally been guided by the Quality of Life Act of 1988 and its intent, “to encourage the most appropriate use of land, water and resources consistent with the public interest.” Numerous examples of the county councils effort's can be cited, among them Ordinance No. 1980 which states, “the purpose of planning and zoning is to promote health, safety, prosperity and general welfare.”
County council has another opportunity to demonstrate its support for these important principles as it considers the RV park proposed for Sussex County. Clearly, the developer wants county council to believe an RV Park is the most appropriate use of land, water and resources. (After all, everyone should have a RV park in their backyard.) Of course, the developer feels an RV park for non-residents would be in the public interest - just not the public of Sussex County.
One may wonder why we should care about this stuff, anyway. Perhaps an RV park is all we need. After all, don’t we have enough quality homes in the area? Aren’t there already sufficient businesses and jobs in Sussex County? Approving the RV park may even stop others from moving into the area, forcing restaurants to offer more of those great off-season deals locals enjoy.
The developer and his experts went to great lengths at the Sussex County Council meeting to show that trees, birds, animals, or other wildlife would be minimally impacted by the RV park, and that’s nice. However, I didn’t hear one word from the developer about the impact on quality of life of residents. That’s probably because they had nothing to say on the subject. Instead, 200 of us jammed the county council meeting and 1,000 residents signed petitions to protect the environment and challenge a project that would add 500 campers or motor homes clogging up our roads on weekends. What’s that compared to the fun non-residents will have or the money the developer will make? After all, the birds will be OK and 1,000 residents are only taxpayers. And voters.
Just say no to RV city proposal
I am a homeowner in Hart’s Landing, located a stone’s throw from the proposed RV resort and campground (RVCity). I am not a permanent resident, but I have owned my home for more than five years and plan to move here full time later this year. I agree with the concerns stated by the homeowners in my community and the surrounding communities, regarding the potential adverse impact the campground will have: the environmental harm, road congestion, an increase in vehicle accidents, and the resource burden and financial strain the campground will put on existing services, such as police, fire and EMS.
But I have several additional concerns regarding the operation of the campground that I feel need to be taken into consideration by the Sussex County Council as part of their decision-making process.
The amphitheater… How will it be used? Will there be concerts and other live shows? What will the hours of operation be? Will outsiders be allowed to attend? How will noise levels be controlled so as not to impact residential homeowners in the surrounding area?
The tiki bar… What are the hours of operation going to be? How will underage drinking be controlled? How will excessive drinking be controlled? Will there be live entertainment, a jukebox, DJ or house band? What will be the rules related to sound levels?
The canoe dock… Will there be a resident expert to assist first time canoers? Will there be emergency services available on-site to handle tipped canoes, potential drownings and various other accidents? Is the management relying on town services to handle these types of problems? If they are, has response time from different services been measured to avoid a loss of life?
Fires… Will campfires be allowed on sites? Will a “park ranger” tour the park on a regular schedule to inspect fires? What are the procedures if a fire is out of control and endangers the surrounding area? Where is the nearest fire department and their estimated response time?
“Park rangers”… How many will there be on duty at any given time? Will they be trained professionals or anyone looking for a job? How can the county be assured that they’re qualified to maintain a peaceful and orderly development?
Guns… What are the rules regarding guns being brought into the park? What would be a legitimate reason for someone to bring a gun into the park? How will any rules regarding guns be enforced?
The overwhelming logic of the many issues identified to date, as well as uncertainties in operational management, clearly lead me to believe that this commercial venture should not coexist alongside residential neighborhoods. It is just not a good fit!
Louis and Ginny Naclerio
There are plenty of RV parks available
My wife and I are writing to express our opposition to the Love Creek RV resort rezoning. We are year-round residents of The Retreat at Love Creek and have been avid campers and RVers for many years. We have made friendships and memories in RV campgrounds that will last us a lifetime. We are not against RVs and RV parks, we just believe that the one proposed along Love Creek would be in the wrong place.
The comprehensive plan has zoned this parcel GR Residential, and we believe that the zoning is correct for the area. This site is surrounded by residential areas that are currently built, and many that are approved and not yet built. This would be the first RV park in the area built in a residential area. Traditionally RV parks are located in rural or sparsely populated areas. This is how area RV parks like Holly Lakes, Big Oak, and Sea Air started out, with fields and forest surrounding their locations over 40 years ago. Subdivisions then grew up around them. We agree with the current zoning.
