Sussex officials must follow wishes of people
Now that Sussex County officials have begun the formal debate over the proposed Love Creek RV Resort and Campground, it seems to me that the issue boils down to a simple question: Is our county government of the people and for the people - or for a single business interest?
As all Americans know, the role of government is to represent its citizens. Regarding the proposal to build the RV development on the banks of Love Creek, the citizens of Sussex County have spoken loud and clear to their government representatives - those members of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission and Sussex County Council - that they are overwhelmingly opposed to zoning changes that would allow this massive development to proceed. In recent months, they have expressed their opposition in every channel available to constituents in a representative democracy:
• More than 1,200 citizens have signed petitions in opposition to the project - the equivalent of 44 percent of the total population of Lewes (2,757 in 2011). As of June 10, only 11 people have written in favor of it.
• At the Sussex County Council public hearing on the matter, 190 people attended to oppose the development.
• At the planning and zoning commission public hearing, 110 attended to express their opposition - and 40 more people stood in the corridors outside the commission chamber ready to voice their objections.
• Residents of seven residential developments containing more than 1,100 single family homes formed an organization, the Stop RV City Coalition, whose sole purpose was to oppose this unwanted project. The residents live in The Retreat at Love Creek, Harts Landing, Briarwood Estates, Webb’s Landing, Plantations East, Bayfront and Ward Road.
• More than 120 area residents held a rally Feb. 9 on the banks of Love Creek to protest the proposed development.
• Forty-three area residents wrote letters to the Cape Gazette, the leading newspaper in our community, opposing the development while detailing dozens of concerns about the project.
• And several citizens with scientific credentials have researched the proposal from Jack Lingo Asset Management and found serious flaws that threaten area roads, environmentally sensitive wetlands, the aquifer and nearby subdivisions.
By contrast, public support for the project - in the record, at hearings and in the media - has been negligible. In fact, the developer has offered no rationale for building the project other than the profits to be reaped by a single business interest. In testimony to the planning and zoning commission and county council, it was made clear that the project doesn’t even make financial sense for county coffers. It would result in a decrease in tax revenues and an increase in costs incurred by the local government for additional municipal and county services to care for the extra residents of the RV development.
The members of the planning and zoning commission and county council have a clear and unequivocal indication of the wishes of their constituents in Sussex County. We have voiced our opposition to the Love Creek RV Resort and Campground and now we ask that our government representatives abide by the will of the people: Do not approve zoning changes C/Z #1725 and C/U #1925 that would permit the building of the RV City. To do otherwise would be a mockery of the ideals and practice of our democratic form of government.
Michael J. Weiss