Reader discusses proposed campground
I am a resident of the Retreat at Love Creek in Lewes and am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed Love Creek RV Resort & Campground. There are numerous flaws with this proposal, including, but not limited to, traffic and road remediation by the developer, environmental issues including noise pollution, the need for increased police patrol and emergency response resources and sewage disposal and water supply.
You will hear much about these concerns from area residents, but I want to focus on the negative financial implications that the RV park will have on Sussex County.
When you analyze the short- and long-term financial impact of the proposed development, it becomes apparent that approval of the proposal is not in the best interests of Sussex County and its residents. If this parcel were to be developed as a residential community, it would provide significant initial and ongoing revenue streams to the county. If this property were to be developed as an RV campground, the amount of revenue that it would contribute to the Sussex County General Fund would be negligible.
The Sussex County budget’s General Fund (public safety/infrastructure expenses) totals $46,400,000; 55 percent of revenues that support this fund are derived from realty transfer taxes and property taxes.
Lingo representatives indicated that if this property were to be developed as it is zoned, as a residential community, it would involve more than 400 homes. So, if one were to assume that 400 homes were built on this property at an average selling price of $400,000 with annual property taxes of $1,500, this parcel would produce $2,400,000 in realty transfer taxes and $600,000 in annual property taxes to the County. The RV development contributes zero realty transfer tax and minimal local taxes.
This proposal is bad financially for the Love Creek area, Lewes and Sussex County. It is only good for Jack Lingo Asset Management. I respect property owners’ rights to develop the land they have invested in. However, it should be developed consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. This proposal is detrimental to the thousands of taxpaying home owners whose communities surround this parcel. It will only serve to make the area less desirable for future residential development and drive property values down.
Delaware’s economic environment of low property taxes and no sales tax is a major draw to potential residents and business. It is obvious that careful planning — blending business, commercial and residential development — contribute to Delaware’s ability to provide this economic benefit. It seems obvious that the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, as is, gives thoughtful consideration to how different zoning classifications align with each other.
Full-year residents support local businesses and stimulate the economy. Permanent, tax-paying homeowners provide revenues to the county to sustain public safety resources (paramedics, police and firefighters) and invest in infrastructure (waste treatment). An RV park will prove to be a drain on county resources — putting stress on public safety and infrastructure.
I am not opposed to development. The ability of the Lewes community and Sussex County to flourish depends on prudent development consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. I am also not opposed to the creation of RV campgrounds. However, this should be restricted to property zoned for this use. If Jack Lingo Asset Management feels so strongly that this region needs another RV campground, let them develop a piece of property zoned for this purpose.
Based on the above numbers, the elimination of this property as a generator of significant tax revenue would not appear to be in the best interests of Sussex County. Please do not let one small group of individuals profit at the expense of thousands of concerned home owners, the Town of Lewes and Sussex County.
I urge Planning & Zoning and County Council members to vote against this proposal.
Stephen J. Byrnes
Reader questions cost of proposed legislation
Temporary tax increases, enacted as part of a plan to close a budget gap four years ago, had been set to end this July 1. Gov. Markell, in January, called for making the temporary taxes permanent, arguing the State could not afford the loss of revenue. The four bills were voted out of the House and passed in the Senate despite unanimous opposition by Senate Republicans. Gov. Markell immediately signed them into law.
If the State so desperately needs this revenue, another question immediately arises from all the gun legislation the governor wants passed: Has anyone considered the cost to the State?
All of the current gun control bills end with saying violation of the new law will result in a felony charge, which would mean the offender goes to prison (not the local jail, as felons go to the penitentiary). How much will this cost Delaware in:
• Prison costs: Has anyone taken time to assess available space in Delaware’s prisons to accommodate all the new criminals that will need housing? Will Delaware need to build new prisons (plural, because both men and women own firearms and will be convicted under these laws)? Has anyone considered the cost of housing, feeding and clothing all the new criminals that will suddenly appear and require the State to care for them? Where will the money come from?