Although the developers’ proposal claimed there is a lack of available RV sites in the area, we gathered our own information from the web, brochures, site visits and interviews with representatives of 18 RV parks in a 20-mile radius. Our best estimate is that there are over 5,000 available RV sites with more than half available. We asked if the campgrounds had available spaces, and only one park indicated that they were full, Smith’s Landing. All the others have plenty of space.
There is a direct correlation between the parks that fill up first and their location near deep water marinas for launching boats and water sports. The Love Creek site does not have this amenity, and it is questionable that even a kayak could be launched from a dock there on a regular basis. There would be a greater need for this park to be built where a marina could be added. It was also noted during our survey that almost all of the campgrounds have their location right off a main road. The Love Creek resort would be the only one to require long distances on local roads.
So we ask you to reject Lingo Asset Management’s zoning and land-use changes for an RV campground that will be located within a few miles of two other campgrounds that have plenty of available spaces, and on a sensitive area creek which cannot support a marina or deep water access. Your decisions today will be with us forever and leaves an opening for more of the same at the Love Creek site in the future. The costs are going to be high for Sussex County and the burden of taxes will be laid at our feet. I ask you to vote against amending the rezoning and against conditional use of land for the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground.
Dennis and Mary Fisher
RV park will not benefit Sussex financially
I am writing this letter to state my opposition to the Love Creek RV Resort for the critical reason that it makes no financial sense to taxpayers of Sussex County. As a financial executive for over 40 years (Squibb, Nabisco and Kraft), I have analyzed the numbers and found that the proposed RV development is a bad idea when compared to the income that a housing development would provide the county on the same piece of land.
The Sussex County Finance Director submitted (for the public record) a comparative analysis of the revenue stream to the county for the RV resort versus a residential development. The report detailed the various sources of revenue (realty transfer taxes, property taxes, sewer connection fees, and other taxes/fees) for each scenario. This study clearly indicates the RV resort proposal is adverse to Sussex County finances.
According to the county report, the RV resort proposal delivers significantly lower revenues to the county versus single family home development - $5 million less. The reason is that the RV development would generate zero realty transfer tax and minimal property taxes, both one-time and on-going.
Clearly, the RV resort will not pay its fair share for county investments for public safety (paramedics, fire, and police) and infrastructure (primarily waste treatment). Furthermore, the RV city population will stress the public safety functions and sewer systems at the expense of current tax-paying homeowners of all Sussex County.
The Lingo proposal (used by county finance) considered using 631 home sites on the total 324-acre parcel. This home sites option delivers a $5.3 million benefit to the county versus revenues from the RV resort. However, to give an apple-to-apples comparison, if we calculate the revenue for only a 315-home site development (on the 162-acre property proposed for the RV site) the result would still be over a $2 million advantage. [Note: the comprehensive plan for this area calls for low density dwellings.]
And if we project a 20-year cash flow, a housing development would deliver a cumulative benefit of $9 million for 315 homes versus the RV resort with double the density (628 sites).
Realty transfer taxes and property taxes fund the majority of the county’s general funds and capital investment. In 2012, the realty transfer tax alone provided more than $15 million for Sussex County. And the Sussex County budget mentioned no RV campground revenues driving the budget surplus!
In conclusion, the financial comparison provides overwhelming evidence that the RV resort is not the best choice for the Love Creek corridor.
Our county council and planning and zoning members need to vote no to oppose any changes to the zoning that would let the development proceed. There is no public benefit to all county taxpayers - it only benefits the developer.
Letters to the Editors - Cape Gazette
March 8, 2013
Proposed RV park not a good fit
The “Stop RV City” campaign is not just a not-in-my-backyard effort led by a few people simply banging their pots and pans about the impact on our housing values. Several hundred concerned county residents have spent countless hours doing their homework in developing a compelling set of reasons why this is not a good idea. In fact, it is counter to the criteria spelled out in the county’s comprehensive plan which states: Sussex County encourages appropriate types of development in compatible locations at suitable densities….emphasizing quality of life…”
The developer says it should be approved because it will grow tourism by satisfying a currently under-served market for RV campgrounds in our area (shown to not be true); will bring economic benefits to the county (shown to be significantly less than those of a by-right residential subdivision); generate less traffic than that by-right residential subdivision (also shown to not be true); and do all of this without harming the environment in what has been defined as an environmentally sensitive area by the state of Delaware. If all of this seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The crux of my argument is that even if it were the five-star resort the developer “intends” it to be, it simply doesn’t fit into what is a predominately residential district and apparently will continue to be. In addition to the 15 already-built communities surrounding the proposed site, another 1,400 home sites have been approved within a one-mile radius.
