Good Afternoon, Everyone!
This will be a long message – because much is happening and we want to make sure you know about all of it!
#1 – The Board of Supervisor Work Session:
Yesterday morning, Curtis Contracting and Curtis Security Consulting briefed the New Kent County Board of Supervisor Work Session on their Conditional Use Permit (Curtis CUP-02-18) application. Opposition (We, the People and Taxpayers) to CUP-02-18 was not allowed to speak. However, since this was a public meeting, we attended and listened. And here’s what happened: Curtis described themselves as “the Wheat” and Opposition as “the Chaff”. They stated their outreach activities to the community had not worked primarily, according to them, because we are misinformed. Several hard-hitting questions regarding safety and security were asked of Curtis following their presentation. Curtis will conduct a professional Sound Test at their property Friday morning. They could not remember the name of the firm that will do that work.
Curtis was asked about foreigners they anticipate training at the Barhamsville site. They were asked what responsibility Curtis had for foreign trainees who disappeared into our society after training as has happened in other Counter-terrorism/Driver Highway Safety and Evasion/Gun Shooting Facilities. Curtis stated this would be a State Department responsibility, not theirs.
Curtis stated their operation would be similar to those of O’Gara in Montross, VA and to the now defunct ITI facility near West Point. Please read the following article which interviews local neighbors of the Montross operation – https://www.wric.com/news/8-investigates/anti-terrorism-training-center-in-va-has-neighbors-on-edge/1093769330#
Curtis made a comparison of Colonial Williamsburg’s musket range with what they plan to construct. This seems odd since the old colonial muskets are low velocity, low kinetic weapons. Today’s military weapons are high powered, high kinetic weapons whose rounds travel much farther with much more kinetic force.
Following the Curtis briefing to our Supervisors, most folks departed the hearing room. Once outside, a representative of the NO COMBAT RANGE IN NEW KENT movement was interviewed on radio. Our cause is gaining attention! More TV and radio interviews are planned. More newspaper reports will be written ….. and we need you to continue writing those letters to our county officials AND the local papers. As things are published, we post them to the website at https://nocombatrangenk.com/.
Please continue to send us a copy of your letters so we can count submissions.
Make sure you check the website AND our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/No-Combat-Range-In-New-Kent-310833389453206/) often. And remember there are folks who do not have internet access — so go visit them, take your laptop or print out some of the information. Sit down and have a conversation with them. Be a good neighbor – brief them on exactly what Curtis CUP-02-18 contains. Most folks do not have a clue what this “Readiness Training Facility” is about.
#2 –Meeting with Two Board of Supervisors Yesterday Afternoon:
A small group of our people met with two Board Supervisors early yesterday afternoon. Thomas Evelyn and Ron Stiers took information briefings and asked questions. Most of our detailed, referenced materials were new to them – these are the same briefings we have been giving to you at our community meetings. They both asked very pointed questions. We answered every one. And they asked that we continue to dialogue – perhaps with a follow-up meeting. It was a good opportunity to exchange data. We told them about our MUCH LARGER group – Community-Wide – that had come together in opposition to Curtis CUP-02-18. They are very much aware of our efforts. They are impressed we have been so vocal. They are receiving your letters, emails and calls.
#3 – Community Meeting:
Our fifth Community meeting (5th meeting in three weeks!) last night was simply awesome. Folks just kept coming. We should all be proud of my neighbors – new and old! Folks came from Stonehouse, Kings Village AND Williamsburg, and from Quinton, New Kent, Bottoms Bridge and Providence Forge, in addition to Barhamsville, Eltham and West Point. 137 folks signed in, 160 American Flag Pins were attached to shirt collars, and 200 name tags were written on ….. so, we don’t have a firm count on participants — but can say with confidence it was OVER 200 people in attendance. Not bad for “Chaff”!
Last evening, we:
*** Updated charts on Surface Danger Zones and discussed how they were plotted. A large portion of the Barhamsville community and surrounding JCC areas are within the zone. It is not safe.
*** Described the detrimental effect a Curtis Combat Range would have on all property values. There would be a huge drop in property taxes for the county. Our detailed calculations, which we will give the Commissioners and Supervisors, show an overall sizable net DECREASE of monies coming in annually to New Kent County. Economically, the Curtis facility will not be good for the county or surrounding areas. It will only be good for Curtis. The devastating financial impact is undeniable.
*** Discussed good works achieved by community members and received an overview of Proclaiming Grace achievements and out-reach programs. Thanks to Melanie King for a great talk.
*** Reviewed preliminary results of Curtis Contracting Inc., OSHA Safety Violation reports.
*** Set next Community Meeting for Monday, 9 July at 6:30 at Gauthier Vineyard Winery.
*** Collected Petitions which will be copied and provided to New Kent County Admin NLT 5 July …. which means you can still be collecting signatures from friends and neighbors. You can drop off signed petitions to Sandi Gauthier at the winery (call in advance to make sure she’s there during week days – 703-622-1107), to Stephanie Dean Ripchick at Holly Fork Farm, or to Chuck Ward at Safe & Sound in Barhamsville. Our petition drive will NOT end with the Commissioner Meeting in July. We anticipate this fight going all the way to the Board of Supervisors meeting in August!
*** Hired an attorney and had first meeting with him in Richmond. His first comment was he thought the Conditional Use Permit was incomplete – he was looking for ‘the conditions’. Our attorney, William H. Shewmake, is with LeClair Ryan in Richmond. He has worked with New Kent County before and says we are doing EVERYTHING right. He encourages us all to be relentless – to continue the fight – to continue engaging our neighbors, signing petitions, meeting as a group and in smaller settings, continue to contact the news media and write letters to the editors and to our elected and appointed officials. He has told us to STAY THE COURSE! Eric Cruz is our principal point of contact for the attorney.
In closing, it has been a very busy THREE WEEKS … we’ve accomplished much. And we have much to do. One of our more eloquent letter writers stated that NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT being approved – even if you pay a lot of taxes. We all pay taxes. And we all have the right to live in our community, peacefully, just as New Kent County planned.
Barhamsville is described by New Kent County’s Master Comprehensive Plan as a HAMLET – a small village. A counter-terrorism combat range is not a fit in the hamlet – it does not belong.
Many thanks to all of you for making last night such a wonderful gathering. Particular thanks to Sue and Ron for the American Flag pins and the sound system … and most especially to Chris Baker for handing out yard signs and bumper stickers — and they gave them out for FREE. We should all feel blessed to be surrounded by so many talented, smart, driven people who are willing to fight to maintain their homes and families and friends and neighbors in little Barhamsville.
See you Monday, 9 July at 6:30 at Gauthier Vineyard Winery!