Letter to the Editor (June 28, 2018)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

I write in response to the article in the Sat., June 23 Virginia Gazette titled “Residents organize opposition to proposed shooting range.” I was dismayed to read the presentation of facts on the Curtis Security Consulting, Inc. CUP-02-18 Proposal, now before the New Kent Co. Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, to build a counter-terrorism/tactical training facility in the heart of Barhamsville. Very few details were included and so I will outline some here.

This is more than a shooting range. It is a massive building project. It will be privately owned and managed, and not open to the public. According to the proposal the Curtis facility would have up to 120 students training daily during daylight AND in darkness. It would operate 6 days per week, from 7:00am-7:00pm, and to 11:00pm up to 3 nights per week. There will be a ballistic shoot house, and 5 outdoor ranges with up to 15 students per range, which equates to as many as 75 people shooting at any time. There will also be Tactical Sound Infusion episodes allowed several times per day, with those at night requiring notifying the Sheriff’s Dept. in advance, because the level of noise will be so loud. It will have a bunkhouse for 40 and a mess facility.

Safety is the biggest concern. This parcel is surrounded by Farmers Dr., Tabernacle Rd., and Holly Fork Rd., with several connecting roads that are home to many residences, family farms, a Winery, several horse farms, a llama farm, churches, and The Poor Clares Monastery – a cloistered monastic community of contemplative nuns. And the roads bordering this parcel are used as a school bus route that buses travel 4 times in the morning and 4 times in the afternoon.

There are serious concerns about the environmental impacts. Contamination of the soil, wells, and aquifer from millions of spent lead bullets would devastate the community where there are no public utilities. Their proposed plan for lead abatement is highly inadequate. There will also likely be impact on bird populations, which would include several Bald Eagle nests in the area.

I have not even touched on the fact that all property values would plummet, impacting the biggest investment most homeowners make in their lifetime, and it would also impact future business development in the county. To Curtis it is just a business, but to those of us here it is our homes and our life.

The CUP-02-18 Proposal does not fit the Comprehensive Plan of New Kent County. And New Kent County Code, Article XIX, Section 98, specifically states: “No Combat-type ranges shall be permitted.” The code was enacted 9 April 2018, with most current version dated 3 May 2018. The code is available on line.

The Curtis Group facility would forever devastate the Barhamsville community, but will also impact Upper James City Co. residents in Stonehouse, Kings Village, and others, like Dream Catchers Therapeutic Horse Riding. It is an entirely inappropriate project to drop into an already well-established community of residents and businesses. It is the type of project that belongs out in the middle of nowhere, not here threatening the safety of residents, children, and animals. There is an ever-growing opposition in Barhamsville, greater New Kent Co., and Upper James City Co. to the Curtis Proposal. To learn more please go to our website: nocombatrangenk.com

Marlene Jack

4211 Barham Road
Barhamsville, VA 23011