Cape Gazette
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Tuesday Editorial

Decisions on campgrounds must strike balance

Apr 22, 2014

In February, the Cape Gazette reported county residents had been waiting six months for Sussex County Council to take action on two controversial projects: Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, with more than 628 proposed campsites, and Castaways at Massey’s Landing, where 322 RV sites and 10 campsites are proposed.

Both projects require a zoning change based on the way land for the two projects is cur­rently zoned. In the months since the record on these projects closed, Councilman Vance Phillips announced he would support an ordinance to require developers to pay a fee in exchange for increased density for housing developments.

Since council has waited this long, perhaps it should consider imposing similar fees for campgrounds. If the campgrounds are ap­proved, it remains to be seen whether they will produce more or less traffic than hous­ing developments would bring.

There is no doubt, however, that hundreds of campsites will bring visitors, increasing the use of Cape Region roads and requiring significant sewer capacity during the summer months – just when our population swells, dramatically tax­ing our roads and sewer capacity.

If Sussex County Council is serious about developing an ordinance that requires a fee in exchange for upzoning, it’s hard to see why the same thinking would not apply to camp­grounds.

Developers say campers tend to stay on site and enjoy the camp’s amenities, but they still have to use the roads to get to the campsites, and they will certainly use public water and sewers. Council could establish a way to impose fees before the conditional use permitting a campground is approved.

Imposing fees in exchange for the increased density a campground receives would likely slow the pace of development while at the same time helping to pay for transportation and sewer improvements.

Council President Mike Vincent says he will put the two campgrounds on the agenda after he has had time to read the entire record. Once he and the council have a clear grasp of the record, the council must come up with solutions that respond to the interests of developers and residents, striking a balance between their competing points of view.

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