I drive these secondary roads daily and have already noticed an increase in volume at all times of the year. Drivers coming from the west trying to avoid the Five Points intersection on Route 9, frequent backups on Route 24, or who are heading to destinations further south on Route 1 have discovered how convenient it is to use Robinsonville Road, Dairy Farm Road, Kendale Road, Cedar Grove Road, and Plantation Road, all of which are right in the sweet spot of the proposed site. This is a pattern that occurs at all times of the year, but is even worse during the months this RV vity is proposed to be open.
And, there are no DelDOT projects on the books that would offer any relief (I would argue the straightening of the Cedar Grove/Postal intersection won’t help traffic flow as much as improve safety). Adding over-sized Class A and Class B RVs into this mix is a formula for what I have called the perfect storm.
OK, I’m not a home-grown local, but hundreds of other Sussex County residents just like me care a lot about what is going on in the place we have chosen to invest in and make our home. We are concerned about the record growth going on in this county absent a professional county planner who will take a 50,000-foot look at what’s going on and, hopefully, make sure it is less driven by politics and the local old-boy network, and more by the comprehensive plan. We may not be locals, but our tax money is and so is the money we pour into the local economy all year, every year, not just while we’re visiting.
I respect the right of the Townsend dynasty to sell the land they have held for years, but not when it violates my right to “quiet enjoyment.” Surely they have property elsewhere that is better suited for this venture.
March 8, 2013 - Cape Gazette
RV Park will destroy unique environment
On March 1, the Cape Gazette’s editorial addressed the Love Creek recreational vehicle campground proposal. The piece was far from objective and clearly biased. Almost a thousand neighbors have spoken out against the 628-site proposed development, but the Jack Lingo Asset Management position was reflected in the editorial.
I am retired, but I volunteer to help the community and the environment. In my conservation efforts, I "work" with federal, state and not-for-profit environmental agencies. Without exception, the staffs of these agencies are concerned that the limited concessions evolving from the Lingo Asset Management Group proposal will not be enough to keep from destroying the unique natural habitat.
The editorial parroted that the developers “are committed to exceeding required buffers.” However the developers now also know that the property is home to rare and endangered wildlife. DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara stated in writing that DNREC “strongly believes that the site is worthy of permanent protection.”
The Nature Conservancy, the Center for Inland Bays, the Delaware Nature Society and others all recognize that the property is part of a larger natural ecosystem critical to the preservation of rare species and the health of Love Creek and Rehoboth Bay.
The habitat loss from the manipulation of the forested wetland will destroy the biodiversity of the area.
As currently proposed, leaving a perimeter of trees and required buffers will not protect the uncounted vernal pools that will be lost to create roads, dry high density parking and retention ponds. These vernal pools, also known as coastal plain seasonal ponds and Delmarva bays, are considered by DNREC as “perhaps Delaware’s most unique and important non-tidal wetland resource.”
For myself and many of my neighbors and conservationists, challenging the proposal is not a selfish “not-in-my-backyard” issue, but rather an attempt to highlight that this proposal benefits a very few but harms us all in the long run.
Lingo Asset Management has access to plenty of properties that could be suitable for a recreational vehicle campground. Developing these other locations would not sacrifice the habitat of a unique and rare Delaware environment.
Hollis G. Provins
March 8, 2013 Cape Gazette
RV park editoral completely one-sided
The editorial in the March 1 Cape Gazette that gave whole-hearted support to the Lingo RV park project was very one-sided. It showed a total lack of concern for the environment and the well-being and safety of residents.
Due to expansive development in the past few years, the health of Love Creek has been undermined to the extent that it has been declared a nutrient reduction zone.
The Clean Water Act, a federal law, seeks to reduce the nutrient level in order to keep the creek and its tributaries viable. Lingo’s plan to decimate the 160 acres of forest adjacent to the creek will have the impact of increasing run-off dramatically, up to four times greater. The proposed density of the 516-site RV park (along with 82 cabins) will further degrade the creek. Lingo’s plan violates the Clean Water Act.
Road infrastructure has not kept pace with the development. The narrow and unimproved back roads will be an invitation to more accidents and fatalities.
