Noise Impact

Imagine that your house, business, or horse farm is adjacent to this tactical driving course. This video is from an ITI G4S tactical course in Shacklefords (West Point). In CUP-02-18 they plan to have 4 of them!

There would be considerable adverse effect to the environment from the daily gunfire noise, potentially from 7 am to 10pm, that is proposed. Even if noise abatement measures are adopted, the sounds will be audible on adjacent and nearby properties, and the very nature of the sounds would be intermittent and (to an outside observer) randomly-occurring (aperiodic); this is a very stressful type of noise.

Proposed Activity

The CUP application states that, “on any given day of operation the facility could have as many as 120 students and 40 vehicles … operations could consist of … 15 students per range (45).” This does not account for the 5 ranges that are proposed, but is does allow for up to 45 students firing simultaneously.

The CUP application also offers that “There shall be no more than a total of 30-40 individual incidents of Tactical Sound Infusion utilized in training activities on the property in any calendar day. During the Standard Hours of Operation there shall be no more than a total of 12 individual incidents of Tactical Sound Infusion utilized in training activities on the property per hour.” This translates into the possibility of a simulated roadside bomb every 5 minutes during the peak hour.

Sound of thunder

A clap of thunder typically registers at about 120 dB in close proximity to the ground stroke.i

Thunder can be heard from a maximum distance of about 10 miles (16 km) under good atmospheric conditions.

Sound of Gunfire

9mm pistol (Glock 17) – 163 dbii

Rifles and .50 caliber weapons – 170 dBiii

Explosions / IEDs – 180 dBiv

Resulting Effects

So it could be likened to having a thunderstorm raging all day long, every day!

A study of the effects of noisev on performance concluded:

  • “Even fairly moderate noise levels (80 to 90 dB) indicate that noise raises anxiety and increases the risk of hostile behavior, while decreasing the incidence of helpful behavior.”
  • “If both accuracy and speed are important, and if the consequences of errors are severe, then noise represents a serious hazard to task performance.”
  • “Aperiodic [random] noise, probably because it is considered uncontrollable, is considerably more disruptive than periodically intermittent noise.”

Nobody Home?

The CUP application claims that “New Kent County is a working county therefore most of our training hours would fall into line with the times people are gone from their houses.”vi This is simply not the case in the Barhamsville area. Parts of New Kent County may just be “bedroom communities” for Richmond, but not all. There are many small businesses and home occupations in Barhamsville.

While not a scientific study, at a recent evening gathering of 56 Barhamsville residents, a “show of hands” indication of people who were, or were not, at home during the day showed a surprising result: only 12 people are not home during the day, so 75-80% are present during daytime hours; even if this number is somewhat biased, this invalidates the assumption that “most of our training hours would fall into line with the times people are gone from their houses.”


iThe Science of Thunder, National Lightning Safety Institute, June 7, 2018 (http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_info/thunder2.html)

iiEstimates of auditory risk from Outdoor Impulse Noise II; Civilian Firearms. Flamme, G. et.al. Noise & Health, 11:45, 231-241, 2009.

vThe Effects of Noise on Performance, Technical Memorandum 3-89, US Army Human Engineering Laboratory, June 1989 (http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a212519.pdf)

viConditional Use Permit (CUP) Application CUP-02-18, filed with the County Planning Department May 18,2018