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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: RV Parks In The Highway Business District

Editorial: RV Parks In The Highway Business District

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council will consider a recommendation from their Planning Commission to approve a change to the zoning ordinance to permit Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parks in the Highway Business District along Lake Park Blvd (Highway 421).
The Council will consider this amendment at their Tuesday May 13th, meeting following a public hearing at 6:30PM.
New parks would have to get a conditional use permit and meet specific criteria for design and buffering from adjacent uses. (See report on page 1-A).
RV's are not cheap. They are for many people a luxury vacation get-away or roaming home in their retirement years. Many cost well over $100,000 (or much more depending on size and features).
The issue isn't whether or not RV's are good or bad. I think we can all agree that a nice new shiny RV is anything other than a good thing. The issue is location and the best use of commercial property along our primary commercial corridor in Carolina Beach.
Would it be more desirable to see an RV Park or a new grocery store or shopping center with restaurants and shops?
The latter of the two equals higher property values and generates more property tax revenue, jobs and sales tax revenues than an RV Park. If we are to allow RV Parks to become the default plan-B for property owners that don't think they can successfully build a commercial development, then how will that affect adjacent property values for owners that will have to advertise "Excellent views of the RV Park" from their newly constructed office building or hotel? The amendment would permit RV Parks to directly abut residential areas. And once that cat is out of the bag, people will come clawing at the Planning Department seeking amendments to allow for RV and Boat storage in the Highway Business District. Because if the RV Parks don't look bad, why not a storage yard? Then people will seek to allow parks in other districts.
For example and hypothetically speaking, there's land large enough across from Town Hall under the current proposal. Although, I've heard from some within Town Hall there have been inquiries about using that property for an RV associated use.
Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin recently commented there are potential locations throughout the Highway Business District that could be developed into RV Parks as long as they are at least 1.5 acres in size, or, two or more contiguous lots under same ownership that can be combined to equal more than 1.5 acres of land. Some of those include the old Federal Point Shopping Center, lots just south of Walgreens on Lake Park Blvd and others. There are lots across from Town Hall and just south of Town Hall that could be used as RV parks that abut residential areas.
The Town Council should vote against this amendment. People will develop their commercial property in the same manner that others have for many years. The overall mission of leaders over a decade ago was to revitalize Carolina Beach. That mission has over time been realized for a number of reasons including zoning changes and economic times. Simply changing the rules because a property owner says they can't make the numbers work if they were to build an actual commercial development is admitting this is a fall back position and not the best use of land. In fact, a representative of the existing RV Park that is making this most recent request addressed Council in 2001 and clearly voiced opposition to permitting other RV Parks. You can read their statement in the report appearing on page 1-A of this week's paper.
This isn't about what's good for the Town, it's because right now they can't make the numbers work and fill commercial square footage if they redevelop their existing park and really want to obtain rezoning of a portion of their lot on Goldsboro Avenue to permit expansion of their park.
This is less about what's good for the entire Highway Business District and more about allowing them to expand. Something they've been trying to do for several years now.