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