Anyone traveling on Route 24 during the summer knows that ambulances have trouble driving though stalled summer traffic. Picture please the additional trauma caused by, for example, 100 or more RVs clogging up the roads on a turn-around Saturday when first responders are hurrying to a fire, a heart attack victim, or a traffic accident.
March 8, 2013 - Cape Gazette
RV park indeed deserves attention
By Paul Hammesfahr | Mar 07, 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?
March 8, 2013 - Cape Gazette
Don't change zoning for RV park
We urge your careful consideration when deliberating the change of zoning for RV City. Please consider the importance of keeping this land as it is presently zoned for the good of Delaware, the people and the environment.
The importance and value of preserving farmland and open spaces cannot be over emphasized. We need farmers to feed the people. Without farms, how can we feed the people who follow us? Once the farms and open spaces are gone, it will be too late to correct the damage done if the zone is changed.
We urge your consideration of this very important issue.
Joseph A. and Mary B. Rolio
March 8, 2013 - Cape Gazette
Sussezx P&Z implored to deny RV park
By Michael R. Tyler | Feb 08, 2013
The following letter was sent to Robert Wheatley, chairman of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission, with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
It has been some time since I have made any comments to the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission; however the recent application for a huge campground facility on Ward Road is a cause for concern.
This application is seriously misplaced for many reasons. As planners you must look at the cumulative impact it will generate. First consideration is the intersection at Plantation and Cedar Grove roads. It is unsafe and is due to be realigned with Postal Lane. When will this take place? When another fatality occurs? Second, Cedar Grove road is narrow and at night dangerous. At my request some time back fog lines were painted on the edges of the road, slightly improving visibility of the road at night. Third, farmers still run equipment on this road and increased traffic will be a continued affront to their activity and livelihood.
Now let’s address another cumulative concern - the need to protect Love Creek. Citizens Coalition was among many who opposed the development of the Retreat at Love Creek because of a serious loss of woodland and habitat. Randall Arendt, author of “Designing Open Space Developments in Sussex County, Delaware” provided the developer with what we believes was a better design pro bono which would have saved the woods and placed the storm water pond to the rear of the site. This design was refused and considerable acres of woodland habitat were destroyed. My point is that this campground development is a further affront to the environment and to Love Creek. Such a loss can’t be replaced.
Finally, you should not accept a Conditional Use for this application. Here is your ordinance:
"The purpose of this article is to provide for certain uses which cannot be well adjusted to their environment in particular locations with full protection offered to surrounding properties by rigid application of the district regulations. These uses are generally of a public or semipublic character and are essential and desirable for the general convenience and welfare but, because of the nature of the use, the importance of the relationship to the Comprehensive Plan and possible impact not only on neighboring properties but on a large section of the county, require the exercise of planning judgment on location and site plan."
Just how is this application essential? How does it benefit surrounding properties and its neighbors? As a cyclist who uses this road nearly every day during the spring, summer and early fall months, I believe this will be a further loss of a safe cycling venue because truck/trailer traffic and unsafe road conditions will result. This site does not need to be developed by these uncaring developers whose greed and not community need will be served.
Michael R. Tyler
March 8, 2013 - Cape Gazette
Public should know more about proposed park
The RV resort and campground has generated many articles in the Cape Gazette. Here are a few points we would like to bring to the attention of the readers:
1) In most articles the representatives of Jack Lingo Asset Management boast the RV park as a “destination for seasonal campers who would park their RVs or travel trailers during the season and take advantage of on-site amenities.”
However, in other articles they promote the "convenience" for campers being near the ocean and outlets. In the last Cape Gazette article March 4, it was stated that DART could be interested in establishing a bus stop at the campground welcome center, which could help alleviate some vehicle traffic from the campground. Traffic from where - the ocean and outlets? Which is it, a RV resort for “convenience or destination”?
This goes hand and hand with their first hearing where they repeatedly used the phrase “our intent.” It’s time for their “intent” to be made known, or possibly they don’t know what their intent is until the final decision.
2) Why is it that in almost all of the articles the “tiki bar” is not mentioned? It is a known fact that most campgrounds discourage alcohol. Alcohol safety is a big concern in Delaware. The proposed tiki bar is scheduled to be right by the water on Love Creek and “hold approximately 50 people.”
With a campground that could possibly have an estimate of 2,500 people during the course of the summer a tiki bar could be a very popular place to be, especially if the RV resort is a “destination" resort.
However, as we stated above, Lingo also has presented it as a “convenience" location. iI that is so, then that tiki bar could prove to be a very potential hazard to our already crowded roads.
