Opposition to RV Park Conversion Gains Support
A Sussex County, Del., panel says the county should reject a hotly opposed plan to put seasonal RV campground lots inside a manufactured-housing community.
The unanimous vote last week by the county planning and zoning commission is a setback for the proposal at the Rehoboth Shores community near Long Neck, and a victory for its residents, who own their homes but lease the land underneath, The News Journal reported.
Planning Commissioner Michael Johnson said the project — which would replace 260 undeveloped home lots with 367 RV sites — was not compatible with the existing property use, and called it an "unacceptable increase in density."
"I am not satisfied that there is a need for additional RV camper sites in this area of Sussex County, especially if it results in a loss of manufactured-housing sites," he said.
David Podlaseck, a spokesman for the owner of Rehoboth Shores, said Friday (March 25) the developer is going to see where things proceed. The final decision on the project is up to the county council.
"We're very sorry they feel that way, but we are going to move forward from here," Podlaseck said.
Opponents were cheered by the panel's recommendation.
"I think we're going to do OK — keep our fingers crossed," said Rehoboth Shores resident Barbara Duff. "It was a very good decision."
The county council heard testimony last week at its own public hearing from Rehoboth residents and neighbors in opposition, including Debbie Irwin, who lives in the community.
"I hope you consider us as human beings that count for something," she told council members.
Because of security and crime concerns from residents, the owner is proposing to add a 6-foot-high berm in the middle of a 50-foot wooded buffer between the campground and the year-round residents.
The campground also will conduct background checks on all its campers, Podlaseck said. "As long as it's seasonal, we'll be able to keep that crime in check," he said.
The developer, other landowners and the Delaware Tourism Office say it would add much-needed RV space — area campgrounds are reportedly packed during the summer season — in an economy in which manufactured homes are no longer selling like they used to. Of the 494 lots now at Rehoboth Shores, 80 are vacant.
Though it will not displace anyone, about 400 people from Rehoboth Shores and neighboring areas have signed a petition against the project. Residents say they're concerned if one manufactured-housing community wins approval, others also will want to put RVs in their midst. Some are worried that if the campground comes in, homeowners will be unable to sell their homes and effectively be trapped.