Delaware RV Park Plan Still Highly Contentious
The decision on a proposed RV campground on Love Creek near Lewes, Del., is on hold as Sussex County officials await a traffic impact study review by state transportation officials.
According to the Cape Gazette, the Delaware Department of Transportation review was expected in mid-March, according to county officials, but still has not been completed, said Lawrence Lank, director of county planning and zoning.
Once the review is submitted to the county, the public will have 15 days to comment on it and the matter must again be placed on planning and zoning and county council agendas. Council cannot act without a recommendation from planning and zoning.
The reason for the delay may be a breakdown in communications: DelDOT spokeswoman Sandy Roumillat said the review was not due until late April. She said DelDOT planners have scheduled a meeting with the developer to discuss possible off-site road improvements. "The developer will need time to review the findings and if they agree with the improvements DelDOT proposed, then the response can be forwarded to the county, possibly in a week," she said.
Residents say study is flawed
The developer and many residents in the vicinity of the proposed project disagree on every facet of the project as far as traffic is concerned.
Area residents have testified the traffic study was flawed because it did not include road conditions and issues beyond the area from Cedar Grove Road to Plantation Road, which the developer considers the main entrance to the proposed campground.
The residents testified that other roads – including Route 24, Mulberry Knoll Road, Robinsonville Road and the section of Cedar Grove Road north of the campground entrance – would see increasing traffic generated by the proposed campground.
Charlie Tinacci, a spokesman for a coalition of homeowners associations opposed to the project, said the developer's traffic impact study focuses only on traffic from the east to the proposed campground. He said most traffic would come from the north and west on roads with no planned improvements.
Developer: Far less traffic than from homes
Developer's representatives say traffic from the seasonal campground would be far less than the traffic generated by a housing complex with traffic all year. Nick Hammonds, with Jack Lingo Asset management, said more than 500 homes could be built on the parcel as it's currently zoned. Seventy-five acres of the parcel, zoned GR, could be used for manufactured housing.
The campground would be open from April 1 to Oct. 31, when all RVs would be removed from sites and stored in a designated area within the park or driven off the property.
Traffic consultant D.J. Hughes, an engineer with Davis, Bowen and Friedel, conducted the traffic impact study for the developer. He said from 25% to 51% less daily traffic would be generated by an RV park compared to a residential development. For example, on a typical Saturday during the summer season, the RV park would generate 2,475 daily trips while a built-out subdivision would generate more than 5,000 daily trips.
Opponents disagree with the developer's housing numbers saying the actual number of units would be closer to 300 when acreage for stormwater ponds, amenities, open space and roads is subtracted from the area available for homes. Opponents say that number of homes would generate substantially less traffic than the proposed campground; they also say the scope of the campground is so large it would create traffic similar to a small town.
Two applications are pending
Jack Lingo Asset Management has two applications pending for Love Creek RV Resort and Campground. The developer is asking for a conditional use and a zoning change from GR, general-residential district, to AR-1, agricultural residential, for 74 acres of the parcel. If approved, the entire 162-acre parcel would be zoned AR-1. Campgrounds are not prohibited in GR zones.
Included on the site plan are 628 camping sites: 516 for recreational vehicles, 30 for tents and another 82 sites for rental cabins. Proposed amenities are an amphitheater/chapel, welcome center, fitness center, laundry, clubhouse, general store, several pavilions and paddle boat launches, canoe outfitter, pumping station, swimming ponds, pools and RV storage. The plan has twice been modified based on comments from residents and an environmental expert.
Road improvements part of plan
The developer is prepared to pay for road improvements to Cedar Grove Road from the entrance of the proposed campground east to Plantation Road. Work would include widening and repaving the road to include 11-foot lanes and 5-foot shoulders.
The improvements would then tie into a DelDOT project to realign the Cedar Grove-Postal Lane intersection. That project – which includes a traffic signal – is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014 and be completed in 2015.
Hughes said plans call for a 310-foot left-turn lane off Cedar Grove Road into the entrance of the proposed campground to keep RV traffic off the road and shoulder. Hughes also said DART could establish a bus stop at the campground's welcome center, which could alleviate some vehicle traffic from the campground.
But as Hughes pointed out during a Feb. 19 public hearing, DelDOT has the final say on traffic improvements. “We are not sure what will be required. We'll know when DelDOT responds,” he said.
The developer says the proposed campground would become a destination for seasonal campers who would park their RVs or travel trailers during the season and take advantage of on-site amenities.
Hammonds said the plans are for more seasonal rentals than week and weekend rentals, which would reduce transient traffic.
Opponents disagree. They say people would come to the campground to visit the beach and take advantage of shopping and restaurants in the area – therefore creating more traffic on already-congested roads.
Hammonds said, if approved, the project would be built in three phases with first phase construction in 2014 and a 2015 opening. Depending on demand, he said, additional phases would occur every two years, with most amenities and half the camping sites constructed during the first two phases.
Public hearings scheduled for Massey's Landing campground
Meanwhile, public hearings have been scheduled for a campground on a 51-acre parcel near Massey's Landing. The developers, Ida C. Faucett, Faucett Heirs LLC and Massey's Landing Park LLC, are requesting a conditional-use and zoning change from MR, medium-density residential, to AR-1, agricultural-residential, for the parcel. The planning and zoning hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 23, and the county council hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18.