3) I would like to thank Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, for his request that the public record remain open for the following: to obtain a clarification on what is permitted in the county campground ordinance; obtain an analysis of tax revenue from other campgrounds; and ask Delaware Department of Transportation why the traffic impact study only considered travel to the site from one direction.
In opposition to the proposed RV Resort Campground,
Mike and Nancy Guerin
March 8, 2013 - Cape Gazette
Reader thinks editorial missed the mark
By Jim Schneider | Mar 07, 2013
I am writing to take exception to the March 1 editorial in support of the Love Creek RV resort and campground. The writer simply glosses over serious concerns about safety risks and demands on infrastructure services that will result from the project. The increase in traffic caused by the development won’t just be an inconvenience to area residents, it could be life threatening. There’s no doubt that traffic congestion will dramatically affect the response time for our police, EMS and firefighters.
If one looks to the future, there are already nine additional communities in the area approved by the council, meaning an increase of 1,400 building lots. This proposed RV development would add an additional 628 lots - an increase of 45 percent above all nine communities combined in one densely populated community. Over the last 10 years in Sussex County, there has been a 15 percent increase in demand for paramedics and a 35 percent increase in 911 calls. With the Lewes/Rehoboth area being the fastest growing area in the county, the stress on our services will be exorbitant once all the other communities are developed.
When this resort plans to operate in the high demand summer season, the EMS handles twice as many calls as those that occur than during other times of the year. With the increase in seasonal traffic congestion, the result can only be a serious impediment to the response time for our voluntary fire departments. The risk to our citizens and vacationers will be increased and, no doubt, more injuries and fatalities will be the inevitable result.
From a personal experience, I know that Hart’s Landing has had two houses burn completely to the ground in the last year and half. The fire company did the best it could do in getting to the fire and keeping other houses from catching fire. However, I also know that, if the fire department had been delayed due to increased traffic congestion, an adjacent house would also have caught fire.
Having campfires in a campground is a popular thing to do. Most of the surrounding communities have a ban on open fires. But if open fires are allowed in this campground with such dense population, it will only increase the risk of fire in the area - and the threat to the surrounding population. And if there is a fire, there is only one entrance and exit to the resort community creating a bottleneck for fire trucks to enter and vacationers to leave.
Another safety issue concerns the months of operation of the proposed development and its impact on our schoolchildren. This RV resort will be open for four-and-a-half months when our schools will be open. We are concerned that the increased traffic threatens the safety of our students, teachers, parents, community members and staff entering and exiting Beacon Middle School on Route 24. School buses stop and pick up students from all our communities on Cedar Grove, Route 24, Plantation, Robinsonville Road and Mulberry Knoll Road. And the increase in huge RVs and related traffic traveling on these back roads gives us safety concerns.
The population of the Lewes/Rehoboth area increases dramatically by 50 percent during the summer months, which is not news to any of us. Putting in an RV campground off of many back roads will compound the difficulty in evacuations in case of emergencies such as hurricanes. The proposed campground has only one entrance/exit point, and we worry what will happen if the campground needs to evacuate large RVs quickly through that one exit. Once they hit the roads, these large vehicles could easily back up and clog the small back roads creating a safety hazard for the entire area’s population.
None of these issues was raised in the editorial, and if they were, I believe your readers would be more inclined to oppose this dangerous development to our community. Thank you for your time and consideration.
vice president, Hart’s Landing Homeowners Association
Questions revolved around proposed RV park
By Mable Granke | Feb 22, 2013
Concerning the request for a conditional use to build an RV resort and campground near Love Creek:
The following are concerns that must be addressed in the context of the adopted Sussex County land use plan. This application cannot be considered with tunnel vision.
First: sewer capacity. There is already the potential for 900 homes. How does rhe specter of 600-plus hookups impact the sewer capacity?
Next, the Traffic Impact Study cannot be done at a desk in Dover. DelDOT must come down to Sussex County and know all the roads that provide access to the site, their condition and needed infrastructure changes. The existing proposal of one entrance into the site is not safe. I believe there is a question of legality. When calculating traffic impact, there is the need to recognize that the RV is at least two to three car lengths, plus the potential of hauling an additional car. In other words, this cannot be calculated as 600 vehicles, but in reality four times the number.
The environmental impact must include the effect of this application, not only on Love Creek, but also Rehoboth Bay. In addition, the stark realization of the true impact of the removal of trees. What is the percentage of forest removal?