• Court costs: Has anyone considered the court costs that will be created by having all the newly arrested citizens who are now alleged felons process through the system? Each person will require a defense attorney; there will be a prosecuting attorney, court reporter and all that goes with a trial (felony charges will need a trial). Where will the money come from?
• Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and Adult Protective Services costs: Has anyone considered the additional costs to the State for the care of children, the disabled and the elderly who are currently receiving care in homes at the expense of the family. Who will take care of the children whose parents are in prison? Who will take the place of those who have disabled and elderly in their homes and are providing 24/7 caregiving services? What happens to the people who are totally dependent on their caregivers? Where will the money come from?
These new laws will not affect criminals, as criminals do not report thefts and sales of firearms anyway. Criminals do not check to see if they are in a no-gun zone. Criminals do not care if the gun they are using is considered an assault weapon and is banned or if the magazine is illegal. Criminals do whatever they want, heedless of any law or restrictions.
Considering that all — all — of the new gun legislation will affect only the law abiding, tax-paying citizens, raising taxes is not viable, as most of the new felons will be taxpayers, and they will not be earning an income while incarcerated.
So where will Delaware get the money? Confiscation of the new felons’ properties? Seizure of their bank accounts and 401K accounts? Sale of their real estate?
Sons of Italy grateful for support from many
The Third Annual St. Joseph’s Day Italian Festival on March 23, sponsored by the Ocean City Lodge of the Sons of Italy and St. Luke’s/St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, was another big success.
We had over 1,100 attendees come through to enjoy our home-cooked Italian meals and baked goods. They sat and listened to music provided by Like Father, Like Son from Wilmington; bought Italian specialty foods and merchandise; participated in our large silent and Chinese auctions; played some games of chance and watched their children enjoy making Easter crafts.
All in all, it was a fun day and a very successful one for our charity and scholarship funds. We have many individuals and merchants to thank for their generosity in sponsoring our entertainment and auctions. These are the establishments that are the backbone of our community and we appreciate their donations. It is a pleasure to acknowledge them and encourage your readers to support them:
• Our benefactors in Bethany Beach: Sea Crest, Blooming Boutique, Cottage Café, Perfect Furnishings, Somerhouse, Turquoise restaurant;
• Our benefactors in Dagsboro: Cindy’s Spa, Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club;
• Our benefactors in Fenwick Island: Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop, Bayville Package Store, Blue Scoop, Casuals Design Furniture, Catch 54, Fenwick Floaters, Just Hooked restaurant, Lighthouse Liquors, Mancini’s Italian Restaurant, Mio Fratello Italian Steak House, Nantucket’s restaurant, Paco’s Paradise, Sea Shell City, Shamrock Shanty, Southern Exposure, The Rooster’s Nest, Zen Spa;
• Our benefactors in Millsboro, Millville and Frankford: Millsboro Lanes, Ray’s Place Styling Salon, Miller’s Creek Gifts/Wicker, Patty’s Hallmark, AgroSphere Consulting, Sirlae’s Churrascuria Brazilian Steak House;
• Our benefactors in Ocean View: Crazy Ladyz, DiFebo’s Italian Grill, Harris Teeter Food Market, Hickman’s Package Store, Kool Bean Bistro, Studio 26 Salon, Tidewater Physical Therapy, Treasure Island;
• Our benefactor’s in Selbyville and Williamsville: Coastal Coffee Works, Georgia House Restaurant, PNC, Janei’s Art Studio & Gallery, Sweet Dispositions.
Each one of these merchants played a part in our festival’s success, and we thank them all and want to wish them much success in the upcoming season.
And a very special thanks to all who attended. Hopefully, we have established a new annual tradition in the area and you will be our guests for many years to come.
Sal Castorina, President
Ocean City Lodge of the Sons of Italy