Curious omission by P&Z for Love Creek RV vote
Sussex County Planning & Zoning commissioners Michael B. Johnson and Martin L. Ross provided supporting arguments for the motion to approve the Lingo Asset Management Love Creek RV resort zoning change and conditional use applications.
And they prefaced these comments stating that they weighed the testimony of experts higher than regular citizens. However, they ignored the financial comparison testimony provided by Sussex County Finance Director Gina Jennings - who they apparently felt wasn’t “expert” enough.
This was a convenient omission - testimony they wished to avoid in their assessment. The finance director’s analysis was included in the public record - as was my presentation of this analysis at the county council hearing. The analysis simply compared the revenue to the county for this proposed RV resort versus a similarly-sized subdivision of homes - a $5.3 million benefit with housing for the county. The key factor: homes deliver the realty transfer tax revenue while an RV resort provides zero. Plus, on-going, homes contribute property tax revenue and repeat sales (more transfer tax revenue).
As far as discounting testimony of the opposition as being non-credentialed, this financial testimony was provided by the county’s own finance director. In my testimony to council, I introduced myself as a 40-year senior finance professional of major corporations (Squibb, Nabisco, Kraft). Trust me; I am more than “expert” enough to understand that a $5 million gain to county revenue should have been factored into this zoning/conditional use vote.
The conclusion that should be drawn from this revenue disparity is the current zoning is the correct zoning, and the RV City project should not be allowed to proceed for many reasons:
• An RV resort is not the best choice for the Love Creek corridor, where optimum taxable development is planned
• The RV proposal does not pay its “fair share” for county investments for infrastructure
• The high-density RV City population will stress the public safety functions - at the expense of current homeowners of Sussex County
The public record is still open for several items requested by Councilman George B. Cole - one for additional information regarding tax revenues of similar RV parks. Apparently Mr. Cole understands the critical nature of this financial testimony. Hopefully, county council will not discount opposition testimony (or omit relevant information) as “non-credentialed.”
Our presentations and presenters were professional and fact based. P&Z’s dismissal (excluding Mr. Smith) of the opposition testimony was an insult to all tax-paying residents of Sussex County and the democratic process.