When the pros and cons are placed side by side, it is my belief the negative outweighs the positive, and, in particular, the conditional use cannot be judged to be for the public good.
January 25, 2013 - RV Park will create traffic nightmare
The proposed RV city development at Love Creek is going to be disaster for locals. Instead of locating on a major artery, the developer proposes to put this large RV park on Cedar Grove dumping onto Plantation, the center of the back roads we use to get around when the summer population is flooding Route 1.
In the peak months with its 600 RV sites and cabins, this development will dump perhaps 1,800 vehicles on Cedar Grove Road and Plantation Road. I’m sure they will quickly learn to avoid the congestion on Route 1, as we do. After all, the development location virtually forces them to use Plantation. There are other ways out through Robinsville, Jimtown, Mulberry Knoll, Kendale and Dairy Farm roads, but Plantation leads where they will want to go.
The developer estimates an average of 2,400 (4,800 one-way) trips daily from this project. Given the seasonal nature of traffic in our resort area, and likely RV visitors in particular, the likely peak summer traffic from this project will probably be in excess of four times the year average.
According to DelDOT’s 2011 Annual Traffic Summary, the Annual Automobile Daily Traffic for Plantation at Cedar Grove was 8,177. This means that the peak months’ traffic, from this project alone, will be 19,200 one-way trips, over twice DelDOT’s existing traffic count, at the worst possible time.
DelDOT’s new light at Cedar Grove, Plantation and Postal will further delay everyone but the RVers. The main bypass used by locals to get around during tourist season is going to be packed.
Coming into RV city, these large vehicles will wander around the back roads from the west, often lost, and impossible to safely pass. From Georgetown and Millsboro east, the back roads will see lots of these vehicles. This ill-located, overly dense and congesting project should not be granted zoning changes and variances, and should be disapproved.
January 24, 2013 - Proposed RV Park has many negative ramifications
By Shellie DiLauro | Jan 24, 2013
It is an understatement to say that my family and neighbors are appalled by the latest Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission consideration of a 162-acre RV campground at Ward and Cedar Grove roads. The proposal includes 451 RV sites, 149 rental cabin sites with two parking spaces for each. In addition, a clubhouse, pavilion and dock, dock bar, amphitheater, pool, general store, laundry center, etc. are planned.
Most of us are familiar with the NASCAR races at Dover Downs. DelDOT prepares for race traffic as thousands of NASCAR fans descend on Dover Downs. DelDOT workers are out in force preparing the state's highways for the inevitable crush of traffic's possible impact on neighboring properties and a large section of Kent County. DelDOT would most definitely have to add Sussex County to its preparations and use of manpower before and during NASCAR races since this RV campground will most assuredly be used by those attending the races and wanting to go to the beach or shop at the outlets.
I respect the rights of private property owners to use their land as they wish, but when a development of this size is proposed that will most certainly impact every other local property owner, our elected officials must demand total transparency from the applicants and be certain that their constituents have a full and true grasp of the full impact of the proposed project.
If this proposal comes to fruition, the current local property owners will most certainly realize a much diminished lifestyle for the following reasons:
• Contending with traffic on Plantation Road, Postal Road, John J. Williams Hwy. and Route 1 would lead to frustration and accidents, especially during summer months when beach traffic is so heavy. My guess would be that we will then have to contend with widening the abovementioned roads to accommodate the inordinate amount of traffic resulting from more than 450 RVs plus almost 300 cars renting the park's cabins.
The eminent domain excuse (government power to take private property for public use without the owner's consent “for the betterment of the public good”) has been used in the past. Has DelDOT analyzed the increase in traffic and the effect on the surrounding roadway system?
• Decreased property values because the change in zoning has eliminated the enjoyment of a residential neighborhood. Is the proposed application in comformance with the current Sussex County Comprehensive Plan?
• Will the current electric supply be able to support the influx of people and their need for electricity or will we again experience regular power outages as in the past?
• What will be the environmental consequences?
January 18, 2013 - Sussex Must Vote Against RV Park - Cape Gazette
By Lorrie Falkinburg | Jan 18, 2013
I am writing this letter in reference to the proposed RV resort and campground in the Ward Road/Cedar Grove Road area. I have reviewed the Plus report and also studied the site plan available in the zoning office. Being a full time resident of Lewes and a homeowner in one of the communities which border the project, I have several concerns regarding the development of this plan.
