Powhatan County neighbors take aim at firing range

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - Some Powhatan County residents are taking aim at a proposed firing range near their homes at a meeting on Tuesday.

State police want to build the facility and share it with other law enforcement agencies. Neighbors are concerned about the noise and their worries don't end there.

William Arrington's family has owned and worked this land for 6 generations. Arrington raises beef cattle. He says a firing range right next to his property could damage the herd.

"The cattle will be very nervous- weight loss, reproductive problems, and prone to stampeding," said Arrington.

Arrington isn't alone in his misgivings. Neighbors here have organized what they say is more than just a "not in my backyard" resistance. They're ready to make their case with a thoroughly researched presentation.

"We're very impressed at the number of people who have shown up at the various citizen meetings and the number of volunteers who've stepped up and said 'I'll research that, I'll look into that, I'll go online and find that out,'" said Powhatan County supervisor Carson Tucker.

Tucker represents the affected district. He says neighbors are worried about noise, traffic, safety, and property values.

"These people are going to have a hard time ever selling their homes," he said.

The Department of Corrections owns the land where the firing range will be built. Under the proposal, state police will assume control of 18 acres, and share the shooting facility with the FBI and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

"This way, all of us can pool our resources and be able to utilize the range," said Corinne Gellar with the Virginia State Police.

Arrington says he understands the need for the range, but questions why it has to be built here.

"As you can see, the range will be right here, in the corner, and that greatly concerns me as far as my livelihood, being that this is what I want to pass on to my next generation, which is my youngest son," said Arrington.

The firing range still needs approval from the Department of Environmental Quality. State police say it's too early to give a timetable for construction.

The meeting will start at 7pm at the Village Building located at 3910 Old Buckingham Road in Powhatan. The public is invited.

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