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January 29, 2013     Cape Gazette
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January 29, 2013

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10 TUESDAY, JANUARY 29- THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2013 NEWS Cape Gazette Hearing are surrounded by residential development. "There is no nega- tive impact on property values," Continued from page I Hammonds said. pancy rates have been high," he Mary Schrider-Fox, an attor- said. ney representing residents at He said the plans are for more The Retreat at Love Creek, said seasonal rentals than week and the proposed project is out of weekend rentals, which would character with the surrounding cut down on transient traffic, area. She called the campground Hammonds said the prop- a commercial venture that has erty has been owned by the little to no benefit to local inhab- Townsend family for many itants, which is inconsistent with years. "It's a propertytheywant- uses provided in the county's ed to develop in the near term," AR-1 zoning. Hammonds said. In addition, she said, the proj- Developers say an RV park ect includes many more ame- would have less impact on the nities than outlined for camp- environment and generate less grounds in county code. "It's traffic than a residential subdi- beyond the scope of a traditional vision. As many as 500 homes campground," she said. could be built on the parcel; 628 Lawrence Lank, director of camping sites are planned in the county planning and zoning, RV park. said his department has received Gene Bayard, attorney for the nine letters in support of the developer, said history proves project and petitions with more RV parks and residential corn- than 600 signatures and more munities are compatible. He than nO letters in opposition to used the former Three Seasons the project. campground near Rehoboth Planning and zoning commis- Beach Yacht and Country Club sioners voted to defer on a rec- as an example. The campground ommendation to county council was sold in 2006 and developed and leave the public record open into housing, now and for 15 days after the re- He said over the past 25 years, ceipt of Delaware Department housing units in the area grew of Transportation comments from 300 to 900. "RV parks and on the applicant's traffic impact residential communities can co- study. Council's public hearing exist peacefully and the projects is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Tues- -can work together," he said. day, Feb. 19. Hammonds said two other area campgrounds - Treasure Comments on the environment Beach in the Ocean City area During testimony, the devel- and Holly Lake near Long Neck oper's representatives said all wetlands would be protected by buffers ranging from 50 to 100 feet, and a minimal number of trees would be cut. Almost all of the campground area is wooded. A single point of access is planned for canoes and kay- aks to launch onto Love Creek. There are no plans for a marina or boat launch. In addition, developers plan a vegetated buffer around the pe- rimeter of the campground to shield it from the surrounding area. Engineer Michael Wigley said about one-half acre of wet- lands would be disturbed. More than 90 acres of the parcel would not be developed. The parcel would be served by county sewer with individu- al sewer and water hookups at each RV site. The sites would average more than 3,000 square feet -1,000 more square feet than required by county code. The minimum setback from any other property would be 400 feet, Wigley said. Wigley, an engineer with Da- vis, Bowen and Friedel, said an environmental review of the parcel found no rare or threat- ened species on state or federal records. Several speakers disagreed with the applicant's assessment of the environmental impact of the project. Jason Beale of the Delaware Nature Society said contrary to the developer's environmental survey, the parcel is home to two rare species. His findings con- cur with Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control comments provided on the project during a state-agency review showing the rare East- ern tiger salamander and the barking tree frog live on or ad- jacent to the parcel. Because of its proximity to Love Creek and wetlands, DNREC officials call the parcel an environmentally sensitive area that should be pre- served and not developed. Henry Glowiak, an Inland Bays Foundation board member, said Love Creek is one of the largest tributaries of the Inland Bays. "This should be a nature pre- serve. This project is one ofwthe biggest threats to the Inland Bays in a long time. How will they ever recover if develop- ments like these are approved?" he asked. William Zak, who lives in the Briarwood community and has been associated with The Cen- ter for the Inland Bays, said the headwaters of Love Creek, lo- cated near the proposed camp- ground, are one of the last areas where water grasses are still flourishing. "The reason is that the area is buffered by wooded areas," he said, adding any clear- ing of trees would hurt the deli- cate ecosystem. Zak said he was told by a Re- altor when he bought his home near the site that the proposed campground parcel would nev- er be developed. He said the swamp area smells three or four times a month and the flies are nasty May through July. "It's not even a good site and will be abandoned eventually; we'll be left with 162 acres of decimated woodlands,'! he said. Zak's comments prompted Commission President Bob Wheatley to ask him why he chose to live in the area. David Racine, who lives along Mulberry Knoll Road, said he was involved in the design of the West Rehoboth sewer district. He said because of two decades of heavy development, the dis- trict's 50-year capacity plan is on a fast track. "It's a real problem because we are approaching that 50-year plan now," he said. Racine said before the county approves any zoning change, proper infrastructure should be in place. "Projects should be denied without roads and in- frastructure in place, not just planned," Racine said. Comments on traffic In answer to questions about increased traffic, Hammonds said the RV park would be a destination that would generate much less traffic than a hous- ing project on the parcel, where as many as 500 homes could be built. "When you compare an RV resort to a subdivision with 500 homes, it would generate significantly less traffiC," Ham- monds said. D.J. Hughes, an engineer With Continued on page 12