First and foremost is the negative impact this campground will have on Love Creek and the Hetty Fisher Glade wetlands and the surrounding woodland areas that encompass this parcel. A project of this magnitude which includes the construction of roads, buildings, lots, pools, docks, pavilions, the running of underground electrical wiring, and the addition of septic and water components would involve the removal of a great deal of existing forest and plant life, thus displacing and destroying much of the wildlife that make this their home.
Native plants and grasses along with marine wildlife which border the glade and creek would also be effected by the continual use of these waterways for recreational purposes. Also, the run-off pollution from the campsites would have a negative impact on the integrity of the wetlands and its natural habitat.
Water quality in these areas must be preserved to best protect and ensure continued growth of the existing wildlife population that live in these waters and on the land; and for that reason, the location of this RV resort is not a good fit for the area.
Secondly, the impact that this project would have on the current traffic situation in the area is of major concern. The development of this site would add more then 600 (that is a conservative number knowing that some sights will have two allotted parking spaces) vehicles that would use the small back roadways to get to and from the campground, beaches, restaurants and shops; thus making a bad situation even worse.
Currently, on any given afternoon during the season, the traffic going north on Route 24 toward Route 1 is backed up from Plantation Road and down Route 24 for at least a mile. Because of this, traffic will bypass Route 24 by using Mulberry Knoll Road to go north onto Cedar Grove which then causes a backup there, creating delays on Cedar Grove Road.
The intersecting roads at Cedar Grove Road, Plantation Road and Postal Road can be hazardous during the season due to the growing number of cars traveling in several different directions. The addition of this campground would only compound the existing traffic dilemma. Also, we need to consider the exhaust emissions that would pollute our air from the additional traffic flow.
Finally, I would like to address the site plan of the resort itself. It is large....very large! It could accommodate well over 2,000 people at any given time, depending on the amount occupied by each unit. That is a great number of vacationers in a very condensed area. Also, according to the site plan, the piece of land which borders Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade would be comprised of 200 RV lots, a pool, an amphitheater, a dock, a bar and spaces for parking. This particular piece of land narrows out at the point, and is surrounded by water on both sides. Knowing that sound is magnified as it travels across water, noise coming from this area would be invasive and create a major issue to the communities and homes which border the site. For that reason, building a bar, amphitheater, and parking lot toward the end of the point would not be conducive to that particular area.
There are many beautiful campgrounds in our local area that can comfortably accommodate RVs and campers and also offer a wide array of amenities to anyone who would like to visit our lovely beach towns. Adding another campground, especially one of this size, at the proposed location would not be advantageous to the surrounding area.
With all that being said, I am asking the commissioners to consider how this project would jeopardize the sustainability of our forests and wetlands, and ask them to help minimize the potential for additional "resort sprawl" in rural areas by voting against the zoning change and against the conditional land use application set forth by the Jack Lingo Assessment Management Corporation.
Knowing that the Lingo and Townsend families have grown up here and make their homes in these beautiful resort towns, I would also ask that they and their asset management team reevaluate their plans for this area and consider permanent preservation alternatives to the forest and wetlands bordering Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade. It is the right thing to do!
RV resort will negatively impact area
January 17, 2013
Once again the people of Sussex County who live in the area of the proposed resort campground that Lingo/Townsend plan to build are at risk of losing their manner of living and quality of life due to this proposed land usage. This RV resort is definitely not conducive to the area with respect to our already overburdened roads, especially in the summer months with the growing number of tourists that already come to the beaches and outlets.
Contrary to what we were told at the first meeting with the Lingo/Townsend representative, these people will be going to the beaches, outlets stores and restaurants daily and adding to the traffic congestion. We were told that the intentions are to make this a destination resort and these people would not be leaving the area once they have arrived in their RV. Do they plan to lock them in after arrival? This is a ridiculous statement to say the least.
The RV city will negatively impact not only the roads, but also the local wildlife and eco systems that will be forever disrupted or destroyed contrary to what we were assured by the developer. If this RV city is allowed to be built, this area will never be the same and there will be a significant disruption for those of us that live in the area and also to Love Creek itself. I agree with the comment that if this is allowed, please watch carefully who you vote for in the future elections. This small group of people may impact your life forever.
Cape Gazette Friday Editorial
Now is the time to hire county planner
Jan 11, 2013
Cape Henlopen School District is in the process of planning new schools to develop the extra capacity needed for current and future growth. At the current pace of nearly 100 new students each year, the district - now with 5,000 students - will have another 1,000 students to educate in 10 years. Growth is picking up steam, and Sussex County Council should follow suit by filling the planner position now in its third year of being vacant.
