Letter to Thomas Evelyn (September 4, 2018)

Mr. Evelyn,

We attended the Tuesday evening meeting (4 Sep) in which 5 of our community members addressed the supervisors. Collectively they asked the board to pledge to do no harm to our property values, change the conditional use permit process and add #11 prohibited land use, combat ranges, to our zoning code. Additionally, one of the speakers, a licensed and practicing real estate appraiser discussed the permanent negative impact ‘External Obsolescence’ would have on our property values should a combat range be approved by the county. We all learned that external obsolescence is permanent-there is no reversal.

I debated this week about sending you my take away from last Tuesday’s meeting. I decided to air my feelings. The board’s continued inaction is disheartening.

Bottom line up front, the board’s handling of this situation is sadly breeding distrust. Failing to provide the citizens, whose concerns and fears have been candidly set forth, a direct and concrete response on what the county is doing in support of us is inexcusable. At no time has a course of action been set forth by the board specifically outlining the legal requirements that must be followed in answering our questions and responding to our requests. What I heard Tuesday evening were a lot of empty words that suggest our requests/issues are not a priority for the county. Instead of identifying the policy and procedures that are in place that must be followed in order to respond to our requests, we learn the county has now decided updating the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances trump dealing with one issue, the request to protect our homes, land, and farms from the invasion of a tactical, combat and military style firing range and training facility. It is clear we are all anxious home and land owners living everyday with the fear a combat range will be supported by this county, grossly impacting our property values with no opportunity to recoup our losses. Updating the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances is an undertaking of monumental magnitude that will take years to finalize. Several board members nodded in union when one of them actually chuckled when he reminded the group how long it takes the government to get anything done. Yes, we heard that our pleas have not fallen on deaf ears and that our concerns have been heard, but, it’s going to take time. I feel strongly we need the board to be honest with us. If our request is in the ‘too hard’ category, if the county has no clue how to proceed, simply tell us. Tell us that the county is diligently seeking the legal course of action to protect our homes, our tranquility, our peace, and our livelihoods, if that is true. I find it intriguing that one board member was candid enough to tell us he could not support a combat range in the county, yet everyone else chose silence. I take it that the one board member who opted to take a stand did not break any parliamentary rules that evening. He certainly was not afraid to state his opinion.

We, the citizens, deserve straightforward answers. Because of the lack of transparency I have even more questions to add to the groups list.

1. What are the legal ramifications associated with adding #11 prohibited activity to the existing prohibitions? Why, specifically, can’t that one request be heard and decided on?

2. Why is updating the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances necessary now, when it was not previously?

3. How long must we wait to secure a definitive answer on precluding any CUP associated with a combat training facility in NKC.

Sir, we need answers. We need to rest assured our homes and our livelihoods are not in jeopardy. We deserve full disclosure. I do want to trust our county government to be accountable for protecting everything we all have worked and strived for. Don’t allow our homes, our farms, and our land to be made worthless because of an industrial, military type combat training facility was considered more worthwhile than the dedicated citizens who make this county an ideal place to live. Never in our wildest imaginations did we ever think we would have to rally together as a community to fight such an absurd subject.

Respectfully,

Brenda Mastaler