RV Park OK'd for Center of Manufactured Home Community
The Sussex County (Del.) Council overrode the unanimous vote of its planning board Tuesday (June 21) and approved a controversial plan to put a campground in the middle of a manufactured home community on Long Neck, The News Journal reported.
Opponents of the project said the 3-2 vote in favor of the Rehoboth Shores proposal clears the way for other landowners who lease to manufactured homeowners to do whatever they want with their unoccupied land.
"Every community in Sussex County … can now get campers and all that into their communities," said Ed Speraw, a Rehoboth Shores resident and president of the Delaware Manufactured Homeowners Association. "RVs are not manufactured housing."
Residents had argued that a campground would fundamentally change the nature of their community, in which they lease the land but own their homes, expressing worry about crime and security.
The tie-breaking vote was cast by Council President Mike Vincent, R-Seaford, who said he also had been concerned about security, but a 6-foot-high earthen berm and fencing promised by the owner assuaged that.
"I think it's something that could work, will work," Vincent said of the overall plan.
Joining him in voting for the project were Councilmen Vance Phillips, R-Laurel, and Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown. Phillips said it will promote tourism and help the economy without putting a burden on schools, as putting additional manufactured homes on the site could have.
Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Lewes, and Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, voted against it.
"This is like changing the rules in the middle of the game," Deaver said, adding that manufactured housing is affordable housing for many people.
Cole said that while more campgrounds may be needed in the county, the demand is for transient camping, not season-long rental sites like those that will be at Rehoboth Shores. "They end up becoming almost more of a permanent-type housing, it seems," he said.
The county's Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously in March to oppose the plan, with members saying it was not compatible with the property use and was too dense.
Current residents will not be displaced, but about 260 RV sites will replace 260 approved but undeveloped home locations. About 400 people from Rehoboth Shores and neighboring communities signed a petition against the project, worried in part that homeowners will be unable to sell their homes