In the past half year, we've seen three different proposals for significant recreational vehicle parks surface. These parks can certainly contribute to the Sussex economy and the important tourism industry. However, they will not exist in a vacuum, and they will have impacts.
Having a certified planner as part of the Sussex administration would help ensure that proposals such as the RV parks receive consideration in the greater context of how all of Sussex County is developing. In reviewing these and other projects, a certified planner could assist council members to gain a greater understanding so the best decisions are made for the long term.
Sussex County is a special place and deserves the benefit of a well-informed perspective so all of us can be the most effective stewards possible. This largest county on the entire Delmarva Peninsula - by far - has so much going for it in terms of natural beauty and amenities, climate, strategic geographical location, excellent farmland and rainfall. We should always be discussing how we can preserve all of those things so vital to our agricultural and tourism economy, and know how one thing affects another.
In a county that benefits from excellent fiscal management and understands the value of limited government, a certified planner could also review and make recommendations that address sustainability, and present information to council members so ultimate decisions can be made to help protect all those aspects of Sussex that we treasure.
The planning position is already budgeted. With the pace of growth quickening, now is the time to get that position filled.
Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Jan 12, 2013 07:51
Agreed. Planning for the future of Sussex is imperative. A professional planner with consensus of the values, culture, history, and needs of Sussex residents would be a huge asset for our path into the realm of bulldoze to sell and develop. There should be a county wide P L A N that is well thought out, fair, and comprehensive with agriculture, open space, transportation, education, recreation and a myriad of other concerns addressed. The selling of Sussex has too long been unmanaged. I fear if it continues, then our way of life, our beautiful county will no longer exist as we know and love it.
Letter to the Editor:
How can anyone disagree with having a "planner" for Sussex county? This is unacceptable! Once again, that was a surprise to most of us. May I suggest that a planner be hired immediately and not be related to anyone with deep pockets in Sussex county, perhaps someone from another state that has moved here and have become aware of the the "shady deals" that go on in Sussex county or someone from N.C. county that owes no one in Sussex favors! That would be refreshing. Also, PEOPLE know who you are voting for when you go to the polls. AND, they say they thought only New Jersey was known for corruption....just on a smaller scale in Delaware.
Recent letter to editor in Cape Gazette and community response:
We need to halt RV campsite proposal
By Charlie Tinacci | Jan 10, 2013
It looks like Lingo is at it again, trying to cram another project down the throats of Sussex County residents. This time it is an RV campsite in the area of western Lewes, near Plantation Road and Cedar Grove Road and Ward Road. We must again band together to fight against this travesty of a proposal for ultimately over 600 RV sites, over 50 cabins and some tent sites along with an amphitheater, clubhouse, pool and bar. It is proposed in an area that is currently residential and agricultural.
This is not the type of development that is consistent with the environment and neighborhood where this project is being proposed. This proposal also has the campsites within eyesight of Love Creek.
The impact on traffic in the summer would be horrendous on an already burdened road system around Plantation Road and Route 24, not to mention the small roads of Cedar Grove Road and Ward Road. The impact on the wildlife, including the eagles, herons and turtles would be significant with campers using kayaks and other recreational water toys.
The fragile ecosystem around Love Creek, including the vernal pools and the wetlands from the runoff, camper, and people pollution would be in serious jeopardy from the RV campsite. The safety of our communities would be threatened. The noise and light pollution would seriously impact the home values of the existing neighborhoods in the area.
We must all gather together and stop this horrible proposal from going forward. There is a Sussex County Planning & Zoning public meeting Thursday, Jan. 24, in Georgetown where this project will be proposed. We need to attend this meeting and let the P&Z commissioners know that we do not accept this project from going forth.
That won't stop it. Last year the planning and zoning commission voted 5-0 against allowing RVs and Campgrounds in Rehoboth Shores and Michael Vincent, Vance Phillips and Sam Wilson ignored the P & A reccomendations, and all the people who showed up at the Council meetings speaking against it and voted to allow it. The voters keep these people in office. and these people keep doing what they want because they are in the developer's and Landowner's pockets. When are the voters in this county wake up and look at the voting record of these 3 "blind Mice"?They are "Blind" to what the residents of Sussex County want and consistently ignore them. Good Luck.