Rules on Campgrounds Could Affect Kent County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Rule Changes on Campgrounds Could Affect Kent County Church

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DOVER, Del. -- Kent County is considering legislation that consolidates its definitions of private and public campgrounds, a move that the leader of a Dover-area church said could jeopardize an informal proposal to offer shelter to the homeless in tiny houses on the property.

A bill enacting the change was advanced from committee on Tuesday with a formal introduction scheduled for next month. It would combine "both public and commercial campgrounds into one use to be permitted in the AC and AR zoning districts as a conditional use requiring site plan review." 

Additionally, it would also define a campground and private camps for seasonal residency.

Levy Court Commissioner Eric Buckson, head of the county's Planning Services committee, said the move is intended to address possible inconsistencies in land use laws that were highlighted during recent issues at Victory Church, which is located on Forrest Avenue and within a zoning area that allows for commercial campground use with proper approvals.

"If you have a commercial campground of mobile homes, or trailers or RVs, that come into an area, what is their impact? How is it different than a public campground, which could have the same RVs?" Buckson said.

Sarah Keifer, the county's land use director, said the campground code has not been revisited since 1991. The levy court also will consider a bill that deals with the definition of unregistered vehicles and clarifies related restrictions.

Victory Church Pastor Aaron Appling said he believes the county is putting additional road blocks in his way to make it more difficult to achieve a controversial plan to pilot a program to house the needy in so-called "tiny homes" on church property. The plan stirred controversy and garnered significant backlash from some neighbors, who have accused Appling of being a bad neighbor who allows disruptive and dangerous behavior to occur on the property.

If the proposed change is approved, Appling said the process to get the homeless shelter approved would become more difficult and expensive because of application-related costs that don't guarantee the project would happen.

"Levy Court could have a meeting and if we don't get enough votes, they can say no campground no matter where we're at," he said.

Both bills are expected to go through the legislative process during the next couple months.

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