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.