Cape Gazette

RV park still just doesn't fit

Dec 12, 2013

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.

Dick Snyder

Comments (1)
Posted by: Greg and Terri Kordal | Dec 14, 2013 08:40

Agree totally that an RV Resort and Campground with 628 total sites (including 80 cabins) just doesn't fit this area.  A great response by Mr. Snyder.

I want to contest a point made in this editorial – that Planning & Zoning cited “positive economic benefit “ as a reason for their vote of approval.  The Gazette was at all the public hearings and can verify that no factual evidence was put into testimony that there was positive economic benefit from an RV Park versus housing.  In fact, real evidence supported by a County Finance Director report proved an RV Park provides significantly less revenue to the county than housing development.  An RV Park contributes ZERO realty transfer tax – which is the lifeblood of Sussex County revenues.

The Gazette printed several articles on this economic analysis – including description of my public testimony.  I hoped the Gazette would have offered a rebuttal of P&Z’s unsupported position and condemned this project versus suggesting County Council will follow P&Z.  I also urge all Council members to read the testimony and refute P&Z’s “opinion” – and vote NO on both applications.

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